Results tagged ‘ Ichiro Suzuki ’
The recent “problem” that manager Joe Girardi had of having to make four outfielders fit into three spots went away Friday night but not the way the Yankees manager would have wanted. The return of Curtis Granderson created the musical chairs situation in the Yankees’ outfield, but he is headed back to the disabled list.
Granderson, who played right field at Tropicana Field in a unit that also had Vernon Wells in left and Brett Gardner in center, was struck by a pitch from Tampa Bay lefthander Cesar Ramos in the fifth inning and sustained a fracture of the small finger on his left hand. Ichiro Suzuki, the odd man out of the starting lineup Friday night, took Granderson’s place and will likely do so for the next several weeks.
It was the second disabling injury suffered by Granderson this year for being hit by a pitch. On the first offering he saw in a spring training game by Blue Jays lefthander J.A. Happ, Granderson was hit in the right forearm that caused a fracture and kept him out of action for two months and the first 38 games of the regular season.
Granderson batted .250 with 1 double, 1 home run and 1 RBI in eight games and 28 at-bats since he was activated May 13. He played all three outfield positions as Girardi figured out daily who would play where. Now the manager is back to where he was when Granderson was unavailable.
He was not the only Yankees player to be forced from Friday night’s 9-4 victory over the Rays. Winning pitcher David Phelps, who appeared to have strengthened his position in the rotation, took a hard line drive by Ben Zobrist with two out in the eighth inning off his right forearm and had to call it a night. X-rays were negative. Girardi told reporters after the game that Phelps was not hit on a bone and may only have a nasty bruise.
Up to then, it had been a good night for Phelps, who retired the first 13 batters he faced before James Loney doubled with one down in the fifth for the Rays’ first hit. The righthander had a good fastball and was aggressive with it early in the count to put Tampa Bay hitters in a very defensive mode.
Phelps gave up three runs in the sixth, but the Yankees had eight runs by then, so the damage was not threatening. He was touched for another run in the seventh and went on to his fourth consecutive quality start. Over that stretch, Phelps is 2-1 with a no-decision and a 2.63 ERA in 27 1/3 innings in which he has allowed 19 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts.
All this came on a day when the Yankees got some good news on other injured players. Pitcher Ivan Nova came off the DL. First baseman Mark Teixeira (torn right wrist tendon sheath) took part in a simulated game Friday, will play games in the extended spring training at Tampa and will play at Double A Trenton Wednesday and Thursday with the possibility of a return to the Yankees by next Friday at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox.
Nova may have returned to the Yankees’ staff but not the rotation. Lefthander Vidal Nuno will start Saturday against the Rays’ Matt Moore, who has been lights out (8-0, 2.29 ERA) and at 24 is the youngest American League lefthander to start a season 8-0 exclusively as a starter since Babe Ruth with the Red Sox in 1917 at age 22. Nova will be a long man in the bullpen for the time being. The Yankees returned Dellin Betances to Triple A Scranton without his getting into a game since his May 16 recall.
Teixeira’s potential return could affect Lyle Overbay, who has done a splendid job at first base in Tex’s absence. Overbay got the Yankees on the board early with a two-run double in the third. He singled and scored in the fifth as part of the Yankees’ offensive attack from the 6-through-9 hitters who combined to go 8-for-18 (.444) with 6 runs, 1 double, 1 triple and 5 RBI.
Rookie David Adams had two more hits and scored two runs. Jayson Nix singled, tripled and had two RBI, including one on a bases-loaded walk. Chris Stewart, who played for the first time in a week because of a groin injury, had two hits and an RBI and scored a run.
On top of the order, Gardner hit a two-run homer and Robinson Cano got a painful RBI by getting hit with a pitch. Fortunately for Cano, he avoided the dismal diagnosis that befell Granderson.
Camden Yards is known as a hitter-friendly park, which is certainly the case with Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki, who made major contributions in Monday night’s come-from-behind, 6-4 victory over the Orioles.
Cano, who slugged his American League-leading 13th home run in the first inning, is a .363 career hitter in 67 games and 278 at-bats at Camden Yards with 59 runs, 27 doubles, 12 home runs and 35 RBI. Since Aug. 22, 2008, Cano has hit .431 with 45 runs, 17 doubles, 11 homers and 25 RBI in 40 games and 167 at-bats in the Baltimore facility. The second baseman has hit safely in 29 of his past 32 games in Baltimore and in 36 of his past 40.
Suzuki, who started the winning, 10th inning rally with a double, has hit safely in each of his past 20 games at Camden Yards dating to April 5, 2008 and is batting .391 in 87 at-bats. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ichiro is tied with Jason Bartlett (April 29, 2008 to July 20, 2010) for the fourth longest hitting streak in the history of the park, trailing Jacoby Ellsbury (22 games, Aug. 8, 2008 to Aug. 15, 2012), Derek Jeter (21 games, April 4, 2002 to June 22, 2004) and Rafael Palmeiro (21 games, April 23 to June 22, 2004). The longest current hit streak at any ballpark is 21 games by Reds first baseman Joey Votto at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
Monday night’s victory was the first of the season for the Yankees when trailing entering the ninth inning. They had only victory under those circumstances all of last year (1-58). It came in the second-to-last game of the season Oct. 2 against the Red Sox. The Yankees have outscored opponents, 62-37, from the seventh inning on.
The Yankees’ bullpen continues to be dominant in the month of May. The relief corps has pitched to a 1.66 ERA with 13 walks and 55 strikeouts over 54 1/3 innings and have held opponents to a .197 batting average in 193 at-bats. Yankees relievers did not allow a run on their last trip (eight games totaling 21 innings) and have a 26 2/3-innings scoreless stretch over their past 10 road games. It is their longest road scoreless stretch since a 29 1/3-innings span from April 15 to May 24, 2002.
Rookie David Adams, who attended the University of Virginia, hit his first career home run in the victory at nearby Baltimore in his fifth career game and became the third Yankee in the last 98 years (since 1916) to homer as a third basemen within his first five career games: The others were Andy Phillips in 2004 and Mike Pagliarulo in 1984.
What Yankees fans never see from Mariano Rivera was what Orioles fans witnessed Monday night from Jim Johnson. The Orioles closer, who led the American League is saves last season with 51, sustained his third consecutive blown save, something that Rivera has never done, and the Yankees took advantage of it to come away with a 6-4, 10-inning victory.
Johnson was gone by the time the Yankees scored the deciding runs in the extra inning off Pedro Strop and Brian Matusz with clutch hitting by Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner. Rivera kept the lead intact with his 17th save in 17 opportunities. Johnson began the season with a similar streak with 14 saves before coming unglued in his past three appearances.
Hafner dealt the crushing blow to Johnson this time with a one-out home run in the ninth, the Yankees’ fourth solo shot of the evening in Baltimore’s humid Inner Harbor air. Johnson’s latest failure opened the gates for the Yankees to improve their record in games where they get on the scoreboard first to 19-0 and extend the Orioles’ losing streak to six games.
The Yankees were in danger of losing their first game when they scored first because their offense was reduced to the long ball with no one on base and CC Sabathia blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2. Robinson Cano and Orioles first baseman Chris Davis entered the game tied for the AL lead in home runs with 12 and maintained that tie as each got his 13th in his first at-bat.
David Adams, the rookie who has done so well at third base and turned a few more good plays Monday night, hit his first career home run to put the Yankees up, 2-0, in the second, but Davis made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second and Nick Markakis singled in the tying run in the fifth.
It was a strange start for Sabathia, who allowed a double-digit hit total (11) for the second game in a row (23 total in his past 12 2/3 innings) and had only two strikeouts, although he did not walk a batter. The lefthander is winless in four starts since April 27. Former teammate Freddy Garcia actually pitched better. He allowed the two solo homers and just one other hit with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings.
Lyle Overbay’s leadoff homer in the seventh off lefthander Troy Patton put the Yankees ahead again, but Sabathia couldn’t hold the advantage as the Orioles grabbed the lead on RBI doubles by Markakis and J.J. Hardy. Shawn Kelley stopped the O’s there with two more strikeouts. He added a third in the eighth, which gives the righthander 15 of the past 21 batters he has faced and 33 in 18 1/3 innings for the season.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter entrusted the lead to Johnson, who began the ninth by retiring Cano on a groundout. Johnson fell behind 3-1 in the count to Hafner, who drove a 94-miles-per-hour fastball over the left field fence for his eighth home run. The Yankees were back in business.
Johnson’s woes have come after a run of 35 consecutive saves dating to last July. He has given up eight earned runs and nine hits in 2 1/3 innings (30.86 ERA) in the three blown saves, which has driven his season ERA from 0.95 to 4.22.
In the 10th, Ichiro Suzuki ran his Camden Yards hitting streak to 20 games with a leadoff double off Strop, a reliever who has struggled against the Yankees. Vernon Wells, riding the bench despite having good career numbers against Garcia (.438, one home run), came up as a pinch hitter for shortstop Reid Brignac and doubled to left to send home Ichiro.
Austin Romine bunted Wells to third, but Wells could not advance as Jayson Nix grounded out. After Cano was intentionally walked, Hafner delivered an insurance run with a line single to right off the left-handed Matusz. Rivera then showed Johnson how it’s done with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th.
Hafner. Wells. Overbay. There are those names again. Yankees fans are getting used to seeing these guys do important stuff.
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.
Umpires have often been the center of attention often this year, which is never a good thing. The best umpiring is that which you don’t notice. Umps are a lot like closing relief pitchers or housecleaners in that nobody pays attention to the job unless it is done poorly.
Reversed calls have become a norm in the game these days. The umps were at it again Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, although the play in question did not figure in the scoring. With a runner at first base and one out in the fourth inning, Lyle Overbay hit a ground ball in the hole between first and second bases. Mariners second baseman Robert Andino made a nice play stopping the ball, left his feet and turned for a possible play at second and then threw to first where both first baseman Kendrys Morales and pitcher Felix Hernandez were covering.
Morales gloved the ball and tagged the bag ahead of Overbay, who had to try to make his way around Hernandez. The umpires huddled to discuss the play because the rules do not permit them to view it on videotape replay. Each manager had a point to make.
Seattle’s Eric Wedge contended that Overbay was already out by the time he made contact with Hernandez, which was true. However, the Yankees’ Joe Girardi insisted that Overbay had slowed down as he approached the bag because Hernandez was standing on it. This is known in baseball as obstruction, and that was the call the umpires eventually agreed upon. Overbay came back onto the field, and the Yankees had a rally going – until Hernandez struck out Ichiro Suzuki and Jayson Nix, that is.
Curtis Granderson, activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, was thrown right into the fire as the starting left fielder and cleanup hitter against the Mariners and Felix Hernandez at Yankee Stadium to open the homestand following a 6-2 trip through Denver, Kansas City and Cleveland.
Granderson played all three outfield positions during his injury-rehabilitation stint at Triple A Scranton. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he will use Granderson in each spot, although it appears that left field will be the one where he will play most often. Brett Gardner has done an outstanding job in center field during Granderson’s absence, and Girardi noted that while he has played some left field Ichiro Suzuki is more comfortable in right field.
Center field with the Yankees is one of the sexiest positions in baseball, yet Granderson told reporters before Tuesday night’s game that he is fine with his new surroundings. Just being back in the major leagues is satisfying enough for Granderson, who enjoyed being back at the Stadium where he was also visited by Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Players Association. Granderson is the Yankees’ player representative to the union.
Granderson is among several Yankees individual players with good career numbers against King Felix, who entered the game with an 8-5 record and 3.08 ERA in his career against the Yankees. The righthander has been especially tough at the current Stadium with a 4-1 mark and 1.13 ERA.
Granderson is a .273 hitter with two doubles, one triple and two home runs in 55 at-bats against Hernandez. Others with good numbers are Robinson Cano (.366, 2 doubles, 2 homers in 41 at-bats) as well as Ichiro (.400) and Jayson Nix (.500) in a limited number of at-bats. Ichiro is 2-for-5 and Nix 5-for-10.
Missing from the lineup will be designated hitter Travis Hafner, who was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder that has been sore for several days. The Yankees hope the situation is not serious, but Hafner has had shoulder problems in the past. Vernon Wells, who had manned left field while Granderson was out, was in the lineup as the DH.
CC Sabathia will start for the Yankees in the matchup of former Cy Young Award winners. This is the pairing of Sabathia, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2007 with the Indians, and Hernandez, the 2010 AL winner. It marks the fourth time former Cy Young Award winners will meet at the current Stadium after the winning the award. The others were Sabathia against Lee June 16, 2009, Sabathia against Roy Halladay June 15, 2010 and Sabathia against Johan Santana June 20, 2010.
Sabathia took a 12-4 record and 2.46 ERA in his career against the Mariners into the game. He has won each of his past eight starts against Seattle dating to Aug. 13, 2009 with a 1.20 ERA in 60 innings over that stretch.
The unfortunate side of the Granderson transaction is that pitcher Vidal Nuno, who got his first major-league victory in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader at Cleveland, was optioned to Scranton to create roster space. It was the obvious move because having pitched five innings Monday Nuno could not be used for several days. The lefthander, who pitched eight scoreless innings in two appearances for the Yankees, made a strong impression and will be in Scranton’s rotation to get innings and be available if the Yankees need pitching help down the road, which they almost surely will.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Nuno and righthander Adam Warren became the second pair of Yankees pitchers to earn their first career victory and first career save, respectively, in the same game. The others were Alan Closter (victory) and Fritz Peterson (save) July 25, 1971 in the second game of a doubleheader at Milwaukee. Warren was also the winning pitcher of the Yanks’ victory Thursday at Denver. Elias points out that he and Nuno marked the first pair of Yankees pitchers to earn their first major-league victories on the same trip since Matt DeSalvo and Tyler Clippard in May 2007.
The Yankees shut out their opponent in Game 2 of a doubleheader after being shutout in Game 1 of the DH for only the second time in the past 37 years. They also turned the trick on May 12, 2010 at Detroit, dropping Game 1, 2-0, and winning Game 2, 8-0. The Yankees are 4-0 in games immediately following a shutout loss this season, and have gone 30-9 (.769) in such games since 2008 when Joe Girardi took over as manager.
The Yankees scored more runs in the second inning Friday night at Kansas City than they scored in each of the three games of the recent series at Coors Field. The Denver yard is supposed to be hitter-friendly, yet the Yanks were shut out in one game and scored three runs in each of the next two games. In the second inning at Kauffman Stadium, supposedly a pitcher-friendly facility, the Yankees exploded for four runs off Wade Davis on a pair of two-run home runs by Ichiro Suzuki and Lyle Overbay. Go figure.
This was the sort of game expected in Denver. The Yankees broke out for 16 hits, half of them for extra bases, to produce an 11-6 victory, Joe Girardi’s 500th as Yankees manager.
The Royals closed to 4-3 in the bottom of the second as Phil Hughes fell victim to the long ball, which he had avoided in his previous three starts. It came from an unexpected source, too. Jayson Dyson ended Hughes’ 23-inning homerless stretch and a two-year homerless streak of his own with a two-out, three-run blow that was the outfielder’s first home run since 2010 and only his second in 473 career at-bats.
Hughes, who was 1-0 with three no-decisions and 1.93 ERA over his past four starts, was not as effective this time out. A two-run double by Alex Gordon in the fifth inning tied the score at 5, but the Yankees came to Phil’s rescue by putting up a five-spot in the sixth. They chased Davis with a double by Suzuki and a single by Jayson Nix and then did their usual damage against Bruce Chen.
The lefthander has found a home with the Royals, his 10th club, the past few years, but wherever he has been the Yankee have given him trouble. He has a 2-6 career record against them and had his ERA climb to 6.87 in 77 1/3 innings against the Yankees after they had their way with him in this game as well.
Overbay, who had quite a night (4-for-5, five RBI), knocked in his fourth run of the game with his second double. Chris Nelson got his first two RBI since joining the Yankees with a single. He scored on a triple by Brett Gardner, who came home on a single by Robinson Cano as the Yanks went 4-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the inning.
Hughes was toast one batter after yielding a long solo homer to right by Mike Moustakas in the bottom of the sixth. The bullpen was a bit thin after five relievers worked in Thursday’s rain-delayed victory. Shawn Kelley was nothing short of brilliant by striking out the first five batters he faced and six of seven. Boone Logan added two more strikeouts in a perfect ninth. Nine of the Royals’ last 11 hitters struck out.
Ichiro had 3-for-5 to raise his career batting average at Kauffman Stadium to .377, the highest of any opposing player in the park’s 40-year history. This place may not be so pitcher friendly after all.
Vernon Wells lost a stolen base when an official scorer’s ruling was changed from Wednesday night’s game at Coors Field. Rockies shortstop Jonathan Herrera has instead been charged with an error for dropping the throw from catcher Wilin Rosario that allowed Wells to be safe at second base. Wells eventually scored on an infield hit by Brennan Boesch. Due to the error that run is now unearned on the record of Colorado reliever Rafael Betancourt. This was the correct call. Wells was running on a hit-and-run play and would have been out at second if Herrera had hung on to Rosario’s accurate throw.
ESPN has grabbed the Yankees-Red Sox game of June 2 for Sunday Night Baseball. That makes it an 8:05 p.m. start. The game is scheduled to air on ESPN2. It will move to ESPN if the NBA Western Conference finals playoff series goes less than seven games.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Robinson Cano reached the 1,500-hit mark Thursday at Denver eight years and six days after his major league debut (May 3, 2005), the shortest span from a player’s first big-league game to 1,500 hits for the Yankees. Derek Jeter had the previous mark of eight years and 79 days. The only active players who made it to the milestone quicker than Cano in terms of days after their major-league debut are Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols and Juan Pierre. Elias also noted that Cano (30 years, 199 days old) became the fifth Yankees player to reach 1,500 hits before his 31st birthday, joining Mickey Mantle (28 years, 305 days) in 1960, Jeter (29 years, 51 days) in 2003, Lou Gehrig (29 years, 52 days) in 1932 and Don Mattingly (30 years, 94 days) in 1991. . .Cano’s 186th career home run Thursday put him in 17th place on the Yankees’ all-time list, one ahead of Paul O’Neill. Next up in 16th place is Tino Martinez at 192.
Sometimes it comes down to one simple play. A blown hit-and-run play turned into an important stolen base for the Yankees that turned the ninth inning Wednesday night into a melodrama that sent them toward a very satisfying, dugout-emptying victory.
Normally when you hear the phrase “dugout-emptying,” it is in reference to a brawl. This time it was literal for the Yankees. With Eduardo Nunez still unavailable due to an irritated left ribcage, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was forced to use all the available players in an inter-league game at a National League park where the designated hitter is forbidden. Thank heaven this one didn’t go extra innings or you might have seen some pitchers playing elsewhere on the field.
The Yanks’ 3-2 victory over the Rockies was truly a team effort. The deciding run that was set up by a stolen base that should have been an out scored thanks to the hustle of Brennan Boesch, the Yankees’ third pinch hitter of the night, who beat out an infield hit with a dash down the first base line while Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado took ever-so-slightly too long to get off a throw.
Vernon Wells, who crossed the plate for the tiebreaking run, then trotted out to third base with his oversized outfield glove, marking the first time he had played the infield in a major-league game. Sure enough, a ball was hit to him, but he handled Carlos Gonzalez’s grounder with ease and got the second out of the inning. Mariano Rivera withstood a two-out single and a steal of second base by Michael Cuddyer to make it 12-for-12 in saves when he retired Wilin Rosario on a fly to center.
Wells, whose three-hit game included his seventh home run that accounted for the Yanks’ other two runs, was asked to play third base because starter Chris Nelson had been lifted earlier in the ninth for pinch hitter Travis Hafner, who struck out. Without Nunez, Girardi had no infielders he could call on, a situation that the manager had explained to Wells even before the game started.
It was also Wells who benefit from a dropped throw by shortstop Jonathan Herrera from catcher Rosario on a busted hit-and-run play. Wells, who had left off the inning with an infield single, ended up with a gift of a stolen base. Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt in a non-save situation was not sharp and walked Lyle Overbay. After Ichiro Suzuki bunted the runners over, Jayson Nix was intentionally walked to load the bases. Girardi had his ace in the hole in Hafner, but the DH without a spot in the starting lineup at Coors Field struck out.
Boesch was Girardi’s last available player to use as a pinch hitter for catcher Austin Romine (Chris Stewart would have to catch the bottom of the ninth). Arenado made a terrific stop of a hard grounder to his left by Boesch, but the third baseman glanced momentarily to second base before throwing to first where Boesch beat the play by a hair.
Pitchers played major parts for the Yankees as well. Starter David Phelps went six innings and was hurt only by a two-run homer by Todd Helton. Recent Triple A call-up Preston Claiborne pitched a 1-2-3 seventh (the righthander has retired all nine hitters he has faced in his first two appearances for the Yankees) and David Robertson added a scoreless eighth.
This is not the sort of stuff fans are used to seeing at Coors Field. Tuesday night, it was 2-0 Rockies. Seven runs in two games in a yard where every night it seems that seven runs are scored every two innings is pretty rare. The Yankees ended a five-game losing streak at Coors dating to June 20, 2002 and are 29-9 in games following shutout losses since Girardi became manager in 2008, including 3-0 this year.
For five innings Tuesday night, it appeared Hiroki Kuroda would turn the tables on Coors Field, the Denver yard where he had a lot of problems during his years with the Dodgers. Kuroda was 1-2 with a 6.85 ERA at Coors and 1-5 with a 5.52 ERA overall against the Rockies.
Kuroda, who has been the Yankees’ best starting pitcher in the early going this season, had a two-hit shutout working into the sixth and got the first two outs that inning in short order. Then just as quickly, the game fell out of his grasp.
Josh Rutledge got one of his three hits, a single to center field, before Carlos Gonzalez dealt the killing blow to Kuroda by driving a 3-2 fastball to right field for his seventh home run and a 2-0 Colorado lead that held up as the final score.
It was a tough loss for Kuroda, who scattered seven hits and walked only one batter with three strikeouts in seven innings. Even with the loss, his ERA is an enviable 2.30. The game came down to that one pitch, the full-count heater to Gonzalez.
If the Yankees thought they would pad their batting averages and power number at offensive-friendly Coors Field, they were sadly mistaken. They managed merely four hits, all singles, off four Colorado pitchers in the first shutout at Coors Field this season, in 17 games.
Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa, who gave up three hits over the first six innings, continued his career success against the Yankees by improving to 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA against them. Despite his good numbers, the Yankees had hit .302 as a team against De La Rosa, but after Tuesday night that figure fell to .257.
The Yankees had won five of their past seven games against left-handed starters and were an American League-best 8-3 against them overall. Once again, they played without shortstop Eduardo Nunez, who is still bothered by a irritated left ribcage. Also, with no designated hitter in play in a National League park for the inter-league series, the Yankees were able to get only one at-bat for Travis Hafner off the bench (he grounded out batting for Kuroda in the eighth).
Despite a sloppy track caused by a steady rainfall during the game (hey, it could have been worse; snow is not uncommon in Colorado in May), the Yankees had four stolen bases, including swipes of second and third by Ichiro Suzuki on successive pitches in the third inning. Three of the five runners that the Yankees left on base in the game were in scoring position. They were 0-for-5 in those situations.