Results tagged ‘ Fenway Park ’

Betances slams door shut at Fenway Park

Remember all those reports during spring training about Dellin Betances, that his velocity and location had abandoned him and that just perhaps despite his lights-out rookie season last year he may not be able to help the Yankees survive after the departure of David Robertson?

All that is now a matter of ancient history.

Betances finished off the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Red Sox Saturday with a flourish. He entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning with the potential tying run on first base and struck out Mike Napoli. In the ninth, after Chris Young’s sixth home run of the season had boosted the Yankees’ lead to 4-2, Betances proceeded to strike out the side.

Four batters, four strikeouts, and with all that Betances’ first save of the season. The performance may also have a carryover effect in that it spared the use of closer Andrew Miller (nine saves), who is now eligible to come out of the pen Sunday night as the Yanks hope to complete a three-game sweep at Fenway Park.

As it is, the Yankees have won five straight series after coming out of the game and losing their first three series. Since that 3-6 start, the Yankees have won 12 of 15 games since April 17 and sit along atop the American League East.

Saturday’s victory also included yet another quality start from a rotation that suffered a huge blow earlier in the week with Masahiro Tanaka being placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a right forearm strain that is expected to keep him sidelined for at least a month.

Nathan Eovaldi stepped up Saturday and pitched two outs into the seventh inning in raising his record to 2-0. He gave up two runs and seven hits but only one walk with two strikeouts. Brett Gardner supplied the run support for Eovaldi with an RBI double in the third inning and a two-out, two-run single in the fifth off Wade Miley (1-3).

Young’s home run in the ninth was off reliever Alexi Ogando. Young keeps pushing himself into the Yankees’ mix. With a homer and a double Saturday, Young lifted his slugging percentage to .698. His OPS (a combination of slugging percentage and on-base percentage) is over 1.000.

Wanting to stay away from Miller despite the tightness of the score, Yankees manager Joe Girardi used Chris Martin and Justin Wilson in the seventh and eighth before calling on Betances, who could not have done better than to punch out the four batters he faced.

The 6-foot-8 righthander has not allowed an earned run this year in 14 2/3 innings, the most among relievers with ERAs of 0.00. Miller is right behind him with 12 1/3 innings. Betances, who has given up six hits and eight walks with 25 strikeouts, has struck out 14 of the past 20 batters to face him and 17 of the past 25.

Thanks to Betances’ efficiency, Miller is poised to be ready if need be to close the door Sunday night in the finale of a series in which Yankees pitching has held Boston to four runs in 18 innings in its hitters’ paradise.

A-Rod’s 660th homer a game winner

Obviously, the best thing about Alex Rodriguez’s 660th home run, which tied him with Willie Mays for fourth place on the career list, was that it was a game winner for the Yankees. A-Rod admitted that he was disappointed when he saw that his name was not in the starting lineup Friday night at Fenway Park as manager Joe Girardi decided to load up on left-handed hitters against Red Sox righthander Justin Masterson.

The Boston starting pitcher was out of the game by the time Rodriguez got a chance to swing the bat in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter against another righthander, reliever Junichi Tazawa. The score was tied. The count went to 3-0. The green light was on. A-Rod swung at the next delivery and drove a smoking liner over the Green Monster for his first career pinch homer and a 3-2 Yankees lead, which held up thanks to the 1-2 punch of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller in the bullpen.

It was an eventful way to start off the trip, a victory over division and traditional rival Boston on a chilly evening at Fenway where A-Rod’s major-league career began 21 years ago. Again, the bullpen came through with four scoreless innings of one-hit, three-strikeout relief. Miller secured his ninth save to preserve a winning decision for fellow reliever Esmil Rogers, who pitched a shutout seventh.

CC Sabathia went the first six innings and was dependable if not spectacular. The lefthander allowed only two runs but caught big breaks when potential RBI doubles bounced over fences to keep two other runners from scoring. Sabathia walked two batters and struck out three and remains winless for the season.

The Yankees got Sabathia off the hook in the seventh when his catcher, Brian McCann, tied the score with a two-out, RBI single, a rare clutch hit for the Yankees on a night when they stranded 12 base runners. Their first run was also delivered with two out, on a double by Carlos Beltran in the first inning.

The Red Sox took the lead in the fourth on Allen Craig’s first home run of the season. But it would be another home run that altered the course of the game for the Yankees.

Jeter runs it out as usual in final big-league game

Once you saw Carl Yastrzemski on the field at Fenway Park before Sunday’s season finale that marked Derek Jeter’s last major-league game you know this was a big deal. Yaz is one of the most reclusive former athletes in the world. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 and has gone back for a ceremony only twice, in 2000 and 2009 for the inductions of former teammates Carlton Fisk and Jim Rice, respectively.

So there was Yaz on the Fenway infield with other Boston stars of the past – Rice, Luis Tiant, Rico Petrocelli, Fred Lynn, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek – all decked out in Red Sox jerseys to pay homage to a star of the Yankees. The Red Sox did it up big for the Yanks’ captain. Along with Varitek, DJ’s counterpart with the Red Sox, former captains of Boston’s other pro sports teams – Bobby Orr (Bruins), Troy Brown (Patriots) and Paul Pierce (Celtics) – were on hand for the pregame ceremony as well.

The Red Sox had taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to Mariano Rivera’s farewell last year, and it laid a huge egg. They made up for that this year with a grand sendoff for Jeter. David Ortiz and Red Sox shortstop Zander Bogaerts presented Jeter with a sign made up of Fenway scoreboard lettering reading, “Re2spect,” and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who became friendly with Jeter when they were teammates on the USA team in the World Baseball Classic several years ago, handed the retiring icon second base with No. 2 in pinstripes across the front. The Red Sox organization also gave Jeter a $22,222.22 donation to the Captain’s Turn2 Foundation, equaling the largest check he received from an opposing team, that of the Mets. Major League Baseball had also given Jeter a check for that amount, but not surprisingly the Yankees came up with the largest donation of all — $222,222.22.

There had been some speculation that Jeter might pull a Ted Williams and not play in the three-game series following his triumphant final game at Yankee Stadium Thursday night when he had the game-winning hit. Teddy Ballgame homered in his final Fenway at-bat in 1960 and decided not even to go to New York for the last series considering the Yankees had already clinched the American League pennant. Well, the Yankees were out of contention this week, too, something Jeter was not accustomed to, but out of respect for the game and the supporters of the Yankees’ biggest rivals he made the trip to Boston.

There were no such things as farewell tours years ago. Players would receive a standing ovation and then just go home. In fact, Jeter’s last game came on the 46th anniversary of Mickey Mantle’s last big-league appearance, also at Fenway Park. The Mick started at first base but never took the field. He batted in the first inning, popped out to shortstop, and was replaced at his position by Andy Kosco. Unlike Jeter, however, Mantle did not announce his retirement in that season of 1968 but rather the following March before the start of spring training in 1969.

Jeter had made a pact with manager Joe Girardi that he would make two plate appearances as the designated hitter, the same as he did Saturday. Jeter did not play Friday night because he was exhausted from all the tension and excitement of his Stadium exit game as well as his last as a shortstop. DJ lined out to short in the first inning. Batting with Ichiro Suzuki on third base after hitting a two-run triple in the third, Jeter hit chopper off the plate and beat it out for a single that drove in a run, his 50th RBI of the season, and settled his career hit total at 3,465, sixth on the all-time list.

At that point, Jeter came out of the game for a pinch runner, of all people, Brian McCann, one of the slowest runners in the majors (he even lost a pregame footrace to Mark Teixeira). Unlike last Thursday night when his emotions nearly got the best of him, Jeter was calm and flashed often his signature smile. While he left the game, he did not leave the dugout and cheered on his mates through a 9-5 victory.

The Red Sox had one more cool surprise for Jeter. They arranged for Bernie Williams, former Yankees center fielder and current road musician, to play “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on his guitar for his old teammate during the seventh-inning stretch, a poignant moment that echoed the end of an era for the Yankees. Perhaps that is why the Red Sox celebrated the day.

Jeter, not always comfortable with the out-of-town attention this year and under some criticism lately for what seemed at times an over-merchandizing of his farewell tour, was grateful to the Red Sox for this parting glass.

What I will take mostly from this game was Jeter’s hit itself. He ran hard to first base as he did from Day One in a Yankees uniform, forcing an infielder to hurry and eventually be unable to make the play. Most Yankees fans would have surely loved to see Jeet rip one over the Green Monster to finish off his career, but the dash to first base exemplified what Jeter was all about the past 20 years. You run everything out. It is the only way he played every day.

Yankees Magazine celebrates Jeter’s career

Thursday night marked the beginning of Derek Jeter’s last homestand as his appearance at Yankee Stadium has been reduced to eight games — four against the Blue Jays through Sunday and four against the Orioles next week.

Fans attending any of these games should purchase a copy of the Derek Jeter Commemorative Edition of Yankees Magazine, a 128-page look at the various aspects of this remarkable 20-year career in the major leagues of a player who now holds some of the most important records in franchise history, including most games and most hits.

The Yankees Magazine staff outdid itself with this issue. Nathan Maciborski starts things off with a review of the Captain’s career, and the YES Network’s Jack Curry ends it with an appreciation of Jeter’s impact throughout the world. In between there are comments from Hall of Famers in all sports and Yankees teammates and executives about Jeter.

Jon Schwartz wrote a fine profile of Dick Groch, the scout who signed Jeter. There is a special centerfold highlighting the important hits of Jeter’s career, edited by Kristina Dodge. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News contributed a story about Jeter’s memories of Fenway Park, hostile territory where DJ had some of his biggest moments.

Alfred Santasiere III had a sit-down with Jeet and “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks, and conducted question-and-answer sessions with two other Hall of Fame shortstops, Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith. Also featured is Santasiere’s article from three years ago about Jeter’s return to his hometown of Kalamazoo, Mich.

Santasiere also did an exclusive interview with Derek’s parents, Charles and Dorothy Jeter, who comment separately about the special incidents in their son’s life and career.

And then there are the pictures — hundreds of them from staff photographers Ariele Goldman Hecht and Matt Ziegler, plus an array of photos from Derek Jeter Day Sept. 7 from contributing photographer Tom DiPace.

There are plenty of memories Yankees fans can take away from Derek Jeter’s career. Many of them are encased in this issue, which will be available at Stadium souvenir shops throughout the homestand.

Tanaka vs. Lester, Round 2

Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester, who were paired against each other Saturday night at Yankees Stadium, first hooked up April 22 at Fenway Park. At the time, Tanaka was still an unknown quantity although he had already opened plenty of eyes. But in the tense atmosphere of Boston’s old yard, the Japanese righthander was going to face some strong scrutiny.

He passed with flying colors. Tanaka pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs and seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in improving his record to 3-0. The Yankees pounded Lester for 11 hits and eight runs, although five were not earned due to errors by catcher A.J. Pierzynski and first baseman Mike Napoli.

Tanaka’s record was up to 11-2 entering play Saturday night. The Elias Sports Bureau put together some interesting information on the American League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year candidate.

Tanaka has pitched at least six innings and allowed three runs or fewer in each of his 15 starts. In the past 103 seasons since earned runs became an official statistis in 1912, he is one of only two pitchers to produce such an outing in each of his first 15 major-league games. The other was the Expos’ Steve Rogers, who did so in each of his first 16 games for Montreal in 1973).

Tanaka is the only pitcher to produce such an outing in each of his first 15 starts with the Yankees and one of only three Yankees pitchers to produce such a start in 15 consecutive starts at any point in their careers. The others were CC Sabathia (16 games) in 2010 from June 3 to Aug. 22 and Ron Guidry (15 games) in 1978 from April 8 to June 22.

No pitcher has recorded a longer such streak since the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong had 16 consecutive quality starts in 2012 from May 3 to July 29.

Elias also pointed out that Friday night’s 6-0 victory over the Red Sox marked the first time in franchise history that two non-pitchers each age 40 or older started a game together for the Yankees in shortstop Derek Jeter and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. The last pair of 40-year-olds to start for the Yankees prior to Friday was pitcher Andy Pettitte and outfielder Raul Ibanez in 2012.

Yankees fans should take note that the rainout makeup game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City will be at 7:10 p.m. Aug. 25.

Ellsbury paces Yankees over former club

What a wonderful homecoming for Jacoby Ellsbury. Responding to the persistent boos and taunts of ungrateful fans at Fenway Park, the new Yankees center fielder showed Red Sox Nation what it is going to miss now that he has taken his act to the Bronx.

Ellsbury had a strong series as the Yankees took two of three games from the Red Sox and are now 5-2 against Boston in the early going. Thursday night’s 14-5 victory in the rubber game was as much due to sloppy Red Sox fielding (five errors) as a relentless Yankees offense (14 hits).

Only two of the seven runs off Red Sox starter Felix Doubront was earned, although one of the damaging errors was by the pitcher himself. Brian Roberts reached base twice on errors, also had two hits and scored four runs. Brett Gardner also scored four times despite not having a hit. He walked three times, was safe on Doubront’s error and stole two bases.

From the top of the order Ellsbury led the hit parade with two doubles and a single and drove in three runs. That made Ellsbury 5-for-15 (.333) in the series with three doubles and five RBI.

At the bottom of the order was Yangervis Solarte, who broke out of a 0-for-14 slump by driving in four runs with a double and a single. In between there were two hits and two RBI from Derek Jeter, two doubles and an RBI from Alsonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira’s first home run of the season and a double by birthday boy Carlos Beltran, who turned 37.

All of this offense came on a night when CC Sabathia was on top of his game. The lefthander allowed only three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings. And what a pleasant sight was David Robertson back off the disabled list pitching a hitless ninth.

Tanaka, Ellsbury handle pressure at Fenway

The Yankees originally intended to keep Masahiro Tanaka away from the Red Sox in the first two series against their rivals this year until the Japanese righthander had more solid footing in the major leagues. They did not pitch him against Boston in spring training, either.

But last week’s rainout at Yankee Stadium against the Cubs that led to a split-admission doubleheader the next day altered manager Joe Girardi’s rotation and resulted in Tanaka having to start Tuesday night at Fenway Park. He was certainly up to the task in a 9-2 Yankees victory, their fourth in five games against the Red Sox this season.

The Yankees gave Tanaka something of a comfort zone by taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning off Jon Lester, who was not at his best.

In his first game at Fenway since departing the Red Sox and signing with the Yankees as a free agent, Jacoby Ellsbury was celebrated by Boston fans, who cheered a pre-game video tribute to his contributions to two World Series championship teams. Once the game got under way, it was a different story as boos far outnumbered cheers for Ellsbury.

The fleet center fielder responded the best way he could — with his bat and his glove. Ellsbury began the game with a drive off the center field wall that was interfered with by a fan and was awarded a triple. Derek Jeter promptly got Ellsbury home with a single to center. That ran the Captain’s hitting streak to 11 games. It is the 47th double-figure hitting streak of Jeter’s career. That ties him with Hall of Famer Tris Speaker for the third highest total in history. The others in front of them are also Hall of Famers — Ty Cobb with 66 and Hank Aaron with 48.

A passed ball and throwing error by Boston catcher A.J. Pierzynski helped the Yanks to an unearned run later on a single by Carlos Beltran. Surprisingly shoddy defense by the Red Sox did not help Lester. All four rune he allowed in the fifth inning were not earned due to an error by first baseman Mike Napoli. The Yankees earned their two runs in the third off Lester on successive doubles by Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann.

Yankees’ defense was just the opposite. Ellsbury set the tone in the bottom of the first with a sliding catch of a liner that robbed Grady Sizemore of a potential extra-base hit. Dustin Pedroia hit the ball hard as well for a double, but Tanaka came back to strike out David Ortiz and Napoli.

Those same two sluggers took Tanaka deep in back-to-back fashion in the fourth, but that was all the damage he sustained. The Yankees spent a small fortune on Tanaka, but at this point he looks like a bargain. He ran his record to 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA with another 7 1/3 sturdy innings. In 29 1/3 innings, Tanaka has allowed 22 hits and only two walks with 35 strikeouts.

His record in Japan last year was 24-0. Can he go 24-0 here this year?

Shift this

I have worn myself out over the years complaining about sluggers not taking advantage of these exaggerated defensive shifts by crossing them up with bunt hits. Jason Giambi and Mark Teixeira ignored me so often I almost quit the campaign. I am not talking about doing it in RBI situations but certainly when the bases are empty to get something started.

So naturally I was deliriously happy to see what Robinson Cano did in the first inning Friday night at Fenway Park. With two out, no one on base and the infield shifted all the way around to the right, Cano pushed a bunt that rolled past third base far enough from any fielder that he ended up with a double.

Beautiful. It did not result in a run as Alfonso Soriano struck out, but what Cano did by getting on base sure beat making an out by hitting into the shift. Too many hitters have a macho attitude about bunting, that it is some sissy-Mary sort of thing. What is wrong with taking what the defense give you? Particularly in situations like two outs-none on or leading off an inning. Makes sense to me.

Soriano named AL Player of the Week

It should surprise no one that Yankees left fielder Alfonso Soriano was named American League Player of the Week for the period ending Aug. 18. Soriano went on one of the most amazing tears in one week in the game’s history.

Sori, who was acquired by the Yankees in a July 26 trade from the Cubs for minor-league relief pitcher Corey Black, batted .484 with nine runs, one double, five home runs and 18 RBI in seven games and 31 at-bats. The Yankees were 5-2 during that stretch as they fight to get into position for a playoff berth.

It marked Soriano’s seventh career weekly award. His previous honor was in the National League for the week ending May 18, 2008 with the Cubs. He won three AL Player of the Week Awards in his first stint with the Yankees, the last of which was for the week ending Sept. 21, 2003. Among Major League Baseball leaders for the past week, Soriano paced all hitters in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage (1.000), hits (15) and total bases (31), and was tied for first in runs scored.

Soriano went into the game of Aug. 13 against the Angels at Yankee Stadium battling a 1-for-16 slump and broke out of it with three hits, including two home runs and a career-best six RBI in a 14-7 Yankees victory. He topped himself the next day with a 3-for-3 game against the Angels that included two more homers and a new career-best seven RBI in an 11-3 Yankees victory.

Sori established career highs in RBI in two straight games and in the process became just the third player in major-league history to collect at least six RBI in consecutive games, joining the Rangers’ Rusty Greer in 1997 and the Brewers’ Geoff Jenkins in 2001. It was the third time in his career that Soriano had multi-homer games on back-to-back days.

After getting four more hits in an 8-4 loss to the Angels Aug. 15, Soriano took his hot streak to Boston’s Fenway Park where the night of Aug. 16 he went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI to lead the Yanks to a 10-3 victory over the Red Sox.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Soriano’s 18 RBI over the four-game stretch from Aug. 13-16 matched baseball’s all-time mark for the most RBI in a four-game period since it became an official statistic in 1920. The others to do so were the Cardinals’ Jim Bottomley in 1929, the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig in 1930, the Yankees’ Tony Lazzeri in 1936, the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio in 1939 and the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa in 2002.

Other noteworthy performances last week included the Tigers’ Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82 ERA), who became the fifth pitcher since 1912 to win 18 of his first 19 decisions in a season, and his teammate Miguel Cabrera (4 HR, 10 RBI); Twins pitcher Andrew Albers (two-hit shutout against the Indians Aug. 20); Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (.409, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 2 2B) and White Sox pitcher Chris Sale (2-0, 2.81 ERA, 1 BB, 14 K).

In recognition of his AL Player of the Week Award, Soriano will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.

Big start for Yanks in AL East push

Friday night’s 10-3 victory at Fenway Park began a stretch of 15 consecutive games and 29 of 32 games for the Yankees against divisional opponents. If they are to make a move up the American League East standings, this is it.

Just a week ago, the Yankees were 11 ½ games out of first place. That number is down to 7 ½, and they are two games out of third place. The Red Sox’ loss shrunk their division lead to one games over the Rays. The teams in front of the Yankees have been wobbly lately while they have put up steam after an impressive, 5-2 homestand against the Tigers and Angels.

Clearly, the offensive muscle the Yankees have gotten from Alfonso Soriano is at the center of the resurgence after the dismal 2-5 trip through Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago. Soriano kept up his torrid hitting Friday night with a three-run home run in the third inning that gave him 18 RBI in four games, a feat accomplished by only five other players in history, including Yankees Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Tony Lazzeri and Lou Gehrig. The others were Sammy Sosa and Hall of Famer Jim Bottomley.

When the Yankees acquired Soriano July 26 from the Cubs, I looked at his 51 RBI and figured there was no way he could get to 100 this year. Shows you what I know. Sori is up to 77 now, so a 100-RBI season is by no means out of the question with six weeks remaining.

The Yankees opened the scoring against Red Sox lefthander Felix Doubront with another RBI by Soriano on an infield single in the first inning. This was good news for Andy Pettitte, who has had a penchant for allowing runs in the first frame. At least this time Pettitte could take the mound with the lead. And the runs just kept coming.

Mark Reynolds marked his Yankees debut with a two-run homer in the second inning. Plucked off waivers from the Indians to platoon at first base with Lyle Overbay, Reynolds is one of those feast-and-famine players with 196 career home runs and 1,245 strikeouts. Reynolds has led the league in strikeouts four times and topped 200 Ks three times in his career. He has a power cut, however, and the Yankees have been looking for pop from the right side all year and didn’t have much of it until Soriano and Alex Rodriguez arrived. Reynolds added an RBI single in the ninth.

Preston Claiborne, a victim of baseball paperwork, was optioned to Triple A Scranton to create roster space for Reynolds. Claiborne proved a useful righthander in relief (0-1, 2.88 ERA, 33 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings), but he was the one to go because he had options left, unlike Joba Chamberlain (4.83 ERA), who had trouble protecting a seven-run lead in the ninth inning and needed relief himself.

The best pitching news was the work of Pettitte (8-9), who might have had a shutout if not for two errors by shortstop Eduardo Nunez that caused all three runs off Pettitte to be unearned. The victory was career No. 253, which tied Pettitte with Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell for 43rd place on the all-time list. Next up at No. 42 with 254 victories each are Hall of Famer Red Faber and Hall candidate Jack Morris.

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