Results tagged ‘ Peter Bourjos ’
Much has been made of the awful start Albert Pujols got off to in the American League this year. The Yankees would have loved if his troubles had continued while they are on the west coast, but the three-time National League Most Valuable Player started heating up a couple of weeks and has kept it up against the Yankees.
Pujols even victimized Andy Pettitte Tuesday night, which was a career first. They are familiar with each other from their time together in the NL when Pujols was with the Cardinals and Andy pitched for three seasons with the Astros. They have also opposed each other in inter-league and post-season situations.
All told, Pettitte had faced Pujols 32 times, including a first-inning at-bat Tuesday night at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, without hitting a home run. Pettitte had held Pujols to a .207 average with three walks. All that ended in the third inning when Pujols, facing Pettitte in a game for the first time in five years, drove a 1-0 cut fastball deep to left field for his eighth home run of the season.
That homer meant that Pettitte’s former teammate, Roger Clemens, remains the pitcher against whom Pujols has the most career at-bats (35) without taking him deep.
Pujols’ first homer off Pettitte was a two-run blow in a three-run inning that also included an RBI triple by Mike Trout, who is having a terrific series. Trout homered and scored two runs in the Halos’ 9-8 victory Monday night and continued pestering the Yankees both offensively and defensively in the middle game of the series, a 5-1 Angels victory, their eighth straight as they went over .500 (26-25) for the first time since they won the season opener.
Trout, all of 20, made a sensational, leaping catch in left field to rob Nick Swisher of a home run in the second inning. It was that kind of night for Swish, who was robbed of another extra-base hit leading off the seventh on a wall-crashing grab by center fielder Peter Bourjos. Swisher did drive in the Yankees’ run in the fourth when he singled home Raul Ibanez, who had doubled.
Pettitte pitched into the eighth inning for his third straight start. He came out of the game that inning after Pujols reached him for a leadoff single. Mark Trumbo, who won Monday night’s game with a walk-off home run, also homered off Pettitte in the sixth and was the batter after Pujols, so manager Joe Girardi made the move to the bullpen.
Pujols eventually scored on a one-out single by Howie Kendrick off Cody Eppley. As late as May 14, Pujols was still batting under .200 at .197, but in 60 at-bats since then Phat Albert has batted .333 with two doubles, seven home runs and 16 RBI to raise his average 41 points to .238.
It was a gritty outing by Pettitte, but he was bested by Dan Haren, who also pitched one batter into the eighth. His best moment came in the third when he struck out Robinson Cano looking with the bases loaded.
Cano got a second chance in the ninth when the Yankees again had the bags full with two out against hard-throwing Ernesto Frieri, who walked two batters and hit one. Cano struck out once more, this time swinging.
The Yankees problems in those situations are well documented. They are hitless in their past 15 at-bats with the bases loaded and have merely one hit in their past 34 plate appearances with the bags juiced.
The Yankees needed a break in the worst way Sunday and they got it at the best possible time. The Yanks were stuck in a four-game losing streak and had wounded bodies all over the place.
It seemed the Yankees were an arm’s length away from the Angels all day. The Halos scored two runs in the first inning, the Yankees closed to a run, the Angels increased their lead twice, but each time the Yankees came back and were within one run.
Then in the seventh inning, the break the Yankees were hoping for came their way and from a very unlikely source. Angels manager Mike Scioscia may have to put his campaign to get center fielder Peter Bourjos a Gold Glove Award on hold for a little while after what happened Sunday. Bourjos dropped a quite catchable fly ball on the warning track by Mark Teixeira that turned a sacrifice fly that would have tied the score into a three-base, two-run error that gave the Yankees the lead.
This time, the bullpen that had been spent during the losing streak was lined up to make that 5-4 advantage hold up. Corey Wade, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless inning apiece to get the Yankees back to winning ways as they picked up another game on tumbling Boston in the American League East to increase their lead to 3 ½ games. Wade, who may be the pickup of the year, got the victory to go to 5-0, and Rivera earned his 40th save of the season and career No. 599, just two behind the record holder, Trevor Hoffman.
It was good to see the bullpen respond the way it has most of the year before the recent slide, and there were plenty of other good signs as well. A lineup weakened by the losses to injury of Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin kept nibbling away at Angels starter Ervin Santana, who had hoped to follow teammates Jered Weaver and Dan Haren with a hat-trick performance to complete a sweep.
Not only is Martin hurting but so is backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, who was given clearance to fly home to New York to undergo tests for a concussion. With Jorge Posada sore from a six-inning emergency stint behind the plate Saturday night after not catching all season, the Yankees had two of their top prospects make their major-league catching debuts.
Jesus Montero, who has been with the Yankees for 10 days and done well as a designated hitter, started behind the plate working with Freddy Garcia and did a decent job. He threw out the first runner attempting to steal and allowed only one other steal. At the plate, however, Montero was not his usual DH self as he struck out three times and was intentionally walked.
Austin Romine, who was at Double A Trenton, flew across the country and arrived at Angel Stadium around the time a Sept. 11, 2001 tribute that included former Yankees manager and now southern California resident Joe Torre was taking place on the field. Romine, who is considered the better defensive catcher of the two, entered the game in the seventh and cut his major-league teeth on the very big-league stuff of Soriano, Robertson and Rivera. Bobby Abreu stole a base with Romine back of the plate, but it was on confusing play in which Torii Hunter, who thought he had walked but actually struck out, crossed in front of the rookie catcher.
In the other dugout was Austin’s brother, Andrew, an infielder for the Angels. In the stands was their father, Kevin Romine, who was a spare outfielder for the Red Sox in seven seasons during the 1980s and ‘90s. That made for a pretty feel-good moment right there.
Bourjos’ misplay in the seventh turned into a feel-good moment for the Yankees. The Angels were so high on Bourjos that a year ago they planted him in center field and moved Hunter, one of the best center fielders of the recent era, to right. Teixeira had struck out in his three previous at-bats and was probably just happy to make contact. He ended up standing third base after Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter, who had each singled, crossed the plate.
Another feel-good moment came in the fifth inning when Curtis Granderson, batting .156 this month and mired in a 0-for-13 slump, followed a Jeter single with his 39th home run. The two-run shot to right was Granderson’s first home run in 44 at-bats since Aug. 28 when he went deep twice at Camden Yards.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had said before Wednesday night’s game that Ivan Nova was not pitching for his spot in the rotation. “He has been one of our best five guys,” Girardi said. “The last three months, especially, he has been really, really good for us.”
So there you have it. Nova is one of the five best starters, so he is going nowhere but to his next start. Girardi is going with a six-man rotation these days but will return to a five-man shortly, so one of the pitchers will be the odd man out, but it won’t be Nova.
After being basically guaranteed a spot in the Yankees’ crowded rotation, Nova went out and pitched another beauty. A home run by Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos was the only smear on Nova’s record until the seventh inning when he gave up two singles and two walks without retiring a batter.
Rafael Soriano did a nice job cleaning up Nova’s mess and leaving him in position for a winning decision, which has been a regular occurrence for the righthander who has not lost since June 3. Nova is riding a personal seven-game winning streak during which he has pitched to a 3.10 ERA in 52 1/3 innings and pushed his season mark to 11-4 with a 3.85 ERA that is sure to attract some attention to voters for the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award in the American League.
Nova did not strike out a batter in the 9-3 victory over the Angels but essentially gave Yankees outfielders the night off. Of the 18 outs Nova registered, 16 came in the infield. The busiest fielder was Mark Teixeira, who had 12 putouts and one assist at first base. Nova had two putouts and two assists himself.
The Yankees beat a pitcher making his major league debut for the first time in seven starts since 2004 in treating Angels rookie Garrett Richards harshly. Curtis Granderson connected off him twice for home runs. Robinson Cano got three-quarters of the cycle, falling a single short. His 19th home run of the season, off Joel Pineiro, also scored Granderson, who had walked and has now touched the plate 104 times this season.
It all combined for the Yankees to end a three-game losing streak and push the Angels back to seven games back in the wild-card race with a shot at picking up ground in the AL East against the Red Sox.
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.