Results tagged ‘ Hector Noesi ’

Pineda comeback gaining momentum

It certainly looks as if Michael Pineda is the real deal. The Yankees had to wait it out for the righthander to recover fully from shoulder surgery in May 2012, only four months after he was acquired in a trade from the Mariners that sent catching prospect Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to Seattle.

Pineda did not pitch in the major leagues last year or the season before, a long wait for the Yankees to find out if the trade was to their benefit. He pitched in 40 2/3 innings in three minor-league stops in the Yankees’ system in 2013. But with Montero lingering in the minor leagues and Noesi released by the Mariners, the swap is leaning in the Yankees’ favor.

Pineda turned in another solid outing Thursday night and earned his first victory since 2011 as the Yankees turned back the Red Sox, 4-1. Pineda took a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the defending World Series champions and lasted two batters into the seventh before manager Joe Girardi went to his bullpen.

Through two starts covering 12 innings, Pineda is pitching to a 1.50 ERA. He did not allow a hit Thursday night until the fifth inning when Xander Bogaerts led off with a single to left and held Boston scoreless until the seventh when Daniel Nava led off with his first home run of the season. Bogaerts followed with a single up the middle, which brought Girardi to the mound.

The manager was delighted at what he saw for six-plus innings from Pineda, an imposing 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds who walked two batters and struck out seven. The Yankees gave him the lead with two unearned runs off Clay Buchholz in the fourth inning and tacked on two runs in the fifth, including second baseman Dean Anna’s first career home run.

“We’re very encouraged,” Girardi said of Pineda. “He threw first-pitch strikes and gave us length, which we really needed.”

Girardi was hit with post-game questions about video replays circulated on social media showing a substance in Pineda’s right hand. On cold nights, it is not uncommon for pitchers to use pine tar to improve their grip. I saw Buchholz reach back at a spot on his neck to touch something, which was probably the same thing. Pineda made no secret of whatever it was to umpires as he exposed his palm numerous times.

In his first game against his old team, Jacoby Ellsbury had 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Derek Jeter raised his batting average to .290 with a single and a double. David Phelps earned his first career save with 2 1/3 innings of hitless, three-strikeout relief.

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.

Pettitte gets ‘trapped’

When the manager comes to the mound during an inning with the pitching coach and a trainer, it is never a good sign for a pitcher. That is what happened in the fifth inning Thursday night when Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild and Mark Littlefield didn’t like what they saw after Andy Pettitte struck out the first two batters.

Video replays after the strikeout of Kyle Seager showed Pettitte grimacing. Girardi did not want to take chances with his 40-year-old lefthander and removed him after a brief conference. Shawn Kelley got all the time he needed to warm up and finishing the inning by striking out Kendrys Morales. The diagnosis on Pettitte was a tight left trapezius, a muscle that spans the neck and shoulder.

Pettitte said the area was tight all game but stiffened to the point that he could get no extension after the fourth inning. Between innings, he got a massage from Littlefield and felt better, but the tightness came back on the first pitch he threw that inning to Jason Bay.

“It’s frustrating,” Pettitte said. “I wanted to give us some length after we got a short start [Phil Hughes] Wednesday night. I hope it’s just a spasm that settles down.”

It was something of an uneven outing for Pettitte, who was touched for two runs and four hits with three walks, five strikeouts and a wild pitch in 4 2/3 innings. By leaving the game with the score 2-1 Mariners, Pettitte was not in position to have a chance for his 250th career victory. The Mariners hung on for a 3-2 victory to take the series, 2 games to 1. The Yankees were outscored, 18-8, by the second worst offense in the American League and came out of the series hobbling.

“I didn’t feel like I was real sharp,” Pettitte said. “It has been a real battle the past four starts.”

It was a rough night all around for the Yankees’ battery. Catcher Chris Stewart tweaked a groin running the bases in the seventh inning and was replaced by Austin Romine. Stew underwent an MRI after the game. The Yankees were hopeful about the result because Stewart had told Girardi he didn’t hear a pop. Keep your fingers crossed. With Francisco Cervelli already on the disabled list, the Yanks are running out of catchers.

Pettitte’s counterpart, Mariners starter Hector Noesi, also made an early exit and did not qualify for a winning decision. Noesi, who was an emergency starter for Aaron Harang (back spasms) and on a moderated pitch count (79), was replaced by Oliver Perez after Stewart singled David Adams, who was hit by a pitch leading off the fifth, to third base with one out. Perez got out of the jam with a strikeout of Brett Gardner and an infield pop by Jayson Nix.

Noesi, who was 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA for the Mariners last year, has not won a game in more than a year. The righthander has lost nine straight decisions since his most recent victory May 6, 2012, 5-2, over the Twins. What proved the deciding run was a home run to center off Kelley by Michael Morse, who had a damaging series (7-for-11, 4 runs, 1 double, 2 home runs, 2 RBI).

Despite the homer by Morse, Kelley pitched well with five more strikeouts in two innings. He has struck out 12 of the past 17 batters he has faced and 30 overall in 17 1/3 innings. Among the other few positives for the Yankees was Ichiro Suzuki ended a 0-for-22 slump with a seventh-inning single and Curtis Granderson getting three hits and stealing a base.

The Yankees provided some drama in the ninth when Brett Gardner singled with one out off Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen (11th save) and stole second and third. Girardi could not use Travis Hafner, still bothered by left shoulder tendinitis, as a pinch hitter so Jayson Nix hit for himself and struck out. Robinson Cano had the last crack and grounded out.

Yanks’ clubhouse revolving door keeps spinning

The door keeps revolving in the Yankees’ clubhouse. Pitcher Dellin Betances was the latest arrival from Triple A Scranton for Thursday night’s series finale against the Mariners. The righthander was 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts and two relief appearances totaling 28 1/3 innings.

Heading back to Scranton was pitcher Brett Marshall, who made his major-league debut in Wednesday night’s 12-2 loss to Seattle. The righthander threw 108 pitches and allowed five earned runs, nine hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings but was praised by manager Joe Girardi for saving the bullpen. Marshall deserves credit for taking one for the team in taking punishment to keep the relief corps from having to toil in a lopsided loss.

Betances was the choice for promotion because Marshall would not be available to pitch for at least four days. Adam Warren pitched four innings only three days ago, so the Yankees need a middle-innings reliever who can give them some length. Girardi said that Betances was the most stretched-out of the pitchers at Scranton.

Marshall was one of five players to make their major-league debuts for the Yankees in the first 40 games. The others were pitchers Preston Claiborne and Vidal Nuno and infielders David Adams and Corban Joseph. The Elias Sports Bureau points out that the previous time as many as five players made their big-league debuts with the Yankees within the club’s first 40 games was in 1995 – pitchers Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Brian Boehringer and Jeff Patterson and shortstop Derek Jeter.

Adams, who also played in his first major-league game Wednesday night on his 26th birthday, was only the fourth player in 95 seasons to get a hit in his first game on his birthday. The others were the Cleveland Indians’ Dave Clark Sept. 3, 1986 at Toronto, the Atlanta Braves’ Bruce Benedict Aug. 18, 1978 at St. Louis and the Washington Senators’ Sept. 13, 1939 in the second game of a doubleheader at Chicago, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Another familiar face Thursday night was that of Mariners starter Hector Noesi, who pitched for the Yankees in 2011 and was traded with catcher Jesus Montero to Seattle for pitcher Michael Pineda, who has yet to pitch for the Yankees. Montero was Noesi’s catcher Thursday night.

The Blue Jays come to Yankee Stadium Friday night to open a three-game series. Probable starting pitchers: Hiroki Kuroda (5-2, 2.31) vs. Mark Buehrle (1-2, 6.19) at 7:05 p.m. Friday on Channel 9, David Phelps (1-2, 4.33) vs. Brandon Morrow (1-2, 4.69) at 1:05 p.m. Saturday on YES and CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.19) vs. R.A. Dickey (3-5, 4.83) at 1:05 p.m. on YES. All games are on WCBS Radio (880 AM).

Sunday’s matchup will mark the third time this season that Sabathia, the 2007 American League Cy Young Award winner, will be paired against a fellow recipient of that honor. The other games were April 7 against the Tigers’ Justin Verlander (2011), a 7-0 Yankees victory at Detroit, and May 14 (Tuesday night) against the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez (2010), a 4-3 Yanks victory at the Stadium. CC got the victory over Detroit and a no-decision against Seattle. Dickey was the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner with the Mets and was traded to the Blue Jays.

Sounds of approval reach Hughes

A sound Phil Hughes hasn’t heard much this year at Yankee Stadium welcomed him as he walked off the mound Saturday in the eighth inning. He had come within an infield hit and an outfield flare of making it through that frame for the first time all year. Yankees manager Joe Girardi figured at 112 pitches Hughes was spent, but his effort against the Mariners was well-spent, indeed.

The Stadium crowd of 43,954 certainly appreciated Hughes’ solid work, a sort of game he had so often in his 18-victory season of 2010 but so little last year. It was a matter of being aggressive in the strike zone, which Hughes needs to continue to maintain his position in the rotation.

Only a solo home run by Seattle’s Mike Carp spoiled Hughes’ best outing of the season as he improved his record to 3-4 with a 5.50 ERA in the Yankees’ 6-2 victory over the Mariners. It was not that long ago that Hughes’ ERA was nestling near 8, but two straight winning decisions have silenced talk that he may be bumped out of the rotation now that Andy Pettitte is lined up to start Sunday in the series finale.

Yankees management has maintained faith in Hughes despite his tendency toward high pitch counts that has resulted in his reaching the seventh inning only twice in seven starts. He solved that issue Saturday by walking only one batter and getting ahead in the count on a regular basis. Granted, the Seattle lineup is not among the league’s fiercest, but the Mariners are no longer the pushovers they were a year ago.

The bottom third of the Yankees’ order provided much of the support for Hughes against former teammate Hector Noesi, the pitcher who accompanied catcher-designated hitter Jesus Montero to Seattle in the trade for pitchers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos, both currently on the disabled list. Noesi (2-4, 6.32 ERA) gave the Mariners innings at least – seven – although not enough were quality.

The game was essentially decided in the second inning when the Yankees scored four runs on doubles by Mark Teixeira, Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin and a two-run home run by Jayson Nix, who started at shortstop as Derek Jeter got a DH day. Ibanez, Martin and Nix in the 7-8-9 slots combined for four of the six runs, five of the eight hits and five of the six RBI.

Ibanez, who has been one of the Yankees’ most consistent offensive forces, slugged his seventh home run in the fourth inning, an impressive blast over the center field fence. He has driven in 21 runs with 23 hits, a terrific ratio. And just as Noesi and Montero were playing against their old team, so was Ibanez, who played in 10 seasons for the Mariners from 1996-2000 and again from 2004-08.

There was some offensive input from the front end of the order as well. Jeter helped build a run in the eighth when he singled, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Robinson Cano. Jeter’s two hits Saturday raised his career total to 3,141, tying Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn for 17th place on the all-time list. Can ran his hitting streak to 10 games during which he is batting .425 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI in 40 at-bats.

Boone Logan took over for Hughes in the eighth and earned his first save. He gave up a tainted run in the ninth, but it could have been worse. Carp came close to a second homer with a drive to right in the ninth, but umpires reviewed the play and overruled the original call. Video replays clearly showed that the ball hit the top of the fence and did not go over and come back onto the field.

Carp had to settle for a double, but the umps allowed Kyle Seager, who was on first base, to score. Girardi questioned that decision, but I think the umps got it right. Seager slowed down coming around third base when the original home run call was made. The ball banged away from Yanks right fielder Nick Swisher a significant enough distance that Seager deserved the benefit of the doubt that had he continued full speed he would have scored. There probably would not have been a throw to the plate anyway.

That was the least of the Yankees’ worries, thanks to Hughes.

Pineda suffers physical setback

Before continuing their weekend series in Boston, the Yankees received troubling news about pitcher Michael Pineda, their major trade acquisition in the off-season. The righthander was shut down after throwing 15 pitches in an extended spring game Saturday in Tampa when he reported pain in the area behind his pitching shoulder.

Pineda, whom the Yankees obtained from Seattle Jan. 23 with pitching prospect Jose Campos in exchange for catcher Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi, opened the season on the 15-day disabled list because of right shoulder tendinitis. After resting the shoulder for nearly a month, Pineda was to make his first injury-rehabilitation assignment Saturday but experienced a setback. He is scheduled to undergo tests Monday.

Pineda’s condition means the Yankees need to get improved performances from their current starters, who aside from Ivan Nova have had lackluster results. Andy Pettitte, who is trying to come back to the majors after a year’s inactivity, could very well be needed by the Yankees next month when he presumably will be ready to rejoin them.

Friday marked the centennial of the first game at Fenway Park with the Yankees gaining revenge for having lost the first game 100 years ago by winning this time. On the day after that Fenway opener, the Highlanders (as the Yankees were then known) returned to New York to play an exhibition game against the Giants at the Polo Grounds in a benefit for survivors of RMS Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic six days earlier. The Giants won the game, 11-2, which raised $9,425.25.

Steep price to upgrade starting pitching

So a relatively quiet winter for the Yankees got pretty noisy on Friday the 13th of this month when general manager Brian Cashman pulled off a trade with Seattle of rookies with enormous potential, a deal which was finalized Monday and has fans of both clubs buzzing about the 2012 season a month before the start of spring training.

This was a bold move for the Yankees, who were in need of help in their rotation but did not see much aid forthcoming among what was available in a free-agent field relatively weak in starting pitchers. Cashman always seems to have the Mariners in mind when looking for pitchers and came close to gobbling up Cliff Lee in the middle of the 2010 season only to have the Rangers scoop up the coveted lefthander, who after that season decided he really wanted to go back to Philadelphia. Cashman also keeps close watch on Felix Hernandez, should the Mariners ever decide he could become too expensive to keep.

In reigning in Michael Pineda, Cashman brought to the Bronx size and youth in one package. The cost was dear, however, and Yankees fans will likely be assessing that price throughout the 2012 season. Jesus Montero, the Yankees’ best hitting prospect since Derek Jeter, won over the fans’ affection in his brief stint with the team last year, which makes his departure difficult to accept.

Of course, you have to give up quality to get quality, but Pineda should realize from the start that he will be scrutinized closely this season by fans who saw in Montero perhaps a second coming of Mike Piazza, a catcher with the ability to hit for average and power to all fields. Just as was the case with Piazza, defense was a sore point for Montero, whom the Yankees used mostly as a designated hitter after his late August callup.

Had Montero stayed with the Yankees, he would have likely continued to be a DH rather than behind the plate where the team is quite pleased with Russell Martin. A possible move to first base was out of the question with the productive and durable Mark Teixeira stationed there. In short, the Yankees did not really have a spot for Montero since they would prefer the DH role as a rotating half-day’s work for their aging veterans.

Besides, the Yankees’ greater need was pitching. Pineda, who just turned 23, is still just a pup, albeit a sizeable one at 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds. The Dominican righthander was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts for a Seattle club that had the worst offense in the majors last season and earned a place on the American League All-Star staff.

Despite his general success, Pineda did raise some issues last year. He slumped to 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA after the All-Star break following an excellent first half (8-6, 3.03 ERA). He certainly enjoyed the atmosphere of pitcher-friendly Safeco Field where he was 5-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 12 starts. Yankee Stadium’s more hitter-friendly dimensions could pose a challenge to Pineda, who did not pitch there last season. The Stadium was by all means friendly to Montero, who hit .500 with 3 home runs and 11 RBI in 9 games and 30 at-bats in the Bronx.

Pineda will also have to get used to pitching more regularly in AL East yards. He was okay (3.00 ERA) at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., but not so well at Baltimore’s Camden Yards (4.50 ERA) or Toronto’s Rogers Centre (7.11 ERA) and downright awful at Boston’s Fenway Park (14.54 ERA).

There were two other pitchers involved in the deal. Hector Noesi, who did a nice job in long relief for the Yanks last year, accompanied Montero to Seattle where he will get an opportunity to make the rotation. The Yankees also got Jose Campos, 19, one of the Mariners’ top prospects, who pitched in Class A ball in 2011.

Pineda would appear to fit nicely alongside CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova at the top end of the starting pitchers’ unit with Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia in a competition for the other two spots. Spring training will tell how all this will fall out.

 

Hughes back in bullpen, shades of 2009

There will be no Phil Hughes audition for a starter’s role in the playoffs. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has decided that the team would be better served with Hughes in the bullpen, a role that he handled particularly well in 2009. Besides, with no need for a fifth starter in the postseason, Hughes was the most fitting choice of those in the rotation to work out of the pen.

Hughes, who has been bothered by back problems that required an epidural injection, pitched out of the pen Monday night at Tropicana Field in his first appearance in two weeks and his second since Sept. 6.

The righthander showed some rust with two walks in the fifth inning but after giving up a leadoff double to Matt Joyce in the sixth Hughes came back strong by getting Casey Kotchman on a foul pop behind the plate and striking out Terry Shoppach, who had homered earlier off Raul Valdes, who himself is auditioning for a bullpen role as a situational lefthander alongside Boone Logan.

Starting in place of Hughes was Hector Noesi, who lasted only four batters into the third and lost the 2-0 lead the Yankees had taken by the third inning by Robinson Cano, who set a club record in the process. Cano socked his 28th home run in the first inning and broke Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri’s franchise mark for RBI by a second baseman. Cano added a run-scoring single in the third.

The Rays grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third and only a bizarre rundown play kept them from pouring it on. B.J. Upton doubled in the tying runs and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Johnny Damon. Then the strange play occurred. With Evan Longoria on third base, Damon broke for second. When catcher Russell Martin threw to second, Damon stopped in his tracks and got in a rundown. He was tagged out by Jorge Posada, who was playing first base and made a nifty jump over Damon and threw home to nab Longoria trying to score.

Another weird situation occurred in the fifth when Martin was ejected by plate umpire Paul Schrieber, who left his position behind the catcher and walked in front of him, sort of a no-no for umps. Who knows what Martin said, but Schrieber’s action made him seem the antagonist. That meant rookie Austin Romine, who caught all 14 innings of Sunday night’s game, had to strap on the gear again.

The Yankees are having their problems with umpires lately. Girardi was tossed Sunday night by Tim McClelland. Joe was basically trying defending Nick Swisher for arguing a call at first base and making sure the player didn’t get ejected. Girardi also pointed out to McClelland what a bad night he was having in a polite manner, I’m sure.

Hughes has to ‘back’ out of start

Back spasms that first affected Phil Hughes during a throwing session at Toronto last weekend prevented the righthander from making his scheduled start Wednesday in the afternoon portion of a split-admission doubleheader against the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

The situation resulted in Hector Noesi making his first major-league start after 28 relief outings. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn’t expect to get more than 50 or 60 pitches from Noesi, who got into that area by the third inning. Desmond Jennings belted Noesi’s 48th pitch to left-center for a two-run home run that wiped out a 1-0 Yankees lead.

With rosters expanded this month, Girardi does have plenty of arms in the bullpen to get through the day game with workhorse CC Sabathia set to pitch the nightcap. The only problem that might face the Yankees is the weather. Rain is in the forecast, particularly Wednesday night.

Raul Valdes, who was impressive in his first appearance for the Yankees Sunday at Toronto, took over for Noesi in the third in what was becoming in manager’s parlance a bullpen game.

The Yankees would clinch a playoff berth with a victory in the afternoon, but there likely would not be much of a celebration – no champagne, certainly – because they must play another game.

The Rays began play still two games behind the Red Sox in the wild card standings. They lost an opportunity to gain ground Tuesday in getting shut out by the Yankees while Boston lost at home to the Orioles.

CC can’t keep Yankees close enough

CC Sabathia didn’t become a 20-game winner Saturday night, but he kept the Yankees in the game for six innings by limiting the Angels to one run despite allowing eight hits, four walks and a hit batter.

It was not vintage Sabathia except when there were runners on base. The Angels left 11 runners on over his six innings. Sabathia worked out of bases-loaded jams in the first and sixth innings. Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award candidate Mark Trumbo gave CC fits with three hits, but he didn’t drive in any runs or score any.

The Angels got to CC in the second inning after two were out on successive doubles by Jeff Mathis and Maicer Izturis. Sabathia didn’t have a single 1-2-3 inning in his 119-pitch effort. He was at both his best and worst in the sixth. He gave up a leadoff double and then hit a batter who was up there trying to sacrifice.

After an actual sacrifice by Mathis, Izturis was walked intentionally to load the bases. Sabathia got ground balls to third baseman Eric Chavez from the next two batters to get out of trouble and leave the game with the Yankees still behind by only 1-0. It wasn’t a pretty outing, but it was a brave one from the staff ace who did not have his best stuff.

That deficit was short-lived, however, as the Angels climbed all over Hector Noesi in the seventh to spread their lead to 5-0 on the way to a 6-0 final. A hit batter and walk got the inning going, and unlike Sabathia Noesi could not stop the bleeding. Plate protecting on 0-2, Mike Trout hit a duck-snort single to right for one run. A long sacrifice fly by Erick Aybar got the second run home, and Mathis, who went into the game batting .176, smoked a two-run home run to left.

It was another case of the Yankees’ secondary relief crops failing to keep them close on a night when Rafael Soriano and David Robertson were unavailable out of the pen because of extended use lately.

But the real culprits were Yankees hitters. After two games in which they were held in check by the Orioles’ bullpen, the Yankees were stymied by an Angels’ starter for the second consecutive game. They had a chance to get Sabathia an early lead when Derek Jeter led off the game with a double, but he was stranded.

Dan Haren followed the brilliant start Friday night by Jered Weaver with a gem of his own. After a leadoff single in the second by Jesus Montero, Haren got 19 straight outs before Chavez broke the string with a one-out single in the eighth. Jorge Posada, back behind the plate when Russell Martin came out of the game with a bruised right thumb, singled to put runners on first and third.

The rally ended embarrassingly as Eduardo Nunez stopped running after he hit a liner to Aybar. The shortstop dropped the ball but recovered quickly to start a double play while Nunez stood and watched. Since stepping off the plane in Anaheim, Calif., the Yankees have totaled one run and seven hits in 18 innings.

Haren went the distance for the fourth time this year and notched his third shutout. While the Yankees have lost four games in a row, they have maintained a 2 ½-game lead over Boston in the American League East because the Red Sox have also lost four straight.

In the meantime, the Rays have moved to four games of the Red Sox in the loss column for the AL wild card. It is also heating up in the AL West as the Angels trail the Rangers by one game in the loss column and 1 ½ in the standings.

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