Results tagged ‘ Mark Teixeira ’

Teixeira to miss 3-4 days with strained lat

Just when the Yankees have gotten on a roll, Mark Teixeira has had to come out of the lineup. Tex has been bothered on and off the past two weeks by back spasms. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam revealed a mild strain of the left lat. The first baseman does not have to do on the 15-day disabled list, but he is not likely to play in the four-game series against the Rangers that began Monday night.

Teixeira said before the game that he thought the condition would improve with the four-day layoff of the All-Star break. Instead, it got worse.

“The same thing happened last year when I came back after missing so much time the previous year,” Teixeira said. “You think you’re going to find a fountain of youth, but the time away made me rusty.”

Teixeira certainly looked rusty during the Yankees’ sweep of the Reds by going hitless with one walk and five strikeouts in 12 at-bats. He was to receive a plasma injection from Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees team physician, before the game. The Yankees are hopeful Teixeira may return in three or four days.

Sometimes it’s easy being Greene

The Yankees’ rotation has had an overhaul this season with four-fifths of the Opening Day starting unit gone to the disabled list. The situation has afforded opportunities to some pitchers. Shane Greene is one who has given the Yankees reason to believe they just might get through this crisis.

The Floridian righthander earned his first major-league victory earlier in the week at Cleveland and followed it up Saturday with an even more impressive performance at Baltimore. Greene’s 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball in the Yankees’ 3-0 victory was quite a showing in the hitting paradise that is Camden Yards.

Just as he did last Monday night against the Indians, Greene had his sinker working as few balls hit by the Orioles made their way to the outfield. Other than their four hits, all singles, only two other batted balls by the Birds were outfield flies. Green got 10 outs on infield grounders and another on an infield popup. Oh, yeah, he also totaled nine strikeouts. Nelson Cruz, who entered the game tied for the major league lead in home runs (28) and RBI (74), went down on strikes three times.

This was an outing similar to what we have seen this year from another rookie righthander, Masahiro Tanaka. There will be no suggestion here that Greene is the equivalent of the Japanese phenom, but the Triple A Scranton call-up has proved a worthy substitute trying to work his way into the Yankees’ plans.

Greene did not allow a hit until two outs in the fifth inning. Manny Machado broke up the no-hit bid with a single to left, and Ryan Flaherty followed with a single to center that sent Machado to third base.

The score was 1-0 at that point, so it was a juncture when Greene might have wavered. Instead, he kept the Orioles off the board with a strikeout of Nick Hundley, the same guy whose 10th-inning single Friday night did in the Yankees.

The Orioles threatened again in the sixth when Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce began the inning with well-struck singles. If Greene ever needed a ground ball, this was the time. He got it, too, in the direction of Brian Roberts, who gloved it near second base, got to the bag for the force and made an off-balanced throw to first base for a rally-injuring double play. Greene supplied the killing blow by striking out Cruz.

The Yankees then supported their young pitcher in a way they have not been doing in recent games in which they have often taken early leads but have not tacked on runs later on. Orioles starter Chris Tillman kept pace with Greene for six innings. The Yankees scored a run in the third on a double by Mark Teixeira but lost another run when Derek Jeter was thrown out at the plate.

In the seventh, a pair of two-out hits, a single by Jeter off Tillman and a double by Jacoby Ellsbury off reliever T.J. McFarland, gave the Yanks two key insurance run. Brian McCann’s third hit of the game almost got another run in, but a strong throw to the plate by center fielder Adam Jones nailed Ellsbury.

It was encouraging to see the Yankees put together a sustained attack in the late innings, but as it turned out one run was all Greene needed. After he got the first out of the eighth, Greene was removed for lefthander David Huff, who gave up a single to Nick Markakis. Shawn Kelley got the final two outs of the inning before David Robertson finished it off with a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.

So after two brilliant starts, Greene is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA and has given the Yankees hope that there may be more good stuff to come.

“He’s stepping up; that’s for sure,” Girardi told reporters. “He’s earning starts is what he’s doing.”

Yankees win marathon at end of gloomy day

It took 14 innings and 4 hours, 51 minutes, but the Yankees finally found something to smile about Wednesday after hearing the depressing news earlier in the day that Masahiro Tanaka won’t be around for the rest of this trip.

The Yankees went seven innings without scoring before Jacoby Ellsbury homered off Indians righthander Vinnie Pestano with two out in the 14th to take a 5-4 lead. They then had to sweat through the bottom half as the Tribe got a runner to second base with one out. David Robertson struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and notched his 22nd save when Zoilo Almonte ran down Michael Brantley’s drive to left field.

The game came close to ending in Cleveland’s favor in the 10th when David Huff, one of eight Yankees pitcher, walked the bases loaded with one out. Shawn Kelley came to the rescue with a big strikeout of Nick Swisher and withstood a long foul down the right field line by David Murphy before retiring him on a ground ball to shortstop.

Brandon McCarthy was the 10th different pitcher to start for the Yankees this season. There could be an 11th Sunday night in place of Tanaka, who went on the 15-day disabled list because of right elbow inflammation, unless Chase Whitley returns to the rotation. Whitley pitched two innings of one-hit, three-strikeout relief to get the winning decision Wednesday night.

McCarthy found out right away what it can be like for a Yankees starter when two regulars were out of the lineup. Left fielder Brett Gardner was nursing an abdominal strain. Designated hitter Carlos Beltran was supposed to return to the lineup after missing two games because of a swollen right knee. But during batting practice, a ball Beltran hit ricocheted off the cage and struck him in the face.

Derek Jeter, who was originally slated for a night off, had to take over at DH. Brian Roberts, who was to have batted in DJ’s usual second spot in the order, was dropped to Beltran’s 5-hole. Almonte, just called up from Triple A Scranton, was in left field, and another recent call-up, Zelous Wheeler, was at third base. I can’t remember the last time the Yankees had two guys whose names begin with ‘Z’ in the lineup at the same time.

McCarthy, a 6-foot-7 righthander who was only 3-10 for Arizona this year, got off to a quirky start as the Indians scored three runs off him in the first inning, although none was earned because of a throwing error by Mark Teixeira. Throwing to second base trying for a double play after fielding a grounder by Carlos Santana, Tex hit Brantley, the runner, which loaded the bases with one out.

An infield out, which should have been the third of the inning, brought in one run, and Swisher delivered two more with a single to right-center. Swish continued his punishment of his old club in this series. He homered in each of the prior two games.

Teixeira made up for his wayward throw by getting those three runs back for McCarthy with a pair of home runs off Indians starter Josh Tomlin. Brian McCann also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the Yankees’ three-run fifth as they took the lead.

McCarthy couldn’t maintain it, however. Cabrera doubled with one out in the bottom of the fifth and scored on a two-out single by Santana. Still, it was a favorable first outing for the pitcher recently obtained in a trade for lefthander Vidal Nuno. McCarthy gave them what Nuno did not always provide, distance. McCarthy lasted for 6 2/3 innings and displayed a decent sinker. Of his 20 outs, 12 were on ground balls and two others were in the infield to go with three strikeouts.

Swisher hurts old club with homer off Tanaka

The Yankees’ rotation got a pleasant jolt Monday night when Triple A Scranton call-up Shane Greene pitched six strong innings for his first major-league victory and earned another start, which he will make Saturday at Baltimore with Chase Whitley moving to a spot in the bullpen.

The rotation got a different sort of jolt Tuesday night as Masahiro Tanaka got beat up. Oh, he wasn’t completely battered, but the Japanese righthander has been so impressive in the first portion of the 2014 season that it was stunning to watch him blow a two-run lead in the middle innings and finish after 6 2/3 innings with five earned runs and 10 hits allowed, both season highs, or lows as the case may be.

Just as they had for Greene the night before, the Yankees broke out to an early lead against the Indians, who helped matters along with some shabby defense. The Tribe made three errors in the first five innings, including a wild throw to second base by catcher Yon Gomes on a double steal that allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to score the second run of the first inning. Mark Teixeira, who drove in the first run with a single, got his first stolen base of the season on the back end of the twin swipe.

The teams exchanged runs over the next inning before Tanaka seemed to settle in. His splitter got him five strikeouts into the fourth inning, but he seemed to abandon it in favor of his slider. A hanger to Nick Swisher proved especially costly as the former Yankees outfielder crushed it for a two-run home run, his second homer in two nights, that put the Indians ahead in the sixth.

Tanaka had even more problems with Michael Brantley, who doubled in a run in the first inning, doubled in another with two out in the fifth and bashed his 14th homer in the seventh. The two will be American League teammates in next week’s All-Star Game. I wonder if Tanaka will shake Brantley’s hand.

It marked the second straight game that Tanaka gave up four or more runs, although he won that previous start. What made this game interesting is that usually Tanaka dominates the first time he faces a club. This was Cleveland’s first look at Tanaka, and the Tribe obviously took the correct approach.

It did not help Tanaka one bit that the Yankees could not pad on their 2-0 and 3-1 leads. They did not get a hit after the third inning as Indians starter Trevor Bauer pitched four scoreless innings and relievers Bryan Shaw and Corey Allen added one apiece. The last 13 Yankees batters in the game were retired, five on strikeouts.

Ellsbury made a rare base-running blunder in the fifth when he was thrown out trying to steal third base with a left-handed batter, Brian McCann, at the plate with two out. Making the third out on such an attempt is a cardinal sin but was overlooked at the time because the Yankees had a two-run lead. But not for long.

Newcomer Brandon McCarthy will make his first start for the Yankees Wednesday night at Progressive Field. Ready for another jolt?

Yanks back to winning ways outside division

After going 6-9 in a 15-game stretch against American League East opponents, the Yankees were probably glad to play someone in another division, and who better than the last-place Twins in the AL Central who are currently without Joe Mauer on the disabled list. Despite some bad news surrounding the club, the Yankees ended a season-high five-game winning streak with a 7-4 victory Thursday night and celebrated the Fourth of July by taking a 6-1 lead in the first two innings Friday and hanging on to win, 6-5.

The disturbing news is that the Yankees are not likely to get CC Sabathia back this season. The lefthander was shut down after his injury-rehabilitation start earlier this week for Double A Trenton and has an appointment with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., July 14 to determine whether he will need surgery on his right knee. If so, Sabathia will be out for the remainder of the season.

That is a cruel blow, considering that one of the pitchers who had shored up the rotation in CC’s absence, Chase Whitley, had another rough outing Friday. The righthander, who had pitched well in his first seven starts, failed to get past the fourth inning for the third straight start. He lasted only three innings and allowed four runs and eight hits, including two home runs.

Whitley was treated to a sizeable early lead as the Yankees scored three runs apiece in the first two innings with a six-hit (five for extra bases) barrage against Kyle Gibson. The Twins closed to 6-4 by the third before David Huff put a clamp on things. The lefthander retired all nine batters he faced over three innings and earned the winning decision. Huff may also have put himself in position to get a shot at starting.

It sure won’t be Triple A righthander Alfredo Aceves, who was the other piece of bad news for the Yankees. He was suspended by Major League Baseball for violation of the drug policy.

Derek Jeter was given July 4 off and batting in his customary 2-hole was Brian Roberts, who had a stellar game. Roberts collected three doubles and a triple for the first four-extra-base-hit game of his career. Francisco Cervelli, starting in place of ailing Brian McCann (sore left foot), had three hits, including two doubles. Mark Teixeira also doubled, and Brett Gardner tripled to open the game.

The Twins made it a one-run game in the eighth and had the potential tying run at second base with two outs in the ninth before David Robertson struck out Chris Parmelee looking to notch his 20th save.

Robertson also saved Thursday night’s victory for Masahiro Tanaka, who improved his record to 12-3, over former teammate Phil Hughes. An old problem for Hughes, the long ball, came into play. He lost a 2-0 lead in the fifth by serving up a three-run home run to Carlos Beltran. Zelous Weaver, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Thursday to replace the farmed out Yangervis Solarte, also homered that inning. He added a single and scored a second run in the Yankees’ three-run seventh to round out an impressive major-league debut.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wheeler became only the sixth Yankees player over the past 40 years to get a home run as his first major-league hit, joining Andy Phillips (2004), Marcus Thames (2002), Alfonso Soriano (1999), Dan Pasqua (1985) and Joe Lefebvre (1980). Elias also pointed out that Beltran has now homered in 38 different ballparks in his big-league career, the second-most among current players only the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (39). The major-league record is 45 by Sammy Sosa.

The Yankees have won seven straight games at Target Field, dating to Sept. 26, 2012. They are 13-3 all-time in that yard. . .It was Roberts’ first four-hit game since Aug. 14, 2009 for the Orioles against the Angels and the second time this season he has fallen a home run short of a cycle. The other time was April 17 at Tampa Bay (single, double, triple). . .Since entering the majors in 2003, Teixeira has the highest batting average among all players against the Twins (.371 in 272 at-bats). He is a .364 hitter in nine career games and 33 at-bats at Target Field. . .Cervelli had three hits in a game for the first time since Aug. 6, 2011 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The Yankees played the Twins on the Fourth of July for the second straight year and the eighth time since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961. The Yankees are 5-3 in those games. They swept a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in 1964 by scores of 7-5 and 2-1 and were swept in a doubleheader at old Metropolitan Stadium in 1967 by scores of 8-3 and 7-6. The Yankees also won, 3-2, in 1985 at Yankee Stadium and 9-5 at Target Field last year. They lost, 6-2, at the Stadium in 2007. . .The Yankees played on the road on the Fourth of July for the fourth straight year, the first time they have done that in franchise history. . .They are 31-27 on the Fourth of July in the Expansion Era (since 1961).

Red Sox outlast Yanks to take series

You could feel the air come out of Yankee Stadium in the third inning Sunday night when David Ortiz blasted a 0-1 pitch from Chase Whitley into the right field bleachers for a three-run home run and a 4-0 Red Sox lead.

The Stadium crowd was pretty lively until that point but turned gloomy at the reality of seeing the offensive-struggling Yankees down that much early against as solid a pitcher as Boston’s John Lackey.

Whitley had given up a run in the second inning on a double by Mike Napoli and a one-out single by Stephen Drew, but it was the Ortiz bomb that spelled disaster for the Yankees. It was career homer No. 450 for Big Papi, who ranks 37th on the all-time list. The Yankees would have some fireworks of their own, however, to work themselves back into the game.

It began with a gift run in the bottom of the third. Ichiro Suzuki reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Brock Holt. After Ichiro stole second base, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter put Lackey to work. Gardner grounded out at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat with Suzuki crossing to third. Jeter then pushed Lackey to 11 pitches, pushing a single to right field on the last one to get the Yankees on the board.

The fireworks came in the fourth as Mark Teixeira (No. 15) and Carlos Beltran (No. 8) took Lackey deep to make it a one-run game. That brought the crowd back into play, but Yankees fans were not pleased at all with what came next.

Whitley came out of the game after he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to begin the fifth. Shawn Kelley was not any better. He walked Holt and Daniel Nava, which loaded the bases with no outs and no hits. Dustin Pedroia lofted a flare just over first base for a two-run single that also sent Nava to third base.

Lefthander David Huff came in to face Ortiz and kept him in the yard with a flyout to shallow left field. Huff picked Pedroia off first base, but the runner kept himself in a rundown long enough for Nava to cross the plate while the out was made at first base. Just like that, the Yankees were down by four runs again.

Whitley, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in mid-May to pitch in the rotation after CC Sabathia went on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation, did well in his first seven starts as he went 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA during that stretch. In his past two starts, however, the righthander has allowed 13 earned runs and 19 hits in 7 1/3 innings for a 15.95 ERA that has driven his season ERA to 4.70.

Unlike Saturday night’s 2-1 Boston victory, Sunday night was more like Yankees-Red Sox games we have come to know. The Yankees got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth on a triple by Suzuki, a double by Gardner and two infield outs.

Ichiro’s triple was a drive to right on which rookie Mookie Betts attempted a diving catch only to have the ball bounce past him. Ichiro’s 40-year-old legs got to third base, but there was a time he would have made it all the way home on such a hit.

Betts was playing in his first major-league game. He got his first hit, a single, in the fourth. I am amused at the idea of a player named Mookie with the Red Sox. Baseball’s only other Mookie — Wilson — broke Sox fans hearts with his tapper past first baseman Bill Buckner that won Game 6 of the 1986 World Series for the Mets. It turns out that Mookie Betts was not named after Wilson but after Mookie Blaylock, his mother’s favorite NBA player.

The Yankees finally got a pitcher who threw strikes consistently when Dellin Betances entered the game in the sixth and inherited a bases-loaded, no-outs situation. The Red Sox got minimal damage with one run on a sacrifice fly by Pedroia after Nava struck out. Betances won the battle against Ortiz, who grounded out to second.

Pushed to 96 pitches, Lackey was gone after the fifth. The Yanks lost a scoring opportunity in the sixth against Burke Bradenhop when Carlos Beltran, who had doubled with one out, was thrown out at the plate by Bradley on a single to center by Kelly Johnson.

In the seventh, Betances struck out Napoli with a high fastball. What an idiot.

Napoli did not fare any better in the ninth when he was called out on strikes against Jose Ramirez. By then, the die had been cast. Boston was polishing off an 8-5 victory saved by Koji Uehara. The Red Sox took the series, two games to one, as the Yankees once again failed to capitalize on Toronto and Baltimore both losing and remained in third place in the American League East. They also fell to 6-6 in the stretch of 15 games against AL East competition that concludes with the three-game set against the Rays starting Monday night at the Stadium.

Girardi awarded for sticking with Nuno

It would not have surprised anyone if Yankees manager Joe Girardi used Thursday’s open date to skip over Vidal Nuno in the rotation. The lefthander has struggled over the past six weeks as an emergency starter in the Yankees’ injury-riddled rotation. With Thursday’s open date, the Yanks’ first off day in 24 days, Girardi could have sat down Nuno and kept the rest of the rotation on schedule.

Fans of Masahiro Tanaka would not have minded that, either, because by starting Friday night the Japanese righthander would have put himself in position to pitch in the All-Star Game. As it is now, while he may be named to the American League squad Tanaka is doubtful to be able to pitch in the July 15 All-Star Game at Minneapolis’ Target Field because barring rainouts his final start before the break would be Sunday, July 13, at Baltimore.

Despite fielding many questions about Nuno’s place in the starting unit, Girardi reiterated that his rotation will have no change, at least not for now. So Nuno took the mound Friday night against the Red Sox in the opener of a three-game series in front of a full-house crowd of 48,522 at Yankee Stadium and came up with his best start of the season.

Nuno pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed two hits and two walks with five strikeouts to earn his first winning decision in nine starts since May 7 and end a personal four-game losing streak. As recently as two starts ago at Oakland, Nuno was pounded for eight earned runs in three innings as his ERA skied to 5.90. He dropped it to 5.42 Friday night with all the zeroes he put up on the scoreboard.

There is still much room for improvement for Nuno, but this was a positive start toward that end. He limited the defending World Series champions to a single by Jonny Gomes in the second and a double by Brock Holt in the third. When he walked David Ortiz with two out in the sixth, Nuno was replaced by Dellin Betances, who along with Adam Warren and Matt Thornton preserved the shutout.

Mark Teixeira gave Nuno a 1-0 lead in the first inning against righthander Brandon Workman on a sacrifice fly. The Yankees broke open the game in fourth with a pair of home runs, a two-run blast by Kelly Johnson and a solo shot by Brett Gardner back-to-back. They pushed the score to 6-0 with another homer in the eighth, a two-run bomb into the second deck in right field by Brian McCann off lefthander Craig Breslow.

It was a great way to start the weekend. And by not toying with the rotation, Girardi created a dream matchup Saturday night at the Stadium with Tanaka opposing Jon Lester.

Jays a different club away from Stadium

What a difference a venue makes. Last week at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees swept a three-game series from the first-place Blue Jays that let Toronto know it was not going to run away and hide in the American League East. That sweep ran to 16 games the Yankees’ winning streak at home against the Jays.

The return engagement at Rogers Centre was a different story, at least for Monday night’s series opener. The Blue Jays struck early and often in their own building to end Chase Whitley’s good luck charm on the road with an 8-3 victory.

The Yankees had been 5-0 in road games started by Whitley, the Triple A call-up who has done a splendid job in plugging up one of the holes in the injury-riddled rotation. The Alabama righthander did not have it this night, however, as Toronto burst out to a 7-0 lead after two innings. That marked as many runs as Whitley allowed over his four previous starts combined covering 24 2/3 innings.

Melky Cabrera, who has tormented his former teammates since he left after the 2009 season, got the ball rolling for the Jays with a one-out double in the first inning. Adam Lind, batting in the 3-hole with Jose Bautista out because of hamstring problems, knocked in Cabrera with a single.

Lind did quite a bit more damage in the six-run Toronto second inning. The Jays loaded the bases with none out on three straight singles. A fielder’s choice and an RBI single by Cabrera made the score 3-0 before Lind broke the game open with a three-run home run over the center field wall.

Cabrera extended his hitting streak against the Yankees to 20 games. During the stretch, he has batted .349 with seven doubles, one triple and one home run in 83 at-bats. Melky has reached base safely in all 22 career games against his former club. The last player with a 20-game hitting streak against the Yankees was also named Cabrera, the Tigers’ Miguel (no relation) from 2006-10.

Whitley, who had walked only four batters in his seven prior starts totaling 38 2/3 innings, walked the first two guys up in the fourth and appeared gassed. Dioner Navarro singled to drive in the Blue Jays’ eighth run, which forced manager Joe Girardi to go to the bullpen.

The relief work of David Huff and Shawn Kelley were bright spots for the Yankees. Huff pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed one hit and two walks with three strikeouts and a wild pitch. Kelley struck out the side in the eighth and gave up one hit.

It was the first poor outing for Whitley, who was charged with eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings as his ERA hiked from 2.56 to 4.07. The righthander allowed 11 hits and three walks with one strikeout and one wild pitch.

Marcus Stroman, who could not get through the fourth inning last week at the Stadium, pitched a solid eight for the Blue Jays this time. The righthander from Long Island gave up one run on Mark Teixeira’s 13th homer and only two other hits, singles by Brendan Ryan and Ichiro Suzuki, and had seven strikeouts.

Considering the state of the Yankees’ offense these days, the hole Whitley put his team in was too great out of which for his teammates to climb. The Yankees did score a couple of runs in the ninth off Chad Jenkins. Yangervis Solarte, who entered the game in the eighth, stopped a 0-for-28 slump with an RBI single, and Kelly Johnson doubled in a run.

Those were the Yankees’ only runs other than the two from a pair of homers by Teixeira over the past 27 innings for the Yankees, who fell 2 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays, a sign that they were no longer at Yankee Stadium.

Offense runs dry against Orioles

Sunday was one of those rare Old-Timers’ Days when the game between the team’s former stars is more pleasant than the real game. The Yankees put a damper on a fun-filled weekend with full houses at Yankee Stadium Saturday and Sunday with losses to the Orioles both days.

They followed an uplifting comeback victory Friday night on Carlos Beltran’s three-run home run. That was the last real burst of offense for the Yankees, who scored one run over the final 18 innings of the series.

“Going 4-2 against your division rivals in one week is pretty good,” manager Joe Girardi said, “but it’s also disappointing because we were 4-0 at one time.”

Friday night’s victory followed a three-game sweep of the first-place Blue Jays that tightened up the American League East standings. They stiffened even more Sunday. The Yankees and the Orioles are tied for second place, 1 1/2 games behind the Jays. All three clubs are even in the loss column.

Baltimore’s 8-0 victory was all the more shocking because Masahiro Tanaka started the game for the Yankees. He was credited with another quality start for having allowed three earned runs in seven innings with six hits, a walk and six strikeouts, but since the Yankees could not score the effort went for naught as his record went to 11-2 and ended a personal five-game winning streak.

Perhaps the game might have gone differently had Brett Gardner not been thrown out at third base trying for a triple leading off the first inning. He slid past the bag and was tagged out by Manny Machado, who kept his glove on Gardy’s leg while his hand came off the base following a head-first slide.

Then again, maybe not. The Yankees got only three more hits in the game while the Orioles kept pounding away. They hit four home runs Saturday and added two more Sunday. Jonathan Schoop took Tanaka deep in the second. Catcher Jacob Joseph added his first career homer in the ninth off David Huff.

Tanaka gave up two more runs in the seventh without the ball leaving the yard. Adam Warren was tagged for four runs in the eighth, an unsightly inning for the Yankees that included two errors.

One was a wild throw by third baseman Kelly Johnson that was excusable under the circumstance. With runners on first and second and none out, Nelson Cruz hit a chopper to Johnson, who stepped on third and then threw the ball into the first base stands while Steve Pearce running from second to third slid in front of him.

Pearce appeared to have run out of the baseline and should have been called for interference. That was Girardi’s argument, too. He was told, however, that Pearce was still in the proximity of third base. Well, judging from my view Pearce must have the wing span of a 747 jetliner to have had his right hand anywhere near third base on that play.

Didn’t matter; the play was not renewable and stayed. “You don’t need to review it,” Girardi said. “You just need to call it. It was a dangerous slide. If it happens at second base or first base it gets called.”

The game soon went out of hand when J.J. Hardy cleared the bases with a double. The bottom of the eighth didn’t go well for the Yankees, either. Mark Teixeira, who accounted for the Yanks’ only run of the past two games with his 12th homer Saturday, was hit in the left foot with a pitch and came out of the game. X-rays were negative, however, and Tex was relieved after the game.

Nevertheless, the good feeling the Yankees derived from their climbing up Toronto’s back was negated somewhat by Baltimore doing the same to them. This is a division race up for grabs.

HOPE Week: Mother’s major helper

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The concluding event of the Yankees’ HOPE Week 2014 (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) Friday brought pitchers CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Dellin Betances and Jose Ramirez; infielders Mark Teixeira, Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan and Yangervis Solarte and catcher Brian McCann to St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J., for a surprise lunch for Quai Jefferson, and his mother, Vaida.

The group was joined by notable St. Joseph alumni John Flaherty, the former Yankees catcher and current YES Network broadcaster, and NFL players Jason McCourty of the Tennessee Titans and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots, who are twin brothers. Select members of the St. Joseph Regional faculty who have had a profound influence on Quai’s life also attended. Later in the evening, Quai and Vaida and their family and friends were guests of the Yankees for their game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

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CC Sabathia and Quai Jefferson

Now a freshman at the University of Delaware, Quai Jefferson was only six years old when his mother, Vaida, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 11 years ago. By the time he was 10, Quai was running the household, cooking and doing laundry. Nurses taught him to check Vaida’s blood pressure and inject her twice a day with Copaxone, a drug which eases the effects of MS.

Now 18, Quai (pronounced Kway) graduated from St. Joseph Regional where he was on the honor roll and a two-sport varsity athlete in football and basketball. At Delaware, Quai will play football and major in business administration with an emphasis in accounting or marketing.

“He has taken on a parent’s responsibility,” Regina Kay, a family friend, said of Quai. “It’s like a role reversal. He’s doing everything his mother would do for him, and he doesn’t give it a second thought. It’s their normal.“

Prior to her diagnosis, Vaida was a design assistant for Jones New York who spent her free time doting on her son and exposing him to a variety of activities, including art classes, piano lessons and tap dancing. Unfortunately, her declining health forced things to change. When most kids would hang out with friends after school, Quai went home to care for his mother, never complaining or shrinking from the responsibility. Over the years since Vaida was first diagnosed, friends and relatives have come and gone but Quai has been steadfast in his devotion.

“She’s truly my heart, my rock and my stone,” Quai said. “She’s all I have.”

He and his mother have a mantra they repeat to each other in tough times — “Adapt and overcome.”

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Mark Teixeira and Vaida Jefferson

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