Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

Yanks barely over .500 at halfway point

There was a point Monday night when it seemed like Joe Girardi was managing as if this was Game 7 of the World Series instead of a game in late June.

The score was 2-2 in the eighth inning. Dellin Betances, the third of six Yankees pitchers in the game, had just walked two batters after two were out. Girardi hopped out of the dugout and made the call to David Robertson. Using his closer in the eighth inning of a tie game was certainly an indication that Girardi wanted to win this game badly.

Robertson and Betances have been the Yankees’ best relievers, but on this night neither got the job done. Robertson gave up a single to Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan that gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead.

You cannot fault Girardi. After losing two of three games to American League East rivals in each of their previous three series, the skipper wanted very much to get a victory at the start of this series, the fifth straight against division foes.

Brian Roberts gave the Yankees that opportunity with his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot to right with one out in the ninth off Joel Peralta, whose blown save cost Yankee killer Chris Archer a winning decision.

Archer gave the Yankees his usual hard time, although he did blow a 2-0 lead on solo homers by Matt Joyce and Kevin Kiermaier by giving up two runs in the bottom of the third. Archer asked for trouble by hitting Ichiro Suzuki with a 1-2 pitch to start the inning. He came around to score on a triple to right by Brett Gardner. The Rays conceded a run by playing the infield back against Derek Jeter, who obliged with one of his four ground balls to second base in the game that scored Gardner.

And there it stood until the eighth when the Rays scratched that run off Betances and Robertson. David Phelps had started for the Yankees and gave up the two long balls but otherwise was solid. Roberts’ homer hung a no-decision on Archer, who is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA against the Yankees in his career, including 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA at Yankee Stadium.

Whatever lift Roberts’ shot gave the Yankees was short-lived. The Rays scored a run with two out in the 12th to send the Yankees to their third straight loss and put their record at 41-40 at the halfway mark of the season.

“It has been up and down,” Girardi said. “We have had our share of issues in the first half, but we’re still in the thick of it.”

Rookie Jose Ramirez walked Brandon Guyer with two out in the 12th. Guyer’s steal of second base was crucial, putting him in position to score on a single to center by Logan Forsythe. Rays reliever Brad Boxberger retired the Yankees in order in both the 11th and the 12th and was the winning pitcher.

Tampa Bay has been hit hardest in the division by injuries but still presented a problem for the Yankees Monday night.

Red Sox outlast Yanks to take series

You could feel the air come out of Yankee Stadium in the third inning Sunday night when David Ortiz blasted a 0-1 pitch from Chase Whitley into the right field bleachers for a three-run home run and a 4-0 Red Sox lead.

The Stadium crowd was pretty lively until that point but turned gloomy at the reality of seeing the offensive-struggling Yankees down that much early against as solid a pitcher as Boston’s John Lackey.

Whitley had given up a run in the second inning on a double by Mike Napoli and a one-out single by Stephen Drew, but it was the Ortiz bomb that spelled disaster for the Yankees. It was career homer No. 450 for Big Papi, who ranks 37th on the all-time list. The Yankees would have some fireworks of their own, however, to work themselves back into the game.

It began with a gift run in the bottom of the third. Ichiro Suzuki reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Brock Holt. After Ichiro stole second base, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter put Lackey to work. Gardner grounded out at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat with Suzuki crossing to third. Jeter then pushed Lackey to 11 pitches, pushing a single to right field on the last one to get the Yankees on the board.

The fireworks came in the fourth as Mark Teixeira (No. 15) and Carlos Beltran (No. 8) took Lackey deep to make it a one-run game. That brought the crowd back into play, but Yankees fans were not pleased at all with what came next.

Whitley came out of the game after he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to begin the fifth. Shawn Kelley was not any better. He walked Holt and Daniel Nava, which loaded the bases with no outs and no hits. Dustin Pedroia lofted a flare just over first base for a two-run single that also sent Nava to third base.

Lefthander David Huff came in to face Ortiz and kept him in the yard with a flyout to shallow left field. Huff picked Pedroia off first base, but the runner kept himself in a rundown long enough for Nava to cross the plate while the out was made at first base. Just like that, the Yankees were down by four runs again.

Whitley, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in mid-May to pitch in the rotation after CC Sabathia went on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation, did well in his first seven starts as he went 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA during that stretch. In his past two starts, however, the righthander has allowed 13 earned runs and 19 hits in 7 1/3 innings for a 15.95 ERA that has driven his season ERA to 4.70.

Unlike Saturday night’s 2-1 Boston victory, Sunday night was more like Yankees-Red Sox games we have come to know. The Yankees got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth on a triple by Suzuki, a double by Gardner and two infield outs.

Ichiro’s triple was a drive to right on which rookie Mookie Betts attempted a diving catch only to have the ball bounce past him. Ichiro’s 40-year-old legs got to third base, but there was a time he would have made it all the way home on such a hit.

Betts was playing in his first major-league game. He got his first hit, a single, in the fourth. I am amused at the idea of a player named Mookie with the Red Sox. Baseball’s only other Mookie — Wilson — broke Sox fans hearts with his tapper past first baseman Bill Buckner that won Game 6 of the 1986 World Series for the Mets. It turns out that Mookie Betts was not named after Wilson but after Mookie Blaylock, his mother’s favorite NBA player.

The Yankees finally got a pitcher who threw strikes consistently when Dellin Betances entered the game in the sixth and inherited a bases-loaded, no-outs situation. The Red Sox got minimal damage with one run on a sacrifice fly by Pedroia after Nava struck out. Betances won the battle against Ortiz, who grounded out to second.

Pushed to 96 pitches, Lackey was gone after the fifth. The Yanks lost a scoring opportunity in the sixth against Burke Bradenhop when Carlos Beltran, who had doubled with one out, was thrown out at the plate by Bradley on a single to center by Kelly Johnson.

In the seventh, Betances struck out Napoli with a high fastball. What an idiot.

Napoli did not fare any better in the ninth when he was called out on strikes against Jose Ramirez. By then, the die had been cast. Boston was polishing off an 8-5 victory saved by Koji Uehara. The Red Sox took the series, two games to one, as the Yankees once again failed to capitalize on Toronto and Baltimore both losing and remained in third place in the American League East. They also fell to 6-6 in the stretch of 15 games against AL East competition that concludes with the three-game set against the Rays starting Monday night at the Stadium.

There’s that word again

That word is back.

Idiot.

Remember, that was the phrase popularized by Johnny Damon and Kevin Millar in 2004 when the Red Sox ended their 86-year championship drought and won the World Series. The Boston players referred to themselves as “idiots.”

So what to make of Mike Napoli’s use of the word Saturday night when he was caught on FOX microphones in the dugout saying “What an idiot!” in reference to Masahiro Tanaka for throwing him a fastball on a 1-2 count that the first baseman hit over the right field fence for what proved a game-winning home run.

Clearly, it was one of those heat-of-the-moment things that can often get blown up, particularly in a rivalry as historically volatile as Yankees-Red Sox.

Tanaka shook off catcher Brian McCann twice before throwing the fateful heater that Napoli tagged to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth that held up. Tanaka had made Napolo look foolish swinging at two split-fingered fastballs during the at-bat. On 1-2, McCann called for another splitter. Tanaka shook his head. McCann put down fingers for a slider, which was a very effective pitch for Tanaka. Again, a head shake. Tanaka wanted to come upstairs with gas, and Napoli was delighted to get a pitch he could handle.

Managers Joe Girardi of the Yankees and John Farrell of the Red Sox downplayed the situation before Sunday night’s game, which was also nationally televised, this time on ESPN. I agreed with Girardi’s assessment, that Napoli did not mean to insult Tanaka and that he was just happy not to have gotten another splitter or one of those devastating sliders.

“I haven’t seen anything in Mike Napoli that he is a guy that shows people up or he is a guy that degrades people,” Girardi said. “I don’t make too much of it. I think we might be making too much out of one pitch. If you score three runs, it really doesn’t matter. If you win 3-2, you are going to say, ‘Man, he pitched another great game.’ Since we lost it, 2-1, the focus is on that one pitch.”

“I know we have the utmost respect for Tanaka,” Farrell added, “and I know Mike Napoli does.”

Some columnists were writing before the series that the rivalry may be losing some of its juice now with a new cast of characters that have not yet made the same impact. Major League Baseball would only have itself to blame if things get ugly between the clubs over this. MLB allows FOX to put mikes in the dugout, supposedly to “enhance” the viewers’ enjoyment of the game.

It could have been worse. Napoli at least did not use the players’ favorite adjective, which cannot be printed here.

Girardi awarded for sticking with Nuno

It would not have surprised anyone if Yankees manager Joe Girardi used Thursday’s open date to skip over Vidal Nuno in the rotation. The lefthander has struggled over the past six weeks as an emergency starter in the Yankees’ injury-riddled rotation. With Thursday’s open date, the Yanks’ first off day in 24 days, Girardi could have sat down Nuno and kept the rest of the rotation on schedule.

Fans of Masahiro Tanaka would not have minded that, either, because by starting Friday night the Japanese righthander would have put himself in position to pitch in the All-Star Game. As it is now, while he may be named to the American League squad Tanaka is doubtful to be able to pitch in the July 15 All-Star Game at Minneapolis’ Target Field because barring rainouts his final start before the break would be Sunday, July 13, at Baltimore.

Despite fielding many questions about Nuno’s place in the starting unit, Girardi reiterated that his rotation will have no change, at least not for now. So Nuno took the mound Friday night against the Red Sox in the opener of a three-game series in front of a full-house crowd of 48,522 at Yankee Stadium and came up with his best start of the season.

Nuno pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed two hits and two walks with five strikeouts to earn his first winning decision in nine starts since May 7 and end a personal four-game losing streak. As recently as two starts ago at Oakland, Nuno was pounded for eight earned runs in three innings as his ERA skied to 5.90. He dropped it to 5.42 Friday night with all the zeroes he put up on the scoreboard.

There is still much room for improvement for Nuno, but this was a positive start toward that end. He limited the defending World Series champions to a single by Jonny Gomes in the second and a double by Brock Holt in the third. When he walked David Ortiz with two out in the sixth, Nuno was replaced by Dellin Betances, who along with Adam Warren and Matt Thornton preserved the shutout.

Mark Teixeira gave Nuno a 1-0 lead in the first inning against righthander Brandon Workman on a sacrifice fly. The Yankees broke open the game in fourth with a pair of home runs, a two-run blast by Kelly Johnson and a solo shot by Brett Gardner back-to-back. They pushed the score to 6-0 with another homer in the eighth, a two-run bomb into the second deck in right field by Brian McCann off lefthander Craig Breslow.

It was a great way to start the weekend. And by not toying with the rotation, Girardi created a dream matchup Saturday night at the Stadium with Tanaka opposing Jon Lester.

Old-Timers’ Day never gets old

Funny thing about the Yankees’ Old-Timers’ Day is that the event itself never gets old.

Other organizations that followed the Yankees’ lead over the years in staging reunions of their old players discontinued the practice except for special occasions.

With the Yankees, however, the exercise remains an annual event, and each year it seems something new is added. This year’s 68th annual gathering marked a return for the first time of favorites such as Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, key stars of the franchise’s last World Series championship of 2009. Another new returning alumni was John “The Count” Montefusco, a former National League Rookie of the Year with the Giants who became part of the Yankees’ rotation in the 1980s.

“I have been waiting to come to this almost as much as I waited to get to the majors when I was in the minors,” Montefusco said. “I just wanted my grandson [Nicholas] to see what his grandpa did for a living and some of the great guys he played with.”

One of the great things about new blood joining the exercise is that new old timers like Matsui and Damon are still agile enough to play in the three-inning game. Matsui hit a home run this year in the Hall of Fame Classic last month and after watching him swat a few into the stands during batting practice I thought he might pop one during the game but no such luck.

Matsui even pitched to one batter, a Hall of Famer no less, and gave up a single to Reggie Jackson. Meanwhile, there were pitchers all over the field. David Cone played some third base. So did “El Duque,” Orlando Hernandez. David Wells made a sparking scoop of a short-hopper at first base. Coney had a tough day on the mound. He gave up a home run to Jesse Barfield and a hit to his old running mate, Wells.

Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson told me during batting practice that he has been bothered by a sore toe. He said he went to the doctor thinking it was broken, but that x-rays were negative.

“Turns out I have arthritis from all the pounding I took,” said the all-time stolen base leader. “I guess I’m officially old.”

I told him, “No, that just means you’ll steal only two bases instead of five.”

Actually, stolen bases are frowned upon in the Old-Timers’ game. In the first inning, Henderson drove a liner to left-center and sore toe and all legged out a double.

A special treat in this year’s event Sunday was the dedication of a plaque in Monument Park for Hall of Fame relief pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage, the day after first baseman Tino Martinez was installed.

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The inscription reads:

RICHARD MICHAEL GOSSAGE
“GOOSE”

NEW YORK YANKEES
1978-1983, 1989

ONE OF THE MOST INTIMIDATING PITCHERS
EVER TO DON PINSTRIPES, GOSSAGE HAD AN EXPLOSIVE FASTBALL AND FEARLESS DEMEANOR, FREQUENTLY PITCHING MULTIPLE INNINGS PER APPEARANCE.

IN SEVEN SEASONS WITH THE YANKEES, COMPILED A 42-28 RECORD WITH 151 SAVES AND A 2.14 ERA. WAS A FOUR-TIME ALL-STAR WITH THE CLUB AND 1978 A.L. RELIEF MAN OF THE YEAR.

INDUCTED INTO THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME IN 2008.

DEDICATED BY THE NEW YORK YANKEES
JUNE 22, 2014

“To receive this today in front of all those guys and all you fans is overwhelming,” Goose said. “I can’t think of another word for it.”

Gossage reminisced that Old-Timers’ Day was always his favorite day of the year. He grew up in Colorado Springs with a father who was a huge Yankees fan. Goose followed the career of Mickey Mantle closely and got to see his hero at the first Old-Timers’ Day he attended while a visiting player. When he came to the Yankees in 1978, he made sure to circle that day on the calendar.

So it was fitting that Old-Timers’ Day was the venue for Goose’s entrance into Yankees immortality.

Monument Park plaque for Goose on Old-Timers’ Day

Rich “Goose” Gossage will be honored with a Monument Park plaque dedication at the 68th annual Old-Timers’ Day celebration Sunday, June 22, at Yankee Stadium that will feature 50 former Yankees players and family members.

Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. with the traditional Old-Timers’ game to follow, which will be aired exclusively on the YES Network. The Yankees will then play the Orioles at 2:05 p.m., also airing on YES. Gates will open to ticket-holding guests at 10 a.m. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11:15 a.m. for the festivities.

As part of the pre-game ceremonies, the Yankees will unveil a Monument Park plaque for Gossage, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. He pitched in parts of seven seasons with the Yankees (1978-83, ’89) and won a World Series with them in 1978.

In addition to Gossage, the Old-Timers are headlined by Hall-of-Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson, as well as Joe Torre, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. Former Yankees and current YES Network broadcasters David Cone, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill will also participate.

Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, teammates on the Yankees’ World Series title team in 2009, will make their Old-Timers’ Day debuts along with pitcher John Montefusco, who helped the club produce three seasons of at least 90 victories from 1983-86.

Joining the Hall-of-Famers and former Yankees on the baselines will be the widows of six legendary Yankees – Maggie (Jerry) Coleman, Arlene (Elston) Howard, Helen (Jim “Catfish”) Hunter, Jill (Billy) Martin, Diana (Thurman) Munson and Kay (Bobby) Murcer.

List of those Scheduled to Attend

Jesse Barfield, Yogi Berra, Brian Boehringer, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Maggie Coleman, David Cone, Johnny Damon, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Jake Gibbs, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Arlene Howard, Helen Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Jill Martin, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, Gene Michael, Gene Monahan, John Montefusco, Diana Munson, Kay Murcer, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Andy Phillips, Willie Randolph, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Joe Torre, David Wells, Roy White.

Gifts piling up for DJ; so are hits

Derek Jeter’s farewell tour moved on to St. Louis Monday, the day after he was feted by the White Sox in Chicago and paid them for their tribute with a four-hit, two-RBI performance in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory behind Masahiro Tanaka, who shook off his first loss of the season last Tuesday night at Wrigley Field and improved his record to 7-1.

Jeter received a bench made of bats and balls from the White Sox, who also donated $5,000 to his Turn 2 Foundation. But the Cardinals came up with a really cool gift along with doubling the White Sox’ total as a foundation donation. With Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith and Red Schoendienst part of the ceremony with club owner Bill DeWitt, Jeter was presented with cuff links that bore the image of Stan Musial and his No. 6.

Just as he did Sunday, Jeter got a single in his first at-bat. It pushed Brett Gardner, who led off with a walk, into scoring position. Jacoby Ellsbury got Gardner home with a single as well.

The Yankees’ visit to St. Louis, their first since 2005, was to have included a return to Busch Stadium for Carlos Beltran, who was a key figure on the Cardinals team last year that reached its 19th World Series, second only to the Yankees’ 40. The Cardinals have won the most World Series for a National League club with 11, far behind the Yankees’ all-time mark of 27.

Beltran is on the 15-day disabled list because of bone spurs in his right elbow. He took some dry swings with a fungo bat and had no setbacks but is a while away from taking regular batting practice.

The Yankees were also without Mark Teixeira, who was a late scratch from the lineup due to stiffness in his surgical right wrist. Tex told manager Joe Girardi that the wrist tightened up during the 13-inning game at Wrigley Field last week. The Yankees are hopeful a day off will tone it down and allow Teixeira to get back into the lineup Tuesday night.

In their victories Wednesday at Wrigley Field and Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field, the Yankees came back from 2-0 and 3-0 ninth-inning deficits, respectively. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Yankees won two games when facing multiple-run deficits in the ninth-inning or later on one road trip was July 1994, when they won back-to-back games at Seattle’s Kingdome and ended the 11-game West Coast trip with another such victory at Anaheim Stadium, now Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Sunday in New York: A disappointing split

The first Sunday doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in 17 years brought back some nostalgic thoughts, among them that this was awful lot of baseball in one day. For the diehard fans, that was fine. Consider me among those who do not mind two games back-to-back on the same day, provided as it used to be and was again this time that the next day is an open date.

That was the case years ago when clubs had 16 to 18 doubleheaders on their schedule. The economics of the game changed all that. There is no way in this day and age that clubs would concede that many dates. Truth be told, a separate-admission doubleheader may have been scheduled to make up for Friday night’s rainout but conflicts with national television networks FoxSports Saturday and ESPN Sunday forced the Yankees and the Pirates to play a single-admission twin bill Sunday.

Another issue with any doubleheader is fatigue. The Pirates on the last leg of a six-game trip through Milwaukee and New York looked like a tired team. They made two errors that resulted in two runs for the Yanks in the second inning and ran themselves out of two rallies with a couple of blunders on the bases. The Pirates were able to overcome those early lapses to salvage a split of the doubleheader with a 5-3 victory after the Yankees had won the first game, 4-3.

The Yankees did not play all that soundly in the second game, either. They, too, had a pair of errors in the top of the second that gave the Pirates a freebie run. In the first inning, Brett Gardner, who led off with a triple, got picked off third base by a former teammate, catcher Chris Stewart, who hurt the Yankees again the next inning with an RBI single. Stew got a second RBI in the ninth with a sacrifice fly for an insurance run.

“There were a lot of weird things that happened in the first two innings,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Then it became a baseball game.”

Vidal Nuno was following in the string of solid starts this turn in the rotation with no earned runs over the first five innings. The lefthander was stung by a two-run home run by Starling Marte in the sixth that put the Bucs ahead, 3-2, but the Yankees quickly tied it on a homer by Yangervis Solarte in the bottom of that inning.

Josh Harrison’s solo home run off Alfredo Aceves (0-2) with two out in the seventh regained the lead for Pittsburgh. Harrison also made the defensive play of the game one inning later. After Derek Jeter singled as a pinch hitter leading off the eighth, Harrison, who had moved to left field from third base the previous inning when Marte came out of the game with a hamstring injury, made a diving catch on the warning track to rob Solarte of a potential extra-base hit that likely would have scored Jeter with the tying run.

Jeter stayed in the game at shortstop the next inning, which led to an unusual alignment as Ryan moved over to first base. Kelly Johnson started there but was lifted for Jeter. It was the first time in his major-league career that Ryan played the position. He handled one chance without incident.

Mark Teixeira was already in the game as the designated hitter, so moving him would have put the pitcher in the batting order. Ryan had to stay in the game because there were no other infielders available if God forbid one of them got hurt.

The second game was definitely a downer against a team that seemed to be handing them the game at the beginning. Nevertheless, the Yankees ended the day in first place in the American League East and a pitching staff that is making do despite losing three-fifths of its Opening Day rotation to injury. The starters were 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in 30 2/3 innings over this turn in the rotation. It starts all over again Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago with Masahiro Tanaka taking the mound.

One other piece of nostalgia: This was the Pirates’ first victory at the Stadium since Game 5 of the 1960 World Series and in nine regular-season games during inter-league play.

Sunday twin bill has become a rarity

There was a time when Sunday doubleheaders were just about a weekly occurrence for major league teams. That has not bee the case for quite some time. Take this Sunday, for example.

Friday night’s rainout of the scheduled game between the Yankees and the Pirates at Yankee Stadium, Saturday’s game being locked into the FoxSports television schedule and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball forced the Yankees to re-schedule the postponed game to a single-admission twin bill Sunday.

How rare is that? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it will be the first single-admission doubleheader at the current Stadium, which is in its sixth season, and the first in the Bronx since Sept. 29, 2004 against the Twins, a 5-3, 5-4 Yankees sweep. It will be the first single-admission doubleheader anywhere for the Yanks since May 13, 2013 at Cleveland (a 0-1, 7-0 split) and the first on a Sunday at the Stadium since April 13, 1997 against the Athletics (a 3-2, 4-7 split).

In the years when Sunday doubleheaders were regular parts of teams’ schedules, the players often had two open dates during the week, which eased travel concerns. But as television increasingly became a major source of revenue through prime-time advertising rates, the single-admission doubleheader went the way of getaway day games and pitchers hitting in the National League.

The Pirates are visiting the current Stadium for the first time and the Bronx for the first time since 2007. Pittsburgh is the 26th different opponent to play at the current Stadium. The Yankees are 20-5 in an opponent’s debut at the current Stadium.

The Yanks and Bucs opposed each other twice famously in World Series play. The Yankees’ “Murderers Row” team of 1927 featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig swept Pittsburgh. The Pirates got revenge in 1960 with an upset victory in seven games in which they were outscored, 55-27, but still survived with Bill Mazeroski nailing the Series with a leadoff home run off Ralph Terry in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 at Forbes Field, one of the most exciting postseason games in history. The final score was 10-9. It remains the only World Series game in history in which no player struck out.

Jacoby Ellsbury was a late scratch from Saturday’s lineup because of the flu. The revamped lineup had Brett Gardner shifting from left field to center and opening up a start in left for Zoilo Almonte.

The Yankees’ Class A Tampa affiliate won an 18-inning marathon, 7-6, over the Palm Beach Cardinals Friday night at Steinbrenner Field. The winning pitcher was Wes Wilson, who in his first professional pitching appearance supplied four shutout innings in which he allowed one hit and no walks with three strikeouts. What made that so unusual is that Wilson played the first 14 innings behind the plate in his regular role as the team’s catcher and was 1-for-6.

Mets honor Jeter in his Citi Field farewell

Unless the Yankees and the Mets duplicate 2000 and end up in the World Series, Derek Jeter played his last game at Citi Field Thursday night. Mets fans treated the Captain respectively for the most part with primarily polite applause during his at-bats. The Mets organization made a gift to Jeter of a mosaic made up on subway tiles in the shape of No. 2.

Even more importantly, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon on behalf of the team gave DJ a $22,222.22 donation to his Turn 2 Foundation. “That means a lot to me,” Jeter said. “I think a lot of people know how much the foundation means to me. So for you to do that, I really appreciate it. I can’t thank you enough.”

Jeter has been a thorn in the Mets’ side throughout the Subway Series, which began in 1997, his second season with the Yankees. Jeet took a .368 career batting average against the Mets into the game.

“There has been a lot of history, starting from 1997 when interleague play started and all the excitement about Yankees-Mets,” he said. “And it doesn’t get any bigger than the World Series. But I have a lot of great memories here. It has been fun playing in these series. Like I’ve always said, the fans are very energetic on both sides. That makes it very fun for us as players to go out there and compete. So I want to say thanks to the Wilpon family. It’s very much appreciated. It’s unnecessary.”

Jeter declined to give a specific greatest memory against the Mets, but it does without saying that his winning the World Series Most Valuable Player Award in 2000 was it. My personal favorite was his leadoff home run against Bobby Jones on the first pitch of Game 4 at Shea Stadium.

“Well, it doesn’t get any bigger than playing in the World Series against them,” Jeter said. “I think that was something I think the whole city was pulling for – going through the playoffs that year. And then for us to get the opportunity to play that exciting series; we won that series, but a lot of those games could have gone either way. They were close games. It definitely stands out the most.”

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