Results tagged ‘ Ichiro Suzuki ’

Beltran aching but not hurt seriously

The Yankees were relieved that an MRI exam of Carlos Beltran’s left shoulder and right wrist came back negative. Just to be cautious, manager Joe Girardi kept Beltran on the bench Friday night.

The right fielder tumbled over a fence in foul territory down the right field line while chasing a fly ball in Thursday night’s 10-2 victory over the Rays at St. Petersburg, Fla. Beltran remained in the game but said Friday that his shoulder and wrist were sore. Ichiro Suzuki played right field despite Tampa Bay starting a lefthander, Eric Bedard.

Beltran is expected to play again Saturday night. Also out of the lineup despite a three-hit game (single, double, triple) Thursday night was Brian Roberts. Girardi said he wanted to keep Roberts, who has had back soreness recently, off the artificial surface at Tropicana Field for at least one of the four games scheduled there this weekend.

The triple play turned by the Yankees in the second inning Thursday night was the 24th in franchise history and their third over the past five seasons, all with CC Sabathia on the mound. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte started the triple killing by fielding a ground ball by Sean Rodriguez, tagging third and throwing to Roberts at second for the second out. Roberts’ relay to first was in the dirt but picked out by Scott Sizemore, who was playing the position for the first time in the major leagues.

The Yankees’ previous triple play was April 12, 2013 at Yankee Stadium against the Orioles. It was a wild play with three of the four infielders — second baseman Robinson Cano, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and shortstop Derek Jeter — each touching the ball twice. The first baseman who got the assist on the third out was Lyle Overbay.

Cano, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Nick Johnson collaborated on a triple play behind Sabathia April 22, 2010 at Oakland. That ended a 42-year drought between triple plays for the Yankees. Their previous one before then was June 3, 1968 by pitcher Dooley Womack, third baseman Bobby Cox and first baseman Mickey Mantle against the Twins at the Stadium.

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.”

Winning challenge contributes to winning rally

Technology came to the Yankees’ rescue in the third inning Friday night. Manager Joe Girardi’s first challenge of an umpire’s call worked in his favor and helped the Yankees regain the lead for Masahiro Tanaka, whose debut in the major leagues has been testy.

The play in question was a bang-bang call at first base in which Ichiro Suzuki was called out initially by first base umpire Dana DeMuth. Replays clearly showed that Ichiro beat the play. In the past, it would have been a case of too bad for the Yanks because the umpire had the last say.

But with new rules regarding replays, Girardi had the option to challenge the call and did so. After checking with a crew in New York reviewing the play, DeMuth’s initial call was reversed and Ichiro had a single. Even better for the Yankees, the hit kept the inning alive instead of Suzuki having made the third out.

Yangervis Solarte, who is becoming pretty familiar quickly to Yankees fans, then smoked a double to right-center to score two runs and put the Yanks back ahead, 4-3. Girardi made another challenge in the eighth inning, also at first base in which Jacoby Ellsbury was called, but the original call stood this time.

As an aside, for years I used to get teased in press boxes for scoring in pencil, which I still do while most of my comrades use pens. Well, with these challenges it might be a good idea for those who score games to follow my example. There are plenty of pencils to go around.

The Yankees gave Tanaka a bit of a comfort zone by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning off Toronto starter Dustin McGowan as five of their first six batters reached base with hits. It might have been a more productive inning, but the Yanks left the bases loaded when Suzuki struck out and Solarte popped out.

Tanaka got a rude welcome to the bigs when Melky Cabrera hit a home run off a 1-1 hanging splitter leading off the bottom of the first. The newcomer from Japan got the next three hitters, two on strikeouts, but was cuffed for two runs in the second. An errant throw by Mark Teixeira trying for a force at second base contributed to the rally climaxed by a two-run single by Jonathan Diaz, playing shortstop for injured Jose Reyes.

Teixeira came out the game in the second inning due to a strained right hamstring. That illuminated a situation that the Yankees had coming out of spring training in that they do not have a pure first baseman as a backup. Kelly Johnson, who started at third base, moved to the other corner with Solarte going to third and Brian Roberts inserted at second.

Johnson, who was playing only his fourth game at first base in the majors, may turn out to be decent insurance at that position after all. He made a diving, run-saving play to get the Yankees and Tanaka out of the third inning unscathed.

Tanaka settled in nicely after that. He pitched to the minimum number of batters in each of the next four innings. The only baserunner over that stretch — Edwin Encarnacion, who reached on an infield single in the sixth — was erased on a double play.

After a shaking beginning perhaps caused in some part by nerves, which would be understandable, Tanaka turned in a strong outing for his first major-league victory. He was backed by a 16-hit attack, including three hits apiece by Ellsbury and Ichiro.

The Yankees got to .500 (2-2) but are still looking for their first home run of the season. Their five extra-base hits were two doubles each by Ellsbury and Solarte and a triple by Johnson. The Yankees had runners in scoring position in all but one inning and were 9-for-24 (.375) in those situations.

Bottom of lineup helps Yanks finish on top

The Yankees’ scuffling offense got a lift from the bottom of the lineup Thursday night as two players who rode the bench previously made the most noise in getting the team its first victory of the 2014 season.

Rookie Yangervis Solarte had a dream of a game in his first major-league start as he collected his first hit, run and run batted in from the 9-hole. A switch-hitter, Solarte got the start at third base against Astros lefthander Brett Oberholtzer as he is being used in a platoon with lefty-swinging Kelly Johnson, who started the first two games.

One night after getting his first sip of big-league play with a pinch-hit appearance and an inning in the field Wednesday night, Solarte went 3-for-3 with a walk Thursday night to help the Yankees toward a much-needed W. A 26-year-old veteran of eight minor-league seasons, Solare doubled and singled twice, scored two runs and drove in one.

His RBI was a bit of a gimme from the Astros on miscommunication in the infield as his pop between the mound fell among three fielders in the seventh inning. With two out, Ichiro Suzuki was running hard from second base and scored, which got Solarte into the RBI column.

Ichiro’s start in right field was something of a hunch for manager Joe Girardi and by doing so may have caused a dilemma. Suzuki had a double and a single and scored two runs. He has been relegated to bench player in a crowded outfield, but with Alfonso Soriano 0-for-12 to start the season perhaps Ichiro can work himself back into the mix.

Suzuki and Solare combined for five of the Yankees’ seven hits and all four runs. At the top of the order, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter each had a two-out RBI hit. The middle of the order continued its chilly ways except for a sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran, who was the designated hitter to open the spot for Ichiro and give Soriano some time in left field.

The Yankees matched the improved offense with sound defense. The infield turned four double plays behind starter Ivan Nova, who overcame five walks, two hit batters and a wild pitch over 5 2/3 innings to notch the winning decision. Nova was inconsistent, but he made key pitches when he needed them.

Adam Warren and Sean Kelley were impressive in relief stints before David Robertson began his new role as closer following the retirement of the best in the business, Mariano Rivera. It was a performance that would have made Mo proud. D-Rob retired the side in order with one strikeout to finish off a bullpen effort in which it retired the last 11 Houston batters in a row.

Yankees finally get a lead

The first inning continues to be a problem for the Yankees. For the third straight game, the Astros got on the board their first time up. Houston has outscored the Yankees, 6-0, in the first innings of the three games combined.

That the Astros got only one run in the opening frame Thursday night was actually a break for the Yankees considering Houston had four players reach base that inning against Ivan Nova. The righthander got into immediate trouble by loading the bags with none out on two singles and a hit batter.

Houston made the least of the situation by pushing only one run across on a fielder’s choice. After reloading the bases with a walk, Nova worked out of the jam by getting Marc Krauss to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Yankees’ lineup had a slightly different look with catcher Brian McCann, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and third baseman Kelly Johnson getting the night off against a lefthander, Brett Obertholtzer. Two of the new players in the lineup, Ichiro Suzuki and Yangervis Solarte, helped construct a rally in the second inning that resulted in the Yankees getting their first lead of the season in 21 innings.

Suzuki started in right field with Carlos Beltran shifting to the designated hitter role. Alfonso Soriano, who was the DH in the first two games, played left field with Brett Gardner moving to center. Francisco Cervelli was behind the plate. Solarte got his first major-league start at third base where he is currently in a platoon with Johnson.

Ichiro got the Yankees started with a single to left. Solarte followed with a single to center for his first big-league hit that sent Suzuki to third. Gardner, back in the leadoff spot, tied the score with a ground single to right, ending a Yankees’ streak of 12 at-bats without a hit with runners in scoring position.

Derek Jeter walked on a full count to load the bases. Beltran put the Yankees ahead with a sacrifice fly to center. Now it was up to Nova to protect it.

Girardi: Cano will be tough to replace

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not want to tip his hand about how the new-look Yankees will, well, look in 2014. In his manager’s session Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, Girardi said he would wait until spring training to decide how the team will shape out.

The main question was with regard to center field. Does the incumbent Brett Gardner stay or move to a corner in deference to Jacoby Ellsbury, the free-agent acquisition? And if Gardner moves, how does that affect Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki? Not now, Joe said.

“I don’t think we’re finished yet,” Girardi said about possible future Yankees transactions. “The off-season is far from over.”

This off-season has already had a major impact on the Yankees, specifically the loss to free agency and the Mariners of Robinson Cano that creates a huge hole in the center of the infield.

“It’s a wonderful deal for Robbie,” Girardi said. “That is going to take care of him and his family for a long time. I thought the Yankees made a great offer, but in free agency with a player of his caliber something bigger can come along. We had added some guys offensively, but Cano is not an easy guy to replace. We’re going to have to find offense from other places. There are not too many second basemen that can put up Robbie’s numbers.”

My own feeling on the Cano signing with Seattle is that someday and not in the distant future he will wake up and realize he may have taken the better deal in terms of time and money but not in terms of competition or comfort. Robinson better get used to air travel. No club travels more miles than the Mariners, whose closest neighbor in Oakland, Calif., is two hours away by air. The Mariners will make six separate trips to Texas in 2014.

Cano will also find that Safeco Field is one of the most beautiful facilities in all of the major leagues and very much state of the art but that the fences are much farther from the plate than they are at Yankee Stadium. The Mariners have Cano and King Felix Hernandez and not much else. Back in the Bronx, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is working to revamp a club that missed the playoff this past season for only the second time in 19 years.

A surprising remark at the Meetings came from former Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, who is moving across the Triboro Bridge to Citi Field in 2014. Introduced by his new team, Granderson talked about a desire to stay in the city and said, “True New Yorkers are Mets fans.”

What about it, Yankees fans? Are you going to take that lying down?

Nova makes scoreboard watching easy

There was not too much scoreboard watching for the Yankees Saturday. The only game other than theirs against the Giants in the afternoon that involved the clubs ahead of them in the wild-card hunt was the Orioles at St. Pete where the Rays won, 5-1. The Indians, Rangers and Royals were all scheduled at night.

So the best scoreboard watching for the Yankees was their own as inning by inning Ivan Nova kept tossing zeroes at the distant cousins from San Francisco. The righthander, who has been the Yankees’ best starting pitcher in the second half, finished up with a six-hit shutout, his second complete-game blanking of the season. This one, a 6-0 final, was clutch because of the timing when the Yankees simply have to win every game they play.

“If we play like we did today, there is no reason why we can’t win all seven games we have left,” Alfonso Soriano said.

Soriano ranks right up there with Nova as the most important Yankees post the All-Star Game. Sori smacked out another home run Saturday. That gives him 17 in 52 games with the Yankees, the same total he had in 93 games with the Cubs. He also raised his RBI total to 101 in becoming only the fifth player in history to drive in 50 or more runs each for two different clubs in the same season. The others were Matt Holliday with the Athletics and Cardinals in 2009, Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2008, Carlos Beltran with the Royals and Astros in 2004 and David Justice with the Indians and Yankees in 2000.

Similar to what Justice did for the Yanks 13 years ago; Soriano has re-ignited the team’s offense with 50 RBI in 52 games and 36 RBI in 26 games at Yankee Stadium.

“He has been special since he got here,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I think it is because he is excited to be here. He had fond memories of being here before and enjoyed it so much.”

Soriano’s 34th home run of the season overall was icing on the cake Saturday. The way Nova was pitching the three runs he got in the fourth were plenty sufficient. They came essentially from the bottom third of the order against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong on singles by Mark Reynolds and Brendan Ryan and a walk to Chris Stewart that loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly by Ichiro Suzuki, an infield out by Alex Rodriguez and a two-out single by Robinson Cano scored all the runners. Eduardo Nunez contributed a two-run homer in the fourth, two innings before Soriano connected.

In the meantime, Nova (9-5) held the Giants to six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in an efficient, 108-pitch effort. Nova had been the American League Pitcher of the Month for August but was 0-1 with a 7.07 ERA in his first three starts in September before Saturday’s gem. He had better command of his breaking ball and a good sinker that resulted in 14 groundouts. Splendid defense up the middle by Ryan at shortstop made this the kind of day to get ground balls.

So the Yankees pulled even with Baltimore again in the wild-card standings and would pay close attention to the night games to see where they stand heading into Sunday, which will be a special day for Mariano Rivera and they hope for the rest of the team as well.

Mo centerpiece of Yanks’ final homestand

The Yankees will pay homage to Mariano Rivera, Major League Baseball’s career saves leader and the acknowledged greatest closing relief pitcher of all time, during the club’s last homestand that begins Friday night against the Giants. San Francisco will make its first visit to the current Yankee Stadium in the third regular-season series between the clubs that have been World Series opponents seven times.

Six of their Series meetings occurred when the Giants were also based in New York in upper Manhattan across the Harlem River from the Stadium in the Polo Grounds where all the games were played in both 1921 and 1922 when the Yankees were tenants. The Giants won the first two series, but the Yankees came back to win the next five, starting with 1923, the year the original Stadium opened. The Bombers also triumphed in 1936, 1937, 1951 and 1962, the latter being the only one between them after the Giants moved to the Bay Area.

Prior to Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game WCBS Radio voice John Sterling will preside over a ceremony in which Ichiro Suzuki will donate a jersey from his 4,000th-hit game Aug. 21 to representatives of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, president Jeff Idelson and vice president of communications and education Brad Horn.

The first 10,000 people aged 14 and younger in attendance for Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game will receive a Limited-Edition TY Beanie Buddy named “Closer” in honor of Rivera presented by DKNY. The limited-edition TY Beanie Buddy also includes a Mariano Rivera commemorative patch sewn on its chest.

Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. game, which is sold out, will feature a pregame ceremony honoring Mo for his landmark career. Additionally, all fans in attendance Sunday will receive a Mariano Rivera “Thank You Fans” Photo presented by Yankees-Steiner Collectibles. Fans attending the game are strongly encouraged to be in their seats by 12:30 p.m. to enjoy the ceremonies. Tickets for this game may be purchased at Yankees Ticket Exchange (www.yankees.com/yte), the safe and secure online resale marketplace for Yankees fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games.

The Rays come to the Stadium for the home series finale Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 24-26.

The first 18,000 people in attendance for Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. game will receive a Mariano Rivera Bobblehead presented by AT&T. This game is also part of the Yankees ticket special calendar as a Military Personnel Ticket Special, Tuesday Night Ticket Special and as an E-Saver Game. Please visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials and http://www.yankees.com/esaver for more information.

Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. game will feature a Yankees Charlie Brown Bobblehead presented by MetLife given to the first 18,000 people in a attendance. This game is also part of the Yankees ticket special calendar as a Military Personnel Ticket Special, Student Game and as an E-Saver Game. Please visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials and http://www.yankees.com/esaver for more information.

Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. game, which is sold out, will mark the Yankees’ final regular season game of the season at the Stadium. Tickets for this game may also be purchased at Yankees Ticket Exchange (www.yankees.com/yte).

Ticket specials available for select games during the homestand:

E-Saver Games (Sept. 24 and 25) – Fans can register at http://www.yankees.com/esaver to receive e-mail ticket offers for the E-Saver Games available only to Yankees e-mail subscribers.

Military Personnel Ticket Special (Sept. 24 and 25) – Active military members can present their military identification card at designated Yankee Stadium Ticket Windows and receive one complimentary ticket in the Grandstand Level or Bleachers, or purchase one half-price ticket in other areas in the Stadium excluding the Legends Suite, Champions Suite, Delta SKY360° Suite, Jim Beam Suite and Audi Yankees Club. Tickets may be purchased only on the day of the game, beginning two hours before the scheduled start time of the game at Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4.

Student Games (Sept. 25) – Students who present their valid high school or college ID cards when purchasing tickets can receive one half-price ticket in designated seating locations. Tickets may be purchased only on the day of the game on Sept. 25 at Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4.

Tuesday Night Games Ticket Special (Sept. 24) – Fans can purchase tickets in select areas of the Grandstand Level and receive up to 25 percent off the advance ticket price. Tickets may be purchased in advance or on the day of the game.

Visit http://www.yankees.com/tickets for tickets and more information.

Ichiro saves one for Mo

If you didn’t think Sunday’s game was important to the Yankees, consider this: Mariano Rivera was called on for a six-out save. This was something out of postseason play, which is what the Yankees are hopeful for qualifying for this season.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not hesitate in using Mo for such a stretch. One, it is that time of year and, two, what would you save Rivera for? As the skipper said after the game, noting that the career saves leader will retire at the end of the season, “He’s at a point where he’s not saving anything for 2014.”

The only problem is that it didn’t work. Rivera blew the save opportunity for the seventh time this season and the second time in this series when he allowed a leadoff home run to Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks in the ninth inning that made the score 3-3. Perhaps the only people at Yankee Stadium who thought the ball was a homer were those seated in the first two rows of seats in right field. To everybody else, Rivera and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, it seemed as if it were a high fly ball that would eventually become an out instead of going out.

In the bottom of that inning, however, Rivera would have a smile on his face as wide as the Grand Canyon after Suzuki scored from third base on a wild pitch by Brandon Workman that clinched a 4-3 victory.

Eight runs were not enough Thursday night. Eight runs were not enough Friday night. Nine runs were not enough Saturday. As it turned out, four runs were sufficient for the Yankees Sunday.

The ninth-inning run was an Ichiro special. He singled to left-center field with one out and then quickly moved into scoring position with a steal of second base. Vernon Wells’ flyout to right field was deep enough for Suzuki to scamper to third base. Any battery has to be careful about a wild pitch or a passed ball with a player as quick as Ichiro on third base. There was no doubt that when the pitch by Workman eluded catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia that the Yankee would get the run they needed to avoid a four-game sweep by Boston and give them some momentum headed to Baltimore for another challenging, four-game set against an Orioles club that is battling for the same prize as the Yankees, a wild-card postseason berth.

“Anybody could have made it,” Ichiro said of the winning run, “anybody with a good read.”

Well, that does not just happen with anybody but with a player of Suzuki’s instinct on the bases. This was the first time the Yankees had a walk-off victory on a wild pitch since Sept. 27, 1977 against the Indians and Jim Bibby when the run was scored by Thurman Munson, who made up for lack of speed with an abundance of smarts.

The game might have turned into a disaster if not for that play. The Yankees had overcome a 1-0 deficit to Jon Lester, who pitched eight strong innings, to take a 3-1 lead behind Hiroki Kuroda, who threw 117 pitches over six innings. Shawn Kelley worked the seventh without issue before the strains of “Enter Sandman” were heard surprisingly at the start of the eighth.

Rivera had not pitched for two days, so Girard felt confident that he could use him for a lengthier period. Mo had the same confidence and said he will feel the same way Monday night at Camden Yards.

“If they need me, I’ll be there,” Rivera said. “I have to be ready for any situation. We’re trying to get to the playoffs.”

That pursuit can often find players doing odd things. In the second inning with runners on first and second and none out, Mark Reynolds tried to bunt them over and fouled out to the catcher, the same Mark Reynolds who is usually feast or famine with his home run or strikeout mentality.

“We’ll let that go for now,” Girardi said, clearly indicated that Reynolds was bunting on his own and something he will be told never to do again.

The Yankees failed to score that inning, but Reynolds atoned for his mistake by driving in the Yankees’ first run of the game in the fourth with a booming double to center field. A clutch, two-out single by Robinson Cano an inning later gave the Yankees their first lead in the series since that 8-3 spread entering the seventh inning Friday night that the bullpen flushed.

The Red Sox cut it to 3-2 with a run in the sixth on a double by David Ortiz and two infield outs. One-run leads are usually as good as gold for Rivera, but he has proved a bit more vulnerable in his final season. He last blew as many as seven saves in 2001.

Don’t be surprised, however, that if the Yankees need him to nail down a victory Monday night that, in his words, Mo will be there.

6 steals by 6 players: a 1st for Yanks in 97 years

Do you recognize any of these names?

Roxy Walters, Wally Pipp, Lee Magee, Frank Gilhooley, Hugh High, Paddy Baumann.

Well, there is a good chance you may have heard of Pipp. He was the Yankees first baseman who came out of the lineup because of illness in 1925 and was replaced by Lou Gehrig, who only played every day after that for 14 years.

The other guys were all teammates of Pipp on the Yankees of 1916, which was the last time before Thursday night that six different players had a stolen base for them in a single game. Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells each stole a base in the Yankees’ 9-8, 10-inning loss to the Red Sox.

That tied a franchise record for most players stealing at least one base in a game. It was the ninth time it happened but the first since Wally and his mates did it May 31, 1916 (Memorial Day) in the second game of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Polo Grounds.

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