Results tagged ‘ Mickey Mantle ’

Yanks can’t handle Garza this time

The Rangers got an immediate dividend in their trade for Matt Garza Wednesday night at the expense of the Yankees. Garza had trouble with the Yankees (1-4, 4.48 ERA) in his years with the Rays, but in his first start against the Bombers in four years the only one who hurt him was himself.

The run off Garza in Texas’ 3-1 victory was not earned, although it was his two-base error with a bad throw to first base on an infield single by Brett Gardner in the sixth inning that led to the run that scored on a single by Robinson Cano. But that would be it for the Yankees, who were back to hitting only singles – five of them – as they got only two runners past first base after the first inning. It was back in the first inning that the Yankees had a chance to go some damage against Garza. Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki each singled, but Garza came back to strike out Cano and Lyle Overbay and get Vernon Wells on a ground ball.

The momentum the Yankees felt after Tuesday night’s somewhat miraculous victory ebbed quickly, which can happen when a pitcher is on his game as was Garza (7-1), who pitched into the eighth inning with no walks and five strikeouts.

Andy Pettitte (7-8) took the loss, a tough one. He gave up eight hits but only two runs, both driven in by A.J. Pierzynski on a two-out single in the first inning and his 10th home run in the sixth. Give Pettitte credit. It was not a fat pitch to Pierzynski for the homer but a 1-2 slider that the Rangers’ designated hitter caught just above his shoelaces and got up into the humid Texas air.

Pettitte had two strikeouts with both coming in succession in the second inning that pushed him past Sandy Koufax and tied him with former teammate Kevin Brown for 39th place on the career list with 2,397. For the fifth consecutive game, Pettitte was scored upon in the first inning, but he pitched well enough to win.

David Murphy provided an insurance run with a home run off Shawn Kelley in the eighth. Texas manager Ron Washington elected to have lefthander Neal Cotts, who had gotten the last two outs of the Yankees eighth, to face the left-handed Cano and Overbay in the ninth. Cotts retired both before Washington brought in his closer Joe Nathan, who blew Tuesday night’s game.

The move looked questionable when Wells greeted Nathan with a single that brought the potential tying run to the plate in Eduardo Nunez, who hit a game-tying triple off Nathan the night before. No such luck this time as Nunez made the final out on a soft liner to shortstop.

Gardner had two hits and a stolen base, the 154th of his career, which shot him past Mickey Mantle into eighth place on the Yankees’ all-time list.

I’ll be heading for Cooperstown, N.Y., Thursday for the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend and will file reports on the induction of former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and the ceremonies honoring former Yankees pitcher Tommy John and Dr. Frank Jobe and Lou Gehrig, who will finally officially be part of an induction ceremony. More on that in my next report.

Mo won’t be back right away as old timer

One of the nice things about Sunday’s annual reunion known around Yankee Stadium as Old-Timers’ Day was watching Mariano Rivera, 43 but not yet an old-timer, connect with so many of the veterans who took part in the event. This is Mo’s final season in the majors and he is taking a stop-and-smell-the-roses approach to every day of the year.

So as the collection of former Yankees standouts from different eras made their way onto the field for practice before the three-inning exhibition game, Rivera made the rounds and talked to nearly every one of them. There were stars from the 1950s (Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Dr. Bobby Brown, Jerry Coleman, Don Larsen), the 1960s (Bobby Richardson, Joe Pepitone, Hector Lopez, Mel Stottlemyre, Gene Michael), 1970s (Reggie Jackson, Lou Piniella, Roy White, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers), 1980s (Willie Randolph, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson, Steve Balboni, Lee Mazzilli) and 1990s (Paul O’Neill, David Cone, David Wells, Bernie Williams, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez). Each and every one received a handshake and a kind word from Rivera.

I was chatting in the Yankees dugout with former manager Stump Merrill when Mo sauntered over. Stump is on the mend from surgery for prostate cancer and was in great spirits. Mo got into the conversation and talked about his rehab from knee surgery last year. I kidded him about his being on the field with all the old-timers and that he was really a year early.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, you won’t be eligible for this game until next year when you’re officially retired,” I said.

“Oh, I won’t be coming back next year,” Rivera said.

“How come?” I wanted to know.

“That will be too soon,” he said. “That is why I am doing all these things at the different parks all year. This is the time for that. Next year will be all my time, time for my family, time to do many things I could not do because I was playing all summer. Maybe in two or three years I would like to come back. I have always enjoyed this day.”

It is a special day to savor and, frankly, it is now unique. When I first started covering baseball in the 1970s, most clubs held Old-Timers’ Days. The Yankees started the tradition in 1947 with a salute to Babe Ruth the year before he died. His memorable speech cemented the event as something to do on an annual basis. Joe DiMaggio’s relatively early retirement (he was 37 when he called it quits) helped keep the day special because so many Yankees fans looked forward to seeing him come back each year, put on a uniform and swat line drives. The same thing occurred for the next generation with Mickey Mantle and so on to the present.

Old-Timers’ Day is now strictly a Yankees event. Even the appearance of widows is a Yankees tradition, beginning originally with Claire Ruth and Eleanor (Lou) and continuing with Arlene (Elston) Howard, Jill (Billy) Martin, Diana (Thurman) Munson, Helen (Catfish) Hunter and Kay (Bobby) Murcer.

Other clubs such as the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Cubs occasionally bring back old favorites for some special celebration but not as an annual exercise.

Nobody does it better than the Yankees.

Rain falls on Mattingly’s parade

If only the weather had cooperated. Tuesday night was supposed to be special for Don Mattingly, who would have made his first appearance on the field at Yankee Stadium since he retired as a player after the 1995 season. He came back along with former manager Joe Torre in September 2010 for the unveiling of the plaque for the late owner George Steinbrenner but not in uniform.

“Donnie Baseball” was expected to receive a very warm welcome from Yankees fans even if he was wearing Dodgers blue as their manager in the club’s first regular-season game in the Bronx. A persistent rain forced the postponement of the game, however, which will be made up as part of a split-admission doubleheader Wednesday. It is hoped that a good sized crowd is on hand for that first game, so Mattingly can receive the ovation he richly deserves.

He is that rarity (think Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera) as a Yankees player than even Yankees haters liked. Mattingly wore the pinstripes proudly for 14 seasons as a player and was a loyal coach as well. He was a candidate for the managerial position after Torre left but lost the job to current skipper Joe Girardi, a situation Mattingly now considers a “blessing.”

“They treated me fairly, I thought,” Mattingly said of the Yankees’ front office. “Things work out for a reason. That would have been really bad timing for me. Terrible. I was going through some personal stuff that would have been miserable trying to manage for the first time and have that going on. So, that was a blessing in disguise. Coming to L.A. has been great, and obviously there’s been a lot of turmoil this year, but I love what I’m doing and I like being in L.A.”

Mattingly was going through a divorce at the time and ended up joining Torre with the Dodgers as bench coach. When Joe stepped down from the manager’s job two years ago, Mattingly succeeded him. Unfortunately, injuries have played a huge part in the Dodgers’ disappointing season, a situation for which his Yankees counterpart can relate. Girardi has had 13 players do 16 stints on the disabled list. Mattingly has had 15 players on the DL.

About coming back to New York, Mattingly said, “It’s not just the building, it’s the people. Seeing the guys in the clubhouse and around the Stadium, it’s a good feeling.”

Mattingly feels fortunate that he has been involved with two clubs with storied histories. He grew up in Evansville, Ind., where the Cardinals and the Reds were the clubs people listed to mostly on the radio. The Yankees were a dynasty from long ago to Mattingly until he finally arrived at the Stadium as a player.

“I’m always excited when we come back to New York,” he said. “I don’t quite understand the relationship [with the fans], to be honest. I came from a small town and just played. They seemed to appreciate that. That was nice for me because all I had to do was play.”

Mattingly had hoped to be a part of a Yankees-Dodgers World Series (they have opposed each other in October a record 11 times) in 2009, but Los Angeles lost to Philadelphia in the NL Championship Series.

“I didn’t really know much about the Yankees until I got here,” he said. “It starts in spring training. Mickey [Mantle] was still alive and came to camp. You’d see Whitey [Ford] and Yogi. You don’t understand the history until you get here. Now I’m in another place that it steeped in history, going back to Jackie [Robinson] breaking the color line, bringing baseball to the West Coast and having strong ties to the community. All the Rookie of the Year winners over the years that shows the commitment to players coming through the system, fighting for a championship year after year, it is very similar to the Yankees.”

“Donnie is one of the greatest Yankees that’s ever played,” Girardi said. “He’s one of the greatest teammates that has ever put on that uniform. I know I’ve always loved him and appreciated what he has done, and I know the fans have seen a lot more than I have. I think it’ll be a great day for him.”

It will just have to wait for one more day.

The only tickets valid for the 1:05 p.m. game Wednesday are tickets dated June 18. The game originally scheduled for June 19 remains scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start. YES will cablecast the 1:05 p.m. game. Channel 9 will telecast the 7:05 p.m. game.

Fans holding paid tickets for Tuesday night’s game (June 18) may use them for the rescheduled game or exchange their paid tickets for any regular season game at Yankee Stadium during the 2013 season or 2014 season (subject to availability).

Fans holding Complimentary tickets (COMP) for the June 18 game must use them for the rescheduled game. Complimentary tickets (COMP) or equivalent tickets bear no cash value and do not have any additional benefits that may be offered to ticket(s) with a dollar value.

For complete information about the Yankees’ rainout policy, please visit http://www.yankees.com/rainout.

With respect to tickets purchased through Yankees Ticket Exchange, please visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketexchange or call 1-800-355-2396 for complete information about its rainout policy.

Yanks in spoiler mood against Buchholz

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.

Gardner pulled off an ‘Endy Chavez play’

I remember the first time I walked out on the field at Citi Field the year it opened in 2009 and looked at the left field wall and thought what a mistake the Mets made. Instead of an eight-foot high fence such as the one at old Shea Stadium, the same area at Citi Field had a 16-foot wall that resembled the old San Diego Stadium, later known as Jack Murphy Stadium and Qualcomm Stadium.

Whatever name the San Diego yard had, it was a lousy idea to have such a wall around the outfield because it took away the possibility of an outfielder making a home run-robbing catch. I remember Dave Winfield making a fence-climbing grab in left field at Yankee Stadium during a playoff game in 1981 and telling me afterwards, “I couldn’t have done that in San Diego.”

In the same vein, one of the Mets’ greatest postseason moments at Shea could not have occurred at Citi Field in its first three seasons. Left fielder Endy Chavez’s leaping, glove-extending grab of a drive by Scott Rolen denied the Cardinals third baseman a two-run home run in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.

I covered that game for MLB.com and recall writing a story that rated Chavez’s play with those of other New York outfielders in postseason play, such as the World Series catches by the Dodgers’ Al Gionfriddo off the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio in 1947, the Giants’ Willie Mays off the Indians’ Vic Wertz in 1954, the Dodgers’ Sandy Amoros off the Yankees’ Yogi Berra in 1955, the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle off the Dodgers’ Gil Hodges in 1956, the two beauties by the Mets’ Tommie Agee off the Orioles’ Elrod Hendricks and Paul Blair in 1969 and the Yankees’ Paul O’Neill’s hamstring-straining, game-ending rundown of a drive by the Braves’ Luis Polonia in 1996.

Although the Mets eventually lost the game and the series, Chavez’s catch has been defined as the greatest defensive play in Shea’s history, with only Ron Swoboda’s belly-flop snaring of a Brooks Robinson liner in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series qualifying as a rival, another play to which I referred in the 2006 NLCS story.

All of this came to mind Monday night when Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner took away a potential two-run home run by Daniel Murphy in the sixth inning that preserved at the time a 1-0 lead for the Bombers. Gardner was able to make such a smashing play because the Mets had the good sense to change the dimensions prior to the 2012 season.

Part of the reason for the change was that Mets right-handed hitters, particularly David Wright, the face of the franchise, were getting psyched out by the unfriendly distances. Wright and his pals would continually watch well-struck drives turn into 400-foot outs. But the best part may have been the erection of an eight-foot fence in front of the previous one. It created a party deck that has been a featured seating section and has allowed the outfielders to have a chance to act like Jesse James once in a while.

“Thank goodness it’s a part of the park where it’s a fence, not a wall,” Gardner said after the game. “The poles out there have got some pretty good pads in front of them, so I’m fine. It wouldn’t be as difficult if I was a little taller [5-foot-10]. You’ve just got to hope that you’re able to get a good clean jump. You want to get back there close to the fence as possible, but you don’t want to run into the fence or hit the fence on the way up. I was able to time it just right.”

It was a gem of a play, one that pitcher Phil Hughes called the best catch he ever saw from the mound. It certainly was reminiscent of the play Chavez made. Unfortunately for the Yankees, it was also similar to Chavez’s play in that the opposition came back to win the game.

Wells loses steal in official scoring change

Vernon Wells lost a stolen base when an official scorer’s ruling was changed from Wednesday night’s game at Coors Field. Rockies shortstop Jonathan Herrera has instead been charged with an error for dropping the throw from catcher Wilin Rosario that allowed Wells to be safe at second base. Wells eventually scored on an infield hit by Brennan Boesch. Due to the error that run is now unearned on the record of Colorado reliever Rafael Betancourt. This was the correct call. Wells was running on a hit-and-run play and would have been out at second if Herrera had hung on to Rosario’s accurate throw.

ESPN has grabbed the Yankees-Red Sox game of June 2 for Sunday Night Baseball. That makes it an 8:05 p.m. start. The game is scheduled to air on ESPN2. It will move to ESPN if the NBA Western Conference finals playoff series goes less than seven games.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Robinson Cano reached the 1,500-hit mark Thursday at Denver eight years and six days after his major league debut (May 3, 2005), the shortest span from a player’s first big-league game to 1,500 hits for the Yankees. Derek Jeter had the previous mark of eight years and 79 days. The only active players who made it to the milestone quicker than Cano in terms of days after their major-league debut are Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols and Juan Pierre. Elias also noted that Cano (30 years, 199 days old) became the fifth Yankees player to reach 1,500 hits before his 31st birthday, joining Mickey Mantle (28 years, 305 days) in 1960, Jeter (29 years, 51 days) in 2003, Lou Gehrig (29 years, 52 days) in 1932 and Don Mattingly (30 years, 94 days) in 1991. . .Cano’s 186th career home run Thursday put him in 17th place on the Yankees’ all-time list, one ahead of Paul O’Neill. Next up in 16th place is Tino Martinez at 192.

Finally a ‘W’ for much more consistent Hughes

Through five innings Saturday, Phil Hughes had thrown 86 pitches. I thought here’s another situation in which the righthander cannot moderate his pitch count and that Yankees manager Joe Girardi would have to get his bullpen in gear early.

But lo and behold, Hughes got more efficient with his pitches and came up with three straight 1-2-3 innings to be in good position to get his first winning decision of the season. Phil certainly earned it with eight shutout innings in which he allowed four hits and two walks with a season-high nine strikeouts.

Things got a bit hairy in the ninth when Shawn Kelley gave up a leadoff single, and Girardi did not hesitate to call on Mariano Rivera in a non-save situation. Mo gave up a walk and a hit with a couple of runs scoring, but the 4-2 Yankees final gave Hughes that long-awaited first victory of the season.

“I knew my pitch count was pretty high the first five innings,” Hughes said. “It all starts with the fastball. I got more aggressive with it on both sides of the plate and then I could mix in off-speed stuff.”

Hughes’ 117-pitch effort included an unusually high number of strikes – 82 – and marked his fourth consecutive outing of six or more innings in which he allowed two or fewer runs. He has held opponents to a .223 batting average in that stretch. Over those starts, Hughes had brought his ERA down from 10.29 to 3.60. “I feel like I’m clicking now,” he said.

For the second straight outing at Yankee Stadium, Hughes kept the ball in the yard, something he had not done before his previous start since last August. The long ball will always be a nemesis for Hughes, a fly-ball pitcher (10 of his 24 outs Saturday were in the air), but it is worth noting that all five homers he has allowed this year have come with the bases empty.

Ichiro Suzuki saved Hughes from yielding a home run to the first batter of the game, catcher John Jaso, with a fence-climbing catch in right field. A couple of other drives reached the warning track but stayed out of the stands.

“The consistency of his pitches every inning” was Girardi’s explanation for the turnaround in Hughes since his first two poor starts to open the season. “He mixed in all his stuff the second and third time through the order.”

Hughes’ offensive support came mainly from the bottom of the order – home runs from 9-hole hitter Chris Stewart in the third and 7-hole hitter Lyle Overbay in the fifth off Athletics starter Bartolo Colon and a triple by 8-hole hitter Eduardo Nunez, who scored on a two-out single by Brett Gardner in the seventh. The other run came from cleanup hitter Travis Hafner with a single in the sixth that scored Robinson Cano, who had doubled to lead off the inning against Colon.

That double was career No. 344 for Cano, who broke a tie with Hall of Famers Bill Dickey and Mickey Mantle to take over eighth place on the franchise’s all-time list.

Colon, who was 8-10 for the Yankees in 2011, lost for the first time in four decisions this year despite another good outing (three runs, six hits, no walks, three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings). A control freak of a power pitcher, Colon has tossed 37 1/3 innings in 2013 and walked one batter.

The Yankees are 28-9 in games immediately following shutout losses since the start of the 2008 season (all under Girardi) with victories in both cases this year and 11 of the past 13. . .Hughes, with a 1.93 ERA and 30 strikeouts over his past four starts covering 28 innings, became the first right-handed starter for the Yankees to pitch at least eight shutout innings and strike out at least nine batters in a game since Mike Mussina Sept. 14, 2004 at Kansas City and the first to do so at the Stadium since Roger Clemens June 18, 2003 against the Rays. . .Hafner has at least one RBI in nine of the Yankees’ 10 series this season. . .Stewart entered 2013 with four homers in 351 career at-bats. He has two in 40 at-bats this season. . .Rivera’s 1,064th career appearance tied him with Dan Plesac for sixth place on the all-time games list. . .The Yankees are 17-2 when holding opponents to four or fewer runs and 16-3 when scoring four or more runs.

Pat Summerall, 82, thorough pro & class act

I just learned about the passing of Pat Summerall, 82, while recovering from hip surgery at a hospital in his hometown of Dallas. This is sad news. It was my privilege to have known Summerall, even though I never covered pro football all that much. But that was part of the beauty of Summerall in that his broadcasting career was not limited to football. He was as much a voice of golf and tennis as he was of the sport in which he had exceled as a player.

I got to know him a little bit when I was covering tennis in the late 1970s and early ‘80s for the Bergen Record in New Jersey. Pat was a fixture at the U.S. Open in those days. He also did play-by-play for the Westchester Classic, the annual PGA tour stop in New York that I also covered on occasion.

So why all this about Summerall on a blog devoted to the Yankees? Well, he had a connection to them. After all, he spent many a Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium when he was an end and place kicker for the football Giants back when they played home games in the Bronx. In the early 1990s, Summerall underwent alcoholism treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and was influential during his recovery in getting fellow Dallas resident and long-time pal Mickey Mantle to go there as well. Pat and Mickey played an awful lot of rounds of golf together over the years.

A moment of silence was observed before Tuesday night’s game at the Stadium in honor of Summerall, who had taken part in the Giants’ landmark, sudden-death loss to the Baltimore Colts in the 1958 NFL championship game at the original Stadium.

My fondest memory of Pat Summerall was an episode of my career that was nearly a blown assignment. When the Giants were preparing for their first Super Bowl appearance after the 1986 NFL season, The Record planned a special section on the event. I was a baseball writer by then covering the Mets, who had won the World Series that year, and was assigned to do a couple of features for the section, including a piece on Summerall, who was to do play-by-play for CBS’ telecast.

On the afternoon that a conference phone hookup with Summerall was scheduled with local media writers, a story broke on my Mets beat, that Darryl Strawberry was arrested and charged with spousal abuse. I ran down the story and even got Darryl on the phone. I was so excited about getting the scoop that I was taken aback when after handing in the Strawberry story an editor said to me, “So, how did the interview with Summerall go?”

Oh, man. I forgot all about it. I phoned a friend of mine in CBS’ publicity department and asked him if he could provide me a tape of the conference call. He said he would get back to me within the hour. When he phoned me back, he said, “Where are you going to be for the next 20 minutes?” I told him I would stay in the office until I heard back from him.

About 10 minutes later, an editor called out, “O’Connell, pick up extension 23.”

I grabbed the phone and heard a voice on the other line say, “Hi, Jack, this is Pat Summerall. How can I help you?”

Talk about class. I apologized profusely about having missed the conference call. He said he understood that I was working on another story and asked me all about Strawberry. He gave me a solid hour’s interview on his own time. I have never forgotten that kindness. Summerall was known throughout our industry as being a true professional. How lucky I was to find that out first-hand.

Orioles remain generous with Yanks

The Orioles continued to be in a giving mood Saturday, the day after a three-run error by Adam Jones and a triple play by the Yankees helped secure a Bombers victory.

Baltimore ran itself out of a rally in the second inning when Nate McLouth, running from first base on a single off the right field wall by Manny Machado, ran through a stop sign by third base coach Bobby Dickerson and was a dead duck at the plate. Machado’s hit banged hard off the fence back to right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who fed Robinson Cano, the best second baseman in the majors at the cutoff play, whose relay gunned down McLouth with plenty to spare.

The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the second, due in part to another Orioles gaffe. A throwing error by Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy put Francisco Cervelli on second base with two out. Lyle Overbay brought Cervelli home with a soft single to center to make the score 2-2. The Yankees’ first run that inning came on Travis Hafner’s third home run of the season.

Jayson Nix was at shortstop again for Eduardo Nunez, who is sidelined with a bruised right wrist the result of being hit by a pitch Friday night. X-rays were negative. The Yankees also have yet to decide when Andy Pettitte’s next start will be. The lefthander continued treatments Saturday for back spasms.

Friday night’s triple killing in which Nix was the middle man was the Yanks’ first triple play in a home game in nearly 45 years. The previous time occurred May 3, 1968 against the Twins and catcher Johnny Roseboro and was turned by pitcher Dooley Womack to third baseman Bobby Cox to first baseman Mickey Mantle. Yes, that was the same Bobby Cox who managed the Braves to all those division titles in the 1990s and 2000s.

Mo sets club durability record

Mariano Rivera’s first appearance of the 2013 season Thursday night set a club record for years with the Yankees. This marks Mo’s 19th season in pinstripes, which breaks the tie he had shared with Yogi Berra (1946-63), Mickey Mantle (1951-68) and Derek Jeter (1995-2012). Once Jeet comes off the disabled list, of course, he will go back into a tie with Rivera.

Next in line with 17 seasons with the Yankees are Lou Gehrig (1923-39), Bill Dickey (1928-43, ’46), Frankie Crosetti (1932-48) and Jorge Posada (1995-2011). With 16 seasons apiece are Whitey Ford (1950, ’53-67) and Bernie Williams (1991-2006).

Rivera’s save to preserve the 4-2 victory over the Red Sox for Andy Pettitte also made it 18 years in a row (1996-2013) in which Mo has saved at least one game, tying the major-league record with John Franco.

In the major-league opener Sunday night between the Astros and the Rangers, Houston center fielder Justin Maxwell hit two triples to become one of only six players in history to triple twice in a season opener. One of them was the Yankees’ Tommy Henrich in 1950, his final season. “Old Reliable,” as Henrich was known, had more triples (8) than doubles (6) or home runs (6) that year. Henrich hit 73 triples over his 11-season career (he lost three full seasons to military service during World War II) and led the league twice, with 14 in 1948 and 13 in 1947.

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