Results tagged ‘ Paul Konerko ’
As the temperatures in New York keep rising during this heat wave, the Yankees have cooled off. The American League Central-leading White Sox under rookie manager Robin Ventura beat the Yankees for the second straight game Friday night in a game the Bombers were hoping to steal with a pitcher making his major-league debut.
No ninth-inning heroics were required this time from the White Sox, who overcame a 4-0 deficit against rookie righthander Adam Warren and went on the beat the Yankees at their own game. Chicago used four home runs to the Yanks’ one (by Curtis Granderson) on the way to a 14-7 victory.
Warren was not stuck with the losing decision because the Yankees, who had 11 hits, came back from 6-4 to tie the score in the fourth inning on the second of two doubles by Andruw Jones. But relievers David Phelps and Cory Wade couldn’t keep the ball in the yard any more than Warren had. A.J. Pierzynski swatted two home runs and Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez one apiece as part of a 19-hit attack that also included five doubles.
The underbelly of the Yankees’ bullpen has been exposed somewhat the past two nights. Wade especially has been on a downhill cycle. He was roughed up for six earned runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings and has allowed 10 earned runs in his past two outings totaling three innings. That is an ERA of 30.00. Over his past six appearances, Wade has pitched to a 28.69 ERA and given up 13 earned runs and 17 hits, including three home runs, in 5 1/3 innings. His season ERA over that stretch has gone from 2.63 to 5.79.
“He relies on location,” Girardi said of Wade. “He was up in the zone, and he can’t live there.”
The situation reached the perilous point that Yankees manager Joe Girardi resorted to using outfielder DeWayne Wise to get the final two outs, which was one of the few highlights for Yankees pitching in the game.
“You can see guys pitching in and out and changing speeds and plains and can’t get anybody out and then someone comes in and simply throws BP [batting practice] and gets both hitters out,” Girardi said. “It’s a strange game.”
The Yankees did their best Friday night to put Adam Warren, who made his major-league debut, in a comfort zone. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning off White Sox lefthander Jose Quintana, who entered the game with a 16-inning scoreless streak and a 1.25 ERA.
Derek Jeter started the ball rolling with a double into the left field corner for his 3,185th career hit that pushed him past Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. for sole possession of 13th place on the all-time list.
“Congratulations to Derek on passing me on the all-time hits list,” Ripken said. “Derek has been such a special player for such a long time, and I am happy to see him continue to play at a high level. He represents the game and the Yankees wonderfully, and I hope that he continues to give all of us baseball fans great memories.”
Curtis Granderson ended Quintana’s zeroes streak with a drive to right-center field for his 22nd home run off a 1-0 fastball. Another streak by Quintana came one out later when he walked Alex Rodriguez, the pitcher’s first base on balls in a stretch covering 100 batters.
After Robinson Cano flied out, Nick Swisher kept the rally alive with a flare single behind first base that was positioned so well that A-Rod got to third. Andruw Jones got both runners home with a booming double off the wall in left-center.
The comfort zone didn’t last long for Warren, who gave all of the lead back the very next inning on A.J. Pierzynski’s 13th home run, singles by Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez, a two-run double by Gordon Beckham and a run-scoring infield out by Kevin Youkilis. The rookie learned that in the big leagues nothing can be taken for granted as Paul Konerko led off the third with his 14th home run to put the Chisox ahead.
Chicago added another run before Warren came out of the game after 2 1/3 innings with his ERA an unsightly 23.14. The Yankee Stadium crowd recognized the circumstances and disappointing as fans may have been to see a 4-0 lead vanish gave the rookie righthander polite applause. To have done otherwise would have been unkind.
Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson is one of six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which has been presented annually since 1997 by the Major League Players Association. The award, named after the first executive director of the union, goes to a player elected by his peers as the one who best combines on-field performance with community service.
Thousands of baseball fans participated in an Internet poll on http://www.MLBPLAYERS.com between Sept. 9-12 to determine which six players, one from each division, inspire others to higher levels of achievement by on-field performances and contributions to their communities.
From the list of 30 players, Robertson was selected to represent the American League East. The other finalists are White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko (AL Central), Rangers designated hitter Michael Young (AL West), Mets third baseman David Wright (National League East), Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (NL Central) and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (NL West).
These six players will have their names placed on the 2011 Players Choice Awards ballot to determine the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award winner. The 2011 Players Choice Awards mark their 20th anniversary. The 1992 winners were Dennis Eckersley (AL) and Barry Bonds (NL). The Players Choice Awards also honor the outstanding player, rookie, pitcher and comeback player in each league, as well as the overall Player of the Year. 2011 Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 from the Major League Baseball Players Trust that has contributed more than $3 million to charities around the world.
No Yankees player has won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. Center fielder Curtis Granderson was honored in 2009, his last season with the Tigers. Another Detroit player, Brandon Inge, won last year. Ballots are being distributed to players Tuesday and Wednesday.
After watching tornadoes tear through Tuscaloosa, Ala., and spending an off-day touring the damage first-hand, Robertson was determined to help his hometown rebuild. In May, he and his wife established the David and Erin Robertson Foundation to raise relief funds and lend support to local charities helping those affected by the storms, with Robertson personally donating $100 for every batter he strikes out this season through his High Socks for Hope campaign.
The Yankees came roaring out of July with victories in their last three games and six in eight to finish the month 16-11, increasing their major-league record for consecutive winnings Julys to 19.
To do as well in August, however, the Yankees will have to be road warriors. The schedule bites them this month as the Yankees will have to play 70 percent of their August games on the road. Over the final 17 games of the month, the Yankees will play 14 away from Yankee Stadium.
The out-of-town odyssey began Monday night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field in the first game of a four-game series to be followed by a three-game set at Boston, the first of two such meetings between the Yanks and the Red Sox at Fenway Park this month (the second pushes into Sept. 1).
The Yankees have been no slouches away from home. Their 27-20 record on the road is second only to the 33-21 mark of the Red Sox. The Yanks’ 47 road games are the fewest in the majors as they have 34 of their remaining 56 games (60.7%) on the road.
August has been an august month recently for the Yankees. They have had a winning record in August in 14 of the past 15 seasons. The one exception was 2008 when they were 13-15.
The Yankees had to start the trip without Derek Jeter in the lineup. He was struck in the right middle finger by a pitch Sunday against the Orioles. It was the same finger Jeter injured on a fielding play Saturday night.
The Yankees caught a break in that White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was also missing in action. He, too, was a victim of being hit by a pitch, near the left knee, Sunday against the Red Sox. Konerko is a big loss to the White Sox. He leads them in almost every offensive category and is a .315 hitter with 20 home runs and 60 RBI in 321 career at-bats against the Yankees.
Konerko’s absence was felt right away. Adam Dunn, who has had a brutal year, was playing first base and had the ball hit past him by three of the Yankees’ first four hitters. Dunn, a free-agent bust who is batting .165 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI in 310 at-bats primarily as the designated hitter, got a rare start against a left-handed pitcher. He has only three hits in 73 at-bats (.041) this year against lefties.
And that was no ordinary lefty out there but CC Sabathia, who was starting a stretch in which the Yankees will go with a six-man rotation. After the starts by Phil Hughes Tuesday night and A.J. Burnett Wednesday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi will insert Ivan Nova Thursday night and give Bartolo Colon an extra day’s rest before his start Friday night at Fenway. Freddy Garcia will also get an extra day’s rest for his start Sunday night after Sabathia’s start Saturday on his regular turn.
More good news for Yankees fans came with the announcement that Alex Rodriguez, who had surgery July 11 to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee, will begin working out Thursday at the minor-league facility in Tampa, Fla. The Yankees hope to have the three-time Most Valuable Player back before the month is out.
PHOENIX – Derek Jeter’s name has been bandied about quit a quite a bit at the All-Star Game, and it has not always been flattering. Several team officials and a few players have commented that Jeter should have come here for the game even if he did not intend to play. The situation got to the point that commissioner Bud Selig felt it was necessary for him to nip it in the, well, bud.
The commish made his annual appearance at the Baseball Writers’ Association of America meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Sheraton Phoenix Hotel for a question-and-answer session with the writers and addressed the controversy surrounding Jeter, who decided not to come here so that he could use the time to rest his right calf to be ready for the second half.
“There isn’t a player than I’m more proud of in the last 15 years than Derek Jeter,” Selig said before taking questions. “He has played the game like it should be played. He is even a better human being off the field than he is a great player on the field. I know why Derek Jeter isn’t here, and I respect that. I think I would have made the same decision Derek Jeter did.
“He has brought to this sport great pride. He has been a role model. He has earned it, and he keeps earning it. Any suggestion that I or anybody else around here is unhappy with him not being here is false. I am proud of what he has done. I told him that Saturday when I spoke with him on the phone [after getting his 3,000th hit], and I have told him that quite often.”
Sitting at the front table while Selig spoke was the vice president of baseball operations, a fellow named Joe Torre, who was Jeter’s first manager with the Yankees, and nodded with approval at the commissioner’s every sentence.
I was glad to hear Bud go on the record about this matter because some of the talk the day before during the workouts was a bit nasty. More than one player suggested that Jeter was not grateful to the fans for voting him into the American League starting lineup when he didn’t really deserve it. For all we know, DJ’s choice not to play could have been one way to assure that the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera got to start the game.
There is nothing new about players passing up the All-Star Game for health reasons. I have been around Derek Jeter for 16 years and know how much he enjoys going to the All-Star Game and all the festivities around it. He has always considered his Most Valuable Player Award from the 2000 game at Turner Field in Atlanta one of the top moments of his career (although not as much as his World Series MVP the same year in the Yankees’ triumph over the Mets).
Jeter just got over a three-week recovery period from a strained calf muscle. He is 37, not 27, and has been under a ton of pressure to get over the 3,000-hit hump at Yankee Stadium rather than disappoint his fans by reaching the milestone on the road. This was all pretty draining, so cut him some slack. DJ would rather sit out a game that doesn’t count in the standings than not be as close to 100 percent as possible in a Yankees regular-season game.
One player here told me one of the reasons some players were sniping at Jeter is because they wanted to get autographs themselves from the newest member of the 3,000 Hit Club. At All-Star Games, players are signing all kinds of things, from baseballs to pictures to gloves to bats, you name it. There are quite a few items that are signed by every player on a league roster, which are a lot more valuable if a player who just reached 3,000 career hits is on there.
An All-Star who summed up the situation best was White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who said, “I promise you his injury is not 100 percent. Nobody ever comes back from an injury in the middle of the season at 100 percent. It’s never gone. So he’s playing with it, I guarantee you that. It is one of those things where I understand people voted him in and wanted to see him, but if there is any guy in the game who bought a rain check for one of these, he’s the one. Let’s move on and not make such a big deal about it.”
And believe it or not, Yankees fans, another of the Captain’s major supporters was Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. “If he’s not here, there’s a good reason for it,” Big Papi said.
I wrote the other day that what Jeter and Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez were doing by not coming to the All-Star Game while nursing ailments was justified. As for coming out here just to wave to the fans, well, that would have been nice (except for A-Rod, who would have to leave a hospital bed), but what would be the point?
In an indirect way, Mo’s decision allowed AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers to make an All-Star of David Robertson, which was fitting. A lot of the people who were criticizing Jeter had no explanation for why CC Sabathia was not an obvious choice for the AL staff based on his pitching in the first half. You can’t have it both ways, guys.
The Yankees’ lineup seemed awfully short Thursday night without Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter in it. Manager Joe Girardi had no second thoughts about giving Jeter a blow even after knowing that Teixeira would be better served with a day off to give his jammed right shoulder time to heal.
Girardi is committed to making sure that Jeter and Alex Rodriguez not wear themselves out with overuse. They are getting to an age (DJ is 36, A-Rod 35) where a day away from the grind is a necessity to keep them fresh for the latter part of the season. As for Teixeira, he is responding well to treatment, but the shoulder is still sore. He said after Wednesday night’s game that it is very uncomfortable to swing a bat, so Girardi did the right thing to play it safe.
Moving into Jeter’s leadoff spot was Curtis Granderson. Brett Gardner had begun the season as the leadoff hitter against right-handed pitching, but the left fielder was fighting a 4-for-41 (.098) slump, so Girardi kept him lower in the order, in the 8-hole ahead of Eduardo Nunez, who got a start at shortstop.
Taking over the 3-hole for Teixeira was Robinson Cano, whom many consider a classic 3-hitter. Girardi was asked throughout spring training about whether he would move Cano, who usually bats fifth, into the 3-spot, but the manager has resisted and for what I think is good reason.
For one thing, what ain’t broke don’t need fixin’. Cano proved a reliable RBI man in the 5-hole last year, and there are worst places to put a switch hitter with power like Teixeira than third in the lineup. Cano has also been effective in the cleanup spot when A-Rod is out of the lineup. The second baseman’s versatility is a great strength for the Yankees.
They have struggled offensively in the series against the White Sox, who have gotten some solid pitching. The Yankees managed to take a 2-0 lead in the finale of the four-game set before they had a hit. Chicago starter Edwin Jackson experienced a bout of wildness in the third inning and walked four batters in a row, the last (Nick Swisher) driving in a run. Cano got the second run in with a fly ball.
The Yankees ended the hitless spell when Gardner opened the fifth with a home run to right. Nunez followed with a double off the left-field wall. Suddenly, the batting order had gained some length. Granderson tripled and Swisher singled as the Yankees hit for the cycle in four successive at-bats. You don’t see that every day.
And that was just the beginning. Cano and Rodriguez made it six hits in a row with a single and a double, respectively, off reliever Tony Pena. The Yankees didn’t make an out that inning until the 10th at-bat, a strikeout of Gardner, after a run-scoring single by Russell Martin and a bases-loaded walk to Jorge Posada had pushed the lead to 8-0.
Did CC Sabathia ever love this? The big guy has been pitching with very little wiggle room all year and enjoyed his first real cushion. Long innings can often work against a pitcher as he waits to get back on the mound. Sabathia started the sixth after a 32-minute bottom of the fifth with a walk to Carlos Quentin but recovered quickly with strikeouts of Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn.
Things got a bit sloppy in the seventh. Nunez’s second error and a balk by Sabathia fueled a three-run White Sox rally, but the Yankees got the runs back in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly by Gardner and a two-run homer by Swisher, his first ending a drought of 89 plate appearances.
That may settle Swish down. He admitted recently that he was trying to hit home runs because he was conscious of not having one yet. That is a dangerous mistake for a hitter. Now he can get back to focusing in on quality at-bats, of which he and his teammates had an abundance to earn a split in the series.
The runs off Sabathia were not earned, so the latest turn through the Yankees rotation was a manager’s delight – three earned runs in 35 1/3 innings (0.76 ERA) and an average of seven innings per start – a combination of quality and depth.
More good stuff Wednesday night from Bartolo Colon, who has been a lifesaver for the Yankees in the rotation filling in for injured Phil Hughes. The Yankees may need Colon to keep up his effective work because the other side of the good news-bad news night at Yankee Stadium was the latest word on Hughes’ condition.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the game, a 3-1 victory over the White Sox, that one of the myriad of tests on Hughes, who has been on the disabled list since April 15, revealed a low level risk of thoracic outlet syndrome. He will see a specialist, Dr. William Thompson, in St. Louis at a time not yet specified.
The thoracic outlet is the area between the ribcage and collar bone. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a rare condition that causes pain in the neck and shoulder, numbness in the fingertips and a weak grip. Hughes went on the DL because of right shoulder inflammation because of arm fatigue.
“Whenever you’re talking about a circulation problem, there’s always a concern,” Girardi said.
Nevertheless, it is early yet. The extent of Hughes’ circulatory issues won’t be known until he sees Dr. Thompson, but it is doubtful the Yankee can count on the righthander returning soon.
That is where Colon comes in. The 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner hit 95 mph on the radar gun and held his stuff throughout eight innings, the longest he has thrown in a game since Sept. 22, 2007 for the Angels against the Mariners. He even reached 96 mph at one point in the eighth.
“One thing I remember from my playing days when I faced Bartolo is that if he was still in there in the seventh and eighth inning, his velocity went up,” Girardi said. “It was that way tonight. He seems to have an extra gear.”
Colon won his second consecutive start to improve his record to 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA, which is pretty good for a pitcher who was out of the majors for all of 2010 because of knee and elbow injuries.
He was especially excited about having won his first start as a member of the Yankees at the Stadium. Colon used his two-seam fastball primarily to work out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the second inning after the Yankees had given him the lead on Robinson Cano’s three-run home run in the bottom of the first.
Colon’s only other troublesome inning was the sixth. Chicago scored on successive singles by Carlos Quentin, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, but the damage was kept to a minimum by Colon, who made it through eight innings one shy of 100 pitches. Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his eighth save.
“Bartolo has been our biggest surprise because we didn’t know what we could expect from him,” Girardi said. “He has been very consistent.”
In addition to Hughes, another health issue that bears watching is the right shoulder of first baseman Mark Teixeira, who jammed it making a diving stop Tuesday night and aggravated it Wednesday night to the extent that is adversely affected his swing. Eric Chavez pinch hit for Teixeira in the eighth inning and remained in the game at first base.
Ivan Nova worked himself back into the good graces of the Yankees rotation Tuesday night with a solid performance. Too bad he couldn’t get credit for a victory. The Yankees couldn’t, either, as they lost consecutive games for the first time this season, the last team in the majors to do so.
Nova was cuffed around in his previous two starts covering only 8 2/3 innings (9.35 ERA) and exhibited a tendency to falter the second time through batting orders. Not this time, however. The righthander nearly made it through the White Sox order three times before departing in the seventh after having walked A.J. Pierzynski with one out.
David Robertson picked Nova up by completing the seventh without incident. Alas, the same could not be said for Rafael Soriano, who continues to struggle in the early going. Soriano came on in the eighth inning and hit Carlos Quentin with a pitch before giving up a home run to Paul Konerko that shaped a 3-2 White Sox victory.
Brent Lillibridge, who stayed in the game after having pinch run for Quentin in the eighth, saved the game for Chicago more than its bullpen by making two consecutive circus catches in right field in the bottom of the ninth. He banged against the fence to glove a drive by Alex Rodriguez and followed it with a diving grab of a low liner by Robinson Cano.
“Well, I think that I have found my new closer,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Lillibridge.
What has been troublesome about Soriano is that he was known to be a control pitcher, but he has gotten himself in trouble this year by letting hitters reach base without earning their way on. The righthander has walked nine batters and hit one in 10 1/3 innings.
“He has had trouble with his command,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi conceded. “You have to fight your way out of it. I haven’t lost any confidence in Soriano.”
Nova was a bright spot for the Yankees. He scattered five singles and two walks. The only run he allowed was a bit tainted. Alex Rios led off the fifth inning with a liner to center that glanced off a charging Curtis Granderson’s glove for a single, which seemed a generous scoring decision by Howie Karpin. Rios stole second with one out and scored on a single to by Gordon Beckham.
Had Granderson been charged with an error, which might have been the appropriate call, the run against Nova would have been unearned. Thanks to solo home runs by Cano and Brett Gardner, Nova was in a position to win the game as he came out with the Yankees up, 2-1. As he walked off the mound, the Yankee Stadium crowd of 40,785 gave Nova a standing ovation.
“I remember Damaso [Marte] told me they will do that here if you do good, so you have to tip your cap or waive or something,” Nova said. “I told him it’s the first time that has happened for me!”
And he deserved it.
Freddy Garcia has pitched so well for the Yankees it makes one wonder why the White Sox did not re-sign him. Phil Humber may have supplied the answer Monday night in the opener of the four-game set between the Yankees and Chicago at Yankee Stadium.
Humber, the pitcher who replaced Garcia in the White Sox rotation, was every bit as good against the Yankees as Garcia has been for the Yankees. It is hard to imagine a batting order as potent as that of the Yankees going six innings without a hit, but that’s what happened Monday night in the 2-0 loss.
The Yankees did not have a base runner until the fourth inning when Curtis Granderson walked with one out. Nick Swisher was hit by a pitch in the fifth but was erased on a double play. The Yankees got only two balls into the outfield against Humber until Alex Rodriguez made it three with a single through the middle with one out in the seventh following a walk to Mark Teixeira.
Humber put down the threat, however, by striking out Robinson Cano on a high fastball and retiring Swisher on a ground ball to first. If Humber’s name sounds slightly familiar, it should. He was the Mets’ first-round draft choice in 2004 and went to the Twins in the Johan Santana trade two years later. He was released by both the Royals and the Athletics within a month’s time after the 2010 season before signing with the White Sox.
The Yankees were happy to see him go after the seventh inning and still had a chance to pull this one out because A.J. Burnett was being nearly as stingy as Humber. This might have been A.J.’s best outing thus far of what has been a good start for him this year. He held Chicago to three hits and two walks over eight innings. Burnett did not throw a wild pitch nor allow a stolen base, two areas of concern when he is on the mound.
The only run A.J. allowed came in the fourth inning. Carlos Quentin doubled to center on a ball on which Granderson tried for a diving catch. Quentin came around to score on two groundouts.
That was it. Burnett was pretty strong all game long. He put two runners on in the second and seventh innings but worked out of trouble each time. Burnett still had a chance for a winning decision or at least a no-decision if the Yankees could have taken advantage of a White Sox bullpen that has been vulnerable. Chicago relievers were 1-for-7 in save opportunities before Monday night.
After lefthander Chris Sale got the first two outs in the eighth, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen switched to righthander Sergio Santos after Andruw Jones had been announced as a pinch hitter for Brett Gardner. Yankees manager Joe Girardi trumped the move by sending up Eric Chavez, who singled to right. Pinch runner Eduardo Nunez got into scoring position by stealing second, but Derek Jeter could not a ground ball past Santos.
The White Sox added an insurance run – a somewhat tainted one at that – in the ninth. An infield pop by Alexei Ramirez fell among Rodriguez, Jeter and reliever Rafael Soriano for a single. One out later, pinch runner Brent Lillibridge swiped second, which allowed him to score on a single by Paul Konerko.
Granderson tried to get the Yankees going with a leadoff single in the ninth, but another double play defused the potential rally. In the end, it came down to Burnett losing for the first time in April as a Yankee in a pitching duel with the guy that replaced Freddy Garcia in Chicago.
The Yankees return home Monday, and no one should be happier about that than the team captain. Derek Jeter suffered through a tortuous trip on the personal level as all things considered the Yankees were fortunate to come away with a 3-3 record on the trek through Toronto and Chicago.
More than in any other season, Jeter appears lost on the road in 2010. He was hitless in four at-bats with a walk Sunday and grounded into his 20th double play of the season. Jeter was 2-for-23 (.087) with one home run and two RBI on the trip and is stuck on a .270 batting average for the season.
The discrepancy between home and away is alarming. Jeter is batting .230 with three home runs and 24 RBI on the road, compared to .314 with seven home runs and 35 RBI at Yankee Stadium. His career numbers are .322 at home and .307 on the road, so this year is clearly out of the ordinary for Jeter.
To win two close games against the White Sox the past two days was huge for the Yankees, who are already without Alex Rodriguez and had Mark Teixiera (bruised right thumb) for only one at-bat. Marcus Thames came up big-time for the Yankees, a sort of anti-Jeter on the road by going 8-for-17 (.471) with one double, five home runs and eight RBI. Two of his home runs were off right-handed pitchers, a very encouraging sign.
The Yankees’ other RBI came from Brett Gardner, who hit leadoff with Jeter dropping to No. 2, on a single in the third inning in what was a strange at-bat. Francisco Cervelli led off with a double, the first of four hits in the game that raised his average from .240 to .253. Gardner did not show bunt on the first pitch and took a strike. He made a sacrifice attempt on the second pitch and bunted it foul. Swinging away on 0-and-2, Gardner singled up the middle to score Cervelli with a second run that held up.
The Yankees found a new starting pitcher on the trip in rookie righthander Ivan Nova, who earned his first major-league victory Sunday. In his two starts on the trip, Nova allowed three earned runs and 11 hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in 11 innings. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Nova will get another start, although it will not come up at the expense of A.J. Burnett, who will remain in the rotation. The odd man out remains Javier Vazquez, who is likely to be used as a backup for Phil Hughes in his starts to keep his innings down.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen went so far as to say Nova was the Yankees’ best pitcher in the series, quite a statement considering Mariano Rivera had two saves. Guillen did not have a good day. He lifted his best hitter, Paul Konerko, in a one-run game in the eighth for a pinch runner who tried to steal on the first pitch and was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Perhaps Ozzie’s mind was clouded by watching one of his least favorite players, Nick Swisher, have a great series against his former team. Swisher, who hit .219 for Guillen in 2008, was 5-for-13 (.385) with a double, two homers and five RBI in the series. Over the past two years for the Yankees, Swish is hitting .333 with one double, five home runs and 11 RBI in 45 at-bats against the White Sox.