Results tagged ‘ Ivan Nova ’

A night full of nothing for the Yankees

No clinching a postseason berth. No attaining the franchise’s 10,000th victory. Not much of anything Monday night for the Yankees, who even lost more ground in their fleeting chance of winning the American League East title.

While the Yankees were in the process of losing to the Red Sox, 5-1, the Blue Jays came back from a 3-1, eighth-inning deficit in Baltimore to beat the Orioles, 4-3, as Toronto bloated its lead over the Yankees to five games with six to play.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Wild Card playoff game is likely the Yankees’ path to the postseason. Masahiro Tanaka can put himself in position to get the call for that game with a strong outing Wednesday night as he returns to the rotation for the first time in 11 days.

Ivan Nova was working on a five-hit shutout through five innings before giving up his 1-0 lead on two-run home runs by Travis Shaw in the sixth and Jackie Bradley in the seventh. Bradley was also a major factor on defense for Boston with two circus catches in left field that robbed Chase Headley and John Ryan Murphy of potential extra-base hits. Mookie Betts also made a dazzling grab in center field in the seventh to spoil a hit bid by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Nova, who was shipped to the bullpen briefly but returned to the rotation when Nathan Eovaldi went down with inflammation in his right elbow, fell to 6-10 and is now 1-6 with a 6.88 ERA over his past seven starts covering 35 1/3 innings. Deven Marrero got the Red Sox’ third home run of the game and the first of his career in the ninth off Caleb Cotham.

The Yankees had another frustrating game at the plate. One night after stranding 15 base runners, the Yankees left 10 on and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Alex Rodriguez, who drove in the Yankees’ run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning, had a chance to break the game open in the second against Eduardo Rodriguez but struck out on a foul tip with the bases loaded. The Yankees had eight left on base over the first five innings leaving Nova scant margin for error.

Wild card looms as AL East slipping from Yanks’ grasp

Scoreboard watchers among Yankees fans may want to pay more attention to what the Rangers, Twins and Angels are doing than to the Blue Jays. Toronto’s doubleheader sweep Saturday left the Yankees 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Jays in the American League East. There is still plenty of baseball left — 21 games for the Yankees, including three at Toronto in two weeks — but more and more it appears their path to postseason play may have to be through the wild card.

Texas and Minnesota are actually closer to the Yankees in the wild card race than the Yanks are to Toronto in the AL East. They have the wild-card lead by three games over the Rangers and four over the Twins. The Angels are six games back of the Yanks.

As if there were not enough baseball in store at Yankee Stadium, the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader went into extra innings. The second game also took more than four hours to complete due to a 33-minute rain delay.

The lone star of the day for the Yankee was Brett Gardner, who was 4-for-9 with three home runs and seven RBI. Two of the homers and six of the RBI were in the nightcap, a 10-7 loss in which the Yankees fell behind by six runs early and cut the deficit in half twice only to fall short.

In what was a home run derby in the opener for much of regulation, the winning rally for Toronto in the 11th inning was a quiet one. The Blue Jays batted around with 10 hitters coming to the plate and only two balls were put into play. Nevertheless, Toronto came away with four runs and a 9-5 victory.

It turned out to be perhaps the ugliest inning the Yankees played this year. After Andrew Miller pitched two scoreless inning with four strikeouts but the Yankees failed to score, Bryan Mitchell started the 11th and loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter. The hit by pitch came between the walks and on a 1-2 pitch to Cliff Pennington, who had flubbed two sacrifice attempts.

After Mitchell struck out Dioner Navarro, Yankees manager Joe Girardi brought in Chasen Shreve, who had a nightmare of an outing — a walk to pinch hitter Russell Martin, a single to Ben Revere, the only hit of the inning, and two more bases-loaded walks to Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista. The crowd of 46,278 was stunned.

The Yankees got the home run derby started against Blue Jays started Marco Estrada with solo shots by Gardner in the first and Chase Headley in the second and a two-run, opposite-field blast by Alex Rodriguez in the fourth.

Michael Pineda blew a 4-1 lead as the Blue Jays, who hit five home runs Friday night, tied the score in the fifth on a leadoff homer by Revere and a two-run bomb by Edwin Encarnacion following a walk to Bautista, who had homered in the fourth.

Bautista crushed his second homer of the game leading off the eighth against Betances, a booming drive to dead center off the Monument Park screen to put the Jays in front for the first time in the game. The Yankees tied the score in the bottom half on an RBI single by Brian McCann, but with the bases loaded Headley and Greg Bird could not get the ball out of the infield.

The situation did not improve much for the Yankees in the second game, a rain-soaked affair in which Ivan Nova struggled mightily with his control and put them in a 6-0 hole in the second inning.

Pennington, pressed into duty with the injury to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, smashed a three-run homer that inning. Nova also gave up five other hits, hit two batters and threw two wild pitches before he was mercifully removed.

Big Mac & A-Rod HRs put Archer on the skids

The condition is known as the wheels falling off. Fortunately for the Yankees, the condition struck Chris Archer in the sixth inning Sunday that helped them survive a major scare by the Rays.

Archer, who took a 5-0 career record and 1.78 ERA against the Yankees into the game, appeared destined to improve those statistics over the first five innings, four of which he retired the side in order.

As Yankees catcher Brian McCann noted of Archer, “He didn’t pitch out of the stretch a whole lot early in the game.”

The sixth inning was another story, and it was McCann who was pivotal in the Yankees’ turning the game around. Archer began the sixth working on a one-hit shutout with a three-run lead, thanks to a two-run home run by Kevin Kiermaier in the second inning and a two-out, RBI single by Logan Forsythe in the third against Ivan Nova, who ended up the winning pitcher because of the turn of events in the sixth.

It seemed like another mow-down inning in store for Archer when Stephen Drew flied out to left field leading off. Jacoby Ellsbury, who had the Yankees’ only hit to that point (a two-out single in the third that ended a 0-for-17 stretch), hit a ground single to right, but Archer came right back to strike out Brett Gardner.

Curiously, Archer pitched especially carefully to Carlos Beltran for no reason I could detect and walked him on five pitches. At 2-0, Beltran expected to see a fastball, but Archer threw three straight sliders and lost him. Beltran was 0-for-2 in the game and 2-for-14 (.143) against Archer in his career, so why be so careful when a hitter as dangerous as McCann on deck.

McCann’s career numbers against Archer (2-for-16 going into that at-bat) weren’t much better than Beltran’s, but they were about to become so. Archer fell behind 3-1 to McCann, who got the fastball Beltran expected and drove the ball over the right field fence for a three-run homer that knotted the score.

As if the wheels had not fallen off enough for Archer, Alex Rodriguez also took him deep on the next pitch. Once again, the long ball came to the Yankees’ rescue as they went on to a 6-4 victory to keep pace with the Blue Jays, 10-4 winners over the Orioles and clinging to a 1 1/2-game lead in the American League East.

McCann’s 25th home run marked a career high in one season for the catcher, who seems much more comfortable in his second year in pinstripes.

“I know the league a lot better,” said McCann, who spent nine years in the National League with the Braves before signing with the Yankees as a free agent prior to the 2014 season. “Getting to know the pitchers, the ones and twos on each staff and situational lefthanders. When you’re in the same league year after year you don’t have to make that much of an adjustment.

“That’s our formula,” manager Joe Girardi said of the home runs, and he was right on target.

The Yankees, whose overall record is 76-59 (.563), are 65-34 (.657) when they homer. When they hit two home runs, as they did Sunday, or more, they are 41-11 (.788). Of the 13 runs the Yanks scored in the three games at Yankee Stadium against the Rays, nine were the result of home runs.

The Yankees added two runs against a ragged Tampa Bay bullpen, one on a throwing error by Fosythe and one on a single by Didi Gregorius, who had two more hits and has had at least one RBI in eight of his past 10 games. A-Rod contributed to the eighth-inning rally with a single, his 3,053rd career hit that tied him with Hall of Famer Rod Carew for 24th place on the all-time list.

But what most of the 35,299 people in attendance at the Stadium will remember most about Sunday’s game were the home runs in the inning when the wheels fell off for a modern-day Yankee killer.

Yankees come up short in bases-loaded spots

Twice in the first four innings Monday night at Fenway Park the Yankees had the bases loaded and none out and they made the least of the situation by getting only one run each time. In the fifth, they filled the bags again, this time with two out, and came away with no runs.

So it seemed fitting somehow that in the ninth inning a bases-loaded scenario would present itself to the Yankees, who once again could not come up with a big hit, in this case one that could have pulled the game out on a night when the Blue Jays suffered a rare loss. A victory would have brought the Yankees even with Toronto in the loss column, but the Red Sox held on to win, 4-3.

Jean Machi, the new Boston closer now that Koji Uehara is done for the season with a wrist injury, had a brutal inning in the ninth with 18 of his 33 pitches out of the strike zone. He walked three batters, one of them forcing home a run, and somehow got called third strikes past Carlos Beltran and Greg Bird.

The Yankees still had a chance with two outs in Didi Gregorius, who was 4-for-4 to that point in the game and 11-for-16 (.688) in his past four game combined. Gregorius had gotten the only hit the Yankees had in a bases-loaded situation with a run-scoring single in the fourth inning. He brought the crowd to its feet with a long drive to right field, but Rusney Castill caught the ball on the warning track.

That was how close the Yankees came to a fourth straight victory that would have nudged them closer to first place in the American League East. Their failure in a wide assortment of scoring opportunities resulted in the Yankees leaving 14 runners on base, including 10 in the first six innings when they continually had eventual winning pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (8-5) on the ropes.

Yankees starter Ivan Nova (5-7) had a good sinker that produced nine groundouts, but when he got the ball paid for it on a two-run home run by Mookie Betts in the third inning and a solo shot by David Ortiz in the fourth.

The Red Sox scored what proved the winning run in the seventh when rookie first baseman Greg Bird bobbled slightly a potential double play ball and had to settle for one out as Jackie Bradley Jr. scored from third base.

The Yankees also had help from the Red Sox, who made two errors in the first inning that helped create the Yankees’ first base-loaded episode. A single by Alex Rodriguez filled the bags for Beltran, who got a run home with a sacrifice fly, but that was it as Brian McCann flied out to shallow right and Chase Headley struck out looking.

A leadoff walk by McCann in the fourth followed by Headley and Bird singles promised another big inning for the Yankees, but after Gregorius’ single to center plated McCann, Brendan Ryan hit a comebacker to Eduardo Rodriguez, who got an out at the plate, and Jacoby Ellsbury flied out into a double play as Bradley threw out Bird at home trying to score.

The next inning, the Yankees had the bags full after two out on Beltran’s 500th career double and walks to McCann and Headley before Bird struck out.

These frustrating rallies made it an exceedingly long (3 hours, 44 minutes) and disappointing night for the Yankees. After the game, it was announced which minor-league players will be called up as rosters expand Tuesday: pitchers Andrew Bailey, Caleb Cotham and James Pazos; infielders Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder; infielder-outfielder Dustin Ackley; outfielder Rico Noel and catcher Austin Romine.

Against Houston, the Yankees had a problem

What a weird night. While doing a little scoreboard watching in the first inning of the Yankees-Astros game Tuesday night, I noticed that eight teams around the major leagues had scored in the first inning of games.

I had plenty of time to see this because the top of the first inning at Yankee Stadium took 20 minutes to complete as Houston sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs against Ivan Nova, who threw 40 pitches. So that made it nine teams scoring in the first inning on the same night.

And the Astros did not stop there. They batted around again in the fifth and seventh innings. One night after being shut out with five singles, Houston burst through for a 15-1 drubbing featuring eight extra-base hits, including three home runs.

Nova got off to a nice start. Jose Altuve hit the first pitch to right field for a quick out and Jed Lowrie was called out on strikes. Then everything fell apart for Nova, who had struggled to make it through five innings in his previous start.

As what often happens in a rally, it started with a walk, to Carlos Correa. Colby Rasmus hit a liner to center field that froze Jacoby Ellsbury momentarily. He tried to recover and make a shoestring catch, but the ball got past him for a run-scoring triple. Just the night before, a bobblehead promotion depicted Ellsbury making a lunging catch. I do not remember if a ball was in that glove, either.

Nova walked Evan Gattis and gave up a booming double to left-center by Carlos Gomez for another run. Luis Valbuena followed with an opposite-field double off the left field wall to drive in two runs. He scored on a single past first base by Marwin Gonzalez that made it 5-0 Astros.

The third walk of the inning, of catcher Jason Castro, got things stirring in the Yankees’ bullpen as Branden Pinder began warming up. The relievers got caught a big break Monday night because Nathan Eovaldi pitched eight quality innings. Pinder sat down as Altuve, who had begun the inning, ended it as well with a forceout at third base.

This was not the night to fall behind by five runs early because Houston’s starting pitcher was All-Star Dallas Keuchel, who had shut out the Yankees June 25 with a six-hit, 12-strikeout effort at Minute Maid Park. In fact, Keuchel had complete games in both his career starts against the Yanks. He went eight innings Aug. 21 last year in a loss at the Stadium.

Minute Maid Park has been a palace for Keuchel this year. He has an 11-0 record with a 1.35 ERA in 15 99 2/3 innings at home. The road has been bumpier for the lefthander, who entered play Tuesday night with a 3-6 mark and 3.65 ERA in 79 innings away from home.

The Stadium played very much like Minute Maid Park Tuesday night for Keuchel, who did not have to go the distance with so cushy a lead. He allowed merely three hits and no walks with nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings to improve his career record against the Yankees to 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 24 innings.

The Yankees’ only run came in the ninth inning against reliever Vincent Velasquez on a single, a hit batter and two groundouts. Mark Teixeira returned to the Yankees’ lineup after missing seven games because of a bruised right shin. He was hitless in two at-bats and had trouble running out a ground ball and came out of the game after the sixth inning.

Nova settled down a bit until the fifth when he gave up a leadoff double to Rasmus and a two-run home run to Gattis. The Astros added two more runs that inning against Nick Rumbelow, one of which was unearned due to an error by second baseman Brendan Ryan, who shaved off his W.B. Mason mustache. The other run was very earned on a home run by Gonzalez.

Chris Capuano walked three batters in a six-run seventh and all scored on a two-run single by Gattis and a three-run home run by Gomez. The dinger was quite satisfying to Gomez, who an inning earlier got into a shouting match with manager Joe Girardi and some players in the Yanks’ dugout over his tossing his bat in anger with his team up by nine runs. Gomez has a history of disturbing opponents for his showboating demeanor.

Not wanting to waste any more pitchers, Girardi gave the ball to Ryan, who had never pitched in the majors before, for the last two innings in which he held the Astros scoreless. It is never a good sign when a team’s most effective pitcher is a utility infielder.

HOPE Week: Vacations for cancer patients

HOPE Week concluded Friday with a visit by Yankees pitchers CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova and Adam Warren and infielders Brendan Ryan and Greg Bird, who surprised Frank Squeo at Rockland BOCES in West Nyack, N.Y., to bake cookies with him and his family.

Squeo, 47, was diagnosed with Stage III testicular cancer in 2007. During the months that followed, he began his fight against cancer, undergoing surgery and chemotherapy. Just as troubling to Frank, there were many children who were battling their cancer alongside of him – kids who did not know a life beyond hospitals or their disease. Frank promised himself that when he overcame his illness, he would do something to help these children.

In 2012, the Rockland County resident founded Baking Memories 4 Kids, a non-profit organization that sells chocolate chip cookies during the holiday season. The sales from those cookies fund all-expenses-paid vacations for the families of children with life-threatening illnesses to Give Kids the World Village, an Orlando, Fla., resort designed specifically for children with disabilities and illnesses.

While on their vacations, children and their families have the opportunity to visit any of the Orlando-area amusement parks and receive VIP treatment. If a child falls ill on the trip or is too sick to go out, the amusement park of their choosing brings the excitement to them at the resort.
Strictly by word of mouth Frank and local volunteers sold more than 3,000 batches of cookies during their first holiday season in 2012. They were able to more than double their sales in their second season.

In less than three years, Frank has processed more than 10,000 cookie orders and sent 10 families to Orlando on their dream vacation. In 2015, they have committed to sending nine more families.

Prior to Friday’s game against the Indians, the Yankees will team with Baking Memories 4 ids to help surprise Noah Diaz and his family with an all-expenses-paid vacation. Noah Diaz is a four-year-old who suffers from a rare heart defect and Kabuki syndrome.

Yanks need more than A-Rod’s power

Two nights ago, one home run by Alex Rodriguez was enough for the Yankees to win a game. Thursday night, one homer by A-Rod was not enough, although he provided the bulk of the offense in a 3-2 loss to the Indians.

In Monday night’s victory over the Twins, Rodriguez turned things around with his 25th career grand slam. The bases were empty in the fourth inning when he homered off Josh Tomlin, which they were often against the journeyman righthander, 30, coming back from shoulder surgery. The Yankees had only other hit off Tomlin in seven innings, a leadoff double in the third by Chase Headley, who was stranded.

Rodriguez triggered a ninth-inning rally as the Yanks threatened to pull this one out. He led off against closer Cody Allen with a single, and when the reliever did not pay attention to him at first base A-Rod swiped second.

Allen got a big strikeout of Brian McCann, who disputed the call but not as much as manager Joe Girardi, who took up the beef and got ejected for the third time this season. Plate umpire Dan Iassogna actually ran Girardi before the skipper even opened his mouth. Girardi then made sure he got his money’s worth.

In truth, the breaking ball Allen threw for the third strike on McCann was over the plate. Girardi’s argument indicated that he was more upset with Iassogna over a called third strike on Jacoby Ellsbury the previous inning on a pitch from righthander Bryan Shaw that video replays revealed was clearly off the outside corner of the plate. Girardi made a line in that area in the right-handed batter’s box to demonstrate to Iassogna where he thought the pitch was.

Carlos Beltran followed the McCann strikeouts with a solid single through the shift into right field to score Rodriguez and make it a one-run game. A walk to Greg Bird pushed pinch runner Chris Young into scoring position and put the potential winning run on base.

Those runners advanced when first baseman Carlos Santana bobbled a potential double-play grounder by Headley and had to settle for one out at first base, but Didi Gregorius could not get the hit the Yankees needed in flying out to left field.

The Yankees have done well against American League Central teams this year with a 17-9 record but continue to have trouble with the Indians, who are 3-1 against them this year. Ivan Nova had control problems and lasted only five innings in which he gave up three runs, six hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Adam Warren and Chris Capuano supplied two shutout innings of relief apiece, but the Yanks ultimately fell a run short.

Yanks back in 1st after ending Jays’ 11-win run

Well now, look who is back in first place?

In a stunning turn of events, the Yankees, who were staring at the possibility of yet another shutout loss to the Blue Jays, kicked over the table with a four-run eighth inning to cool off Toronto before a packed house at Rogers Centre.

The crushing blow for the Yanks came from Carlos Beltran, who came off the bench to bat for Chris Young once lefthander David Price was replaced on the mound by righthander Aaron Sanchez. Beltran, 0-for-3 previously as a pinch hitter, was overmatched by two 97-mph fastballs from Sanchez but in an old-school approach shortened up on the bat and made solid contact with another 97-mph heater for a three-run home run that headed the Yankees toward a 4-3 victory.

The Yankees had runners on base in seven of eight innings against Price but did not put any of them across the plate until the eighth when Chase Headley followed one-out singles by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann with his second double of the game to end a 33-inning scoreless drought against Toronto pitching. Next came Beltran and soon the Jays’ 11-game winning streak was history.

Not that it went all that smoothly before the Yankees celebrated. Dellin Betances pitched a perfect eighth inning, but Andrew Miller did another high-wire act in the ninth as a walk, a single and a wild pitch gave the Blue Jays runners on second and third with one out.

With a sellout crowd of 46,689 in the enclosed Rogers Centre creating a postseason atmosphere, Miller truly earned his 26th save by striking out Ben Revere and Troy Tulowitzki, two of the recently-acquired players through trades that have transformed the Jays into serious contenders.

The Tulowitzki at-bat was a chamber of tension climaxed by his swinging and missing the 12th pitch, a hard-breaking slider. The Blue Jays had been 13-0 in games started by Tulowitzki although the Yankees have handled him for the most part. In four games against the Yankees over the past week, Tulowitzki is 2-for-17 (.118) with one home run and two RBI.

Beltran’s 11th home run of the season made a deserving winner of Ivan Nova (5-4), who had one bad inning, the third, when the Blue Jays had three of their five hits off the righthander and all their runs on a fielder’s choice by Tulowitzki, a double by Jose Bautista and a sacrifice fly by Edwin Encarnacion. Nova gave up only two hits in his other six innings.

So the Yankees take a half-game lead into Saturday’s game at Toronto and are two games up on the Jays in the loss column. What a difference a single inning can make.

Jays continue to flex muscles against Yanks

The Blue Jays are not exactly breathing down the Yankees’ necks, but Toronto has certainly made its presence felt in the American League East race this weekend at Yankee Stadium. As recently as July 28, the Yankees had a seven-game lead in the division. After Saturday’s 6-0 loss to the Jays, the Yanks’ spread is down to 2 1/2 games.

Yes, they are four games up on Toronto in the loss column, which is one consolation, but they have been no match for the Jays’ muscle. The recent offensive slump continued against lefthander David Price, whom they had beaten up twice earlier this season (30.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings) but who was flawless Saturday with seven brilliant innings (three hits, three walks, seven strikeouts).

The Yankees suffered their fourth shutout loss of the season and ended a stretch of nine non-losing series. They had not lost a series since June 29-July 1 when they dropped two of three games to the Angels at Anaheim. The Yanks are 2-6 against the Jays this year and have lost the first three series between them. There is still plenty of baseball left for these clubs against each other. They will meet up again next weekend at Toronto and seven more times in September.

“There is a long way to go,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted after the game. “I called this an important series before it started, but we have two months to go so you can’t get overly concerned about two games.”

Nevertheless, Girardi added that Masahiro Tanaka needs to come up big Sunday against Toronto righthander Marco Estrada as well as an offense that has disappeared during this homestand. Since exploding for 13 runs against the Red Sox to open the homestand five days ago, the Yankees have scored four runs in their past 37 innings and none in their past 17. They are hitless in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position over the past four games, three of them losses.

Ivan Nova was coasting along for five innings matching Price in putting up zeroes until it all came apart in the sixth. Two walks around a single by Jose Bautista, who won Friday night’s game with a 10th-inning home run, filled the bases for Justin Smoak, who belted a 0-1 pitch to right field for his first career grand slam.

Girardi had Adam Warren in the bullpen but counted on Nova’s sinker to get a much-needed ground ball, but the two-seamer had lost its effectiveness by then. Newcomer Troy Tulowitzki was 0-for-7 in the series before he connected in the seventh off Bryan Mitchell for a solo home run.

An error by second baseman Brendan Ryan led to an unearned run in the eighth on a two-out, RBI infield single by Russell Martin, the only one of Toronto’s eight runs in the series that was not the result of a home run.

An 0-for-4 by Mark Teixeira ended his stretch of 24 consecutive games in which he reached base. The Yankees had only five base runners in the game and failed to homer for the first time in 13 games.

Emphasizing the obvious, Girardi said, “We have to start swinging the bats.”

No more fiddling with watches for Yanks

Welcome back to the Eastern time zone, Yankees. When they touch ground in New York Sunday night, the Yankees will be in Eastern Daylight Time for the remainder of the regular season.

The 10-game swing through Minnesota, Texas and Chicago, all in the Central time zone, ended the Yankees’ season outside EDT territory as the schedule the rest of the way become an ally.

To begin with, they will play 34 of their final 58 games at Yankee Stadium where they have a 30-17 record, a .638 winning percentage. And when they do travel, the Yankees will stay in their home time zone.They had two more visits to Toronto, which has moved into second place, as well as stops in Cleveland, Atlanta, Boston, St. Petersburg, Baltimore and Citi Field for the second Subway Series against the Mets.

This is all good news in an era when the schedule increasingly forces clubs to arrive in opposing cities at the crack of dawn. The Yankees are finished with the West Coast and now the Mountain and Central time zones as well.

They finished off the 6-4 trip in a big way with a runaway, 12-3 victory over the White Sox for the Yanks’ eight straight non-losing series. Dividing the four-game set at Arlington, Texas, has been the only series split for the Yankees during this stretch.

Concern over starting pitching due to the disabling of Michael Pineda and a couple of wayward outings by CC Sabathia was the one negative aspect of the trip, but it ended with an encouraging effort from Ivan Nova, who had experienced arm fatigue in his previous start, which is not uncommon for a pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Nova showed off tantalizing breaking balls to go with his fastball Sunday and held Chicago to one run, five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in six innings. The righthander could work free and easy, thanks to a Yankees offense that pounded White Sox ace Jeff Samardzja for nine runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in 4 2/3 innings.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a homer. The second long ball came from Mark Teixeira leading off the Yanks’ three-run fifth, the inning after they put up a five-spot against Samardzja.

It was another strong game from the bottom of the batting order as the 7-through-9 hitters — Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew, plus pinch hitter John Ryan Murphy — combined to go 7-for-14 (.500) with eight runs, two doubles, one triple and six RBI. At the top of the order, Ellsbury and Brett Gardner teamed up for five RBI.

Drew came within a home run of hitting for the cycle. His 3-for-5 game got his season batting average finally nudging .200 at .199. He started the trip batting .180 but added 19 points by going 10-for-29 (.345) with three runs, one double, one triple, one home run and six RBI.

It was a great trip offensively all around for the infielders. Teixeira increased his American League Most Valuable Player Award candidacy by batting .310 with nine runs, two doubles, five home runs and nine RBI in 42 at-bats.

Gregorius batted .438 with eight runs, a triple, a homer and 12 RBI in 32 at-bats in raising his season batting average from .241 to .260. The shortstop has 11 RBI in his past seven games.

Headley, who is on an 11-game hitting streak, was an astounding 16-for-37 (.593) on the trip with 11 runs, two doubles, one home run and eight RBI and watched his batting average hike 30 points to .276.

In nine games on the trip, Alex Rodriguez batted .333 with 10 runs, two doubles, four home runs, seven RBI and eight walks in 33 at-bats.

The Yankees averaged 7.8 runs per game in outscoring their opponents, 78-53. They gained only a half-game in the AL East standings — to a six-game spread over the Blue Jays — but took time off the race, 10 big days, and now no longer have to set the clock back, at least not until postseason play, their ultimate goal.


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