Results tagged ‘ Mel Ott ’

Yanks’ homers make up for lack of clutch

If the Yankees weren’t going to hit in the clutch – and once again they did not – they might as well hit the ball over the fence – and once again they did. The Yankees failed to get a hit with runners in scoring position Wednesday night but used three long balls to get a one-run victory over the Red Sox that was needed to keep their share of first place in the American League East.

When Boston kept biting off portions of the 5-1 lead the Yankees had by the seventh inning, a look back into the game showed the importance of David Phelps’ start. Yankees manager Joe Girardi used six relievers to navigate through the final 3 1/3 innings, but Phelps’ work was a major factor in a must-win situation for the Yankees.

Let’s face it; the rookie righthander had a pretty short leash at Fenway Park. With an 11-man bullpen, Girardi had plenty of arms at his disposal if Phelps faltered, except he didn’t. The key inning was the fifth. The Yankees were up, 3-1, when Jarrod Saltalmacchia, whom the Yankees could not get out, led off with a triple into the Fenway right-center triangle. He also homered, doubled and walked on a perfect night.

Phelps stiffened and got through the fifth without suffering any damage. He struck out Daniel Nava, retired Scott Podsednik on an infield pop and got Jose Iglesias looking at a third strike. In a game that eventually came down to one run, that inning loomed large. Girardi made the first move to pen with two out in the sixth, but Phelps had done his job by yielding one run, five hits and one walk with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings in evening his record at 4-4.

Curtis Granderson showed more signs that he is coming out of a prolonged slump over a period of almost 50 at-bats. He got the Yankees started with a solo home run in the fourth and pushed the Yankees’ lead to 5-1 with a two-run homer in the seventh. Granderson has five hits in his past 11 at-bats (.455) with a double, three homers and eight RBI. He also raised his team-leading totals in home runs to 37 and RBI to 89.

With Mark Teixeira (left calf strain) out of the lineup, the Yankees need some firepower. They also got it from Robinson Cano with a two-run homer in the fourth. That was Cano’s 30th home run of the season, a career high.

That would be the Yankees’ offense as they went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. They are 1-for-25 in those situations in the series so are fortunate to have split the first two games.

Nick Swisher, who had also been slumping on the trip before arriving at Fenway, is getting back on track as well. Swish had two doubles and a single and is 6-for-11 (.545) since going hitless in 28 at-bats. Coming to Boston was just what Swisher needed. He is batting .452 with six doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI in 31 at-bats this year at Fenway.

A scare went up in the eighth when Derek Jeter came up lame trying to beat out a double-play grounder and was removed from the game. The Captain has played for a week with a bone bruise in his left ankle. He had two more hits – his 59th multi-hit game – which boosted his big-league leading total to 194 and career figure to 3,282, one behind 10th-place Willie Mays. DJ went past another Giants legend, Mel Ott, into 12th place on the all-time runs list with his 1,860th.

Jeet downplayed his sore ankle and vowed he would be back in the lineup Thursday night. That will be Girardi’s call, of course, but no Yankees fan wants to imagine how the team would fare without Jeter.

Jeter’s 4-hit game lone bright spot in loss to Chisox

With each game it seems Derek Jeter reaches another milestone. He hit a pair of them in the first inning alone Monday night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field in a four-hit game that was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing game for the Yankees. They blew leads of 3-0 and 6-5 with the White Sox using four home runs to construct a 9-6 victory as the Yanks’ lead in the American League East fell to four games over Tampa Bay.

Jeter led off the game with a single, which he does a lot. DJ is hitting .391 in 110 at-bats leading off games in 2012 and .355 in 872 at-bats for his career. The hit was career No. 3,252 for Jeter, who tied Nap Lajoie for 12th place on the all-time list. Jeter eventually scored on a two-out single by Mark Teixeira. That was career run No. 1,844 for Jeter as he tied Craig Biggio for 13th place on that all-time list.

It did not take Jeter long to break the tie with Lajoie with an infield single in the third for his 3,253rd career hit which left him only two behind No. 11 Eddie Murray. The Captain still has a way to go to catch the 12th-place guy in runs, Mel Ott, at 1,859.

Teixeira returned to the lineup after sitting out the weekend series at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox to nurse a sore left wrist. Curtis Granderson singled in a run in the second as the Yanks took a 3-0 lead against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who was surrounded by base runners in his brief time on the mound.

Considering that Floyd allowed five hits, four walks and a hit batter, the Yankees should have done better than to just knock him out of the game one out into the third inning, but they stranded eight runners over the first five innings against Floyd and left-handed reliever Hector Santiago.

Freddy Garcia was cruising along until he hit a wall with one out in the fifth. After getting his eighth strikeout for the first out of the inning, Garcia put the next five batters on base. DeWayne Wise started Chicago’s comeback with a two-run home run off his former teammate. Wise had been a valuable utility outfielder for the Yankees before he was designated for assignment last month to create roster space for Ichiro Suzuki, who was acquired from the Mariners.

Garcia was replaced after loading the bases on a single and two walks. Manager Joe Girardi went to his bullpen using Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada and Joba Chamberlain, but after a force play and two singles the White Sox had taken a 5-3 lead.

Jeter led the Yankees’ comeback with a home run, his 11th, leading off the sixth, crawling one hit behind Murray. It was also Jeter’s 251st home run, which pushed him past Graig Nettles into ninth place on the franchise list. Ironically, it came on Nettles’ 68th birthday. The Yankees added two more runs on singles by Teixeira and pinch hitter Casey McGehee.

Chamberlain’s continuing troubles cost the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the sixth. He had given up a run-scoring single the previous inning and was taken deep by Gordon Beckham that tied the score again. Opposing hitters are batting .455 against Chamberlain, whose ERA swelled to 9.45.

Other relievers had problems, too. Boone Logan was touched for a two-run home run by Alexei Ramirez in the seventh inning and Derek Lowe yielded a solo shot to Adam Dunn in the eighth.

Jeter got even with Murray in lifetime hits when he doubled with two out in the seventh for his fourth hit of the game and 3,255th of his career. Cap leads the majors in hits with 167, five more than he had all of last year, and ranks third in the majors with 51 multi-hit games, six more than his 2011 total.

Yanks’ winning streak moves into double digits

The Yankees’ winning streak moved into double figures Monday night as they continued to beat National League East competition. Their 6-2 victory over the Braves at Yankee Stadium made it 10 in a row for the Bombers.

Things looked pretty grim for the Yankees over the first four innings in their first home game following the 6-0 trip through Atlanta and Washington. Not only were they trailing 2-0, but also they were hitless.

Braves lefthander Mike Minor entered the game with a 6.01 ERA, but he had pitched a good game against the Yanks last week at Turner Field before coming out of a 4-0 game one out into the eighth. That was the night Alex Rodriguez hit his 23rd career grand slam to tie Lou Gehrig’s major league record to start the Yankees on a comeback toward a 6-4 victory.

Minor was not involved in the decision, but he deserved a better fate. He seemed headed in that direction until the fifth inning when the Braves again lost the lead for good, and this time it was Minor’s fault.

Rodriguez started the rally with a line single to center, the Yankees’ first hit. A-Rod had been their only previous base runner on a leadoff walk in the fourth but he was erased in a double play. After a wild pitch and a walk to Robinson Cano, Minor got a strikeout by catching Andruw Jones looking.

Russell Martin, who was the designated hitter as Chris Stewart again was behind the plate for CC Sabathia, lined a ground-rule double down the left field line that scored Rodriguez. It was another milestone for A-Rod, his 1,860th run that pushed him past Mel Ott and into 11th place on the all-time list. Next up at No. 10 with 1,882 is another Hall of Fame outfielder, Tris Speaker.

A walk to Jayson Nix loaded the bases, which this season has not been all that favorable for the Yankees despite their five grand slams. When Stewart fouled out to first base for the second out, the Yankees’ batting average with the bags full dropped to .171.

But Derek Jeter raised it with a ground single through the middle that scored two runs and put the Yankees ahead. The Yankees kept it up on home runs by Mark Teixeira (No. 12) and Cano (No. 13), plus another RBI single by Jeter.

Sabathia pitched his first complete game of the season and 34th of his career and was in total control once his teammates got him the lead. He gave up seven hits, walked one batter and struck out 10 in raising his record to 9-3 with a 3.55 ERA.

The lefthander also improved on some other marks: he is 22-8 with a 3.04 ERA in 44 career inter-league starts, 34-13 with a 3.56 ERA in 63 career starts in the month of June and 30-9 with a 2.92 ERA in 53 career starts at the current Stadium.

The Yankee are 14-2 in June and have combined to outscore opponents, 83-38, and out-homer them, 25-9, with the rotation pitching to a 1.97 ERA. The Yankees have won 18 of their past 21 inter-league games dating back to last season, including 10 straight, the first time in franchise history that they have won that many consecutive games against teams with winning records.

This series marks the Braves’ first trip to the current Stadium, making them the 21st different opponent to play in the new yard. The Yankees are 16-5 in foes’ first games.

A painful loss to the Red Sox

With only two position players on the bench plus a back-hurting Russell Martin Wednesday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi could not afford to lose anyone to injury, which almost happened in both halves of the sixth inning when catcher Francisco Cervelli and third baseman Eduardo Nunez were nearly knocked out of the game.

Cervelli took a foul ball between the legs and doubled over in pain. A former catcher, Girardi knows that feeling. Cervelli regained his composure and stayed in the game. Good thing, too, because he was having a good night at the plate with three hits and two RBI. His third hit and second RBI came right after Nunez stunned himself at the plate.

In one of the weirdest situations you’ll ever see, Nunez fouled a ball off the side of his helmet. The ball caromed off the helmet and fell behind the plate toward the third base dugout. Nunez was dazed and visited by Girardi and assistant trainer Steve Donohue to make sure he did not suffer a concussion. Eduardo must have answered all the questions accurately because he also stayed in the game and, to top it off, lined a hard single to left field on the next pitch.

It was the second consecutive inning in which the Yankees had a sustained rally trying to work themselves back from the 7-0 deficit they faced in the fourth inning. The Yankees finally got on the board that inning on Alex Rodriguez’s 624th career home run that also boosted his career RBI total to 1,865 and past Hall of Famer Mel Ott into ninth place on the all-time list. Next up is Hall of Famer Willie Mays, in eighth place at 1,903.

Derek Jeter doubled in a run with his 2,989th hit and scored his 1,720th run to tie Wee Willie Keeler for 22nd place all-time in a three-run fifth as the Yanks got to 7-4. The Red Sox tagged on a run in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk, which the Yankees negated with a run of their own in the bottom half. But a bases-loaded threat was thwarted as Jeter grounded into a double play.

Three runs were as close as the Yankees would get. Home runs in the ninth by Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew off Lance Pendleton bloated the Boston lead and created an 11-6 final score as the Red Sox took over first place in the American League East.

In the end, the Yankees could not overcome another faulty start against the Red Sox by A.J. Burnett. Part of his attraction to the Yankees as a free agent four years ago was Burnett’s career success against the Red Sox. A.J. also had success against the Yankees, but that’s another story. Burnett was 5-0 with a 3.83 ERA against Boston, but since coming to the Yankees his efforts against the Red Sox have produced no victories.

Burnett’s record against Boston while pitching for the Yankees is 0-4 with an 8.93 ERA. The Red Sox have batted .315 off him with a .594 slugging percentage, bolstered by 16 doubles and 10 home runs in 165 at-bats. The Yankees need A.J. to be the pitcher he was against the Red Sox before he came to New York.

Another guaranteed win for Sabathia

The Yankees guaranteed themselves a winning West Coast trip Saturday night with a 3-2 victory over the Angels. The score seems misleading. That is because CC Sabathia was in such absolute control until things got a big dicey in the ninth inning that the Yankees appeared to be ahead by a large margin.

Sabathia’s fourth consecutive outing of eight-plus innings was another example of an ace in charge. The first run off him was unearned due to an error by shortstop Derek Jeter. The second run was the result of the dreaded defensive indifference ploy whereby the team in the field allows the runner to steal second base because he does not represent the tying run.

So when Peter Bourjos, who singled with two out in the ninth, was allowed to waltz into second base on defensive indifference, he moved into scoring position and was sent home on a chopping single through the middle by Maicer Izturis. That ended the night for Sabathia. Mariano Rivera came in for a one-pitch save (No. 15) to preserve what turned out a one-run game.

It marked the first time the Yankees won a one-run game on the road this year in six tries. They are 7-10 overall in one-run games. The Yankees also improved to 5-3 on the trip, which is saying something since they lost the first two games of the trek in Seattle. The trip concludes Sunday with Bartolo Colon returning to Anaheim where he won the American League Cy Young Award for the Angels in 2005.

Sabathia (7-3, 2.80 ERA) has been especially durable in recent starts. He is only the second Yankees pitcher in 25 years to win four straight starts in which he lasted for eight or more innings. The other was Andy Pettitte, who had a run of five such starts in 1995. Sabathia is 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA over his past four starts in which he has allowed 28 hits and five walks with 20 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings.

Once again, the long ball served the Yankees well. Ervin Santana, starting in place of injured Dan Haren (back stiffness), was taken deep twice. Robinson Cano homered (No. 12) with two outs in the fourth to culminate a 10-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off six pitches. Angels right fielder Torii Hunter resembled Jeter by tumbling into the stands in an attempt to catch the ball, although Hunter emerged from the other side of the fence without losing any blood.

Alex Rodriguez unlocked a 1-1 score in the sixth with his 10th home run, a two-run shot that landed in the rocks and stream beyond the fence in left-center. Earlier this year, A-Rod moved into the top 10 of the career RBI leaders by surpassing Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. The two RBI on Alex’s 623rd career home run pushed his total to 1,864 and tied him for ninth place with another Hall of Famer, Mel Ott. Eighth place belongs to Hall of Famer Willie Mays at 1,903.

Also moving into territory occupied by Hall of Famers was Jeter, whose single in the seventh inning was career hit No. 2,985 that tied him with Sam Rice for 28th place on the all-time list. Now there is no one between Jeter and No. 27 Roberto Clemente at 3,000.

CC = Sabathia & ‘Comfy Camden’

Over the years, Camden Yards has been just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees when they were ailing offensively. Although they split the two-game series at Toronto, the Yankees had only one hit in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position. They took out their frustration at the picturesque park in Baltimore Saturday night with a 15-3 pounding of the Orioles.

In a week when they had two open dates and a rainout, the Yankees were anxious to get back in action, and it showed right from the beginning. They struck for three runs in the first inning and didn’t let up.

By the time the dust cleared, the Yankees had slugged five home runs among their 14 hits, all of which was very much welcomed by CC Sabathia, who finds facing the Orioles very much to his liking as well. The big lefthander has pitched superbly over the season’s first month but didn’t get a ‘W’ on his register until his fifth start despite an impressive 2.73 ERA.

The victory improved Sabathia’s career record against Baltimore to 15-2 with a 2.89 ERA and 9-1 with a 3.01 ERA at Camden Yards. The way he handled the Orioles, the Yankees’ offense was merely gravy. CC was perfect through the first 11 batters and was working on a one-hit shutout into the seventh before Adam Jones ruined the bid with a three-run home run that barely cleared the right field fence.

By then, the Yankee had six runs, which turned out to be only two-fifths of their final total. They exploded for seven runs in the eighth and added two more in a very satisfactory manner the next inning.

Once again, the long ball was the Yankees’ primary weapon, although they did not homer in the first when they had what was probably their most important rally since it provided Sabathia a 3-0 spread before he even took the mound.

Russell Martin hit two home runs, including a three-run shot in the sixth that was essentially the game winner, and Jorge Posada began the eighth-inning outburst with a two-run homer. Martin and Posada joined teammates Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson with six apiece.

Right behind them with five is Alex Rodriguez, who drove in six runs, four on his 22nd career grand slam, which puts him one behind Lou Gehrig’s major-league mark, a record that was once considered insurmountable. A-Rod also pushed himself into the top 10 of the all-time RBI list with 1,847 as he passed Carl Yastrzemski and is only 17 behind another Hall of Famer, Mel Ott, who ranks ninth.

Perhaps the most satisfying home run of the night came from an unlikely source. Brett Gardner, dropped from the leadoff spot where he had hit against right-handed starters back to the 9-hole, doubled his first time up to stop a hitless stretch of 16 at-bats. When Gardner batted in the ninth inning, it was with two out and immediately after Martin was nailed by a pitch in his upper back by Josh Rupe.

It is not uncommon for a player who has hit two home runs in a game to get buzzed by a pitcher, but the location of Rupe’s drilling of Martin was dangerous. The ball struck Martin just below his neck as he turned away from the pitch.

The head-hunting pitch lifted most of the Yankees off their dugout seats. They stayed on their feet as Gardner drove a 2-1 pitch to right-center for his first home run of the season. It turned out to be better retaliation than for the ninth-inning pitcher, recent Triple A call-up Buddy Carlyle, to return fire.

The Yankees lead the majors in home runs with 35 and in multi-home run games with 11. They have homered in 15 of their 17 games this year.

The best part of Saturday night’s massacre was that all the Yankees contributed. Each player in the starting lineup scored and all but Nick Swisher had hits. And while Swish was 0-for-4, he did walk and hit the ball on the screws four times.

Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 12 games and continued his assault on Baltimore pitching with three singles to improve his career numbers against the Orioles to .471 with 35 runs, 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 33 RBI in 39 games and 155 at-bats.

Teixeira, a Maryland native, reached base four times with a double, a single and two walks and scored twice. At the top of the order, Derek Jeter singled, walked and scored two runs and Granderson singled and scored.

Chalk another one up to the Yankees’ comfortable home away from home. Camden Yards is a sort of Yankee Stadium South. The Yankees’ 95-52 record there is the best winning percentage (.646) of any American League club in the history of the park that is now in its 20th season.

Jeter top New York hit maker

Derek Jeter’s leadoff single to right field Wednesday night off Cliff Lee was career hit No. 2,877 for the Yankees shortstop and captain, and it was a big deal.

Coming in the same week in which Jeter passed Babe Ruth on the career list, this time he pushed ahead of Mel Ott and in so doing now has the most hits of any player while playing for a New York team, not just the Yankees but also the Mets and the former New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. That covers a lot of territory.

Not all of the Babe’s 2,873 hits were for the Yankees. He also played for both Boston teams, the Red Sox and the Braves. In Ott’s case, all of his 2,876 hits were with the Giants in a 22-season career spanning 1926 to 1947. No player wearing a New York uniform had more hits than Ott, a record he held for 63 years until Wednesday night.

Just last year, Jeter surpassed Lou Gehrig as the Yankees’ franchise hit leader, which was rarified air enough. Now this. Think about the long history of major league baseball in New York City, much richer than even the supposed hot beds of St. Louis and Boston, and now Derek Jeter stands heads and shoulders over all the hit makers.

There are 203 players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Of that total, 92 played a portion of their careers for at least one of the New York teams. The city has seen some of the greatest hitters ever, from the Babe and Lou to Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson, from Willie (Mays), Mickey (Mantle) and the Duke (Snider), on to Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez.

Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle all won batting titles as did fellow Yankees Snuffy Stirnweiss, Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams. Other batting champions in New York were the Dodgers’ Robinson, Jake Daubert, Zack Wheat, Pete Reiser, Dixie Walker and Carl Furillo and the Giants’ Mays, Larry Doyle and Bill Terry, the last National League player to hit .400 (.401 in 1930). No Mets player has led the league in batting, but Dave Magadan and John Olerud came close.

Ott won no batting titles, either, even though he was a career .304 hitter. Ott’s specialty was the long ball. His total of 511 was the NL record for 20 years before Mays passed him in 1966. Ott led the league in home runs six times, and the NL trophy for the annual home run champion is named after him. He also had 488 doubles and 72 triples and hit .295 with four homers and 10 RBI in 16 World Series games.

Ott would have fit very well into today’s game as an on-base specialist. He led the NL in walks six times, walked more than 100 times in 10 seasons and had a career .414 on-base average. A left-handed batter, Ott took advantage of the short right field dimensions at the Polo Grounds utilizing a quirky hitting style in which he lifted his right leg as he started his swing. Copying that style years later was the Japanese slugger Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants.

In his last six seasons in the majors, Ott wore two hats for the Giants as a player manager. A soft-spoken man from Louisiana with a demeanor not unlike that of Gehrig, it was Ott to whom Leo Durocher came up with his famous line, “Nice guys finish last.”

Ott never did finish last, and when he did finish his career he was first among New York players in total hits. Now that distinction belongs to Derek Jeter, another nice guy who doesn’t finish last.

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