Results tagged ‘ Mark Teixeira ’

Yankees made a wide turn in July

The Yankees may look back at July as the turning-point month of the 2015 season for them. They entered July with a 41-37 record and in third place in the American League East albeit only a half-game out of first.

They won the first three games in the month and went on to a 17-7 record for a .709 winning percentage, the best mark in the major leagues and their most victories in a calendar month since September 2012 when they were 17-11 (.607).

By the end of July, the Yankees had a 58-44 record and were in first place in the division with a six-game lead. They have had a non-losing record in July in each of the past 23 seasons with a winning mark in 22 of them. The exception was 2012 when they played .500 ball at 13-13.

Mark Teixeira emerged as a serious candidate for American League Most Valuable Player honors by batting .333 with nine home runs and 19 RBI in 23 games and 87 at-bats while playing superlative defense at first base. It was his highest homer total in a calendar month since June 2011 when he also had nine. Alex Rodriguez matched Tex in homers last month and hit .286 in 84 at-bats.

Third baseman Chase Headley batted .370 with 15 RBI in 21 games and 81 at-bats in July to raise his season batting average from .246 to .273. It marked his most hits in a calendar month since July 2014 (31) and his most RBI since September 2012 (30). His .370 average was his highest in a calendar month in his career (minimum 15 at-bats).

Shortstop Didi Gregorius hit .317 with 13 RBI in 24 July games and 82 at-bats, his most in a calendar month in his career. His previous high was 10 RBI in May 2013. Gregorius has raised his batting average each month this season (.206 in April, .232 in May, .258 in June and .317 in July).

The Yankees did not import any starting pitching prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but they will bring up one of their top pitching prospects to join the rotation next week. Righthander Luis Severino, 21, will start for the Yankees Wednesday night against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Severino was 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after his promotion from Double A Trenton where he was 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA.

Teixeira posts 2nd straight 3-hit, 2-HR game

When the Yankees scored 21 runs Tuesday night at Arlington, Texas, Mark Teixeira did not have one of the the team’s 19 hits. He did reach base twice on a walk and being hit by a pitch and scored both times but essentially was left out of all the fun.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave Teixeira Wednesday night off, and the first baseman has been on fire ever since. Tex pounded two home runs Thursday night in a 7-6 loss to the Rangers and put on a major show Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field.

The Yankees broke out of the gate with a rush and kept it up for a 13-6 victory over the White Sox. Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brendan Ryan had three hits apiece in the Yanks’ 18-hit attack. Alex Rodriguez reached base in all five of his plate appearances (double, single, three walks) and scored four runs. Nathan Eovaldi improved his record to 11-2 despite needing 117 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings.

Two more home runs came off the bat of Teixeira, who also doubled and walked and knocked in six runs. The switch hitter homered from both sides of the plate in a game for the 14th time in his career, breaking the major league record he had shared with former teammate Nick Swisher. It was also the 41st multi-homer game in Teixeira’s career. The only switch hitter with more is Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle with 46.

Teixeira’s first homer was a grand slam as part of a five-run second inning that staked Evoldi to a 6-0 lead. Tex greeted reliever Matt Albers in the fourth with a two-run blast. The Yankees batted around in both innings and totaled 10 runs.

This marks Teixeira’s 10th season with at least 25 homers and his first since 2011 when he bashed 39. He is tied with Mantle and Chipper Jones for the second most 25-homer seasons for a switch hitter. The all-time leader is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray with 12.

Tex has had multiple hits in eight of 12 games since July 18 and is batting .457 with 12 runs, six doubles, six home runs, 11 RBI and six walks in 46 at-bats over that span to raise his season batting average from .239 to .269.

Coming back from two sub-par, injury-riddled seasons, Teixeira has been touted as a candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year. However, with 28 home runs and 73 RBI with 60 games left on the schedule, Tex is a solid candidate for the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Try to imagine where the Yankees would be without him.

Leads come and go for Sabathia & Yankees

The Yankees simply could not hang on to a lead Thursday night. These see-saw battles often end with the team up last winning, which was the case as the Rangers turned them away, 7-6, with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning. After winning six consecutive series, the Yankees had to settle for a split of the four-game set in Arlington, Texas.

CC Sabathia, pushed into starting with Michael Pineda (strained right forearm flexor muscle) going on the 15-day disabled list, set the tone by failing to cling to leads of 3-0 and 5-4. The lefthander has squandered a dozen leads this season, most in the majors.

The Yankees staked Sabathia to a three-run advantage before he took the mound as they jumped on Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a triple down the left field line. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner. One out later, Mark Teixeira connected for the first of two home runs in the game. After a single by Brian McCann and a walk to Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley knocked in the third run of the inning with a two-out single.

It did not take long for Sabathia to lose that lead. He gave up leadoff singles to Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus and allowed the Rangers to tie the score on one swing, by Josh Hamilton off a hanging breaking ball.

Sabathia entered the game having held left-handed batters to a .189 batting average for the season and no home runs in his past 15 starts. Leading off the second inning, another left-handed hitter, Shin-Soo Choo, took Sabathia deep for a 4-3 Texas lead.

The Yankees gave Sabathia another chance in the third when his catcher, Brian McCann, smacked a two-run home run. Texas tied the score an inning later on an inside-the-park home run by Ryan Rua on a drive to center that Ellsbury played poorly. He dived for the sinking liner and had it get past him all the way to the wall as Rua circled the bases.

Sabathia came out of the game after giving up a leadoff single to Rua in the sixth, but Justin Wilson struck out Choo and induced a double-play grounder from Robinson Chirinos. Sabathia had to be hospitalized after the game because of symptoms of dehydration. The temperature in Arlington was 100 degrees for the first pitch.

Teixeira’s second homer, a solo shot in the seventh, put the Yanks in front again. It was career homer No. 389 for Tex, who tied Hall of Famer Johnny Bench on the all-time list.

A leadoff walk to Chirinos and a wild pitch by Wilson in the bottom of the seventh proved costly. Chirinos had to stop at third on a hard-hit single to left by Andrus off Dellin Betances but scored on a fielder’s choice by Prince Fielder.

The Rangers loaded the bags after that but failed to score. The Yankees also filled the bases with two out in the eighth but did not plate a run as Gardner struck out. Hamilton’s fourth RBI on a two-out single off Andrew Miller (0-2) in the bottom of the ninth did in the Yankees.

Miller, on the mound for the first time since last Saturday, did not appear sharp and was hit hard. Ellsbury made a fence-crashing catch to take down a drive by Andrus. Miller caught a break when a sizzling liner by Leonys Martin hit DeShields running from first to second, but nobody got in the way of Hamilton’s line single that was the game winner.

The Yankees maintained their six-game lead in the American League East with the Blue Jays jumping into second place over the Orioles, whose five-game winning streak ended. Fortified by trades that sent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitcher David Price to Toronto, the Jays pose a threat to the Yankees, who have 13 games remaining against the Canadian club this season.

Teixeira not overwhelmed by all the heat

Mark Teixeira saw his share of blazing fastballs last week. At the All-Star Game in Cincinnati, he faced the Reds’ hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman and ended the game by swinging through a 103-mph heater from the game’s hardest thrower.

So after that, what is a 98-mph fastball to Teixeira? Mariners reliever Fernando Rodney, another of baseball’s muscle men among pitchers, got ahead in the count 1-2 on Teixeira with 98-mph gas with two out in the eighth inning Sunday. Rodney then made the mistake of throwing the same pitch in the same location on the next delivery, which Teixeira crushed to right field for a home run that broke up a tie game and sent the Yankees toward a 2-1 victory.

There were an abundance of contributions Teixeira made to this victory, which increased the Yankees’ lead in the American League East to four games over the Orioles, who moved into second place Sunday and will arrive at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night to open a three-game series.

Teixeira had two other hits in Sunday’s game, both singles, including a knock in the sixth inning off Felix Hernandez that sent Brett “White Shoes” Gardner to third base from where he scored on a clutch, two-out single by Carlos Beltran, who was fresh off the disabled list, that tied the score. Tex also made a dazzling catch leaning over the railing behind first base on a ball hit by the dangerous Nelson Cruz for a big out in the top of the eighth.

The home run was Teixeira’s first hit off Rodney in 10 career at-bats against the righthander, who lost his closer job last month and has been used in a set-up role ever since. Tex’s play on Cruz helped the Yankees’ set-up reliever, Dellin Betances, get through the eighth in which he allowed two walks. The homer created the winning decision for Betances (6-2), thanks to Andrew Miller’s 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save.

Although he was not involved in the decision, CC Sabathia had his second straight encouraging outing. He gave up one run, six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in six innings. Pitching for the first time in 11 days, Sabathia appeared strong despite the 92-degree heat. CC worked both sides of the plate, utilizing the cut fastball he has been working on and a hard-biting slider.

Sabathia’s only troublesome inning was the fifth when he gave up singles to Jesus Montero and Chris Taylor, who were sacrificed to third and second bases, respectively, by .158-hitting catcher Mike Zunino.

Austin Jackson singled to center for one run as Taylor stopped at third. He stayed there, too, as Sabathia came back to strike out Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano, who had combined for four home runs and seven RBI over the previous two games. Justin Wilson stranded a runner at third base in the seventh before the late-inning combination of Betances and Miller did their magic.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi talked with Sabathia before the All-Star break and reminded him of his importance to the staff both as a performer and a motivator.

“He is the one guy who has been there,” Girardi said, referring to pennant races among pitchers in the rotation. “We need him to be big for us. The ability is there. It has been a matter of consistency of pitches. He expects to do well and works hard at his trade. He understands this is his time of year.”

Teixeira continues to be a prime candidate for Comeback Player of the Year honors. His 23 home runs and 63 RBI exceed his output in those categories for all of last year (22 homers and 62 RBI in 123 games). Of his 23 home runs this season, 12 have either tied the game (four) or given the Yankees the lead (eight), and of his 74 hits this season, 40 have gone for extra bases (17 doubles, 23 homers).

Another Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Alex Rodriguez, singled in the first inning for his 3,023rd career hit to tie Lou Brock for 24th place on baseball’s all-time hits list. A-Rod is batting .320 in 41 games and 147 at-bats at home this season . . . Over his past 15 games since June 16, Beltran is batting .340 with six runs, five doubles, three home runs and eight RBI in 15 games and 50 at-bats . . . The Yankees have a 6-1 record this season in games started by former Cy Young Award winners.

Stadium just how Cano remembered it

Think Robinson Cano misses Yankee Stadium? You bet he does. Oh, sure, he found 240 million reasons to leave the Yankees as a free agent after the 2013 season and sign a 10-year contract with Seattle where he has found Safeco Field to be no match for hitter friendliness as the right field porch at the Stadium.

Cano was back aiming at that porch Saturday and hit pay dirt twice with a couple of two-run home runs that accounted for all the Mariners’ runs in their 4-3 victory. Both blows were off Michael Pineda (9-6), who took the loss despite six serviceable innings.

For the second straight game, all of Seattle’s runs were the result of two home runs by one player. Friday night it was Kyle Seager in a 4-3 loss to the Yankees. Saturday, it was Cano, who has not been the same power hitter with the Mariners that he was with the Yankees.

In nine seasons with the Yankees, Cano averaged 23 home runs a year. In his second season with the Mariners, Cano has hit 22 home runs total in 949 at-bats, the equivalent of almost two full seasons. The change in venue has been part of it. Including his game Saturday, Cano is a .312 career hitter at Yankee Stadium with 81 home runs, 293 RBI and an OPS above .900 in 1,544 at-bats. At Safeco Field, he has batted for a decent average (.298) but has only 16 home runs and 75 RBI in 608 career at-bats.

Cano has dealt with some health problems this year, especially a chronic case of acid reflux that has sapped some of his strength and presented nutritional issues. But there have been signs lately that he is turning his season around, which has coincided with Edgar Martinez, the Mariners’ former two-time batting champion, joining the club as its hitting coach.

Cano is batting .333 (20-for-60) this month with 10 runs, four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI in 14 games. In 25 games since June 17, he has hit .290 with 14 runs, seven doubles, six home runs and 15 RBI in 100 at-bats after batting .236 with 25 runs, 16 doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI in his first 63 games and 254 at-bats. Cano has six home runs over his past 21 games after hitting only two over his first 67 games of the year.

He definitely hurt the Yankees, who got a two-run home run from Brian McCann in the fourth inning off Hisashi Iwakuma (2-1) that tied the score. Two innings later, Cano victimized Pineda again.

The Yankees threatened in the ninth inning against righthander Carson Smith, who has replaced Fernando Rodney as Seattle’s closer, but came up a run short. Mark Teixeira, who led off the inning with a double to center, scored on an infield out by Garrett Jones. Chris Young, pinch running for Chase Headley who had reached first base on a third-strike wild pitch, was at second base with two out, but Didi Gregorius grounded out.

That left the Yankees 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the game. The Mariners were not any better (0-for-3). It is a rare game in which both sides fail in the clutch. This turned out to be a game of home runs, and for a change with his new club Robinson Cano had the higher total

Betances does his part in AL All-Star victory

CINCINNATI — American League manager Ned Yost of the Royals came through for Dellin Betances. Aware that Betances never got out of the AL bullpen at last year’s All-Star Game at Minneapolis, Yost told the righthander the seventh inning would be all his Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park.

Betances did his part in the AL’s 6-3 victory that guaranteed home field advantage in the World Series to the league, although that did not help Yost last year as his Royals lost Game 7 at home to the Giants. Blame that on Madison Bumgarner.

The Yankees’ set-up reliever got through the seventh unscathed, much like he has during the regular season. Working with a 5-2 lead thanks to a two-run rally in the top of the inning that was fueled in part by teammate Mark Teixeira, Betances retired Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford on a ground ball to second base. After walking Cubs rookie outfielder Kris Bryant, Betances came back to strike out Giants second baseman Joe Panick, the former St. John’s University standout, and set down Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock on a grounder to third.

In the top of the seventh, Teixeira grounded out to the left side that pushed the Orioles’ Manny Machado to third base from where he scored on a fly ball by the Rangers’ Prince Fielder. Teixeira had a rougher time in the ninth inning as he made the final out of the game striking out on a 103-mph fastball by the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman.

Brett Gardner, the Yankees’ other representative in the game, also had a tough night. He was called out on strikes in both of his at-bats, in the fifth inning against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and in the eighth against former Yankees teammate Mark Melancon, now the closer for the Pirates.

It was also announced during the All-Star festivities the Franchise Four for each of the 30 clubs in a vote of fans. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America took part in setting up the ballot of eight players from each franchise (full disclosure: I was the BBWAA voter assigned to the Yankees).

It should come as no surprise that the Yanks’ Franchise Four were the team’s Mount Rushmore: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. It is pretty hard to break through that quartet. Younger fans may wonder about Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera considering all the club records they have, but the other four men helped shape the franchise and are among the most decorated players in baseball history.

For the record, the eight players on the Yankees’ ballot in addition to the four were Jeter, Rivera, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. Believe me, it was hard to leave players like Bill Dickey and Don Mattingly off that list. This was one of those promotions where the Yankees were hurt because of the richness of their history.

There was a nice moment before the game where the four men voted the game’s greatest living players came onto the field — Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays. I had three of those players on my ballot but chose Yogi over Koufax in a close call. Some might say that Berra belonged there more than Bench, but even Yogi told me once that he thinks JB was the best catcher who ever lived.

MLB, union to support youth baseball initiative

CINCINNATI — While officials were hopeful that a series of severe thunderstorms that hit this area Monday would not interfere with the Home Run Derby at night on the eve of the All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark, Major League Baseball in conjunction with the Major League Players Association announced plans to allocate $30 million towards a youth baseball and softball initiative throughout North America entitled “Play Ball.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement at Monday’s press conference at which American League manager Ned Yost of the Royals and National League manager Bruce Bochy of the Giants announced their starting lineups, including pitchers Dallas Keuchel of the Astros and Zack Greinke of the Dodgers.

“Accessibility is an essential step toward not only strengthening the connection with fan, but also developing talent at the amateur level,” Manfred said. “Through initiatives like Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, the MLB Urban Youth Academies and the Breakthrough Series, Major League Baseball has provided opportunities for thousands of young people to play the game and showcase their skills. This joint commitment with the MLBPA and its current and former members is a significant step toward expanding our focus on ensuring the future growth and prosperity of our sport.”

The commissioner also singled out Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira for his tireless efforts on behalf of the Harlem RBI youth program in New York. Teixeira, a member of the AL All-Star team along with teammates Brett Gardner and Dellin Betances, attended the new conference with fellow All-Stars Chris Archer of the Rays, David Price of the Tigers, Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs and Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates.

MLB and the PA will also create a 501(c)(3) organization to accept donations from players, clubs, corporations and other interested parties to help fund programs. One of the first major programs under the initiative will be the first Elite Development Invitational, operated by USA Baseball, July 18-30 at the old Dodgertown complex in Vero Beach, Fla. Approximately 150 players, ages 13-16, will participate in the two-week program that will provide player development opportunities to top prospects from minority or underserved backgrounds.

“For as long as the game has been played, generations of major leaguers have been passionate about sharing the game they love with others, especially youth,” PA executive director Tony Clark said. “Many current and former players are already actively involved with programs designed to not only teach the game at the youth level and develop future ballplayers but also help excite the next generation of fans. This initiative will help advance and enhance those efforts. Despite their never-ending determination to preserve and grow interest in baseball, players have long known that reseeding the game at the grassroots level requires the cooperation and support of the entire baseball community. Today’s announcement is great news to all players, and we look forward to working with Major League Baseball to make serious strides to ensure that every kid in the United States and Canada who wants to play baseball has an equal opportunity to do so.”

Two Yankees farmhands made contributions in Sunday’s Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game. Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfielder Aaron Judge, the designated hitter for the U.S. Team, had 1-for-4 and scored a run in its 10-1 victory over the World Team. Double A Trenton catcher Gary Sanchez started behind the plate for the World Team and had a double in two at-bats.

Gardner a deserving choice for 1st All-Star selection

Okay, Yankees fans, you can back off the #VOTEGARDY campaign. Brett Gardner did not know when he hit a home run in the first inning Thursday that he had been selected for the American League All-Star squad as a replacement for Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list and may be out for as long as two months because of a severe groin strain.

It was not until the fourth inning when word reached Yankee Stadium that AL manager Ned Yost of the Royals had picked Gardner for the team, joining Yankees mates Mark Teixeira and Dellin Betances. By then, Gardy had racked up two more hits in another top-shelf performance that was part of their 6-2 victory over the Athletics.

His teammates had gotten into the act by wearing bald caps in support of their head-shaven left fielder, who was one of five players in the Final Vote Ballot that continues Friday. Yankees fans had been urged to support Gardner, but he was running fourth in the voting. Nevertheless, Yost made the right decision in seeing that Gardner deserved his first career All-Star berth. That does not mean he will be in the starting lineup. The Orioles’ Adam Jones, who was fourth in the fans’ vote, will get that call, but Gardner has his well-earned ticket to Cincinnati for the July 14 game at Great American Ballpark.

With three more hits Thursday, Gardner has raised his season batting average to .303. He ranks fourth in the major leagues in runs (62) and stolen bases (15) and eighth in doubles (21) and on-base percentage (.382). His .489 slugging percentage is a meaty figure for a hitter who usually bats first or second in the order. In 19 games since June 18, Gardner is batting .418 in 79 at-bats with 19 runs, seven doubles, one triples, five home runs, 12 RBI and 12 walks to raise his season batting average 41 points. His 10th home run of the year Thursday lifted his first-inning batting average to .406 in 69 at-bats with 21 runs, six doubles, two triples, two homers, seven RBI, six walks and three stolen bases.

Those are All-Star caliber stats.

Mashiro Tanaka could not hold the 1-0 lead Gardner provided as the A’s struck for two runs in the second inning aided by a catcher’s interference call against Brian McCann. Yet the doubles Tanaka allowed to Billy Butler and Mark Canha that scored the runs were the only hits off the righthander in his 7 2/3 innings.

Tanaka got 19 consecutive outs (although Butler reached base in the fourth on a third-strike wild pitch, one of the rare glitches in Tanaka’s outing). He walked one batter and struck out six to post his first winning decision in five starts since June 9 and brought his ERA down from 3.94 to 3.63. Now he will get some extra rest during the All-Star break. Tanaka also gave some rest to a bullpen that was busy in the first two games in the series as Nathan Eovaldi and CC Sabathia did not get through the sixth inning either night.

With Tanaka mowing down Oakland hitters one by one, the Yankees were able to stay close and skip past the A’s. The Yanks tied the score against Jesse Chavez in the third on a leadoff walk to Jacoby Ellsbury and singles by Gardner and Teixeira.

Ellsbury put the Yankees in front with a two-run single in the fourth, a rally fortified with a double by Cole Figueroa, a Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up who played third base for ailing Chase Headley (right calf inflammation). Figueroa also doubled in the eighth when the Yankees tacked on two more runs on a wild throw to first base by shortstop Marcus Semien, who has committed an astonishing 28 errors in 87 games, which puts him on a pace for 51 over a full season.

In taking the series, two games to one, from Oakland the Yankees have opened up a three-game lead in the AL East over the Orioles, who did not play Thursday. The Blue Jays and the Rays both lost and trail the Yanks by 3 ½ games and 4 ½ games, respectively.

The Yankees now head to Fenway Park for a three-game set prior to the All-Star break. The Red Sox, who once seemed buried in the division (they were 10 games out June 20), are still in last place but have won four straight games and eight of their past 10 to move to 5 ½ games of first and are only a half-game behind fourth-place Tampa Bay. Boston’s recent resurgence and the steady run by the Yankees of late will add some extra juice to the rivalry over the weekend.

Major comeback by Yankees’ All-Stars

The Yankees’ All-Stars corrected themselves Wednesday night and were major factors in a 5-4 victory over the Athletics that turned into a nail biter in the last inning.

One night after going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and grounding into a double play, Mark Teixeira clubbed two home runs (Nos. 21 and 22) and made two sparkling plays in the field. He leaned into the Yankees’ dugout to snare a foul by Billy Burns for the first out of the seventh and made a sprawling stop of a hot grounder by pinch hitter Josh Reddick and dived into the bag for the final out of the eighth.

Dellin Betances, who gave up the home run to Brett Lawrie in the 10th inning Tuesday night that sent the Yankees to a 4-3 loss, was back in his familiar set-up role Wednesday night and set the A’s out in order in the eighth with two strikeouts before the Tex web-gem on Reddick.

Andrew Miller returned to his closer role after coming off the disabled list but had a wire act in the ninth as Oakland turned it into a one-run game on a two-run home run by Marcus Semien with one out. Miller struck out Burns for the second out, but a throwing error by third baseman Gregorio Petit put the potential tying run on second base. Petit got a second chance on a ground ball by Ben Zobrist and got the final out of Miller’s 18th save.

For the second straight night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi went to the bullpen early in taking out his starter after 5 1/3 innings. CC Sabathia, who gave up two runs, seven hits and two walks with one strikeout, got his first winning decision in five starts since June 7, although his ERA is still a hefty 5.47. Bryan Mitchell finished the sixth for Sabathia, and Justin Wilson followed with a perfect seventh.

Another important substitution by Girardi was putting Stephen Drew into the game on defense at second base in the top of the seventh. Drew came to bat an inning later and won a nine-pitch duel with Fernando Abad by smacking his 12th home run of the year, not a bad total for a .179 hitter. It proved to be the difference in the game.

Jacoby Ellsbury also came off the DL and was back in the leadoff spot. He had an infield single in four at-bats. Brett Gardner dropped back into the 2-hole and reached base three times on a single and two walks.

An interesting situation may have opened up for Gardner. The Royals’ Alex Gordon, who was voted by fans as the starting left fielder for next week’s All-Star Game at Cincinnati, was carted off the field at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium Wednesday night after suffering a left groin strain, the severity of which will be determined by an MRI Thursday. If Gordon has to be replaced on the American League roster, Gardner stands a chance at making the team. He and Tigers left fielder Yoenis Cespedes are two outfielders among five Final Vote candidates, so it would behoove Yankees fans to get Gardner as many votes as possible to improve his chances at being picked for the squad by AL manager Ned Yost of the Royals.

Fans may cast their votes until 4 p.m. Friday. To receive the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote mobile ballot, text the word VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages may be received following your vote. Text STOP to opt-out at any time. For help, text HELP. Voting is also open on Twitter as well Friday, using the hashtag #VoteGardy. Voting is very easy at yankees.com, so please visit that site.

Needed reinforcements on the way for Yankees

Tuesday night was a rough one for the Yankees’ All-Stars.

Dellin Betances, who will be on the American League’s pitching staff for the second consecutive year, gave up a leadoff home run in the 10th inning on a 0-2 breaking ball to Brett Lawrie, who had struck out in his other three at-bats, for what proved the deciding run in the Athletics’ 4-3 victory, their seventh in a row on the road.

Mark Teixeira, who will make his third All-Star appearance July 14 at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, made six outs on a 0-for-5 night that included grounding into a double play and three strikeouts, the last of which ended the game against Tyler Clippard (16th save) and stranded the potential go-ahead runs on first and second.

Starter Nathan Eovaldi gave up a run in the first inning on a two-out, RBI single by Josh Reddick, but the Yankees grabbed the lead in the bottom half against All-Star pitcher Sonny Gray on consecutive, two-out RBI singles by Brian McCann and Garrett Jones.

The game see-sawed after that. The A’s tied the score in the third on successive single by Marcus Semien, Billy Burns and Stephen Vogt before Eovaldi closed the door by striking out Ben Zobrist and getting Reddick on a double-play grounder. The Yankees regained the lead in the fourth on another two-out RBI hit – a single by Didi Gregorius. In the sixth, the A’s tied it once more on Billy Butler’s home run off Chasen Shreve, who had relieved Eovaldi with one out and struck out Reddick the batter before Butler. The move to remove Eovaldi by manager Joe Girardi was somewhat curious considering the righthander had thrown only 86 pitches. Eovaldi has not given up a home run in his past five starts.

The Yankees failed to capitalize on Semien’s league-leading 27th error that put Stephen Drew on first base to start the seventh. Drew advanced to second on an infield out but was caught off the bag and doubled up on Chase Headley’s liner to second baseman Eric Sogard.

After Butler’s home run, Shreve, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson and Betances set down 10 Oakland batters in a row before Lawrie connected in the ninth. It marked the second straight appearance in which Betances gave up a home run. He allowed a game-tying, two-run shot to the Rays’ Steven Souza last Saturday, but the Yankees rallied to win that game in the bottom of the ninth on a throwing error by reliever Brad Boxberger, yet another victimized All-Star pitcher.

The Yankees tried to get Betances off the hook and pull off another comeback victory in the ninth against Clippard, who walked Brett Gardner with one out and Alex Rodriguez with two out. After falling behind 3-0 in the count to Teixeira, Clippard came back to strike him out on a full-count changeup.

Reinforcements are on the way for the Yankees. Expected to rejoin them for Wednesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium against the A’s are center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and closer Andrew Miller. Ellsbury will return to the leadoff spot and team again with Gardner in hopes of reviving the 1-2 punch that worked out so well for the Yanks before Ellsbury went on the disabled list May 20. Miller’s return will allow Betances to return to his more familiar set-up role. In nine appearances since Miller went on the DL June 10, Betances was 0-2 with five saves in six tries and a 5.56 ERA. He allowed eight hits, including two homers, and four walks with 17 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

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