Results tagged ‘ Mark Teixeira ’

Miller’s spotless season comes to abrupt halt

Well, you knew it was not going to last forever. Andrew Miller was off to one of the best starts of a season for any relief pitcher — until Tuesday night. Opposing hitters had been a combined 0-for-their-last-31 at-bats with 15 strikeouts against Miller until Ryan Zimmerman drove a 3-1 fastball off the right field foul pole for a two-run home run, his 10th career walk-off homer, that sent the Yankees to an 8-6, 10-inning loss.

Miller’s 31 strikeouts were the most by a pitcher prior to allowing his first run of the season in Yankees history. He was one of eight pitchers in major league history (and the only Yankees reliever) to record at least 13 saves in the club’s first 30 games of a season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Miller is the first pitcher to convert each of his first 13 save opportunities with the club. Even Mariano Rivera did not do that. The streak is still intact because Miller was not in a save situation Tuesday night. He entered the game in the 10th with the score 6-6.

Miller has multiple strikeouts in 10 of his 18 appearances and is averaging 14.95 Ks per nine innings. He has held opposing hitters to a .067 batting average, but that fourth hit in 60 at-bats proved a killer.

After Dellin Betances kept his streak of not allowing an earned run to 20 games with a shutout eighth and ninth, Miller came on in the 10th and got off to a good start by striking out Ian Desmond. After a walk to Yunel Escobar, Miller got a big strikeout of Bryce Harper before falling behind 3-1 in the count to Zimmerman, whose home run dropped the Yankees into a first-place tie with the Rays in the American League East and pushed the Nationals into a first-place tie with the Mets in the National League East.

For a while there it appeared as if the offensive anemia that has plagued the Yankees on the current trip would continue. In the first three innings at Nationals Park, the Yankees went three-up, three-down, all on ground balls against Gio Gonzalez.

Come the fourth inning, however, the Yankees batted around and turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead. As efficient as Gonzalez was in the first three innings, he fell out of synch in the fourth. A leadoff walk to Jacoby Ellsbury proved ominous. He advanced to second on a ground ball and scored on a single by Chris Young. Another walk and three straight two-out hits — a double by Chase Headley and singles by Jose Pirela and Stephen Drew — and the Yankees took control.

They padded the lead to 6-2 with two out in the fifth, Gonzalez’s last inning, on a two-run home run by Mark Teixeira. For the second straight start, Nathan Eovaldi could not maintain an early lead. Eovaldi, who had given up solo home runs in the first inning to Desmond and Harper, could not get through the fifth as the Nats cut the deficit to one run on a double by pinch hitter Clint Robinson and singles by Denard Span, Desmond and Escobar.

Lefthander Justin Wilson bailed out Eovaldi by getting Harper, one of the hottest hitters in the game, to ground into a double play. The high note was short-lived as David Carpenter gave up a game-tying home run the next inning to Wilson Ramos, who also extended his hitting streak to 19 games.

After that, the Yankees could muster nothing against the Nationals’ bullpen. Five Washington relievers combined to hold the Yankees scoreless over the final five innings with two hits and one walk allowed and five strikeouts.

Another big loss for the Yankees was that of Ellsbury, who is likely to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of a right knee injury that drove him from the game in the fourth inning.

Offense hits rock bottom in 1st shutout

Too bad the Yankees could not have saved some of those dozen runs they scored Saturday night for Sunday’s finale of the three-game series at Kansas City. The 12-1 victory Saturday night has been the odd offensive explosion on the trip for the Yankees, who have not scored more than two runs in any other game, and they did not score at all Sunday as they sustained their first shutout of the season.

Decked out in throwback Kansas City Monarchs uniforms in honor of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which is located in that city, the Royals dominated the day in which fans were encouraged to wear their Sunday best to Kauffman Stadium. Many folks in the crowd of 31,251 complied. And the Royals certainly dressed down the Yankees.

Players from both squads wore “28” patches to signify the number the late Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks, wore during his time with the Monarchs in the early 1950s before he integrated the Cubs as the first African-American player with that franchise in 1953. Banks, who wore No. 14 for the Cubs, popularized the phrase, “Let’s play two!” The Yankees, however, were in no mood for two games like the one they played Sunday.

Chris Capuano came off the disabled list and made his first start of the season after recovering from a spring-training quad injury. The lefthander did fine over the first three innings save for a home run by Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Everything fell apart for Capuano in the fourth. The four batters he faced reached base (two walks, two singles), and three of them subsequently scored.

The 4-0 lead that went to a 6-0 final seemed plenty secure in the right arm of Edinson Volquez, who won for the first time in five starts since April 20. He held the Yankees to three hits and no walks (he hit one batter) with five strikeouts in seven innings. Wade Davis and Jason Frasor provided a scoreless inning of relief apiece for the American League Central leaders.

Mark Teixeira, the player who was hit with a pitch in the fourth inning, stayed in the game until the seventh, has a bruise on his right large toe and is day-to-day. Tex leads the clubs in home runs (11) and RBI (28) and with his average up to .248 the Yankees do not want him out of the lineup for long.

The Yanks remained in first place in the AL East, but by merely one game over the Rays, 11-3 winners over the Twins. Tampa Bay took three of four games from the Yanks in the first stop of this trip which continues with a two-game, inter-league series in Washington, D.C., Tuesday and Wednesday nights against the Nationals, who trail the Mets by one game in the National League East.

The Yankees have an open date Monday, their first day off since April 30, and they could definitely use it.

Yankees’ scoring stops after 1st inning again

For a while there, it looked as if the Yankees would just shove the Rays aside and not worry about them anymore by winning six of the first seven games against Tampa Bay this year. After the past two nights, however, the Rays have demonstrated that they have no intention of going away.

For the second straight night, the Yankees could not muster an offense beyond a two-run first inning, a lead their starting pitcher in each case failed to hold. Adam Warren followed Nathan Eovaldi in allowing the Rays to come back Wednesday night, this time by a 3-2 score, which brought Tampa Bay back to two games behind the Yankees in the American League East.

Just as in Tuesday night’s game, Tampa Bay’s starter was wild at the beginning. Nathan Karns walked the first two batters on eight pitches and threw a ninth straight ball on the first pitch in the at-bat of 3-hole hitter Alex Rodriguez, who eventually flied out to shallow center field.

Singles by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann made it 2-0 Yankees, but once again they failed to break the inning wide open as Carlos Beltran was called out on strikes and Stephen Drew, playing his first major-league game at third base, flied out to center. Karns settled down after that and got through five innings, although he needed a strong throw from center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to cut off the potential tying run in the fifth by gunning down Teixeira at the plate.

Four Tampa Bay relieves held the Yankees to three hits over the final four innings with seven strikeouts.

Warren gave back a run in the first on Steven Souza’s sixth home run of the year and the rest of the lead in the second on doubles by Logan Fosythe and Asdrubal Cabrera (his 1,000th career hit) and a single by Joey Butler. Warren also settled down after that and retired the last 10 batters he faced in a row through the seventh. Andrew Miller struck out the side in the eighth, but the Yankees could not strike back.

After slugging five home runs plus two doubles Monday night, the Yankees have had no extra-base hits since then. All 10 of their hits Wednesday night were singles as were all eight of their hits Tuesday night. Singles can score runs, of course; after all, four did the past two nights, but all came in the first inning and no RBI hits of any kind after that.

Drew’s appearance at third base probably means that Rodriguez can hang up his glove. A-Rod’s 39-year-old legs have started to feel heavy, so full-time designated hitter duty is his lot.

In the meantime, that team in the rearview mirror no longer seems so distant.

Yankees have plenty of pop at the Trop

Tropicana Field was where the Yankees began to turn their season around last month with a three-game sweep of the Rays to get back to .500 after a 3-6 start. Good times at the Trop continued for the Yankees Monday night, who made sure they would leave St. Petersburg after Thursday night’s game still in first place in the American League East.

The 11-5 victory pushed the Yankees’ lead over Tampa Bay to four games. It was a satisfying triumph in many ways but probably mostly for CC Sabathia, who ended a 13-month losing streak. The big guy earned his first victory since April 24, 2014 at Boston. CC had been winless in nine starts since with seven losing decisions, although he spent much of that time on the disabled list because of a knee injury.

The Yankees’ offense exploded against Rays righthander Alex Colome, who had allowed only one home run all year until the Yanks connected off him four times. Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran had solo shots, but the big blows were a pair of two-out, three-run home runs by Chase Headley in the fourth inning and Brett Gardner in the sixth. Colome watched his ERA climb from 1.80 to 5.63.

Mark Teixeira, who had a four-hit night, smacked the Yankees’ fifth home run of the game in the ninth off reliever Erasmo Ramirez, a two-run shot that was the only one hit with less than two out.

Sabathia, who has had a recent history of giving up leads, was hard pressed to gag the 9-1 spread his teammates had opened up before the seventh-inning stretch. The Yankees had averaged only 2.27 runs per game in support of Sabathia before Monday night and made up for that big-time.

The winning decision, the 209th of Sabathia’s major league career, tied Vida Blue for 24th place on the all-time list of left-handed pitchers’ victories.

Sabathia got off to a shaky start. He walked the first two batters on nine pitches and gave up a one-out double to Logan Forsythe that scored a run to negate A-Rod’s first inning jack (career No. 662). CC caught a break when Steven Souza, thinking Gardner might catch Forsythe’s drive, tagged up at second base instead of playing it half-way down the line and was unable to score ahead of shortstop Didi Gregorius’ blistering relay to the plate that nailed the runner.

CC settled down after that and retired 11 batters in a row before surrendering his second hit, a one-out single in the fifth by Asdrubal Cabrera, who was erased on a double play. By that time, the Yankees had a 5-1 run lead that grew the next inning on Gardner’s homer.

Sabathia shows signs of tiring in the seventh in allowing solo home runs to Forsythe and Joey Butler and an unearned run, but his teammates kept pouring it on to make sure the run support was sufficient.

There were plenty of positive signs for Yankees hitters. Teixeira raised his batting average from .212 to .239. Headley had four RBI. Beltran’s 2-for-5 game continued his heating-up May in which he is batting .324 with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in 37 at-bats following an April in which he hit .162 with five doubles, one triple and seven RBI in 68 at-bats.

The 14-hit assault helped the Yankees to a 4-0 mark at the Trop and 6-1 overall against the Rays this season.

Front & back combos work again for Yanks

What has become a winning formula for the Yankees — the 1-2 combination at the front of the batting order and the 1-2 combo at the back end of the bullpen — was in evidence again Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner teamed for four hits and three runs, and Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller each pitched a shutout inning. Toss in two RBI apiece by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and a decent if unspectacular start from Nathan Eovaldi and you have a 4-3 victory over the Orioles, who are having a rough week in the big city after having lost a two-game set to the Mets.

Ellsbury, who ran his hitting streak to 10 games, and Gardner each singled and scored the Yankees’ two runs in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez and a single by Teixeira. A-Rod crushed his 661st career home run in the third off Orioles starter Chris Tillman.

Baltimore kept coming back, however, against Eovaldi. Jimmy Paredes had given the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a home run, and after the Yankees went ahead in the bottom half a homer by Caleb Joseph in the third got Baltimore even again. In the fifth, Joseph struck again with an RBI double that once more tied the game. Eovaldi got himself out of further danger with a huge pickoff of Paredes at first base.

Doubles by Gardner and Teixeira in the fifth pushed the Yankees in front for what turned out to be for good. Lefthander Justin Wilson bailed Eovaldi out of a jam in the sixth and followed that with a 1-2-3 seventh.

Now the game was set up for Betances in the eighth and Miller in the ninth. This duo is bringing back memories of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera in similar roles not so long ago. Betances retied the side in order, finishing up with a strikeout of Chris Davis, who took the Golden Sombrero (four Ks).

Miller put the potential tying run on first base with a leadoff walk in the ninth but recovered to get J.J. Hardy on a soft liner to second and pinch hitter Ryan Lavarnway and Joseph on strikes. Miller, who was with the Orioles last year, is now 12-for-12 in saves.

A-Rod gets a mulligan for homer No. 661

You remember the old adage — if at first you don’t succeed try, try again. That applied to Alex Rodriguez Thursday night against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium where in his second at-bat he moved ahead of Willie Mays on the career home run list with No. 661.

That the blow came off Baltimore pitcher Chris Tillman should not be surprising. Rodriguez entered the game 5-for-10 (.500) with three home runs in his career against the righthander. And A-Rod nearly hit his 661st home run off Tillman in the first inning.

After Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner did their customary bit of getting on base with singles, Rodriguez stepped in and hit a drive to deep right field. As fans prepared to cheer what seemed to be a home run, right fielder Delmon Young timed his leap perfectly and caught the ball at the top of the wall. The potential three-run home run instead became a sacrifice fly that tied the score. The Yanks made it 2-1 on a rare single by Mark Teixeira that scored Gardner.

Rodriguez got another chance against Tillman in the third with two out and the score 2-2. This time no outfielder could glove A-Rod’s drive off a 1-1 pitch from Tillman. The ball landed just to the left of Monument Park in left-center field. Teixeira delayed his at-bat so that Rodriguez could make a curtain call to acknowledge the fans’ standing ovation.

Yanks’ starters picking up slack since Tanaka loss

All this talk warranted that it may be about the Yankees’ bullpen has obscured somewhat the work of the rotation. That sense of doom a lot of fans may have felt when Masahiro Tanaka went on the disabled list a week ago must be eased by the work since by the starting unit.

Yankees starters have not lost a game since Tanaka’s departure. Michael Pineda pitched eight brilliant shutout innings at Toronto Tuesday night and in retrospect it might have been better if the righthander had been allowed to go for the compete game. It was a rare blowup by the bullpen that presented unwanted drama for the Yankees.

Manager Joe Girardi had to call on closer Andrew Miller to get his 11th save after David Carpenter allowed the Blue Jays to halve a 6-0 deficit. Former Yankees catcher Russell Martin, who had the game-winning hit Monday night and two doubles earlier Tuesday night, led off the ninth with a home run, and Carpenter gave up two-out, RBI hits to Chris Colabello and Ryan Goins. The Blue Jays eventually brought the potential tying run to the plate before Miller ended it by getting Devon Travis on a fly ball.

The Blue Jays did nothing dramatic against Pineda, who raised his record to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.97. Can you spell ace? Pineda gave up five hits and one walk with six strikeouts in eight innings and held Toronto hitless in three at-bats with runners in scoring position.

It was yet another first-rate effort by a Yankees starter since the bad news on Tanaka was announced. Over the past seven games the Yankees’ rotation has compiled a 4-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in 44 innings and is averaging 6 1/3 innings per start. Yankees starters have not allowed a run over 15 innings in the first two games of the series against the Jays that concludes Wednesday night.

The Yankees provided Pineda a two-run lead before he took the mound from the first three batters, a single by Jacoby Ellsbury and doubles by Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. Ellsbury, who had three hits and is batting .358, added a two-out, RBI single in the second inning. Mark Teixeira made it 5-0 in the fifth with his 10th home run of the season, and the Yankees got another two-out run in the eighth on a single by Didi Gregorius.

All that offense did not seem necessary when Pineda was on the mound but was very welcome when Carpenter struggled to get through the ninth. Girardi would have preferred not to use Miller on a night when Dellin Betances was also unavailable but events dictated otherwise.

Tex climbing up switch-hitter HR list

A nagging lat injury that kept Mark Teixeira out of the lineup Monday night at Toronto did not get in the way of his moving up the list of switch-hitting home run hitters Tuesday night.

Back at first base for the Yankees, Tex drove a first-pitch fastball off Blue Jays righthander Marco Estrada to right-center field for a two-run home run in the fifth inning that pushed the Yankees’ lead to 5-0 behind Michael Pineda.

The dinger was career number 373 for Teixeira, who tied teammate Carlos Beltran for fifth place on the career list of home runs by switch hitters. The only players ahead of the Yanks duo are Chipper Jones at 468, Eddie Murray at 504 and all-time leader Mickey Mantle at 536. All of the Mick’s were with the Yankees, so Teixeira and Beltran are nowhere near the club record. Teixeira has 170 home runs with the Yankees and Beltran 15.

Tex’s latest homer continued his extra-base hit trend this season. He has 18 hits, of which 15 are for extra bases — five doubles and 10 home runs. A notoriously slow starter, Teixeira has traditionally heated up in May (.281 career average), so despite a less than robust .205 batting average he is well ahead of his usual offensive pace.

Turning a season around in three weeks

What a difference three weeks can make in a baseball season. The last time the Yankees faced Red Sox righthander Joe Kelly was April 11 at Yankee Stadium in a game that started around 10 hours after a 19-inning loss.

It was easily the worst game the Yanks have played this year. Kelly held them to one run and one hit in seven innings, and the Yankees committed three errors in an 8-4 defeat that dropped their record to 1-4. It was a tough loss for Adam Warren, who gave up only two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings.

Warren and Kelly were paired again Sunday night at Fenway Park and, well, talk about mirror images. The Yanks jumped on Kelly early with Mark Teixeira driving a two-run home run over the Green Monster in the first inning and just kept it up. Kelly was driven from the game in the fifth inning in yet another disappointing start for the Red Sox rotation, which has the bloatest ERA (5.60) in the league.

By the sixth inning, the Yankees were up, 8-0. Brian McCann doubled home two runs with two outs in the third inning and scored on a double by Carlos Beltran. In the sixth, lefthander Craig Breslow faced three batters and gave up singles to Didi Gregorius and Jacoby Ellsbury — his fourth hit — and a three-run home run to Brett Gardner.

Meanwhile, Warren was breezing through the first five innings. A leadoff double by Mookie Betts in the fourth, the first ball to reach the outfield for Boston,  was the only hit allowed by Warren until the sixth when with two out suddenly everything came apart for the righthander.

The Red Sox put seven consecutive runners on base and when the dust cleared a five-spot went up on the board. The big blow was a three-run home run by struggling Mike Napoli, a seasoned Yankees killer. It came off Esmil Rogers, who failed to bail out Warren, whose line turned into something quite ordinary (5 2/3 innings, 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 1 hit batter).

The Red Sox drew no closer, but the 8-5 Yankees victory had its tense moments, especially in the ninth when Boston loaded the bases on two walks and a Chase Headley error before Andrew Miller nailed down his 10th save when David Ortiz flied out to end the game.

The Yankees’ series sweep was their first of three games or more at Fenway Park in nine seasons and improved their road record this season to 10-3. The Yankees had won their past four series at Fenway, their longest such streak since taking four straight from Aug. 30, 2011 to Sept. 13, 2012 (9-3 over the stretch).

Ellsbury had a perfect night in reaching base in all six of his plate appearances with four singles, a walk and getting hit by a pitch. The center fielder has a six-game hitting streak since April 27 during which he is batting .538 with five runs, one RBI, two walks, two hit by pitches and five stolen bases in 26 at-bat. He has  raised his season batting average from .282 to .351 in that time.

Yanks take over 1st all by themselves

Who would have thought when the Yankees and the Rays faced each other for the first time this season that they would both be in first place 10 days later?

The Yankees went into that series in mid-April at Tropicana Field with a 3-6 record and having made 11 errors. The Rays had a 6-4 record, but three days later had fallen a game below .500 due to the Yankees’ sweep.

Fortune has followed the two clubs since then and in the tightly-contested American League East of 2015 have found themselves fighting to stay atop the division in this three-game set at Yankee Stadium.

Tampa Bay came to town riding a five-game winning streak while the Yankees had won three straight series, including this past weekend against the Mets, who have the best overall record in the major leagues.

The Yankees took over sole possession of first place Monday night with a 4-1 victory that ended the Rays’ streak. The Yanks have treated Tampa Bay this season like the expansion team it was in the 1990s and early 2000s by going 4-0 against the Rays thus far.

Adam Warren had a quality start with only one run and five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The glitches were a couple of wild pitches in the sixth inning that helped the Rays tie the score at 1. The run scored on a fielder’s choice with drawn-in second baseman Stephen Drew taking an extra step before throwing to the plate and failing to prevent David DeJesus from crossing.

The Yankees had another strong bullpen effort as four relievers combined for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball with one walk and four strikeouts. Justin Wilson was credited with his first victory of the season, and Andrew Miller made it 8-for-8 in saves.

Catcher Brian McCann was a big part of the Yankees’ offense. He homered one out into the sixth to put the Yanks ahead again with doubles by Carlos Beltran and Drew pushing the lead to 3-1. In the eighth, McCann led off with an excuse-me swing against the shift for a single and eventually scored when Jacoby Ellsbury was struck by a pitch with the bases loaded.

I do not normally pay much attention to the standings until June in following an old baseball axiom. Yet considering how much the Yankees stumbled coming out of the gate reaching the top of the division says a lot about this team’s resiliency.

Just as important, as manager Joe Girardi pointed out, is how much better the Yankees are playing at home. They were 1-4 during the first homestand but have won three of the past four games at the Stadium.

Although 0-for-4 Monday night, Mark Teixeira has been a major part of their April turnaround and was named AL Player of the Week for the period ending April 26. Tex hit .333 with six runs, one double, five home runs and 10 RBI in seven games and 33 at-bats.


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