Results tagged ‘ Mike Minor ’
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.
For more than half a century, Lou Gehrig held two major-league records that most people in baseball felt could never be broken. The big one, of course, was his 2,130 consecutive games played, basically playing every day for 14 seasons. It stood for 55 years until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it in 1995 and pushed it to 2,632 before ending it in 1998.
The other major mark that belonged to baseball’s original “Iron Horse” was 23 home runs with the bases loaded. Contenders came and went from Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams to Willie McCovey and Eddie Murray to Robin Ventura and Manny Ramirez. Yet 73 years after Gehrig played his last game, his record for grand slams held.
It still does, technically, except now his claim is only a share. Alex Rodriguez tied Lou Tuesday night and in so doing provided one of the true highlights of the Yankees season to date. A-Rod’s drive to left off a 3-2 sinker from lefthander Jonny Venters with the bags full erased a 4-0 deficit in the eighth inning as the Yankees went on to beat the Braves, 6-4, thanks to a two-run homer later that inning by Nick Swisher.
The Yankees looked absolutely flat in this game for seven innings and were in danger of having their four-game winning streak end and falling out of first place in the American League East. Instead, the Yankees ran their streak to five games and stand alone atop the division for the first time since April 21 as the Rays were trounced by the Mets.
How ironic that Rodriguez would tie the record this season when the Yankees have struggled so much with the bases loaded. True, A-Rod’s salami was the fifth for the Yankees this year, but they have only 11 hits total in 68 at-bats with the bags juiced, a .162 average. Rodriguez had been among the culprits in bases-loaded situations with only one hit, a single at that, in 10 such at-bats previously this season.
The timing could not have been better. The Yankees were held in check for seven innings by lefthander Mike Minor, who entered the eighth working on a four-hit shutout. A one-out single by Derek Jeter prompted a pitching change by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who would come to regret it.
Venters, who was one of three relievers who helped shut out the Yanks Monday night, could not located the strike zone. He gave up a single to Curtis Granderson, walked Mark Teixeira to load the bases and fell behind 3-0 in the count to Rodriguez. After taking a called strike and fouling off two pitches, A-Rod made solid contact on a sinking fastball and launched the ball over the left field wall at Turner Field.
The carnage continued as Robinson Cano chased Venters with a single and Swisher greeted Cory Gearrin, who had pitched two scoreless innings the night before, with a bomb to right. The home runs by A-Rod and Swish were the 10th for each as the long ball once again came to the Yanks’ rescue.
Another irony is that the winning pitcher was CC Sabathia, who ended the stretch of quality starters from the rotation. Actually, CC would have been credited with a quality start if he had not come out for the seventh inning. A quality start is considered pitching at least six innings and allowing three runs or fewer, which CC did, although all three runs came in the first inning leaving the Yankees to go uphill the rest of the night.
With the game at an NL park, the designated hitter was not in effect. If Chris Stewart had made the third out of the top of the seventh, Sabathia likely would have been pinch-hit for, but when Stewart flied out Yankees manager Joe Girardi could let Sabathia keep pitching. The Braves got another run off CC in the seventh, which seemed at the time like plenty of insurance for Minor.
So after being carried for the bulk of the past two weeks by the pitching staff, Yankees hitters came through in, well, grand style.