Results tagged ‘ Joe Girardi ’

Who’s on 1st? Ref, not A-Rod, while Tex is hurt

Any plans Alex Rodriguez may have had taking grounders at first base before Monday night’s scheduled game at Yankee Stadium were washed away as batting practice had to be canceled due to severe thunderstorm activity.

Then again, it might have been just a waste of time for A-Rod, who has stated a desire to play the position if it will get him into the lineup more often. Another injury to Mark Teixeira has opened up first base again, but manager Joe Girardi clearly prefers to use rookie Rob Refsnyder there if Tex is not available.

Teixeira, who has missed time this season because of right knee and neck issues, was out of the starting lineup Monday night for the second straight game. He fouled a ball off the area above his left ankle Saturday. A CT scan after the game was negative, but the area is very swollen. Girardi said he did not anticipate being able to use Teixeira Monday or Tuesday nights.

Rodriguez was in the lineup as the designated hitter against the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman and did what will keep him in the lineup, which was to hit a home run. His blow into the left field bleachers off a 2-0 meatball from Gausman in the second inning was A-Rod’s ninth home run of the season and career No. 696.

Before the thunderstorms hit, Rodriguez was able to hit into a BP session and banged several balls into the seats, so he was able to take that into the game.

A-Rod lost playing time at DH against right-handed pitching when Girardi used Carlos Beltran while he was recovering from a hamstring strain. Beltran was back in right field Monday night.

The Orioles tied the score in the third on a solo homer by Jonathan Schoop off Ivan Nova. Beltran helped build the run in the bottom of that inning that turned out to be the decider for the Yanks. Beltran went against the shift with a single to left field that pushed Brett Gardner to third base from where he scored on a fly ball by Brian McCann.

Nova got the Yankees to the seventh inning when Girardi began the merry-go-round of Dellin Betances in the seventh, Andrew Miller in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth for three more scoreless innings that ran the bullpen’s current shutout string to 22. Chapman had the Yankee Stadium crowd of 31,102 buzzing while pitching to J.J. Hardy when one pitch zoomed in at 105 miles per hour, the fastest pitch thrown ib the major leagues this season.

Rodriguez did not take well to playing first base last year when the Yankees asked him to work out at the position early in the season. He played poorly there and seemed content to be a permanent DH rather than have to wear a glove again, which he did with distinction as a Gold Glove winner at shortstop and third base.

But that was two hip surgeries ago for Rodriguez, who will turn 41 later this month. His .216 batting average is 79 points below his career mark. He is 2-for-13 (.154) on the homestand.

Refsnyder, who was an outfielder in college and an infielder in the minor leagues, has done a decent job at first base and has given the Yankees consistent if unspectacular offense. He is batting .269 with eight doubles and 10 RBI in 93 at-bats.

“He has just had the one day of work, so I’m not ready to commit to that yet,” Girardi said. “Right now I’m going with Ref there. Alex is DHing tonight so I’m going with Ref there. It’s something that we’ll continue to talk about but we’ll stick for Ref for now.”

The Yankees need to win games and not be giving auditions for an important position at this stage of the season. A-Rod had his chance to be a factor at first base and did not work hard enough when the Yankees needed him. Now that playing time as the DH is threatened, he picks up a first base glove. Girardi is making the right call here.

Yanks’ best pitching combo avoids sweep by Bosox

If the Yankees are going to make a real run for a postseason berth, they are going to have to start doing better against clubs in their own division. Sunday night was a good start, a 3-1 victory over the Red Sox to avoid getting swept at home against their traditional rival.

It has been rough going for the Yankees in the American League East this year. Sunday night’s victory improved their record in the division to 11-19, including 2-6 against the Red Sox. Against the rest of the major leagues, the Yanks’ record is 34-27.

Coming off his briefest start of the year July 10 at Cleveland, Masahiro Tanaka again pitched well following a Yankees loss in out-dueling David Price and ending Boston’s six-game winning streak. Dustin Pedroia took Tanaka deep with one out in the first inning, but that would be all the Red Sox would score all night as they were stymied by Tanaka and No Runs DMC, the best possible pitching combination for the Yankees.

Tanaka went six innings, allowed only two other hits and one walk with seven strikeouts to improve his season record to 7-2 with a 3.15 ERA. It is even better when he starts on extra rest. The righthander was pitching on six days’ rest Sunday night. His record when he starts on five or more days’ rest is 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA.

That is fitting with Japanese baseball scheduling in which starting pitchers seldom work more than once a week. That cannot always be worked out in the major leagues, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi has tried whenever possible to get an extra day here or there for Tanaka, whose record after Yankees losses is 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA. He is unbeaten in his past six starts (4-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 38 1/3 innings).

The Yankees have given Price a hard time this year (1-2 with a 7.79 ERA in three starts totaling 17 1/3 innings). They finally got to him in the fourth inning when they scored all their runs on five of their 11 hits in the game.

Didi Gregorius kept up his torrid hitting against left-handed pitching with a one-out single to center to start the rally. He scored the tying run on a double to left by Starlin Castro. After Rob Refsnyder struck out, Austin Romine put the Yankees ahead with a single to center. Singles by Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury accounted for the third run. Ellsbury got a second hit off Price in the sixth to raise his career average against him to .357.

Gregorius added a double off Price in the fifth and is now batting .370 off lefties in 81 at-bats. Going into this season, Gregorius was a .214 hitter against lefthanders. He, Gardner and Ellsbury, the three left-handed hitters in the Yankees’ lineup, combined to go 6-for-11 against Price, who gave up the most hits to left-handed batters in a game in his career.

Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman worked their usual magic over the last three innings, each putting up a zero to extend the bulllpen’s scoreless streak to 19 innings. Chapman walked David Ortiz with one out in the ninth but got Hanley Ramirez to ground into a double play in picking up his 18th save.

Yankees disappointing capacity crowds

The paid crowd of 48,329 Saturday at Yankee Stadium was the largest of the season. The night before there was another sellout audience of 47,439. It is definitely a sign of summer and that the Red Sox are in town.

It is also the time when you want your ball club to be at its best, to convince those in the stands to come back again. That is part of the frustration the Yankees as an organization feels about losing to Boston in the first two games of what is most definitely a crucial homestand for them.

Fans go home with as sour a taste in their mouths as the players in the clubhouse after another game of disappointment. And the situation continues to challenge the Yankees, who conclude the series against the Red Sox Sunday night behind Masahiro Tanaka in a marquee pairing against Boston’s David Price.

CC Sabathia tried to turn the tide in the Yankees’ favor Saturday while his teammates hoped to tee off on Eduardo Rodriguez, the lefthander who has struggled mightily this season but who always seems to save his best for the Bombers.

Rodriguez had been optioned to Triple A Pawtucket after giving up nine earned runs and 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings to the Rays June 27 in a 13-7 loss that skyrocketed his ERA to 8.59. After pitching to a 3.08 ERA at Triple A, Rodriguez was recalled Friday to make this start, and make the best of it he did.

A solo home run by Brett Gardner in the third inning was the only run Rodriguez allowed in seven innings. It ended a 180-at-bat homerless stretch for Gardner, who had last gone deep May 18. Gardy proved the only real nemesis for Rodriguez, who also gave up a single and walked the leadoff hitter.

It was a close game for the first five innings. Sabathia gave up an unearned run in the third on a rally started by a throwing error by shortstop Didi Gregorius. A couple of infield hits fueled another small rally in the fourth when the Red Sox went ahead on a two-out single by catcher Sandy Leon.

Boston broke it open in the fourth. Manager Joe Girardi again pointed to soft hits off Sabathia enabling the Red Sox, but there was nothing soft about the three-run shot Leon drove into the left-field bleachers.

It was the fifth straight winless start for Sabathia, whose ERA has grown over that period from 2.20 to 3.94. The big lefthander has allowed 39 hits, including five home runs, with 10 walks and 19 strikeouts over 28 1/3 innings in those starts. His record over that span is 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA.

Conversely, Rodriguez improved his record in five career starts against the Yankees to 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. The Yankees have definitely been vulnerable to left-handed pitching. They are 11-16 in games started by lefties.

No sooner had Rodriguez left the game than Chase Headley launched a home run to right-center off Matt Barnes. No other hits followed that as the Yankees went down meekly against Barnes and closer Koji Uehara (sixth save).

Other than the solo jacks by Gardner and Headley, the only other highlight for the Yankees was scoreless relief work by Anthony Swarzak (2 2/3 innings) and Richard Bleier (one inning). Yankees relievers have shut out opponents over their past 16 innings since June 9 at Cleveland.

Yanks have major workload after ‘vacation’

SAN DIEGO — Carlos Beltran quickly reminded reporters that at 39 he is not the oldest player on either All-Star squad. American League teammate David Ortiz of the Red Sox is 40, the same age as Beltran’s Yankees teammate, Alex Rodriguez. National League pitcher Bartolo Colon of the Mets is older than all of them at 43.

“I’m great, man,” Beltran said. “I feel happy. I feel blessed. I’m 39 years old. Most of the guys here, other than Bartolo and David — I’m the third oldest player in the All-Star Game. Just being able to be here is gratifying and, for me, it’s motivational.”

Beltran certainly earned his ninth All-Star selection with a strong first half in which he has led the Yankees in all three Triple Crown categories — batting average (.299), home runs (19) and RBI (56). Relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller earned their All-Star berths as well.

Considering the Yankees only played .500 ball (44-44) to the break it is a credit to all three that they earned the trip here to Petco Park, one of baseball’s most striking facilities in the city with the most pleasant weather in the United States.

The AL earned home field advantage in the World Series with a 4-2 victory. Betances and Miller were among the 10 pitchers AL manager Ned Yost of the Royals employed in the game. Betances gave up a hit and threw a wild pitch in the seventh inning but did not allow a run and had two strikeouts. Miller had a rougher time of it in the eighth. The lefthander loaded the bases on two hits and a walk with two out and needed relief from the Astros’ Will Harris, who ended the threat with a called strikeout of the Cardinals’ Alemys Diaz.

The All-Star break is baseball’s vacation, even for those who travel to the game. Beltran’s nagging hamstring limited him to no more than one at-bat. It was doubtful that he would play the field, but he actually manned right field for the sixth and seventh innings as a replacement for the Red Sox’ Mookie Betts. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has gotten Beltran at-bats as the designated hitter, which has relegated a slumping A-Rod to the bench. In his only plate appearance, Beltran flied out to center field.

Once vacation is over, however, the Yankees have to get back to the business of trying to work their way into contention for the AL East title or at least one of the wild card entries. They are 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Orioles in the division and 5 1/2 back of the second wild card berth. They have quite a few clubs to climb over to accomplish their annual goal of reaching postseason play.

“It has to happen,” Beltran said. “It has got to be this; it has got to be in the second half. We have to find a way to play better, man. I know I have said this all through the first half, but I do believe we have what it takes to compete and be contenders in our division. But we have to show it. We haven’t shown it yet.”

Beltran also recognizes that the upcoming homestand after the break that includes visits by two division leaders (Baltimore and NL West leading San Francisco) after a series with rival Boston could be a do-or-die stretch of games. Already there is debate about whether the Yankees will be buyers or sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline of Aug. 1. Beltran and the Yankees’ No Runs DMC trio of relievers that also includes Aroldis Chapman could be helpful to any contender should general manager Brian Cashman decide to move any of them for needed prospects.

“I’m prepared for anything,” Beltran said. “I love where I am, but at the end of the day, we understand that we don’t know what route the team is going to take. I do believe that home stand will be an important one.”

Yanks with shot to get to .500 at All-Star break

So the Yankees will have a chance to get their record back to .500 before the All-Star break after all. A gripping, 7-6, 11-inning victory Saturday over the Indians brought the Yankees’ mark to 43-44, and they will have their best starter, Masahiro Tanaka, on the mound Sunday, the last game before the annual vacation.

The Yankees certainly did not take an easy route to Saturday’s victory. They gave up two leads, left 10 runners on base and had only two hits in 12 at-bats (.167) with runners in scoring position. Starter CC Sabathia had his fourth consecutive ineffective outing and two-thirds of No Runs DMC were pretty shaky before Aroldis Chapman, pitching into a third inning for the first time in his major league career, cleaned up matters in the ninth, 10th and 11th.

I thought it was interesting that Chapman, whose fastball did not reach triple digits until the 11th, told WFAN’s Suzyn Waldman that he actually was reserving his strength when he realized manager Joe Girardi needed additional length from him. Starting pitchers years ago who were expected to finish what they began held that attitude for decades.

Although their offense with runners in scoring position was weak, the Yanks did score six of their runs after two were out, including the game winner in the 11th. Brian McCann followed a two-out single by Carlos Beltran with a double to right field that scored pinch runner Ronald Torreyes from first base.

It marked the continuation of a strong trip for McCann, who in the seven games he has started behind the plate on the trek has hit .379 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBI in 29 at-bats. Fifteen games ago, McCann’s batting average was a feeble .207. Since then, he is batting .373 with 10 runs, three doubles, six homers and 11 RBI to boost his season average to .248. He had his second straight three-hit game Saturday.

Didi Gregorius had only one hit, but it was a big one, a two-run home run (No. 11) with two out in the third that gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, Sabathia gave up three runs on four straight hits in the bottom of the inning. The Indians pushed their lead to 5-3 in the fifth on a two-out, RBI single by Jose Ramirez.

The Yankees put Sabathia back in position for a winning decision with a two-out rally in the sixth against Danny Salazar climaxed by a bases-clearing triple by Brett Gardner off reliever Dan Otero that made the score 6-5 Yankees.

Another two-out hit by Ramirez, off Dellin Betances in the seventh, tied the score. Gregorius saved Betances from letting in another run with a diving stop of a hard grounder by Jose Uribe and just as impressive a flip to second baseman Starlin Castro for the final out of the inning.

That run left Sabathia with a no-decision, but he did not deserve a victory. The lefthander gave up five earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and over his past four starts is 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA in 23 innings in which he has allowed 30 hits. Once among the American League leaders with a 2.20 ERA four starts ago, CC has watched his ERA bloat to 3.77.

Andrew Miller ran into jams in the eighth and ninth when he put the leadoff hitter on base both innings. Abraham Almonte opened the eight with a double but got no farther than second base. In the ninth, Miller gave up a hit and a walk but caught a break when Francisco Lindor ran into third baseman Chase Headley and was called out. Miller got a big strikeout of Ramirez looking before he was replaced by Chapman, who ended the threat with a strikeout of Uribe.

Chapman also put the leadoff hitter on base in the 11th when he walked Jason Kipnis, but one out later he picked off Kipnis, who was caught stealing at second base on a strong throw from Austin Romine, who entered the game as a pinch runner for pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez in the sixth and played first base the rest of the game. Chapman finished off a very satisfying victory by striking out Mike Napoli.

Beltran, Betances, Miller tabbed as All-Stars

It was a nice surprise to see as many as three players from the Yankees chosen for the American League All-Star squad. Considering their less than stellar record (41-42 after Tuesday night’s 9-0 drubbing of the White Sox), the Yankees were not expected to have many representatives for the All-Star Game July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.

I figured all along that Andrew Miller would be on the AL pitching staff. He has had a phenomenal year and deserves a spot on his first All-Star squad. AL manager Ned Yost of the Royals used one of his selections to take Dellin Betances as well. It marks the third straight year Betances has made the All-Star team.

Yankees fans might wonder why Aroldis Chapman was not taken along with his No Runs DMC partners, but sitting out a one-month suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic abuse policy hurt his chances. There was some speculation last month that CC Sabathia might make the staff, but his past three starts (0-2, 8.31 ERA) took him out of contention.

The other Yankees All-Star was also very deserving. Carlos Beltran has been the Yanks’ most productive offensive player. His problem was that he finished 10th among outfielders in the All-Star fan voting. What made the difference for Beltran was that he did very well on the players’ ballot. Essentially, his peers got Beltran on the team for the ninth time in his career and the first time in three years. Beltran is handcuffed somewhat by a nagging hamstring, so it remains to be seen whether he will make the trip to San Diego. He was thrown out at the plate trying to score in the first inning Tuesday night but rebounded the next inning with a two-out, RBI single, his second hit of the game.

Beltran got his third hit of the game in the fourth, a leadoff double. His 3-for-5 game raised Beltran’s season average to .302, which leads the club along with his 19 home runs and 54 RBI.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters Tuesday that he hoped Didi Gregorius would have received support, but he was not in the top five of vote getters at shortstop. The Yankees had only one position player finish in the top five. Brian McCann was fourth among catchers.

The Red Sox topped the selections with four starters — designated hitter David Ortiz, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Yost’s Royals have two starters in catcher Salvador Perez, the leading vote getter overall, and first baseman Eric Hosmer. The other starters are the Astros’ Jose Altuve at second base, the Orioles’ Manny Machado at third and the Angels’ Mike Trout in the outfield.

The Yankees looked like a whole team of All-Stars Tuesday night with a season-high 20 hits, including nine for extra bases, behind Masahiro Tanaka, who shut out the White Sox on six hits and one walk with six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings to improve his record to 6-2 with a 3.12 ERA.

Brett Gardner led the way with four hits, including one of the Yankees’ seven doubles. Beltran and Chase Headley, who homered, had three hits apiece. Austin Romine also homered and had two hits, along with Mark Teixeira, Starlin Castro and Rob Refsnyder. Castro, who had four hits Monday in his return visit to Chicago where he played for the Cubs, is a career .397 hitter in 68 at-bats at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Yankees got six of their runs (five earned) and 12 of their hits in five innings off Chicago starter Carlos Rondon, whose career mark against them is 1-2 with a 9.64 ERA.

A-Rod back at 3B? It almost happened

The Yankees nearly pulled off a third consecutive ninth-inning victory Friday night at San Diego to begin the 10-game, three-city trip that takes them to the All-Star break. They made a lot of noise but ended up one run short.

Had they been able to tie the score, it would have been interesting to see how the Yankees would navigated their way in the field in subsequent innings. Alex Rodriguez, for example, would have played third base for the first time since 2013. He was excited about the prospect and was wearing his glove as he stood on the dugout steps when Brett Gardner made the final out of the 7-6 loss.

Stranded at third base was Carlos Beltran, who was not supposed to play against the Padres because of a sore right hamstring. He was not needed to play in the outfield, but A-Rod was needed at third base because manager Joe Girardi had already used Chase Headley, Ronald Torreyes and Rob Refsnyder.

Rodriguez and Beltran had big pinch hits in the four-run ninth. Rodriguez singled home a run and eventually came around to score on an infield out by Aaron Hicks. After Didi Gregorius scored on a wild pitch by Brandon Maurer to make it a one-run game, Beltran doubled to left-center. Girardi considered using pitcher Masahiro Tanaka as a pinch runner but kept Beltran in the game. He hobbled to third base on a grounder to the right side by Jacoby Ellsbury before Gardner ended the rally.

The Yankees caught a break that inning because the day before the Padres traded closer Fernando Rodney, who was having a great season, to the Marlins. Matt Thornton, who pitched for the Yankees a couple of years ago, opened the gates by walking Brian McCann on four pitches and hitting Starlin Castro with a 2-2 pitch before yielding the single against the shift to Rodriguez. That was career hit No. 3,110 for A-Rod, who tied Hall of Famer Dave Winfield for 19th place on the all-time list. Winfield happened to be at Petco Park to witness the hit.

Prior to the ninth, the Yankees experienced a stretch of 18 batters in which only one reached base — McCann with a solo home run (No. 13) in the sixth. Their late rally was an attempt to atone for letting the game get out of hand early, which was due largely to another ineffective outing by Nathan Eovaldi.

The Yankees loaded the bases against Padres starter Colin Rea in the first inning but failed to score. San Diego responded in the bottom half with three runs. The key blow was a two-out, two-run double by Derek Norris. Eovaldi was hurt by the long ball once again as he gave up rookie second baseman Ryan Schimpf’s first career home run in the second and a two-run shot to Wil Myers in the fifth.

Eovaldi was strung for six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. He is winless in six starts since May 29, a stretch in which he is 0-4 with a 9.20 ERA. The righthander has allowed 31 earned runs and 45 hits, including 12 home runs, in 30 1/3 innings in those starts, this from a pitcher who 10 starts into the season was 6-2 with a 3.71 ERA. That ERA has since climbed to 5.54.

In other developments, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes‐Barre outfielder Aaron Judge was named the International League Player of the Month for June. Judge batted .343 in 102 at-bats and led the IL with nine home runs, 30 runs and a .477 on-base percentage. He also finished among the top three with 25 RBI, 16 extra‐base hits, 70 total bases, 21 walks and a .686 slugging percentage.

Conversely, Nick Swisher has decided to leave the Triple A club. Swish, who played for the Yankees from 2009-12, was hoping to make a comeback after being released by the Braves in spring training. The Yankees have had openings at first base because of injuries, but Swisher never got the call.

The switch hitter batted .255 with seven homers and 25 RBI in 55 games for SWB. After watching Rob Refsnyder, Chris Parmelee and Ike Davis take turns at first base, Swish decided to go home and spend time with his infant daughter.

“I don’t think we would have signed him if we didn’t want to take a look at him,” Girardi told reporters. “We just felt some guys were ahead of him at the time, so he never was called. I respect what he did. He had another baby, so go and enjoy that.”

Two walk-off wins end Yanks’ first half at home

In a game in which there were 25 strikeouts, it was probably not surprising that the winning rally Thursday did not contain a hit. It was that kind of no-contact game. The Yankees used a couple of walks between a sacrifice bunt, a ground ball to the right side that advanced the runners and a passed ball to beat the team with the best record in the American League.

The Yankees’ 2-1 victory over the AL West-leading Rangers put a nice finish on a 5-4 homestand that could have been a disaster if not for three “walk-off” victories, including each of the final two games.

At the center of the two last-inning victories over Texas was Didi Gregorius in different roles. Wednesday night, he unlocked a 7-7 score with a game-winning, two-run home run. Thursday, he followed a leadoff walk by righthander Tony Barnette (5-3) in the ninth to Chase Headley with a well-placed bunt to sacrifice him to second base. After a walk to Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro made the second out on a squib to first base.

Now at third base, Headley alertly sped for the plate when a pitch from Barnette to Jacoby Ellsbury was not handled by catcher Robinson Chririnos, a passed ball that got the Yankees back to .500 at 39-39.

If not for the weird occurrence of Monday night when Texas won after a lengthy rain delay, the Yankees might have won the series. Still, a split with the league’s winningest team is nothing to be ashamed of.

Michael Pineda got off to a rough start. He gave up a leadoff home run to Shin-Soo Choo, retired Ian Desmond on a hard liner to right field and yielded a single to Nomar Mazara. Three batters into the game, and Pineda looked as if this could be a long afternoon. Turned out it was, except it was for Rangers’ hitters. They struck out 12 times against Pineda, who was lifted after the sixth with a 92-pitch count, and did not get another hit until Mitch Moreland’s two-out single in the seventh off Dellin Betances.

Yep, Yankees manager Joe Girardi went to the late-inning No Runs DMC formula in a tie game. Who tied it? Who else? Gregorius smoked a 3-2 pitch from A.J. Griffin to right in the fifth for his eighth home run. Griffin, who has never lost to the Yankees, was strong again with eight strikeouts but was limited to five innings also because of a relatively high pitch count (88).

The Yankees posed threats in the sixth and seventh against the Rangers’ weary bullpen but could not push across a run. Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman (2-0) pitched a shutout inning apiece, but it took help from a pitcher who could not throw strikes and a catcher who could not glove one to lift the Yankees into the air before their charter plane did.

The Yanks are off to San Diego for an inter-league series against the Padres, then head to Chicago for a three-game set against the White Sox and to Cleveland for four games against the red-hot Indians. The Yankees do not return to Yankee Stadium until after the All-Star break when the schedule gets even dicier.

The winning formula works again

Anyone tired of “No Runs DMC” yet? How could any Yankees fan be? Particularly in close games toward the late innings, the anticipation of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman having an impact on the game whets the appetite of any Yankees fan.

Naturally, this cannot be the formula every game or else the trio of power pitchers could get burned out. But for now, the only burning going on is to the opponents’ bats. The group that radio voice John Sterling calls “Murderer’s Throw” contributed to the Yanks’ third straight victory in this homestand, a 2-1 verdict over the Twins in which Minnesota May have derived satisfaction in at least having someone reach base.

Yankees relievers had retired 31 batters in a row before Joe Mauer’s opposite-field single to left off Chapman with two out in the ninth inning. It was only the third hit for the Twins, their first since the third inning and ended a stretch of 15 consecutive batters retired.

It was fools’ gold for Minnesota, however, as Chapman ended the game with a strikeout of Brian Dozier, who had accounted for the Twins’ run with a home run leading off the second inning against Michael Pineda.

That was the only blemish on the outing by Pineda, who allowed just one other hit and one walk with eight strikeouts in his six innings of work. The Yankees tied the score in the fifth against Twins starter Ervin Santana on back-to-back, two-out singles by Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran.

The Yanks threatened again in the sixth, but a rally was choked off when Starlin Castro grounded into a double play. Though the score was tied, manager Joe Girardi went to his favorite formula as he brought in Betances at the start of the seventh in hopes that the Yankees could push across another run.

That did not occur until the eighth against reliever Ryan Pressly. Alex Rodriguez started the inning with an infield single. A hard single to right by Brian McCann sent pinch runner Aaron Hicks to third base. After Mark Teixeira, back in the lineup after 20 days on the disabled list because of torn cartilage in his right knee, struck out, Castro hit a potential double-play grounder to shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who booted the ball for his second error of the game as the eventual winning run scored.

The inning ended on a disputed double play in which McCann was thrown out at home by left fielder Robbie Grossman after catching a liner by Chase Headley. Video replays seemed to indicate that catcher Kurt Suzuki’s tag was high on McCann’s right leg as his left foot crossed the plate, but plate umpire Alfonso Marquez’s call stood after a Yankees challenge.

So the margin remained slim for Chapman, who from the Twins’ viewpoint was at least hittable compared to Friday night when he blew three hitters away with his high-octane fastball. Gardner needed to get on his horse to run down a drive to left-center by Eduardo Nunez. Grossman also hit the ball in grounding out to shortstop before Mauer’s line single. Dozier was not as fortunate as Chapman used sliders to put him away.

The Yankees, now a game over .500 at 37-36, improved their record to 12-0 when all three DMC pitchers appear in a game. They had combined for 10 consecutive 1-2-3 innings over the past four games before Mauer’s hit. Overall, Yankees relievers have 44 consecutive strikeouts since their last walk June 15 at Denver.

To make roster space for Teixeira, the Yankees placed first baseman Ike Davis on waivers. If he clears, he could be optioned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as insurance in the event Teixeira’s knee flares up again. Rob Refsnyder’s surprising play at first base and overall versatility made him more valuable to the Yanks than Davis at this time.

Are Yankees contenders or punching bags?

Before Tuesday night’s game against the Rockies, the opener of a nine-game homestand, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his team has to play better for it to be considered a contender for a playoff berth. He may have to say the same thing Wednesday.

The only contender the Yankees looked like Tuesday night was Chuck Wepner, the professional bleeding machine, in an 8-4 loss to Colorado, which is now 3-0 against them this year.

In or out of Coors Field, the Rockies can hit. Often derided for their inflated statistics at home, the Rockies peppered 15 hits all over Yankee Stadium. In three games against the Yankees, the Rockies have 43 hits, 18 of them for extra bases, including seven home runs.

One night after hitting five solo home runs at Miami, Colorado led off this game with yet another solo shot, by Charlie Blackmon, on a drive that struck the foul pole next to the third deck. The Rox added two more runs that inning against Ivan Nova.

The final score might have been worse if not for some erratic fielding by the Rockies. Errors led to the Yankees’ first two run. In the fifth inning, Carlos Beltran got thrown out at second base trying to advance on a sacrifice fly by Alex Rodriguez. Beltran also misplayed a ball in right field that became a gift double to Carlos Gonzalez, who ultimately scored on a two-out double by Mark Reynolds.

“Mistakes really hurt us,” Girardi said.

A lot of folks in the Stadium crowd of 34,760 got all over third base coach Joe Espada for holding up Didi Gregorius at third base in the sixth inning when it appeared he had a shot at an inside-the-park home run. That might have been the case if Gregorius had run hard out of the box instead of jogging to first base and not turning on the jets until midway between first and second.

The Yankees had 10 hits but were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Colorado batters struck out 13 times, but only once against Nova, whose career record in three starts against the Rockies is 0-2 with an 8.40 ERA.

“He didn’t make the pitches he had to,” Girardi said. “The top four guys in their lineup gave him a hard time.”

Blackmon, D.J. LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado and Gonzalez combined for 11 of Colorado’s hits with eight runs and six RBI. Blackmon homered again in the fourth. Arenado ended the solo-homer stretch by the Rockies with a two-run blast off Nick Goody in the sixth.

Nova’s season ERA rose to 5.18. That gives the Yankees three of their five starting pitchers with ERAs above 5.00. Nathan Eovaldi is at 5.02 and Michael Pineda is at 5.82. The staff ERA leader at 2.20 is CC Sabathia, who will get a chance to turn things around Wednesday.

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