May 2010

Yanks Receive Delayed Tex Message To Rally Past Tribe

GAME 50
YANKEES 7, INDIANS 3

What is the worst drought in history? Is it the 12-year drought that plagued Africa from 1968 through 1980 or is it Mark Teixeira’s 12-game RBI hit drought dating back to May 17?
Opinions from climatologists and Yankees fans might vary slightly.
But Teixiera finally ended that 12-game drought with a two-out, three-run home run on Sunday that rallied the Yankees from a 3-0 deficit in the seventh inning to a 7-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Teixeira’s first home run since May 15 (a span of 14 games) followed a key two-run single by Derek Jeter with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning that chased Indians’ starting pitcher Justin Masterson. 
Curtis Granderson then greeted reliever and losing pitcher Tony Sipp (0-1) with a double that advanced Jeter to third and Teixiera blasted a 2-2 hanging slider into the third deck of the left-field bleachers to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead.
Teixiera’s blast also made a winner out of A.J. Burnett (6-2), who pitched exceptional baseball for eight innings. Burnett allowed three runs, however, only one of those runs was earned. He gave up only five hits, walked none and struck out eight Indian batters.
The combination of he Yankees’ victory and the 8-5 loss of the Tampa Bay Rays to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday brought the Yankees to within 3 1/2 games of the Rays in the  A.L. East. The Yankees are 30-20 on the season.  The loss dropped the Indians’ record to 18-30.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Burnett is having an exceptional season in 2010 after struggling with a 4.04 ERA last season. Burnett has allowed two or fewer earned runs in seven of his 11 starts this season. He also has helped the bullpen by pitching into the seventh inning in eight of starts. Burnett is 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA.
  • Jeter’s clutch two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning proves that he is on a real tear at the plate. In his last seven games, Jeter is 15-for-32 (.469) with two home runs and six RBis. He has also raised his batting average 30 points to .297.
  • Teixeira’s three RBIs on Sunday was his first three-RBI game since May 12 at Detroit. It is only the third time this season he has driven in three or more runs. It is hard to believe, but Teixiera is hitting .189 with the bases empty and .259 with runners in scoring position this season.
  • Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher continue to deliver big hits in May. Both were 2-for-4 in Sunday’s game. Cano’s batting average dropped from .400 on May 1 to a season low of .322 on May 17. In his last 12 games, Cano has gone 24-for-50 (.480) with a home run and 13 RBIs. In his last five games he has two or more hits in all of them and he is 12 for 20 (.600).
  • Swisher began May hitting .250. In this month he is 32-for-86 (.372) with seven home runs and 17 RBIs. He also has collected two or more hits in four of his last five games. Swsiher has raised his batting average to .315. 
  • Juan Miranda might be overlooked in Sunday’s heroes. Miranda was 2-for-4 including a ringing RBI double in the eighth inning. 
  • It was not a save situation but Mariano Rivera looked like his old dominant self in the ninth inning by striking out Russell Branyan and Jhonny Peralta. He also showed at age 40 he can still be nimble by leaping over the shattered bat of Luis Valbuena and still have the presence of mind to stop his come-backer and throw him out for the final out.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Things looked really bleak for the Yankees when they were down 3-0 to start the bottom of the seventh inning because of the pitching of Justin Masterson. Masterson, who has not won a decision since Aug. 20, 2009, was breezing with a four-hit shutout for six innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. Masterson entered the game with an 0-5 record and a 6.13 record. But you would never have known it if you watched the Yankee offense flail away at his sinkers in the dirt for six innings.
  • The usually reliable captain at shortstop made a costly error in the top of the seventh inning that really hurt the Yankees and Burnett at same the time. After two outs, Burnett hit Valbuena with a 1-2 pitch, Valbuena later stole second and scored on Jeter’s throwing error on a grounder off the bat of Lou Marson. Marson reached second and scored on a triple by Jason Donald.
  • Alex Rodriguez also is struggling in May. He was 0-for-3 with a walk and did not hit a ball out of the infield. De
    spite driving in three runs in Saturday’s game, Rodriguez has only one other RBI since his four-RBI game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 17.

DIAMOND NOTES

Swisher banged his right shoulder into the right-field wall in right-field trying to catch Donald’s triple in the seventh inning. He stayed in the game and singled in his next two plate appearances. Swisher said the shoulder was still sore but that he hopes to be able to play on Monday.  . . .  Rodriguez was relieved on Sunday after talking with Indians left-hander David Huff. Huff told A-Rod he was fine despite being struck above the left ear by a wicked line drive off Rodriguez’s bat on Saturday. Tests on Huff at New York-Presbyterian Hospital were negative and Indians manager Manny Acta says the pitcher may make his next start.  . . .   Jorge Posada, who was placed on the disabled list May 16, took batting practice on Sunday and said he is close to being ready to return to action. Posada is eligible to be activated on Tuesday but manager Joe Girardi has not indicated when he will return.  . . .   Reliever David Robertson, who left Saturday’s game with pain in his lower back was held out of Sunday’s game and is listed as day-to-day. Robertson said he believes the pain may be associated with the lined shot he took off his back off the bat of Joe Mauer on Wednesday.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees have clinched a tie in their four-game series with the Indians and they can win the series outright with a win on Monday afternoon. They will send to the hill left-hander Andy Pettitte (6-1, 2.62 ERA).
Pettitte held the Twins to two runs on eight hits in eight innings on May 26. He walked none and struck out four in a crisp 94-pitch effort. Pettitte is 3-1 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts in May. Pettitte is 7-8 with a 4.41 ERA in 19 career starts against the Indians.
The Indians will send rookie right-hander Mitch Talbot (6-3, 3.73 ERA) to the mound. Talbot needed just 77 pitches to get through seven innings against the White Sox on Tuesday. Talbot gave up two runs on six hits and struck out four batters. This will be his first start against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Cano Slams Door On Indians In Grand Fashion


GAME 48
YANKEES 8, INDIANS 2

It’s been a given for years that pitchers had very little to worry about with the bases loaded and Robinson Cano at the plate.
But this 2010 version is not your father’s Robinson Cano.
With the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh inning, Cano blasted the first pitch he saw from Tony Sipp into the second deck in the right field bleachers of Yankee Stadium to give the Yankees an 8-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Sipp’s slip turned a shaky 4-2 Yankees’ lead into a comfortable margin as Phil Hughes (6-1) recovered from two subpar outings to win his sixth game of the season. Hughes gave up two runs on only five hits and one walk and he fanned eight batters.
Indians starter Fausto Carmona (4-3) took another hard-luck loss.
Combined with the Yankees’ victory on Friday, both the Rays and Red Sox lost. The Yankees are 29-19 on the season and are 3 1/2 games in back of the first-place Rays in the A.L. East. The Indians are 17-29 and 10 games back in last place in the A.L. Central.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Cano is on another hot streak at the plate. He was 3-for-4 on Friday with a two singles and his third career grand slam. He drove in four runs and scored three. In his last 10 games, Cano is hitting a sizzling .452 with 10 RBIs. Manager Joe Girardi may have had a inkling of what was to come when he decided to put Cano in the cleanup spot for the first time in his career with Alex Rodriguez taking a night off.
  • Nick Swisher is also in the middle of a hot streak. His two-run home run that clanked high off the right-field foul pole in the second inning gave the Yankees a lead they did not relinquish the rest of night. He is hitting .333 in his last eight games.
  • Hughes started off like he was going to have a “Roger Clemens-type” night when he struck out the first five batters he faced. But he started struggling with command of his curveball and the Indians made him pay with an RBI single by Jhonny Peralta in the fourth inning and a solo home run by Russell Branyan in the seventh. But Hughes had four 1-2-3 innings and he pitched into seventh inning for the fifth time in his nine starts this season.
  • Derek Jeter was 2-for-4, stole a base and scored a run for the Yankees. In his last 10 games, Jeter has at least one hit in nine of them and he is batting .358 over that stretch.
  • The Yankees welcomed back Curtis Granderson to the lineup and in center field. Granderson was on base three times in five at-bats, scored a run and he handled all five chances in the outfield flawlessly. He also ran the bases with no sign of the groin injury that forced him to miss 24 games.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Mark Teixeira is showing signs of coming out his second prolonged batting slump of the season. He did single and walk twice and scored two runs. However, in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and no outs he grounded into an embarrassing 1-2-3 double play. Teixeira has not driven in a run since May 17, a span of 10 games.
  • Ramiro Pena was given a rare start at third base in place of Rodriguez and he did not take advantage of it. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and he hit into two double plays. Pena is struggling at the plate this season, batting just .190.
  • The Yankees hit into three double plays on the night with seven runners on base. The team stranded nine runners in the game.
DIAMOND NOTES

The Yankees activated Granderson and shocked some media by announcing they were designating Randy Winn for assignment. The 35-year-old outfielder was hitting .213 with one home run and eight RBIs this season. This means 25-year-old utility man Kevin Russo impressed the coaches enough to remain with the team. Russo is hitting .250 in just 20 at-bats with the Yankees.  . . .  The Yankees made a point of saying that Rodriguez was getting a routine day off. The team did not get in to New York until 5 a.m. on their flight from Minneapolis so they decided it was a good time to rest the third baseman. In his last four games, Rodriguez was 2-for–15 and he has not driven in a run in his past nine games.  . . . Minor-league right-hand reliever Amauri Sanit has been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Sanit, 30, is 1-2 with a 8.69 ERA for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  . . .  Jorge Posada had the protective boot removed from his fractured right foot and hopes to be able to resume baseball activities soon. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since he was he was struck on the right foot by a foul ball on May 16. The Yankees originally said it would be three to four weeks before Posada could return.  . . .  Reliver Alfredo Aceves, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, had a second epidural injection in hopes of avoiding surgery on a bulging disc in his back. It will be a week or two before the Yankees will know the effectiveness of the shot. . . .  Francisco Cervelli also received a night off. It was his first night off si
nce Posada was placed on the disabled list. Chad Moeller took his place and, in his first start of the season, Moeller was 1-for-3 with a double. He also missed a home run down the left-field line by about 15 feet.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will play the Indians on Saturday in the second game of their four-game Memorial Day weekend series with the Indians. They will send to the mound former Indians ace CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.86 ERA).
Sabathia is coming off four consecutive winless starts. In his last start against the New York Mets on Sunday, Sabathia was rocked for 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in five innings. After not giving up a home run in his first three starts, Sabathia has been tagged for 10 home runs in his next seven starts. Sabathia is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA against his former team.
The Indians will throw left-hander David Huff (2-6, 5.25 ERA). Huff allowed three runs on six hits and a walk in six innings against the Cincinnati Reds. He earned his first victory of the season since April 15.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Twins Get Nicked In Ninth By Swisher’s Home Run

GAME 46
YANKEES 3, TWINS 2

Some have a flair the dramatic and some don’t.
But to Andy Pettitte there is no one better at it than Nick Swisher.
Swisher came up with two outs in the ninth inning of a tie game, guessed change-up and planted the ball far into the right-field bleachers of Target Field to give Pettitte and the Yankees a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Twins — the Yankees second victory over the Twins in about three hours.
Pettitte (6-1) earned the victory by pitching a gritty eight innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and no walks. He struck out four batters to give himself a career record of 11-5 against the Twins. 
Though Pettitte was touched for a tying run in the seventh inning on an RBI double by Delmon Young, Pettitte pulled a “Houdini-like” escape act with runners on first and third and two outs in the eighth inning. Pettitte snared a hot smash off the bat of Orlando Hudson and then induced three-time batting champion Joe Mauer to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Swisher did the rest off Twins’ closer Jon Rauch (1-1). Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 10th save of the season and his second of the evening.
With the pair of victories, the Yankees ran their record to 28-18. That combined with Red Sox completing a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays brought the Yankees to within 3 1/2 games of the Rays in the A.L. East. The Twins fell to 26-20 but remain one game ahead of the second-place Detroit Tigers in the A.L. Central.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees have beaten the Twins in 11 of their last 12 meetings. Most of those wins have been one-run victories like the two on Wednesday.
  • Pettitte was in command throughout the game. He threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 30 batters he faced. His only three-ball count was the 3-2 count he had on Mauer in the eighth in which Mauer rolled into the key double play.
  • Kevin Russo is proving to be a pretty valuable player and not just as a fill-in while Curtis Granderson rehabs his groin injury. Russo doubled in Francisco Cervelli to tie the game in the fourth inning. He singled and scored the tie-breaking run in the sixth inning. Both hits came off tough left-hander Francisco Liriano. Russo is hitting .294 with four RBIs in only 17 at-bats. He also made a nice catch at the wall in left to rob Mauer of an extra-base hit in the fourth inning.
  • Brett Gardner has been struggling at the plate lately but he did contribute a two-out triple in the sixth inning that scored Russo.
  • Mark Teixeira certainly showed signs of coming around at the plate with two singles and he was robbed of another hit on a diving stab by Justin Morneau in the seventh inning.
  • Robinson Cano was 2-for-4 and he raised his average to .339.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Yankees pitchers are having a hard time keeping Denard Span from getting on base and then keeping him there. In the two games, Span is 5-for-8 with three stolen bases. 
  • Alex Rodriguez nearly cost Pettitte and the Yankees the game in the eighth inning. With Drew Butera at second on a leadoff double, Rodriguez charged Span’s bunt attempt hard in order to cut down Butera advancing to third. However, Rodriguez kicked the ball into foul territory and Span reached safely on the error.
  • Marcus Thames was inserted into the lineup at DH by virtue of his past success against Liriano but he wound up 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
  • Rodriguez was also 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the game.
DIAMOND NOTES

Chad Gaudin has rejoined the Yankees. The Yankees signed Gaudin on Wednesday and put him on the 25-man roster. Left-hander Boone Logan, who had a 5.06 ERA in 13 appearances, was sent back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Gaudin was originally released by the Yankees in spring training after he had 8.68 ERA in four appearances as one of five candidates for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Gaudin later signed with the Oakland Athletics and was released last week with an 0-2 record with a 8.83 in 12 games with the A’s. Gaudin was acquired by Yankees from the Padres in August last season and he was 3-0 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 games down the stretch, including six starts.  . . .  Alfredo Aceves, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, visited Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad in New York on Wednesday but there is no timetable for his return. Aceves had to cut a bullpen session short after just a few tosses in Tampa, FL, on Tuesday because of pain in his back. Manager Joe Girardi confirmed on Wednesday that Aceves has a bulging disc in his lower back.  . . .   During the Twins telecast of Wednesday’s game, play-by-play man Dick Bremer urged Twins fans to vote for Justin Morneau as the All-Star starter at first base for the American League. I have no issue with that but he went on to say that Mark Teixeira, who is currently leading the balloting at the position, was “undeserving.” It may come as news to Bremer but the fans are allowed to vote on whatever criterion they choose. It is a popularity contest and has nothing to do with who deserves the honor. So if Teixeira wins the balloting he is “deserving” because he is who the fans chose. By this criteria you are telling me Albert Pujols does not deserve to be the starting first baseman for National League because Ryan Howard has more homers? I do not think Bremer would say Pujols was not deserving unless Morneau was left out. 
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will have their broom out at Target Field on Thursday in looking for yet another sweep of the Twins. The Yankees will start Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.69 ERA), who has been the Yankees best pitcher of late. He has a 2-1 record with
a 1.35 ERA in his past three appearances. He is also coming off a six-inning, one-hit gem against the New York Mets on Friday. 
Vazquez left the game after getting hit on the right index finger on a bunt attempt in the top of the seventh inning. But the Yankees have cleared Vazquez to make the start on Thursday.
He will be opposed by right-hander Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50 ERA). Blackburn has won four games in a row, including a game against the Yankees on May 16. In his last start, Blackburn gave up three runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Game-time will be 8:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

Jeter Seals Twins’ Fate With Homer, Run-Saving Play

GAME 45
YANKEES 1, TWINS 0

When things are not going well with the offense and key injuries piling up, the New York Yankees seem to always be able to rely on their captain.
Derek Jeter justified the team’s faith in him at Target Field on Wednesday as he led the Yankees to a nail-biting 1-0 victory over the Twins in a rain-suspended game from Tuesday night.
Jeter blasted a one-out home run off losing pitcher Brian Duensing (2-1) in the sixth inning and saved the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning with an acrobatic stab to his right and his patented jump-throw on a Delmon Young grounder with two outs and runners on second and third.
The clutch home run and sparkling glove work handed a much-needed victory to A.J. Burnett (6-2), who pitched five shutout innings on Tuesday. Burnett, who had not won in his last three starts, gave up only three hits and two walks and fanned five batters in five innings before heavy rain forced the suspension of play on Tuesday.
Mariano Rivera, who gave up a bases-loaded walk and a grand slam home run when he last pitched against the Twins on May 16 at Yankee Stadium, rebounded to pitch a scoreless ninth to notch his ninth save of the season.
With the victory the Yankees ran their season record to 27-18. The Twins fell to 26-19.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Jeter, whose batting average fell from a season-high .380 on April 17 to a season-low of .266 on May 19, is showing signs of coming out of his long slump. He had two hits in the game against the Twins. In his last six games, Jeter is 10-for-28 (.357) with a home run and five RBIs. His average is back up to .281.
  • Burnett and relievers David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and Rivera pitched especially well when the Twins had runners in scoring position. The Twins were 0-for-7 with RISP in the game and left 10 men on base.
  • Those same four pitchers can also be proud of the fact they combined for only the second shutout of the Twins at the new Target Field. It was the second time Burnett had combined on a shutout this season and it was the Yankees’ third overall whitewashing this season.
  • The Yankees only had five hits in the game but Brett Gardner contributed a single and walk in going 1-for-3. Robinson Cano was also 1-for-3 with a double.
  • Credit Alex Rodriguez with a heads up play off the backside of David Robertson. Joe Mauer led off the bottom of the fifth by smashing a wicked line drive that hit Robertson and ricocheted to Rodriguez just on the outfield grass behind third base. Robertson was fine and pitched into the seventh inning.  
THE NEGATIVES

  • In their last four games, the Yankees have scored only 10 runs. But the victory snapped a stretch in which the Yankees had lost 10 of their previous 15 games.
  • Mark Teixeira continues to show show signs his slump is not going to end soon. He was 0-for-4 against the Twins and did not manage to get a ball out of the infield. Since May 18, Teixeira has just three hits in his last 29 at-bats, a .103 average. He is now hitting an anemic .205.
  • The bottom four hitters in the batting order contributed nothing to the offense. Nick Swisher, Juan Miranda, Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Russo were a combined 0-for-12 in the game. 
  • Despite giving up just six hits in the game, walks gave the Twins a lot of chances to score. Burnett walked two and Robertson, Chamberlain and Rivera each walked one batter in relief. The Yankees were lucky none of the runners receiving free passes scored.
Read the Diamond Notes and The Next Game features in the game report from the regularly scheduled game on Wednesday.

Vazquez Dazzles Before Injury As Yanks Edge Mets

GAME 42
YANKEES 2, METS 1

Just another day in the life of the New York Yankees. They have won 26 games and for each game there is an injury — or so it seems.
Much-maligned right-hander Javier Vazquez pitched six dominant innings of one-hit shutout baseball against the New York Mets but he left the game with a finger he bruised bunting as the Yankees went on to edge the Mets Friday night 2-1 at Citi Field.
Vazquez (3-4) only gave up a bloop single to Angel Pagan with one out in the fifth inning, as he struck out six batters and walked two. The Yankees breathed a huge sigh of relief after the game when X-rays on Vazquez’s right finger showed no fracture.
Kevin Russo, making his first-ever major-league start, backed up Vazquez with a two-run double in the seventh inning off 39-year-old Mets reliever Elmer Dessens (0-1). 
Mariano Rivera, making his first appearance after consecutive games in which he blew a save and lost a tie game, pitched a shaky ninth inning but hung on to record his eighth save of the season.
With the victory the Yankees ran their season record to 26-16 and snapped a three-game losing streak. They are still four games in back of the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. The Mets are 20-23 and are seven games back in last place in the N.L. East.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Vazquez was really brilliant in his first start since May 12. In his last 13 1/3 innings, Vazquez has given up just two runs on eight hits and four walks and he has struck out 14 batters. That is an ERA of 1.26. His ERA after his fifth start on May 1 against the White Sox was 9.78. Give pitching coach Dave Eiland credit for helping Vazquez turn his season around in a big way.
  • Russo, 25, a native of West Babylon, N.Y., took advantage of his first start of his career with his first major-league hit  — a single off 35-year-old Mets starter Hisanori Takahashi in the third inning. Then Russo took advantage of a sloppy fielding play by Mets second baseman Alex Cora. Francisco Cervelli followed Nick Swisher’s leadoff single with a bouncing ball to Cora that was a tailor-made double-play ball. However, Cora air-mailed his toss to the right of shortstop Jose
    Reyes and Swisher and Cervelli reached third and second, respectively. Russo then followed with his game-winning double down the right-field line to score both runners.
  • Give Russo some additional credit for playing his first major-league start in an unfamiliar spot: left-field. Russo, who primarily is a second baseman, was inserted into left-field because the Yankees are short on outfielders with Curtis Granderson on the disabled list and Marcus Thames nursing a sprained ankle. Russo handled his three chances in the outfield flawlessly before leaving the game in the bottom of the seventh inning for Randy Winn.
  • Alex Rodriguez followed his miserable 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Rays on Thursday night by going 2-for-3 with a walk. Rodriguez raised his average to .295 on the season.
  • Joba Chamberlain also seemingly has recovered from his two shaky most recent outings. Summoned in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out and runners on first and second, Chamberlain ended the threat by striking out David Wright looking and Angel Pagan swinging. He also pitched a perfect eighth inning.
THE NEGATIVES

  • The Yankee offense seemed totally flustered and bewildered by veteran Japanese League left-hander Takahashi for the first six innings. All they could muster off a pitcher making his first major-league start was five hits and a walk. The soft-tossing lefty struck out five batters — including Derek Jeter, who struck out twice in his three at-bats against him.
  • There has to some minor concern about Rivera now. Though he did record the save, Rivera gave up back-to-back doubles to Jason Bay and Ike Davis with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. In his last three appearances, Rivera has given up five runs (three earned) on five hits and one very costly walk to Jim Thome of the Twins in three innings of work. His last 1-2-3 outing was on May 14 against the Twins.
  • Mark Teixeira, after showing signs of having a monster May, has now fallen right back into the same kind of slump that plagued him in April. As of May 17, Teixeira had raised his average to .a season-high 224. In his past four games he is 1-for-16 and his average has slipped back to .209. He was 0-for-4 against the Mets on Friday including hitting into a double play in his first at-bat.
DIAMOND NOTES

The Yankees’ victory on Friday was their fifth consecutive win over the Mets dating back to June 14, 2009 and they are undefeated in all four games played at Citi Field.  . . .  The Yankees feared the worst when Vazquez left the game with a bloody right index finger. But X-rays showed only a bruise and Vazquez said he is sure he will be able make his next scheduled start.  Vazquez, who is an exceptionally good hitter for a pitcher, successfully put down two sacrifice bunts in the game. The second one off Dessens was successful despite the fact the ball caught Vazquez on the tip of his right index finger.  . . .  Thames, who has not played since he left Wednesday’s game against the Rays with a sprained left ankle he suffered stepping on his bat while running to first on a single, has progressed enough that he was available to pinch-hit on Friday. Thames ran and took fly balls before Friday’s game and said his ankle felt fine. Manager Joe Girardi elected to keep him on the bench and played Russo in left-field instead. Russo later made that decision pay off with his game-winning double in the seventh inning.  . . .  Curtis Granderson, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin, is going out on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Louisville beginning on Saturday. Girardi said Granderson will play about five or six games with Scranton and the Yankees hope to have him back in the lineup by late next week if all goes well.  
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will hold their breath when he bats but they will have no trouble letting right-hander Phil Hughes take the mound to face the Mets on Saturday. Hughes (5-0, 2.25 ERA) is coming off his worst and shortest outing of the year on Monday against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Hughes gave up five runs in five innings in a game the Yankees eventually won in the ninth inning with a pair of two-run home runs off closer Jonathan Papelbon. Hughes has thrown 2 1/3 scoreless innings in two relief appearances against the Mets.
Hughes will face fellow young Mets phenom, right-hander Mike Pelfrey (5-1, 3.02 ERA). Pelfrey limited the Atlanta Braves to two runs in 7 2/3 innings on Monday. He struck three and walked two. In two previous starts against the Yankees, Pelfrey is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA. 
The game is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EDT and it will be telecast nationally by FOX.

Thames Tames Red Sox With Walkoff Shot Off Papelpon

GAME 38
YANKEES 11, RED SOX 9

Years ago, New York Yankees fans held a contest on their MLB.com Message Board for a nickname for Jonathan Papelbon and the winning entry was “Papelpoop.”
On Monday night, Yankee fans watched in delight in the ninth inning as Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run home run to tie the game at nine-all and Marcus Thames win the game with his first walk-off home run in his career off the Boston Red Sox reliever they lovingly call Papelpoop.
To quote an old axiom, “It does not get any better than this!”
So after blowing an early 5-0 lead, surviving five Red Sox home runs and left with their last at-bat down 9-7, the Yankees roughed up Papelbon (1-3) for a pair of two-run homers, a double and a hit batter in two-thirds of an inning to beat the Red Sox 11-9 in another classic in the epic rivalry that stands above all others in baseball.
Irony of all ironies, is that the winning pitcher was none other than Javier Vazquez (2-4), who had his scheduled start in Boston skipped and had his turn at home in this series skipped as well, was the winning pitcher.
With Sergio Mitre, David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain unavailable to pitch, Vazquez was asked to come in to pitch in the ninth inning to Kevin Youkilis with two out and runners on first and third in what was a 9-7 game. He fanned Youkilis on four pitches and ended up getting the win in relief and also some cheers from Yankee fans for a change.
Papelbon (1-3), who was 9-for-9 in save opportunities coming into the evening, could only say that he was done in by “flat fastballs.” And Rodriguez and Thames flattened them into the bleachers.
The victory improved the Yankees’ season record to 25-13 and kept them two games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. For the Red Sox, who have a difficult stretch of games coming up the next two weeks, they fell to 19-20 and they are now 8 1/2 games behind the Rays.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Thames’ dramatic home run one pitch after Papelbon plunked Francisco Cervelli actually overshadowed the fact that Thames had the best game he has had since returning to the Yankees. Thames drove in the fifth run in the Yankees’ early barrage off Daisuke Matsuzaka with a sac fly. Thames also doubled in Cervelli with two out in the fifth inning to give the Yankees a 7-5 lead. Thames was 2-for-4 with four RBIs on the night. Pressed into extended service because of injuries to Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher, Thames is hitting .365 this season.
  • A-Rod’s blast came one out after Brett Gardner’s leadoff double and it was the 588th home run of his career. Rodriguez also singled with the bases loaded in the first inning off Matsuzaka to drive in two runs. Rodriguez now leads the Yankees with 31 RBIs. He took the lead from Mark Teixeira (who has 30) with his two-run game-tying blast.
  • Give Gardner credit also for his leadoff double. With that hit, Gardner is now 4-for-4 in his career facing Papelbon. Gardner had another Gardner-like night. He was 2-for-4 with a walk, scored three runs and he is now hitting .323 on the season.
  • Cervelli also was 2-for-4 on the night, including an RBI double in the first inning. Put into the lineup because of an injury to Jorge Posada, Cervelli stepped right in again. He scored three runs and he is now hitting an even .400.
  • Teixiera doubled in Gardner with two outs in the second inning to make the score 6-1. Teixiera has 21 RBIs in May and he has raised his batting average to .224.
  • Though he did get into trouble in the ninth inning by allowing a single to Marco Scutaro and walking Dustin Pedroia, Damaso Marte actually pitched a quality 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He usually is a specialty left-hander but he pitched well enough to keep the Red Sox off the board in the eight and ninth innings and set up the ninth inning comeback.

THE NEGATIVES


  • Phil Hughes did pitch okay considering the Red Sox were determined to get his pitch count up throughout the game. They took strikes up until they had two strikes all night and fouled off as many two-strike pitches they could. Hughes simply ran out gas in the fifth after throwing a combined 18 pitches to Scutaro and Pedroia. J.D. Drew hit a cutter for a three-run home run and Hughes departed with just a 6-5 lead after giving up six hits, one walk and five runs in five innings of work.
  • Chan Ho Park was activated before the game and, because of the Red Sox gambit to get Hughes out worked, he was forced to work a second inning when he really had no business pitching that much right off the DL. The Red Sox made him pay with a two-run home run by Youkilis and Victor Martinez followed with his second solo home run of the game to make it 9-7.
  • Boone Logan gave up the first home run to Martinez as he led off the sixth inning. After some sparkling work in when he was first called up, Logan lately is having problems with command and his ERA is now 3.86. But with Alfredo Aceves on the disabled list, Logan is needed as a second left-hander out of the bullpen.
DIAMOND NOTES

Injuries are really starting to take a major toll on the club. The Yankees began the game with four reserves in the starting lineup and three pitchers unavailable to pitch in the game. It had a lot to do with how the Red Sox came back but it also made the comeback that much sweeter.  . . . Nick Swisher was out of the starting lineup and did not play on Monday because of his strained left bicep. Though Swisher can bat right-handed, Girardi sat him against the right-hander Matsuzaka. He is available to play in the outfield and pinch-hit as he continues to receive treatment for the injury.  . . .  The Yankees also scratched Jorge Posada from the starting lineup because of bruised right foot. Posada was struck on the right foot with a foul ball in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Twins. X-rays showed no broken bones but Posada said the foot was bruised enough to keep him out of the lineup. The Yankees said that Posada is day-to-day.  . . .  Injured DH Nick Johnson is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday on his right wrist and it will be a long time before Johnson returns to the lineup. The recovery period after the surgery is four to six weeks and it will take Johnson about a month before he can return to the active roster. So it could be mid-July or August before Johnson is able to come back. He was batting .167 with two home runs and eight RBIs  when he was placed on the disabled list for the tenth time in his career.  . . . When Park was activated from the disabled list on Monday, Ivan Nova was sent back Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Nova pitched three innings, gave up four hits and had a 0.00 ERA in his two appearances out of the bullpen.  . . .  The Red Sox fouled off 28 pitches off Hughes and 16 of them came with two strikes.  . . .  The relief appearance for Vazquez was the third of his career in the regular season. He had two appearances, one of them serving up a grand slam home run to Johnny Damon, in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. Because Vazquez threw only four pitches, Giradi said he expects Vazquez to be able to make his scheduled start on Friday against the Mets at Citi Field.
THE NEXT GAME

Fresh off their dusting of Papelbon on Monday, putting the Red Sox in a bad position of having to win Tuesday, the Yankees will send ace left-hander CC Sabathia (4-2, 3.71 ERA) to the mound. 
Sabathia is coming off a loss to the Tigers in Detroit on Thursday, a game in which he was rocked for nine hits and six runs in six innings. In two previous starts against the Red Sox this season, Sabthia has two no-decisions. He has given up eight runs to the Red Sox in nine innings this season. He is 5-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 starts against them in his career.
The Red Sox have their fingers crossed as they will start Josh Beckett (1-1, 7.46 ERA). Beckett not only has been lit up like a Christmas tree all season, he also missed his last start due to back spasms. Beckett is 0-1 against this Yankees in two starts this season, giving up 17 hits and 14 runs over 10 innings. In his last start against the Yankees he tied a career high by giving up nine runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast locally by MY9.

Pettitte, Yanks Play Flawless Baseball At Twins Expense

GAME 36
YANKEES 7, TWINS 1

Pitching. Offense. Defense.
When all three of these things come together in one baseball game it pretty much assures the team that puts it all together will win.
For Andy Pettitte and the New York Yankees it happened on Saturday afternoon and the Minnesota Twins were the victims again, 7-1.
Pettitte threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada each provided a two-run home run and the Yankees fielders contributed sensational glove work to rout the Twins, who are about ready to compare visits to Yankee Stadium to having root canal surgery.
Pettitte (5-0) may have just as well had a drill instead of a baseball in his hand on Saturday. He gave up just two singles all day. The only real threat he faced was a self-inflicted wild streak with two outs in the sixth inning when he walked Denard Span and Orlando Hudson and went to a 3-0 count to Joe Mauer.
Mauer drove a 3-1 pitch 399-feet into left-center where it nestled in the glove Brett Gardner to end the threat.
Twins starter Francisco Liriano (4-2) gave up nine hits and three runs in six innings to take the loss, despite the fact he struck out seven batters.
Pettitte, who was skipped in his last scheduled start due to a tender elbow, showed no indication anything was bothering him the entire afternoon. He is no
w tied for the American lweague lead in wins and his 1.89 ERA is the lowest ERA he has recorded in his career after seven starts.
The Yankees improved their season record to 24-12 and they remain just one game behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. The Twins’ record fell to 22-14 and they are now 3-25 at Yankee Stadium since 2002.
Would you like laughing gas or novocaine, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire?
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Pettitte was something special in the Bronx on Saturday. He retired 19 of the 22 batters he faced and made it look effortless in the process. 
  • Pettitte also credited the defense behind him with the victory. The very first batter of the game, Denard Span, hit a sinking liner to center that Gardner dove for and scooped up just before it hit the turf. With one out in the third inning, Nick Swisher made a diving catch of a fly ball off the bat of Drew Butera. In the fourth inning, with one out Robinson Cano stabbed a hot liner off the bat of Justin Morneau and calmly threw to first base to double off Orlando Hudson. 
  • The Yankees were shutout twice by the Tigers earlier in the week and much was made of the lack of offense with injuries to Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson. But Derek Jeter, Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez had two hits apiece and Posada had three hits.
  • The Yankees were staked to a 3-0 lead when they batted in the
    seventh inning. They did it with RBI singles by Rodriguez in the first, Jeter in the second and Marcus Thames in the sixth.
  • Teixeira blew the game open in the seventh by following a walk to Nick Swisher (batting right-handed against right-hander Jesse Crain because of his left biceps injury) with a two-run home run into the luxury deck in right field. 
  • Three batters later, Posada connected on the third pitch off reliever Ron Mahay with a two-run shot of his own that landed on the edge of the wall in Monument Park and was caught by a fan in the section above the center field restaurant.
  • Damaso Marte rebounded from coughing up the lead to the Twins on Friday to recording a key out to end a potential threat in the seventh. He came in with two on and two outs and the Twins’ power-hitting pinch-hitter Jim Thome at bat as the potential tying run. Marte struck out Thome looking on a wicked slider to end the inning.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Mauer and Morneau combined to go 5-for-8 with three RBIs on Friday. They followed that up with a combined 3-for-8 with one RBI on Saturday. They are doing their damage against Yankee pitching. Fortunately for the Yankees, the rest of the Twins’ hitters are a combined 8-for-49 (.163) in the two games.
  • David Robertson was a little shaky again. He entered the game after Pettitte left with one out in the seventh inning. After one out, Robertson walked Delmon Young and he gave up a single to Brendan Harris and he was removed from the game.
  • Boone Logan had some command issues and it cost Pettitte and the Yankees the shutout in the eighth inning. With two outs and Span at second, Mauer touched Logan for an RBI single. Morneau followed with a single but Logan struck out Michael Cuddyer to end the threat.
  • It does not happen often, but the Yankees two Energizer bunnies, Gardner and Francisco Cervelli, were a combined 0-for-7 at the bottom of the order. They were the only two starters that did not record a hit. Gardner, however, did reach base on a fielder’s choice in the sixth and he stole his 17th base of the season. He entered the day second Juan Pierre in the American League in steals.
DIAMOND NOTES

Swisher surprisingly was back in the lineup despite leaving Saturday’s game with a left biceps injury. Swisher insisted that the injury did not affect him batting right-handed so manager Joe Girardi started him against the left-handed Liriano. It is not clear if Swisher will start and bat right-handed against Twins right-hander Nick Blackburn on Sunday.  . . . Girardi indicated that the Yankees will skip Javier Vazquez’s next start for the second time in two weeks. Vazquez will next pitch on Friday against the New York Mets. Because Vazquez had his start against the Tigers pushed back to Wednesday, Girardi decided it would be better to keep the rest of his starters on their regular rest this week. Vazquez will also avoid having to pitch in Yankee Stadium, where he has been booed this season. Vazquez also is an accomplished hitter for a pitcher and the Yankees will not have the use of a DH at Citi Field.  . . .  The Yankees plan to activate right-handed reliever Chan Ho Park on Sunday. Park has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 14 with a strained right hamstring. Park is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three relief appearances. Right-hander Ivan Nova likely will be sent back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Park.  . . .  Nick Johnson had a cortisone shot in his right wrist and the Yankees will know in a week or so whether he requires surgery. If the cortisone shot works, Johnson could return in three weeks. If he requires surgery, Johnson could miss an additional four to six weeks.  . . . Curtis Granderson ran some straight sprints on Saturday — the first time the outfielder has been able to run since he was placed on the disabled list with a strained left groin. On Sunday, Granderson may take batting practice but he likely will not be activated until the end of the month.  . . .  With runners in scoring position, Cervelli is 10-for-13 with 14 RBIs. He leads the A.L. in that category.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will look for a series sweep against a Twins team that is not in a New York state of mind right now after two losses by a combined 15-5 score. The Yanks will start Sergio Mitre (0-1, 3.86 ERA). Mitre allowed four runs (three earned) over 4 2/3 innings against the Tigers on Monday in his only start of the season. 
The Twins will counter with right-hander Nick Blackburn (3-1, 4.76 ERA), who threw seven shutout innings last Sunday against Baltimore for his best outing of the season. He gave up just four hits and two walks. 
Game-time will be at 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by TBS and locally by MY9.

A-Rod’s Slam Sends Twins To Another Yankee Defeat

GAME 35
YANKEES 8, TWINS 4

It is a good thing for the Yankees that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire disregarded what looked to be a bad pitching matchup and Alex Rodriguez said “Thank you very much.”
After Gardenhire ordered lefty reliever Brian Duensing to walk Mark Teixiera to load the bases with one out in the seventh inning, he summoned Mark Guerrier from the bullpen to pitch to Rodriguez, despite the fact Rodriguez was 4-for-6 with three home runs in his career against the right-hander.
On Guerrier’s second offering, Rodriguez drilled a grand-slam homer into left that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 7-4 lead as the Yankees came from behind to beat the Twins on Friday for the ninth straight regular season game.
Gardenhire’s record as manager at Yankee Stadium also dropped to 3-24.
Joba Chamberlain (1-1), who came into the eighth inning breathing smoke, struck out the side the eighth and earned the victory. Twins starter Scott Baker (4-3), who started the seventh by giving up an infield single and a double off his left knee to Derek Jeter, was saddled with the loss.
The Yankees improved to 23-12 this season and they also moved within one game of first place in the A.L. East. The Central Division-leading Twins dropped to 22-13.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • A-Rod’s dramatic home run was the 19th grand slam of his career and the home run also moved him past Frank Robinson into seventh place on the all-time home run list with 587.
  • Francisco Cervelli continues to shine both behind and at the plate. In the sixth inning he cut down Alexi Casilla attempting to steal. In the bottom of the seventh it was his infield single that ignited the Yankees’ four-run rally. Cervelli then added an RBI triple in the eighth to give the Yankees an insurance run. Cervelli is batting .415 on the season.
  • Brett Gardner hammered hi
    s second home run of the season to lead off the fourth inning that tied the game at one. He also singled and later scored a run in the fifth inning on Teixeira’s double that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Gardner was 2-for-5 on the night and now is hitting .333.
  • Robinson Cano, who has been slumping all this month, collected a pair of doubles and he drove in a run. The 2-for-4 night raised his average back to .338.
  • Starter A.J. Burnett deserved a better fate. He did not have command of his fastball most of the night and still held the Twins to just two runs on seven hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Burnett actually was charged with giving up three runs because Damaso Marte continues to show that he has no earthly idea where his pitches are going. Marte was called into the game to replace Burnett with two outs and Denard Span at second and lefty-swinging Joe Mauer up. He gave up a single to Mauer that tied it up and then he allowed lefty-swinging Justin Morneau to double in Mauer to give the Twins a 4-3 lead.
  • Recent injuries to Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Nick Swisher have exposed a “black hole” in the bottom of the Yankees lineup. Randy Winn entered the game in the fourth inning batting sixth for Swisher, followed by Marcus Thames and rookie DH Juan Miranda. Twins starter Scott Baker took advantage of them in the fourth inning with the Yankees leading 2-1 with no outs and Rodriguez at third and Cano at second. All the No. 6 and No. 7 hitters needed to do was make good contact to get one or both runners in. Instead, Baker struck out Winn, Thames and Miranda in succession.
  • Winn, Thames and Miranda also failed in the sixth inning after Cano led off the inning with a double. Winn flew out to shallow left, Thames struck out on a pitch that bounced up to the plate and Miranda popped up to the infield.
DIAMOND NOTES

There is some concern about Nick Swisher, who was forced to leave the game in the fourth inning with a recurrence of pain in his left biceps.  Swisher left Wednesday night’s game at Detroit with the same problem and sat out Thursday’s game against the Tigers. However, in his first at-bat in the second inning he winced in pain as he struck out. He was allowed to remain in the game but manager Joe Girardi decided to take him out before the start of the fourth inning. Swisher had an MRI at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital that was negative. Swisher is listed as day-to-day with a slight strain of the left biceps.  . . .  Granderson took some light batting practice Friday but he will not be coming off the disabled list when he is eligible on Monday. Granderson might begin some light jogging on Saturday, Girardi told reporters. But the center fielder, who is nursing a strained left groin, hopes to be back by the end of the month.  . . .  Girardi named Sergio Mitre as the starter for the Yankees’ series finale with the Twins on Sunday. Mitre, who subbed for Andy Pettitte in a start on Monday, will have to be used again because Tuesday’s rainout in Detroit meant that both Phil Hughes and Javier Vazquez would not have enough time between starts because both pitched on Wednesday.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will send veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte (4-0, 2.08 ERA) to the mound for the second of the series. Pettitte left his last start after five innings with soreness in his left elbow and the Yankees, as a precaution, skipped his last start. Pettitte won his only regular season start against the Twins last year, pitching 6 2/3 innings and giving up four runs. He is 9-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 19 career starts against the Twins.
Pettitte will be opposed by fellow left-hander Francisco Liriano (4-1, 2.36 ERA). Liriano lost in his last outing against Baltimore. He gave up 10 hits and five runs in six innings. It was his first loss since September of last season and the 10 hits were most hits he has given up since May of last season.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast locally by the YES Network.

Hughes Puts Tiger Bats in Snooze As He Refuses To Lose

GAME 33
YANKEES 8, TIGERS 0

It’s kind of hard to improve upon perfection, but every time Phil Hughes takes the mound these days he makes it possible and he makes it look easy.
This time Hughes pitched seven shutout innings to run his record to a perfect 5-0 as the New York Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday night with an 8-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Hughes gave up only five hits and a walk and struck out eight batters — some of those strikeouts came on a his newly rediscovered curveball — to lower his season ERA to 1.38. Jeremy Bonderman (1-2) took the loss despite giving up only two runs in his seven innings of work.
The Yankees pounded former teammate Phil Coke and Alfredo Figaro, who was just called up for the day by the Tigers, for six runs in the ninth to blow out the Tigers. Mariano Rivera, making his first appearance since April 30, recorded the final three outs for the Yankees.
The Yankees’ record improves to 22-11 and they are 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. The Tigers’ season record fell to 19-15.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Stolen bases led to the Yankees first two runs off Bonderman. In the first inning, Brett Gardner stole his 16th base of the season and later scored on Alex Rodriguez’s single to right field. In the third inning, Derek Jeter stole his fourth base and later scored on Mark Teixeira’s single to right.
  • Gardner also posted another very good night at the plate. He was 3-for-5, scored two runs and drove in one. He is batting .337.
  • Teixeira added a two-run single in the ninth inning and ended the night with three RBIs. He now leads the team in RBIs with 25. Though Teixeira struggled in May he is hitting .321 with runners in scoring position this season and he has 16 RBIs in the 11 games he has played in May.
  • Rodriguez added an RBI double in the ninth, also, and ended the night two two RBIs. He has 22 on the season.
  • Francisco Cervelli was 2-for-4 with a double and a single and drove in a run in the ninth inning. He is hitting .408 on the season. 
  • Joba Chamberlain again looked sharp in his one inning of work in the eighth. He gave up an infield single (though replays showed first-base umpire Mike Estabrook blew the call) and fanned one. Chamberlain’s fastball registered consistently at 96 mph.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Though Jeter scored two runs, he is in major slide at the plate. His 0-for-4 night now means he is hitless in his last 16 at-bats and his average has fallen from .333 on May 3 to .270.
  • Robinson Cano is also MIA in May. He was 0-for-3 in the game and, after entering May hitting an even .400, Cano is 9-for-41 this month for a .220 average.
  • Marcus Thames was used in left field in the game, despite the fact he normally plays only against left-handed pitching and his defense in left is atrocious. He looked overmatched at the plate against Bonderman, striking out twice and going 0-for-3.
  • Ramiro Pena managed to walk and score a run in his last at-bat to salvage a bad day. Getting two rare starts, Pena was 0-for-6 in the two games and struck out twice. He is hitting .138 in limited play.
DIAMOND NOTES

Nick Swisher left Thursday night’s game in the seventh inning with tightness in his left biceps and he is listed as day-to-day. Swisher said he felt something in the arm when he swung in the seventh inning and removed himself from the game as a precaution.  . . .  Andy Pettitte threw 32 pitches in a bullpen session on Wednesday and reported no discomfort. The veteran left-hander, who was scheduled to start against the Tigers on Monday but was skipped because of slight left elbow inflammation, will throw a light downhill session on Thursday. He is scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Minnesota Twins.  . . .   Right-handed reliever Alfredo Aceves was placed on the 15-day disabled list with lower back discomfort. The Yankees recalled outfielder Greg Golson from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Aceves on the roster. Aceves has had repeated issues with soreness in his back and there is no timetable for his return. He joins Curtis Granderson, Chan Ho Park and Nick Johnson on the DL.  . . .  Yankee legend Yogi Berra celebrated his 85th birthday on Wednesday in his native Montclair, NJ.  . . .  The Yankees signed veteran right-hander Tim Redding to a minor league contract and will assign him to Scranton. Redding, 32, was released by the Colorado Rockies. He was pitching for their Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs. He has a career record of 37-57 with a 4.95 ERA in 179 big-league games (144 starts).  . . .  Park is scheduled to pitch in extended spring training games on Wednesday and Friday and could be activated soon. He is on the disabled list with tightness in his right hamstring.  
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will try to salvage a split in the four-game series in Detroit on Thursday afternoon, however the weather forecast for Detroit does not look promising.
Weather-permitting, the Yankees will send CC Sabathia (4-1, 3.04 ERA) to the mound against  the Tigers. Sabathia was one pitch away from a sure fifth win when rain in Boston forced a 74-minute delay on Saturday. The Yankees romped to a 14-3 victory over the Red Sox. In his career against the Tigers Sabathia is 14-10 with a 4.50 ERA in 28 starts. He was 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA last season against the Tigers.
The Tigers will counter with their ace right-hander Justin Verlander (3-2, 4.50 ERA). Verlander gave up three runs on four hits and four walks in six innings against the Indians to win his third game. He fanned nine batters. Verlander was 1-1 in two starts against the Yankees last season — both starts came against Sabathia.
Game-time is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

Tex, Cisco Kid Unleash Blazing Hot Lumber On Bosox

GAME 29
YANKEES 14, RED SOX 3

The New York Yankees’ locker room may look a like a M*A*S*H unit but they seem to be inflicting a lot more pain on the Boston Red Sox.
Without their starting catcher, center fielder, designated hitter and with a starting pitcher and second baseman ailing the Yankees put another serious beating on the Red Sox on Saturday. 
Lead by Mark Teixeira’s three home runs and five RBIs and Francisco Cervelli’s three singles and five RBIs, the Bronx Bombers delivered a 14-3 Beantown beatdown to a Red Sox team that is already in serious trouble in the American League East pennant chase.
Alfredio Aceves (3-0), one of the most fortunate win “vultures” in baseball history, earned the victory by virtue of taking over for CC Sabathia when the Sabathia was one strike away from a victory before a one hour and 14 minute rain delay. 
In true M*A*S*H fashion, Aceves had to leave the game in the sixth inning with stiffness in his back. It would not have been a stretch if pitching coach Dave Eiland would have pulled a hamstring on the way to the mound the way the Yankees are getting wounded these days.
Clay Buchholz (3-2), who entered Saturday’s contest with the lowest ERA among Boston’s starting rotation at 2.97, took the loss and saw his ERA balloon to 3.82. He was battered for six runs on nine hits and five walks.
With the victory and a rare Tampa Bay Rays’ road loss to the Oakland Athletics, the Yankees improved their season record to 21-8 and they are within a half-game of the first-place Rays in the A.L. East. The Red Sox, however, fell back under .500 at 15-16. They remain 7 1/2 games in back of the Rays.
The body may not be a corpse yet. But the Red Sox, facing a tough stretch of games in May, find themselves on life support and desperately needing a victory on Sunday against the Yankees to avoid a sweep. But their road to recovery looks very bleak indeed.
The Yankees have now won six games in a row and nine of their past 10.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Teixiera, like clockwork, has awoken in May and he already has more hits this month than he did in all of April. He is the first player in Yankee history since Lou Gehrig to have a three-homer game at Fenway Park. It was the third three-homer game of Teixeira’s career.
  • Cervelli has caught, thrown, called games and hit so well that people may soon be saying “Jorge who?” He had an RBI single in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth off Buchholz before adding another two-run single off reliever Daniel Bard in the eighth. He is first Yankee catcher to drive in five runs in a game against the Red Sox since Yogi Berra did it on July 3, 1957. Cervelli, who is lauded mostly for his defense, is now hitting .429 with 12 RBIs.
  • Nick Swisher continued his hot hitting in May with two hits and three RBIs. The three RBIs gave him 23 on the season and he took the team lead in that category from Derek Jeter, who has 22.
  • Alex Rodriguez was 2-for-2 with three walks and a RBI and he has raised his average on the season to .276. 
  • Brett Gardner contributed a bunt single, a sacrifice bunt, another single and a stoeln base to the attack. He is hitting .348 and he is second in the A.L. in stolen bases with 14.
  • The bullpen gave up four hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings but, more importantly, they did not allow the Red Sox to score a run while the Yankees tacked on eight runs in the last three innings.
  • The Yankee offense in two games against the Red Sox has scored 22 runs on 28 hits and 13 walks. They drew 10 walks on Saturday alone.
YANKEE NEGATIVES

  • Sabathia did give up two home runs in the game. One to 31-year-old journeyman outfielder Darnell McDonald with one in the third inning. With two out and one on in the same inning Victor Martinez added a two-run shot. That was it for the Red Sox offense the rest of day.
  • David Robertson came into the game to start the seventh inning and struck out McDonald. However, he then surrendered back-to-back singles by Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia and was pulled from the game by manager Joe Girardi in favor of Joba Chamberlain. It is obvious Robertson is still searching to recapture his 2009 form.
  • There was some shoddy baserunning by the Yankees. Third-base coach Robby Thompson probably regrets sending Randy Winn on a single to center in the fourth inning. He was cut down at the plate on a throw from McDonald to Martinez. In the fifth inning, Winn was victimized by McDonald again. This time Winn was caught trying to move to third on Cervelli’s two-run single. He was tagged out in a rundown by Adrian Beltre.
  • Winn also was the only Yankee starter not have a hit in the game. He was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and two walks.
DIAMOND NOTES

Teixeira’s third home in the ninth inning came off Jonathan Van Every, a reserve outfielder the Red Sox pressed into service as a pitcher in the ninth.  . . .  With the victory on Saturday the Yankees are 4-1 against the Red Sox this season and all the games have been played at Fenway Park. The Yankees have also won 13 of their last 15 games against their division rivals.  . . .  The Yankees also won the series on Satuday and now have won nine of the 10 series they played this season — a feat only matched by the 1928 and 1939 Yankee squads.  . . .  Robinson Cano, who was struck in the left knee by a Josh Beckett fastball on Friday, originally was not in the lineup for Saturday’s game. However, Girardi was satisfied Cano was healthy enough to DH in the game. Ramiro Pena played second base.  . . .  Jorge Posada, who is nursing a strained right calf was held out of the lineup for another day. Girardi said Posada will DH on Sunday and will resume catching on Monday in Detroit.  . . .  The Yankees placed designated hitter Nick Johnson on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday and recalled reserve infielder Kevin Russo from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Johnson, who has surgery on his right wrist before, had an MRI on his sore wrist in New York. It is unclear how long Johnson will be out. Girardi said it will be “at least 15 days and probably more.”  . . .  The Yankees’ litany of injuries continued when Aceves left the game in the sixth inning with lower back stiffness. Aceves was following through on a curveball to pinch-hitter Jeremy Hermida when he stumbled off the mound. Aceves said he likely would have to take two or three days off to evaluate the injury. Aceves had the same issue with his back in spring training. 
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will look to sweep an obviously reeling Red Sox team on Sunday with A.J. Burnett (4-0, 1.99 ERA) scheduled to make his seventh start. Burnett is coming off a victory over the Baltimore Orioles last Tuesday. He gave up one unearned run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings. 
Burnett had a no decision on April 6 against the Red Sox, giving up four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. In his career, Burnett is 5-2 with a 4.30 ERA in 13 starts against Boston.
The Red Sox will send left-hander Jon Lester (2-2, 3.93 ERA) to the mound. Lester gave up one run on five hits in 8 innings in a victory over the Angels on Tuesday. Lester is 3-1 with a 4.19 ERA in nine lifetime starts against the Yankees.
Game-time is 8:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
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