Results tagged ‘ Matt Moore ’
The Yankees went into Sunday night’s finale of the three-game series against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium with Hiroki Kuroda paired with Clay Buchholz. The Boston righthander took a 7-0 record into the game against Kuroda, who was 6-3.
This is the third time the Yankees have faced a pitcher with a record of 5-0 or better. They split the previous two such games by winning May 25 at Tropicana Field against the Rays’ Matt Moore, who was 8-0, and by losing May 28 at Citi Field against the Mets’ Matt Harvey, who was 5-0. Both starters had no-decisions.
Mark Teixeira was in Sunday night’s lineup for the 1,500th game of his major-league career. The first baseman ranks among switch hitters prior to their 1,500th game first in RBI (1,101) and second in home runs (338) only to Mickey Mantle (359).
When Teixeira returned to the lineup Friday night after missing the first 53 games of the season because of a right wrist injury, it marked the first time this year the Yankee had a switch hitter in the lineup. The 53 games were the longest without a switch hitter in the Yankees’ batting order at any time during a season since 1992 when they went 100 straight games without one.
The Yankees have yet to lose more than two consecutive home games, a distinction they share in the American League with the Tigers and the Rangers. The Yanks last lost more than two home games in a row July 28-31 last year when they dropped four straight games.
Yankees batters have combined for seven walks in their past two games, which ended a stretch of three straight games in which the team had no walks against the Mets. As for Yanks pitchers, they have allowed a major-league-low 133 bases on balls, including 17 over the past 10 games dating to May 22 and not issuing a walk in four of those games. Yankees hurlers are averaging 2.43 walks per nine innings, the lowest in the majors and their lowest mark since 2003 (2.31).
With a victory Friday night, CC Sabathia improved his record in career starts in which his team was on a losing streak of five or more games to 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 50 2/3 innings with his third consecutive victory in such situations.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sabathia became the first Yankees pitcher to end a streak of at least five team losses with a 10-strikeout, no-walk performance since 1910 by Russ Ford, who pitched a complete-game shutout with 10 Ks and no walks against the St. Louis Browns to stop a seven-game losing streak by the old Highlanders.
Two outs, nobody on base and watch out for Lyle Overbay. That is pretty much how the Yankees came up with a 4-3, 11-inning victory over the Rays Saturday. Oh, sure, there were plenty of other factors that contributed to the thrilling, come-from-behind triumph, but it was a pair of at-bats by Overbay that made the greatest difference in the game that put Tampa Bay’s record back to .500 at 24-24 and pushed the Rays six games behind the 30-18 Yankees.
Overbay was a key figure in Fernando Rodney blowing his fifth save in 14 opportunities this year, a far cry from the 2012 season when the Rays closer had the best conversion rate in the majors at 96 percent on 48-for-50. Rodney entered the ninth with a 3-1 lead that Tampa Bay had acquired partially against the Yankees’ vaunted bullpen and got the first two outs of the inning.
Rodney never did get that third out. Overbay drew a walk on a 3-2 changeup, the pitch that would continue to let Rodney down that inning. After Overbay moved to second base on a balk by Rodney, Brennan Boesch, fresh up from Triple A Scranton, batted for catcher Austin Romine and poked a changeup inside the left field line for a double that scored Overbay.
Brett Gardner followed with a single to center off yet another ineffective changeup. Boesch made it to the plate with the tying run with a nice slide on a close play. The way Rodney was going he might not have ever gotten out of that inning if Gardner had not been thrown out at second base trying to steal for the final out. Gardner had made a base running gaffe by not advancing to second base on center fielder Desmond Jennings throw home, which would have negated the need for an attempted steal in that spot with Robinson Cano at the plate.
Ivan Nova, who was activated from the disabled list Friday, made his first relief appearance in two seasons and did quite a dance in the bottom of the 10th. The Rays loaded the bases with one out on a couple of singles and a walk, but Nova struck out .344-hitting James Loney on a nasty curve and got Matt Joyce on a grounder to second to keep the Yankees alive.
Then in another two-out, nobody-on situation in the 11th, Overbay made a great swing on a 96-mph fastball from Josh Lueke and crushed his eighth home run, to right field. That triggered a call to Mariano Rivera, who showed Rodney and everyone else in the Tropicana Field crowd of 25,874 how saving a ballgame is done with a 1-2-3 inning featuring two strikeouts. Mo’s conversion rate remained 100 percent at 18-for-18.
Nova got the winning decision in relief in another ensemble effort from the bullpen, the area of the game that most separates the Yankees from the Rays. The Rodney walk of Overbay was an example of Tampa Bay bullpen’s problem this season. Rays relievers have walked 73 batters in 133 2/3 innings whereas the Yanks’ pen has issued 52 walks in 148 1/3 innings. The Yankees’ relief corps is 10-4 with 20 saves and a 3.16 ERA while the Rays’ pen is 6-11 with 10 saves and a 4.92 ERA.
The Yankees were not able to hang an ‘L’ on unbeaten Rays starter Matt Moore (8-0), but they did the next best thing, which was to stay close in the game until he departed, which was after the sixth inning with the score 1-1. Rookie Vidal Nuno kept pace with Moore until the seventh when he gave up a leadoff hit.
Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan could not prevent Tampa Bay from taking the lead at that point, 3-1, but Preston Claiborne kept the inning from getting too messy. The rookie righthander came into the game with runners on first and second, none out and two runs in and got a force play and two strikeouts.
Ichiro Suzuki made a dazzling, sliding, game-saving catch in right field of a sinking liner by Yunel Escobar in the bottom of the ninth that spared David Robertson, who had started the inning with a walk to Joyce, who was sacrificed to second. Joyce almost surely would have scored on Escobar’s ball had Ichiro not gobbled it.
Suzuki also had two hits. Travis Hafner got the Yankees off to a good start against Moore with a two-out, RBI single in the first inning, but it would be a long time before they scored again and in the most difficult of circumstances – two out, nobody on base and down to their last strike. Victories do not come sweeter than this.
The Yankees opposed Rays lefthander Matt Moore Saturday, which was the fifth time in the past 40 seasons that they have faced a pitcher with a season record of 8-0 or better. They won each of the past two such games: June 3, 2007 at Fenway Park, 6-5, over the Red Sox and Josh Beckett, who entered the game 8-0 and got a no-decision, and July 14, 2006 at Yankee Stadium, 6-5, over the White Sox and Jose Contreras, who came into the game at 9-0 and absorbed his first loss.
The other two times were June 1, 1994 at the Stadium, 5-4, to the White Sox and Wilson Alvarez, who entered 8-0 and got a no-decision, and June 16, 1986 at the Stadium, 10-1, to the Red Sox and Roger Clemens, the winning pitcher whose record went to 12-0.
The Yankees recalled outfielder Brennan Boesch from Triple A Scranton Saturday to replace Curtis Granderson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a fractured left pinky as the result of being hit by a pitch in Friday night’s 9-4 victory over the Rays. Boesch hit .179 with a double and two RBI in seven games and 28 at-bats after being optioned there May 13.
In Friday night’s victory, each of the Yankees last four batters in the lineup (David Adams, Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart) had two hits and scored at least one run. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the starting 6-7-8-9 hitters for the Yankees each had multiple hits and at least one run in the same game since Aug. 6, 2009, a 13-6 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. The 6-through-9 hitters in that game were Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera.
The recent “problem” that manager Joe Girardi had of having to make four outfielders fit into three spots went away Friday night but not the way the Yankees manager would have wanted. The return of Curtis Granderson created the musical chairs situation in the Yankees’ outfield, but he is headed back to the disabled list.
Granderson, who played right field at Tropicana Field in a unit that also had Vernon Wells in left and Brett Gardner in center, was struck by a pitch from Tampa Bay lefthander Cesar Ramos in the fifth inning and sustained a fracture of the small finger on his left hand. Ichiro Suzuki, the odd man out of the starting lineup Friday night, took Granderson’s place and will likely do so for the next several weeks.
It was the second disabling injury suffered by Granderson this year for being hit by a pitch. On the first offering he saw in a spring training game by Blue Jays lefthander J.A. Happ, Granderson was hit in the right forearm that caused a fracture and kept him out of action for two months and the first 38 games of the regular season.
Granderson batted .250 with 1 double, 1 home run and 1 RBI in eight games and 28 at-bats since he was activated May 13. He played all three outfield positions as Girardi figured out daily who would play where. Now the manager is back to where he was when Granderson was unavailable.
He was not the only Yankees player to be forced from Friday night’s 9-4 victory over the Rays. Winning pitcher David Phelps, who appeared to have strengthened his position in the rotation, took a hard line drive by Ben Zobrist with two out in the eighth inning off his right forearm and had to call it a night. X-rays were negative. Girardi told reporters after the game that Phelps was not hit on a bone and may only have a nasty bruise.
Up to then, it had been a good night for Phelps, who retired the first 13 batters he faced before James Loney doubled with one down in the fifth for the Rays’ first hit. The righthander had a good fastball and was aggressive with it early in the count to put Tampa Bay hitters in a very defensive mode.
Phelps gave up three runs in the sixth, but the Yankees had eight runs by then, so the damage was not threatening. He was touched for another run in the seventh and went on to his fourth consecutive quality start. Over that stretch, Phelps is 2-1 with a no-decision and a 2.63 ERA in 27 1/3 innings in which he has allowed 19 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts.
All this came on a day when the Yankees got some good news on other injured players. Pitcher Ivan Nova came off the DL. First baseman Mark Teixeira (torn right wrist tendon sheath) took part in a simulated game Friday, will play games in the extended spring training at Tampa and will play at Double A Trenton Wednesday and Thursday with the possibility of a return to the Yankees by next Friday at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox.
Nova may have returned to the Yankees’ staff but not the rotation. Lefthander Vidal Nuno will start Saturday against the Rays’ Matt Moore, who has been lights out (8-0, 2.29 ERA) and at 24 is the youngest American League lefthander to start a season 8-0 exclusively as a starter since Babe Ruth with the Red Sox in 1917 at age 22. Nova will be a long man in the bullpen for the time being. The Yankees returned Dellin Betances to Triple A Scranton without his getting into a game since his May 16 recall.
Teixeira’s potential return could affect Lyle Overbay, who has done a splendid job at first base in Tex’s absence. Overbay got the Yankees on the board early with a two-run double in the third. He singled and scored in the fifth as part of the Yankees’ offensive attack from the 6-through-9 hitters who combined to go 8-for-18 (.444) with 6 runs, 1 double, 1 triple and 5 RBI.
Rookie David Adams had two more hits and scored two runs. Jayson Nix singled, tripled and had two RBI, including one on a bases-loaded walk. Chris Stewart, who played for the first time in a week because of a groin injury, had two hits and an RBI and scored a run.
On top of the order, Gardner hit a two-run homer and Robinson Cano got a painful RBI by getting hit with a pitch. Fortunately for Cano, he avoided the dismal diagnosis that befell Granderson.
Phil Hughes is still looking for his first victory of the season, but if he continues to pitch the way he did Tuesday night he will pile up a bunch of triumphs before the year is out. The righthander got into an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel with the Rays’ David Price, last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner, and departed after seven innings with the score 2-2.
Hughes got off to a rocky start by giving up a walk, a double and a sacrifice fly to the first three hitters, but he settled in nicely for his best start of the year. He showed off a muscular fastball and an effective changeup and held the Rays to five singles through the seventh. Hughes struck out six batters and walked only two, although both of the runners scored.
Another positive sign was that Hughes kept the ball in the yard. After giving up five home runs in his previous two starts, Hughes did not allow a long ball Tuesday night. There were a couple of loud fouls at Tropicana Field but nothing over the fence fair, which was important because Price wasn’t giving up much of anything to the Yankees, either, although they put a lot more runners on base than Monday night against Matt Moore, who allowed two hits, both to Robinson Cano, in eight innings.
Although he was batting leadoff Sunday, Derek Jeter displayed for the second time in a row why he was so valuable all those years when he batted second in the order. His lengthy at-bats gave a base runner a chance to steal second base and get into scoring position, which also provided Jeet an RBI opportunity.
Saturday, it was Ichiro Suzuki who swiped second and scored on a single by Jeter. In the third inning Sunday, it was Eduardo Nunez, the 9-hole hitter, who after drawing a leadoff walk stole second and was in position to score on Jeter’s single to right-center.
With Brett Gardner out nearly all year and Nunez in the minors for almost as long, the Yankees have had speed as much of an element in their offensive attack, so it has been refreshing to see them use base-running skills in recent games to generate rallies. Heck, the Yankees even bunted. Nick Swisher dropped a beauty of a sacrifice to advance Jeter to second. Alex Rodriguez drove in the Captain with a single to center.
A-Rod, who moved to second base on a wild pitch by Matt Moore, got into the running game by stealing third base on a ball-four pitch to Robinson Cano. Don’t for a minute think that the Yanks forgot all about the long ball with all this little-ball stuff going on. Russell Martin provided the pop with his 17th home run, a three-run shot that boosted the lead to 5-0.
Curtis Granderson nearly had to pay a dear price when Moore came up way too high and way too in with a fastball. Plate umpire Paul Emmel didn’t like what he saw and issued a warning to both benches. Rays manager Joe Maddon defended his pitcher, a bit too vehemently apparently, as he earned an ejection, his fourth of the season.
I agreed with Emmel. There is no room in the game for the type of pitch Moore threw to Grandy. The ball was above and behind the helmet. Since a batter’s initial instinct when a ball is aimed at his head is to move back, Granderson would have moved right into the ball if he were an inch or so lower.
Granderson got the last laugh, too, by joining the Yankees’ track club and racing to third base on an errant pickoff attempt by Moore, who was gone at the end of the inning. The lefthander gave the Yankees trouble in the past (2-1, 3.44 ERA entering the game) but has come up short for the Rays recently. He is winless with a 6.35 ERA in his past five starts covering 22 2/3 innings.
Yankees base running also helped them to a free run in the fourth. Nunez reached base on an error by relief pitcher Brandon Gomes, stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez.
Loving all this, naturally, was Hiroki Kuroda, who has received the third lowest run-support average of any starting pitcher in the American League this season. The first six outs Kuroda recorded were strikeouts, and he raised that total to 10 through the sixth inning.
Many Yankees fans over the years have taken advantage of the relative nearness of Baltimore to make the trip to Camden Yards and see the team there. The Yankees can use all the support their fans can give them this week in a four-game series against the Orioles that starts Thursday night.
The Yanks gave themselves a needed boost Wednesday night in regaining the top spot of the American League East with a 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay while Baltimore lost by the same score at Toronto. So the Yankees take a one-game lead over the Orioles into the coming series.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told writers before the game, “We intend to win the American League East. That’s what we expect to do, and that’s what we intend to do. Buckle up – it’s going to be a hell of a ride this last month. I would tell our fans to hang in. We’re going to sprint this one out and do them proud.”
As it turned out, a sacrifice bunt that the Yankees did not rely on earlier in the game helped set up what proved the winning rally in the seventh inning as they unlocked a 4-4 score. Following singles by Andruw Jones and Steve Pearce with none out, Jayson Nix moved the runners along with a bunt so well placed that he nearly got a hit out of it.
Rays second baseman Elliot Johnson did the rest. Moving on contact when Derek Jeter hit a ground ball to the right side against a tight infield, pinch runner Ichiro Suzuki made it home on a wild throw to the left of the plate by Johnson that allowed Pearce to score as well. It was the kind of break the Yankees dearly needed during this stretch when they have struggled against division foes. Through the first nine games of a 22-game period against AL East competition, the Yanks are 3-6.
It was a break as well for Hiroki Kuroda, who failed to hold leads of 3-1 and 4-3 but ended up with the winning decision. He does not have to apologize considering the lack of run support he has had most of the season. There have been several losses Kuroda has endured this year when he has pitched well enough to win, so it is only fair that he get a victory on a night when he was not at his best.
To have notched the victory against a first-rate lefthander like Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore was also a major plus for the Yankees, who have been vulnerable against left-handed pitching in the second half, particularly during the six weeks Alex Rodriguez spent on the disabled list. They will see three more left-handed starters at Baltimore. Orioles manager Buck Showalter can read a stat sheet, that’s for sure.
All eight of the Yankees’ hits in the game, all against Moore, were by right-handed hitters as Joe Girardi filled his lineup with as many righty swingers as he could find. Russell Martin drove in three runs with a two-run double and a home run to get his batting average above .200 (.202) for the first time in 67 games since June 22.
Jeter had three hits and a run batted in. One of the hits was on fly to shallow center field that could not be handled by Johnson, who had a bad night in the field. That misplay also cost the Rays a run. Rodriguez sent Jeter home with a well-struck double to left. And don’t forget that Jones and Pearce, two more right-handed hitters, got the seventh-inning rally started.
Kuroda was hurt by a two-out, RBI single by Evan Longoria in the first inning, a two-out, two-run triple by Ben Zobrist in the fifth and a solo home run by Luke Scott in the sixth as he kept giving back leads the Yankees gave him. The bullpen did no such thing as Boone Logan, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano (36th save) combined for three shutout innings.
Not everything went the Yankees’ way. They struck out 15 times in the game. But they took advantage of opponents’ fielding lapses and held on to a lead when it was crucial. They have their share of fans in the Tampa Bay area where they spend spring training and some of their players have off-season homes. A trip to Baltimore, however, brings them even closer to their fan base. For all those headed down the New Jersey Turnpike, give the lads a helping hand.
It was a tale of two teams in the first inning Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. The Yankees and the Rays each got their leadoff hitter on base. The Yankees did not score. The Rays did. The difference was something as simple as a sacrifice. The Yankees eschewed the notion. The Rays executed one and got a run out of it.
The funny thing about the situation is that Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long following Tuesday night’s loss suggested that the team may have to change its approach with runners on base and give more consideration to the bunt. Yet after Derek Jeter led off the game with a single to right off Matt Moore, Nick Swisher did not attempt a bunt and eventually was called out on strikes. Robinson Cano followed that by grounding into a double play to end the inning.
“We’re not the Bronx Bunters, and we really never have been,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters before the game. “That’s not really our approach. The one thing you can concentrate on is really good at-bats and making sure you grind out your at-bats. If you have to move a runner over, make sure you hit the ball to the other side or pull it or try to drive the ball. Take the extra base when you can. We’re not going to change our philosophy.”
Sam Fuld, getting a rare start as Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon gave B.J. Upton the night off, led off the bottom of the first with a single to left off Hiroki Kuroda. Desmond Jennings dropped a bunt to the right side that moved Fuld into scoring position. After Ben Zobrist struck out, Evan Longoria bounced a single through the right side that got Tampa Bay the run it bunted for.
Bunting did not work out as well for the Rays in the second inning. A single by Jeff Keppinger and a double by Jose Lobaton gave Tampa Bay runners on second and third with one out. Elliot Johnson, the Rays’ 9-hole hitter, tried a safety squeeze, but he bunted the ball right at Kuroda, who held Keppinger at third base and got the second out at first base. Fuld grounded out to end the threat.
The Yanks caught a break that inning. Lobaton’s double over the outstretched glove of Curtis Granderson in center field was on a hit-and-run play, but Keppinger had to hold up around second base to make sure the ball got past Granderson, who got the ball back to the infield too quickly for Keppinger to attempt to score.
Maddon is known to be unconventional. Not having Upton in the lineup fits into that category. Upton was 3-for-7 (.429) with one double, two home runs, three runs and three RBI in the first two games. It had nothing to do with how Upton has fared in his career against Kuroda. They have never faced each other. Maddon told writers he was just giving his center fielder a day off. Still, that’s strange.
Freddy Garcia got a big favor from his teammates Monday night when the Yankees scored two runs in the first inning off Rays lefthander Matt Moore. For a pitcher making his first start in more than two months, Garcia needed all the support he could get. Taking the mound with your team already in front feels good to any starting pitcher.
Although he would eventually surrender that lead, Garcia gave the Yankees the boost they were hoping for from the righthander who returned to the rotation to spell CC Sabathia, who is on the disabled list because of a strained left groin. Garcia did a good job in long relief since he went to the bullpen after a horrendous start at Yankee Stadium April 28 against the Tigers.
The Rays don’t present an imposing lineup. Two regulars were batting below .200 for a Tampa Bay club that has a .232 team batting average, which is next to last in the American League. Garcia allowed five hits and did not walk a batter, but the Rays were able to tie the score on solo home runs by B.J. Upton in the fourth inning and Carlos Pena in the sixth.
Garcia was nearing his 75-pitch limit when Pena was due up in the sixth. The Rays first baseman had never homered off Garcia and had only four hits in 41 career at-bats (.098) against him. A move to lefthander Clay Rapada may have been in order, but Garcia was throwing well enough to convince manager Joe Girardi to go after him, a decision that backfired.
Nevertheless, it was a solid 5 1/3-inning outing for Garcia, an encouraging sign that he can make a contribution to the rotation at a time when Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are no longer in it. Garcia could make one more start before the All-Star break next week. The Yankees have an open date Thursday, but they also have a split-admission doubleheader Saturday at Boston, so it is likely that Garcia will stay on turn.
Garcia’s start was about the only positive the Yankees could take from the game, a 4-3 loss that marked their eighth consecutive defeat at Tropicana Field. Time was when the Yanks were hard to beat when traveling to Tampa Bay, their spring training site and home away from home, but they have not won at the Trop since last July.
A rare fielding misplay by first baseman Mark Teixeira in the eighth accounted for the deciding run. The Yankees looked as if they would win a game without hitting a home run (they are 1-14 in those situations) and even took a 3-2 lead in the seventh without a hit.
One inning later, however, the Rays struck back against the Yankees’ bullpen. A walk and a wild pitch by Boone Logan had Girardi summoning David Robertson, who gave up a double to pinch hitter Brooks Conrad that tied the score.
The killer play came next, a hard ground ball by Elliot Johnson that bounced in front of the bag at first base and somehow skidded under the outstretched glove of Teixeira for his first error in 99 games dating to last July. Conrad scored easily, and Fernando Rodney handled three Yankees pinch hitters in the ninth for his 23rd save.
The series had been looked upon as the Yankees’ chance to bury the Rays, who entered play 7 ½ games out of first place in the AL East and with a team offense that is next to last in the league. As long as the Yanks’ jinx at St. Pete continues, however, the Rays won’t be going away.