Results tagged ‘ Francisco Cervelli ’

Yanks’ bench growing short with injuries

The Yankees went with an eight-man bullpen to get through the four-game series against the Red Sox, but it left them with a shallow bench that was pretty hollow in Sunday night’s finale when injuries mounted.

Francisco Cervelli, who started at first base, had to come out of the game in the fourth inning when he hurt his right hamstring trying to avoid hitting into a double play. A DP call was overturned through replay, which so infuriated Red Sox manager John Farrell that he was ejected for arguing the call, the change of which gave the Yankees a run for a 3-1 lead.

Meanwhile, Cervelli was exiting the field as Ichiro Suzuki took over as a pinch runner. Suzuki stayed in the game in right field with Carlos Beltran, who hit a two-run home run in the third inning, coming in to play first base for the first time in his major-league career. Other than an occasional game as a designated hitter, Beltran has only played the outfield.

With Mark Texeira on the disabled list, Kelly Johnson has played first base, but he was needed at third base Sunday night because Yangervis Solarte had to play second base with Brian Roberts nursing a sore back. Dean Anna was at shortstop for Derek Jeter, who was out with a tight right quad.

Once Ichiro got in the game, it left the ailing Jeter and Roberts as the only position players on the bench. And with Cervelli gone, the Yanks were without their backup catcher. Manager Joe Girardi told the ESPN crew that his third-string catcher was Anna, “although he doesn’t know it yet.”

Yanks keep playing ‘Who’s on first?’

With Mark Teixeira on the disabled list because of a strained right hamstring, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has to look elsewhere for a first baseman. The Yankees do not have a pure first baseman as a back-up to Teixeira. Girardi had used Kelly Johnson there for two games, the fourth and fifth at the position for Johnson in his major-league career.

Eyebrows were raised a bit in the Yankees’ clubhouse Tuesday when the lineup showed Francisco Cervelli at first base. Yes, that Francisco Cervelli, the Yankees’ back-up catcher. Cervelli had a good spring training with the bat so Girardi wants to find ways to get him in the lineup. With the Yankees having called up Austin Romine, another catcher, from Triple A Scranton, Cervelli can be used while still having the safety net of a back-up catcher available.

Cervelli, who has been taking grounders at the corner infield spots during batting practice, was realistic about his new role. He told Suzyn Waldman on her WFAN Radio pre-game show that he thought about calling Don Mattingly to get his permission to play the position the current Dodgers manager manned so well in his playing days with the Yankees.

Cervelli was tested in the second inning when Ryan Flaherty bunted to the right side for a single that gave the Orioles runners on first and second with none out. Cervelli did his job fielding the ball, but neither pitcher Ivan Nova nor second baseman Brian Roberts rushed to cover first base. Nova and Flaherty atoned for the situation by collaborating on a pickoff of Steve Lombardozzi at second base on the next play.

The Yanks have been utilizing players in various roles in the early going. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that for the first time in franchise history the Yanks did not have a player start the first six games of the season. The previous team to have that situation were the Tigers in 1980.

Pineda impressive in 1st start since 2011

Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays falls into the crying shame category for the Yankees. They received a splendid effort from Michael Pineda in his first major-league start since 2011 and have nothing to show for it.

R.A. Dickey pitched a game out of his 2012 National League Cy Young Award season with the Mets and the Toronto bullpen withstood heavy challenges in the late innings as the Yankees sustained their first shutout of the season.

I need to come clean here that I was not in favor of the Yankees’ trade for Pineda from Seattle two years ago. I thought Jesus Montero showed a lot of promise, at least from the offensive side, as a future catcher and that Hector Noesi had been a useful pitcher out of the bullpen. Pineda made the American League All-Star team in 2011 as a rookie but had a major falloff in the second half of that season, and I was skeptical when he became available through a trade. When Pineda showed up in camp out of shape in 2012 and suffered a torn right labrum that required surgery the deal sure seemed like a bust.

That shows you what I know and also how you cannot analyze a trade right away. Look at the situation now. Montero is no longer in the Mariners’ plans and is an overweight designated hitter in Triple A. Noesi was designated for assignment this week.

Meanwhile, Pineda has emerged after two years of rehabilitation as a possible force in the Yankees’ rotation. He nailed down a starter’s role in training camp and got another stamp of approval Saturday despite taking the loss. The righthander’s fastball clocked consistently in the mid-90-mph range as he scattered five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five in six innings.

Pineda left the game with the score 1-0 Toronto, the run coming on a flare single to left field by Jays catcher Josh Thole in the second inning. The Yankees thought they tied the score an inning later, but a disputed play at the plate went against them. Francisco Cervelli, running from second base with two out on a single to center field by Jacoby Ellsbury, was thrown out at the plate on a strong throw by Colby Rasmus.

Or was he? Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn’t think so and challenged the call by plate umpire Dana DeMuth. The replay unit in New York supported DeMuth’s call, but Girardi was not satisfied and said after the game that he still felt strongly that Thole had blocked the plate without the ball, which is against the new rules regarding plays at the plate designed to prevent collisions. Girardi is correct in his view that this area will be the toughest for the replay crew to monitor.

In the end, the play proved inconsequential because the Blue Jays broke the game open in the eighth inning against reliever David Phelps, who gave up a solo home run to Melky Cabrera, a double to Rasmus and a two-run blast by Jose Bautista. The Yankees were 1-for-11 (.091) with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners, including seven in the last four innings.

The Yankees have yet to hit a home run through five games, their longest drought at the start of a season since 1975 when they were shut out in homers the first six games.

No action for Yanks as trade deadline passes

The non-waiver trading deadline came and went at 4 p.m. Eastern Wednesday without the Yankees making a swap. Despite rumors throughout the day regarding Phillies infielder Michael Young, who reportedly waived the no-trade clause in his contract to clear a possible deal to the Yankees, nothing came of it.

“We had a lot of conversations with a lot of organizations,” general manager Brian Cashman said on a conference telephone call with Yankees beat writers, “but we didn’t get anything that would lead us to deal. We will have to contend with what we have right now unless we find ways to improve it. It wasn’t a deep market at all, and obviously what I was offering wasn’t enough.”

So for the time being, the addition of outfielder Alfonso Soriano will have to suffice. Cashman alluded to the impending return from the disabled list of outfielder Curtis Granderson maybe as early as Friday night at San Diego will serve as a major addition akin to a big trade. Cash is also holding out hope that corner infielder Kevin Youkilis, who is recovering from back surgery, may be back sometime in September.

The GM was less optimistic about a return of catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has soreness in his right elbow while recuperating from a broken right thumb and will be examined by Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist, this week.

“None of this information is positive,” Cashman said. “We’re running out of time and it’s looking like he’s done for the year.”

Jeter back on the shelf at least through All-Star break

APJeet Derek Jeter (AP Photo)

Derek Jeter officially became a part of the Yankees’ 2013 season Thursday. And following in the gingerly footsteps of Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, Jeter took a big step back after making a step forward off the disabled list.

The Captain hasn’t been put back on the DL yet. The Yankees have decided to wait out the All-Star break to see if the Grade 1 strain of Jeter’s left quadriceps improves with rest. The goal now is to have DJ back in harness by July 19 when the Yanks start the post-break schedule against the first-place Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Jeter will sit out this weekend’s three-game series against the Twins after which he will have four more days during the All-Star break to allow his condition to heal. General manager Brian Cashman said before Friday night’s game that the DL remains an option that the Yankees hope they will not have to use as they were forced to with the re-injuries of Granderson, Teixeira and Youkilis. In addition, catcher Francisco Cervelli had a setback during his rehabilitation from a fractured right hand.

Jeter missed 91 games while recovering from surgery to repair a fractured left ankle and a broken bone in another part of the same ankle. He was activated Thursday and went 1-for-4 in the 8-4 victory over the Royals at Yankee Stadium but had to come out of the game because of the quad injury sustained as he tried to beat out an infield single.

There is no idle gear in Jeter’s game, so such an injury is not all that surprising for a player who just turned 39 and has not played a game of nine innings in 10 months. Before wondering if the Yankees made a mistake in bringing Jeter up too early, be mindful that the injury could just as well have occurred if he had played that day at Triple A Scranton. Again, Jeter knows no other way to play but full throttle. Now he is forced to back off once more.

“It’s frustrating,” Jeter said. “I don’t know what else you want me to say. I worked hard to get to the point of rejoining the team. It’s not how you draw it up, but hopefully I’ll be back out there soon and help this team win some games.”

Yanks make full recovery with sweep of Twins

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Yankees’ 9-5 victory Thursday that completed a four-game sweep of the Twins was that Robinson Cano had very little to do with it. For the only time on the seven-game trip to Baltimore and Minneapolis, Cano did not get a hit, although he drove in a run with a first-inning sacrifice fly.

Others in the lineup provided the fireworks for the Yanks on the Fourth of July as they moved out to a 9-1 lead by the sixth inning. Ichiro Suzuki at the top of the lineup as Brett Gardner got a needed day off fell a home run short of the cycle, scored twice and knocked in two runs. Travis Hafner reached base four times with two doubles, a single and getting hit by a pitch and crossed the plate twice. Vernon Wells had two hits and three RBI, Zoilo Almonte in the 2-hole had two hits and two RBI and near the bottom of the lineup Luis Cruz and Carlos Gonzalez drove in one run apiece.

It was a nice ensemble effort by the Yankees, who banged out 13 hits and did not have to rely on Cano carrying them as he did for most of the trip. With six multi-hit games, Cano had 14-for-28, a .500 clip, with nine runs, two doubles, four home runs and 11 RBI.

David Phelps rebounded from a dreadful prior start in Baltimore (nine earned runs and nine hits in 2 1/3 innings) and had a decent outing (four earned runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings). The Twins closed the gap to four runs, but Joe Girardi did not have to bring in Mariano Rivera for the first time in the Target Field series as Shawn Kelly and David Robertson provided perfect relief in the eighth and ninth innings.

The Yankees’ second four-game sweep of the season (they also accomplished it April 25-28 at Yankee Stadium against the Blue Jays) removed the bitter taste of being swept in three games by the Orioles. The Yankees returned to third place in the American League East and got back to 1 ½ games behind second-place Baltimore, although they remain six games behind the first-place Red Sox.

The Yankees open a 10-game homestand leading into the All-Star break Friday night against the Orioles, the first of a three-game set. Then the Royals come to the Stadium for four games and the Twins for three. This should be happy news for the Yankees, who are 14-3 (.824) against AL Central competition this season, the second best record by a club against a division within its league, trailing only the Indians’ 12-2 (.857) mark against the AL West. The Yanks have won 14 of their past 15 games against the AL Central after losing their first two games at Detroit April 5 and 6. They are a combined 105-55 vs. the AL Central over the past five seasons, the highest winning percentage (.656) for any AL team against the division.

This was the Yankees’ first sweep of the Twins in a series of at least four games since May 15-18, 2009 at home and the first time in Minnesota since April 18-21, 2003 when the Twinkies were still at the Metrodome.

The Yankees played the Twins on Independence Day for the seventh time since the original Washington Senators franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961. The Yanks are 4-3 in those games. They swept a doubleheader (remember those on the Fourth of July?) at the original Yankee Stadium in 1964, 7-5 and 2-1; lost a doubleheader at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington (now the site of Mall of America), 3-8 and 6-7; won, 3-2, in 1985 and lost, 2-6, in 2007, both at the renovated Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees played on the road on the Fourth of July for the third straight year, the first time they have done that in three consecutive seasons since 1988-90. They are 30-27 on the Fourth of July in the Expansion Era (since 1961).

The Elias Sports Bureau pointed out that with Wednesday night’s victory CC Sabathia became the 27th pitcher in major-league history and only the eighth in the Expansion Era to get his 200th career victory prior to his 33rd birthday. The others were Don Drysdale, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver. All are in the Hall of Fame except for Maddux, who will go on the ballot for the first time this year.

Francisco Cervelli’s recovery from a fractured right hand has been complicated by a stress reaction in his right elbow. The catcher, who has been catching in simulated at-bats in the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa, has been shut down for the next two weeks. On the positive side, infielder Eduardo Nunez will continue his injury-rehabilitation assignment at Double A Trenton.

Yankees get ready for Freddy

Sunday’s rainout of the scheduled Yankees-Blue Jays game at Yankee Stadium allowed Yanks manager Joe Girardi to skip Vidal Nuno, who was to start in place of disabled Andy Pettitte, this turn in the rotation and give his regular starters an extra day’s rest.

CC Sabathia, who was to have started Sunday, was to get the call Monday night at Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series and was paired against former teammate Freddy Garcia. The righthander, who has the most career victories (152) of any pitcher born in Venezuela, went to spring training this year with the Padres after signing as a minor league free agent Jan. 29 but was released March 24 and signed with the Orioles five days later.

Garcia entered Monday night’s game with a record of 0-2 and a 5.51 ERA in three starts totaling 16 1/3 innings for the Orioles. In 12 career starts against the Yankees, Garcia is 5-4 with a 4.09 ERA. He pitched for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012 and combined for a 19-14 record with a 4.29 ERA in 42 starts covering 254 innings.

The Yankees were 3-0 in three games last year in which they faced a starting pitcher for the first time since he had pitched for the Yankees. They defeated the Mariners’ Hector Noesi May 12 at Yankee Stadium, 6-2; the Athletics’ Bartolo Colon May 26 at Oakland, 9-2, and the Blue Jays’ Aaron Laffey Aug. 11 at Toronto, 5-2.

The Yankees are catching the Orioles in the throes of a five-game losing streak that has dropped Baltimore into a tie with the Rays for third place in the American League East, four games back of the divison-leading Yanks, so the O’s cannot overtake the Bombers in this series.

Sabathia takes a 17-4 career record with a 3.03 ERA against the Orioles into the game, including 10-3 with a 3.38 ERA at Camden Yards. CC has the second-highest winning percentage (.769) in the ballpark’s history (minimum 15 starts), behind Pettitte’s .800 mark (16-4). Among active pitchers who have never played for the Orioles, Sabathia has the most strikeouts, the second most victories (Pettitte 16), the second most innings (Pettitte 144 2/3) and the second-lowest ERA (Bartolo Colon 3.33) at Camden Yards.

Catcher Austin Romine was in Monday night’s lineup, marking the first Yankees rookie to start three straight games behind the plate since Francisco Cervelli May 8-10, 2009 in a three-game set at Baltimore.

Also in the starting lineup batting eighth and playing shortstop was recent arrival Reid Brignac, who was acquired from the Rockies in a trade Saturday for cash considerations. He will become the 10th different infielder used by the Yankees this season and the 19th different position player. They used 10 different infielders all of the 2012 season. Brignac will become the 14th different player to make his Yankees debut this season, the eighth different Yankee who was not with the club when pitchers and catchers reported for spring training Feb. 12 and the 15th player to play for the Yankees this season who was not with the club last year. Brignac will be the 36th player they have used this year, a figure they did reach in 2012 until July 29 with infielder Ramiro Pena.

A makeup date for Sunday’s rainout has not been scheduled. Fans holding paid tickets for that day’s game may use them for the rescheduled game or exchange their paid tickets for any regular season game at the Stadium during the 2013 season, subject to availability. Fans holding complimentary tickets (COMP) for Sunday’s game must use them for the rescheduled game when that is announced. Complimentary tickets (COMP) or equivalent tickets bear no cash value and do not have any additional benefits that may be offered to ticket(s) with a dollar value.

For complete information about the Yankees’ rainout policy, please visit http://www.yankees.com/rainout. With respect to tickets purchased through Yankees Ticket Exchange, please visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketexchange or call 1-800-355-2396 for complete information about its rainout policy.

Pettitte joins crowded disabled list

The Yankees’ disabled list continued to grow Friday night, adding Andy Pettitte, who came out of Thursday night’s game against the Mariners because of a tight left trapezius muscle. Pettitte said he felt better Friday but understood that he needed more time to get better, which frankly the Yankees do not have right now.

Pettitte’s next scheduled start would have been Tuesday night in Baltimore. He told general manager Brian Cashman that he could long-toss on his regular bullpen day and still be able to make the starting assignment. Pettitte reneged when it was explained to him that the Yankees could not afford to dig into the bullpen if he tightened up early in that game. Cashman pointed out that they lost CC Sabathia early in a rain-delayed game in Denver, had a doubleheader at Cleveland earlier in the week and an abbreviated start Wednesday night from Phil Hughes (2/3 innings).

“I’m frustrated, but it makes sense,” Pettitte said. “I hope we can get it cleared up and I can get back out there. I don’t see why it should be more than that [15 days]. I had high expectations of being able to pitch a full season, but I’ll have to deal with it.”

The Yankees will recall lefthander Vidal Nuno from Triple A Scranton to take Pettitte’s spot in the rotation. Nuno earned his first major-league victory in the second game of the doubleheader Monday with five scoreless, three-hit innings at Progressive Field.

Chris Stewart’s groin injury is not as serious as it might have been. An MRI on the catcher was negative. Stewart is still in some pain, but he is not a candidate for the Yankees’ large disabled list where another catcher, Francisco Cervelli, is among those on the mend. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Stewart probably won’t play in the three-game series against the Blue Jays but could catch in an emergency.

Because of that, the Yankees do not plan to add another catcher for this weekend’s series as a backup to Austin Romine. That role for the time being will be filled by utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez, whose primary position is shortstop but who has also already pitched for the Yankees for the first time in his seven-season career. Gonzalez retired the only batter he faced Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 12-2 loss to the Mariners, so his ERA is 0.00.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tuesday marked only the fourth time since the Cy Young Award was instituted by the Baseball Writers’ Association in 1956 that seven former winners started on the same day. CC Sabathia was among them, along with Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, R.A. Dickey, Bartolo Colon, Jake Peavy and Barry Zito). It also occurred April 21, 1974 (Vida Blue, Steve Carlton, Mike Cuellar, Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Jim Perry and Tom Seaver) and on both April 5 and April 10, 1993 with the same pitchers (Roger Clemens, Doug Drabek, Dwight Gooden, Orel Hershiser, Greg Maddux, Rick Sutcliffe and Bob Welch).

Patrick Vieira, former World Cup-winning soccer star and current head of the Elite Development Squad for Manchester City Football Club, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Vieira played on five World Cup-winning teams and nine league champions during his career. He made 107 appearances for the French national team, including winning performances at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 UEFA European Championship. His time as a Manchester City player, which began in January 2010, concluded with an FA Cup Final victory in May 2011, marking the club’s first major trophy in 35 years.

Since retiring from the game in the summer of 2011, Vieira has worked as a Football Development Executive for Manchester City, traveling extensively in an ambassadorial role for the club and its academy. He has spent the last year developing his understanding of the business side of football and working on his UEFA coaching credentials.

Manchester City will make it first appearance at the Stadium in a 5:30 p.m. match Saturday, May 25, against Premier League rival Chelsea FC.

Yanks have had recent success vs. A’s

The Yankees will complete the current homestand with a three-game series against the Athletics Friday night and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The teams will play each other again June 11-13 at Oakland.

The Yankees have won 32 of the past 44 games against the A’s since the start of the 2008 season, including victories in 18 of the past 26 matchups. The Yankees have also won 10 of the past 14 games and 17 of the past 22 against the A’s at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have recorded five straight non-losing home series against Oakland and are 27-14 against the A’s at the Stadium since 2004.

At the current Stadium, the Yankees are 14-5 (.737) against Oakland, matching their second-best record against an American League opponent with Texas. The Yanks’ best record at the current Stadium against one team is the 10-3 mark (.769) against Detroit.

CC Sabathia, who will start Friday night’s game, has had only marginal success against the A’s but has been strong in recent outings. Sabathia’s career mark against Oakland is 8-8 with a 4.56 ERA, but he is 6-1 with a 2.47 ERA over his past 11 starts against the A’s.

Francisco Cervelli may be on the disable list, but the catcher will receive a deserving award in a gala event Thursday night at Cipriani in Manhattan. Cervelli will be honored with the Project Sunshine Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award for 2013. Project Sunshine is a nonprofit organization that provides free educational, recreational and social programs to children and families facing medical challenges. Cervelli has made numerous hospital visits to spend time with children and their families over the past few years.

The first five hitters in the Yankees’ starting lineup Tuesday night against the Astros were all left-handed – Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner and Brennan Boesch. It was the first time the top five hitters of a Yankees lineup were all lefty swingers since July 28, 1995 when then manager Buck Showalter used Luis Polonia, Wade Boggs, Dion James, Paul O’Neill and Don Mattingly 1-though-5 in a 5-3 loss at Minnesota.

Hafner makes good on Girardi’s hunch

Yankees manager Joe Girardi knows that he has to be careful with Travis Hafner. Injuries have plagued the slugger in recent years. Sometimes a manager gets a hunch. Saturday was just that kind of day. The Blue Jays were starting a lefthander, J.A. Happ, but aware that the right-handed portion of the designated hitter platoon, Ben Francisco, is struggling (.103 in 29 at-bats) Girardi chose to give the lefty-swinging Hafner a rare start against a southpaw.

How it turned out was just downright beautiful. All Hafner did was drive in four runs as the Yankees turned back the Blue Jays again, 5-4, behind another gritty effort from CC Sabathia. This was like old times for Travis and CC, former teammates at Cleveland. It was another victory due in large part to the newcomers with the Yankees this year; in this case Hafner and Vernon Wells, who drove in the other Yankees run.

Just as was the case in recent years of the likes of Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Raul Ibanez and Andruws Jones, among others, who thrived with the Yankees in their twilight years, Hafner and Wells have found a fountain of youth in the Bronx.

“This is a great place to play,” Girardi said. “It’s a great clubhouse. There are great expectations. Guys feed off that.”

It was quite an afternoon. Sabathia fell into a 3-0 hole, but the Yankees helped him climb out of it so that he ended up pitching through eight innings and improving his record to 4-2 despite yet another game when his stuff was not top shelf.

“I was all over the place in the early innings,” Sabathia said. “They just missed some balls that I left out over the middle of the plate.”

“He competes, that’s what he does,” Girardi said of Sabathia. “He has not been as sharp in April, but he has four victories, so I am not going to complain.”

Newly thrust into the starting catcher role with Francisco Cervelli out for six weeks with a right hand fracture, Chris Stewart had a rough time of it in the fourth inning. A passed ball and an error helped the Blue Jays to a gift run that gave Toronto the 3-0 lead.

Sabathia, still searching for some velocity on a fastball that rarely topped 90 miles per hour, had an unusual number of fly-ball outs in the early innings. Nobody was catching the ball Jose Bautista hit to start the fourth inning, however. It darted into the left field stands for his seventh home run.

Edwin Encarnacion, who had five home runs in his previous four games, followed with a single and advanced to second on a groundout. Stewart’s passed ball put Encarnacion at third base. He tried to score on Brett Lawrie’s flyout to right field, but Ichiro Suzuki’s laser-beam throw to the plate beat Encarnacion. Plate umpire Jeff Kellogg was prepared to call Encarnacion out, but the ball was dropped by Stewart, a costly error.

Fortunately for the Yankees, Happ got careless with the lead as he began the bottom of the fourth by walking Wells and Kevin Youkilis, who was back in the lineup after missing six games due to back stiffness.

Hafner lowered the boom and brought the Yankees even with his sixth home run, a three-run shot to right-center. He had never faced Happ before, but Hafner was a welcome addition to the batting order.

Lawrie picked up the RBI he lost in the fourth two innings later when he lined a home run to right field that put Toronto back in front.

Not for long, though, as Hafner struck again in the seventh. Righthander Esmil Rogers took over at that point and gave up a one-out double to Robinson Cano, who nearly didn’t get to second base before a remarkably strong and accurate by Bautista from the right field warning track. Wells tied the score with a single to center.

The Yankees stayed out of the double play by sending Wells as Youkilis grounded out to third base. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons brought in another lefthander, Brett Cecil, to face Hafner, who tripled off the glove of center fielder Rajai Davis. In the top of the inning, Brett Gardner made a fence-slamming catch off a similar drive by Bautista. It was the 13th career triple for Hafner and his third over the past six years. This was the first time since 2007 that Hafner has had a triple and a stolen base in the same season.

“Probably tiring,” Hafner said about what it felt like getting to third base. “You want to get some quality at-bats against a lefthander once in a while. It would be nice to get some starts, but I also know that they have my best interests at heart.”

Wanting to stay away from Mariano Rivera, who pitched in three of the previous four games, Girardi used Joba Chamberlain out of the bullpen in the ninth. He was touched for a couple of one-out singles but eventually slammed the door for his fifth career save and first since Sept. 21, 2010 at St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Yankees are now 13-5 since opening the season 1-4, 8-1 in games decided by two or fewer runs, 3-0 in one-run games and 13-1 when holding opponents to four runs or less. In addition, the Yankees are creating distance from the disappointing Jays, who are 9-16 and six games behind the 14-9 Yankees in the American League East. Toronto’s 11-28 (.282) record at Yankee Stadium is the worst for any team that has played at least 30 games in any current major league park.

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