August 2010

Vazquez Steps Up While Yankees Pound Cahill, Athletics

GAME 131
YANKEES 11, ATHLETICS 5

To the naked eye, the New York Yankees’ rout of the Oakland Athletics on Monday night looked like just another game at Yankee Stadium:
  • Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back solo home runs in the third inning to break a 3-all tie. It was Teixieira’s 29th home run of the season and Cano’s career-high 26th.
  • Marcus Thames connected for a three-run homer in the fifth inning for his sixth home run in his last five starts.
  • Nick Swisher added a two-run double in the first-inning and RBI double in the fourth inning.
  • In fact, Teixeira, Cano and Swisher combined for nine hits and seven RBIs and Thames did the the rest.
But the biggest shift in the Bronx on Monday may have come from the 4 2/3 innings of relief thrown by Javier Vazquez (10-9).
Summoned from the bullpen in the fifth inning with one out, the exiled starter gave up only one run on two hits and a walk the rest of the way to win his second game out of the bullpen this season. He also might have convinced manager Joe Girardi that he may be ready to reclaim a spot in the five-man rotation.
Dustin Moseley, making his seventh start of the season in place of Andy Pettitte, could not complete the fifth inning. He was tagged for four runs on five hits and four walks before being removed by Girardi in the fifth inning after he walked Daric Barton and Kurt Suzuki with one out.
Despite a record of 4-2 in his starts, Moseley is sporting an ERA of 5.03 and a walks and hits to innings pitched ratio (WHIP) of 1.58. So it appears that Vazquez will, at least, get some consideration to replace Moseley in September.
The Yankees, meanwhile, destroyed Trevor Cahill (14-6) for the second time this season. On July 6 in Oakland, the Yankees blasted Cahill for six runs on four hits and walk in a 6-1 defeat, his first loss since May 16.
On Monday the Yankees again blistered the All-Star right-hander for a season-high eight runs on a season-high nine hits and two walks in 4-plus innings. Since that loss to the Yankees in July, Cahill was 6-2 with a 1.46 ERA.
Cahill’s bid for Cy Young Award consideration hit a serious bump in the road in the Bronx.
With the victory the Yankees improved to a season-high 31 games over .500 at 81-50. But they remained in flat-footed tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East for an eighth consecutive day. It is the longest stretch of days that two teams have been tied for first place this late in the season in the modern era of baseball.
The Athletics, meanwhile, lost despite three-hit, four-RBI night from outfielder Jeff Larish, and they fell to an even 65-65 on the year.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Teixeira’s three hits in the game improved his season batting average to .262. His highest average of the season was .264 on July 25. Teixeira also is just one home run and eight RBIs away from his seventh consecutive season of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.
  • Swisher’s three hits give him a seven-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .379. In his last four games, Swisher is hitting .529 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
  • Alex Who? Inserted into the lineup against both left-handers and right-handers in the absence of Alex Rodriguez, Thames has laid waste to every pitch he has seen lately. In his last five starts, Thames is 9-for-20 (.450) with six homers and 11 RBIs. Thames was signed to a minor-league contract just before spring training began and is proving to be the most valuable of all the players general manager Brian Cashman signed this off-season.
  • Other than a two-out ground-rule RBI double by Larish in the eighth inning, Vazquez was in command in his long relief stint. Vazquez threw as hard as 91 miles per hour and threw breaking pitches as slow as 68 mph, keeping the Athletics’ hitters off-balance.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • It is just about official now: Derek Jeter is the midst of his worst offensive season of his career. Jeter was 0-for-4 and his batting average dropped to .268. The lowest batting average Jeter has ever recorded was in 1997, his second full season in the majors, when he hit .291.
  • After his little hot streak in August, Curtis Granderson has fallen off the train again. Granderson was 0-for-4 and in his last five games he is 2-for-19 (.105).
  • Moseley may have pitched himself out of the rotation with a very weak effort in which he pitched tentatively and like he was afraid of contact. During the first inning when he gave up three runs, Moseley threw 34 pitches. He did have two outs and 1-2 count on Mark Ellis but he walked him to load the bases and Larish made him pay with a two-run single to center to make it 3-0.
BOMBER BANTER

Obviously, after his three-hit game Teixeira showed no problems with a bruised right thumb that forced him to leave Saturday’s game in Chicago and made him a late scratch for Sunday’s game. Teixeira injured his thumb on Friday night diving for a ball.  . . .  Girardi told reporters on Monday that it appears as if Rodriguez will be activated from the 15-day disabled list without requiring a rehab stint. Rodriguez is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday and the Yankees hope to have him in the cleanup spot that day. He is been on the disabled list with a strained left calf since Aug.21.  . . .  Andy Pettitte is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday. Pettitte said if he progresses on schedule he could possibly be activated from the disabled list in two weeks.
ON DECK

The Yankees will resume their four-game series against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.
Phil Hughes (15-6, 4.12 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. He is coming off what may be his worst start of the season against the Blue Jays last week. Hughes was tagged for five runs on six hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. Hughes is 1-0 with an 0,77 ERA against the A’s in his career.
Hughes will be opposed by right-hander Vin Mazzaro (6-6, 3.61 ERA). In his last start Mazzaro gave up three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings in a road loss to Cleveland. He is 0-4 despite a 3.89 ERA in his last six starts. Mazzaro is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Yankees Blast Blue Jays’ Nest With 5 Homers In Laugher

GAME 126
YANKEES 11, BLUE JAYS 5
The loud noise you heard erupting from the Rogers Center in Toronto was not a military exercise or atmospheric anomaly. It was the Yankees re-emerging as the Bronx Bombers unleashing home runs on the Blue Jays.
After a barrage of 17 hits, five home runs and 11 runs, the Yankees had turned the tables on the American League home run leader Jose Bautista and the major league home run-leading Blue Jays.
The Yankee hitters began the evening as if they were kids celebrating a birthday and the pitches of Blue Jays starter Marc Rzepczynski (1-2) were their personal pinatas. Led by Mark Teixeira, who homered to the second deck in left with out in the third inning, the Yankees ended up hitting three home runs in that frame alone to chase Rzepczynski after bashing him for six runs on eight hits and and two walks.
They added two more home runs in the fifth inning off reliever Brian Tallet to make it a laugher at 10-1.
Teixeira led the way with a 4-for-5 night, including his 28th home run of the season and two RBIs, which now gives him 91 on the season. 
Not to be outdone was Jorge Posada, who blasted his third home run in his last four games. He followed Marcus Thames’ two-run home run in the third inning with his 16th homer of the season. He also ended up with a 4-for-5 night and two RBIs.
Curtis Granderson added to the assault with a three-run homer off Tallet in the fifth inning to make it 9-1. Jeter followed two batters later with his 10th of the season and he now has hit at least 10 home runs in each of his 16 seasons in the major leagues.
The beneficiary of all the run support was Dustin Moseley (4-2), who gave up two runs on five hits and four walks over six innings to tame Bautista and the Blue Jays. Though they lead the major leagues with 190 home runs this season, Moseley kept the Blue Jays in the yard after Bautista ripped two blasts on Monday and he showboated by watching them and taking his time running them out.
None of the Yankees needed to provide any theatrics to drive home the point that the Yankees are likely headed to the playoffs while the Blue Jays are doomed to go home empty handed — again.
With the victory the Yankees got back to 30 games over .500 at 78-48 and they maintained their tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot in the American League East. The M*A*S*H unit that is the Boston Red Sox fell a half-game back to six games out because their game with Seattle was postponed due to rain.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • On June 30, Teixeira was hitting .231 and Yankee fans were not happy with the production from the their first baseman. But after going 4-for-5, Teixeira raised his average to .262. With 28 home runs and 91 RBIs, he also seems a lock to record his seventh consecutive season of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. 
  • After struggling at the plate since he was activated from the disabled list on June 2, Posada appears to be heating up during the pennant push. He has a modest five-game hitting streak in which he is 8-for-20 (.400) with three home runs and six RBIs. 
  • With Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list, Marcus Thames is turning into a nice contributor as a right-handed batter. Thames was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs and he also scored two runs. He is also ripping left-handers. He is 27-for-79 (.342) with two home runs and seven RBIs against them this season. He is hitting .313 with five home runs and 19 RBIs overall.
  • Granderson connected for only his second home run against a left-hander this season with his three-run shot off Tallet in the fifth inning. He has 14 home runs and 41 RBIs on the season. Granderson also sparkled in the field with a tremendous throw on a two-out, bases-loaded single by John Buck in the bottom of the sixth. His one-hop throw to Posada cut down Adam Lind trying to score and ended a big threat by the Jays to get back into the game.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • Despite the 17 hits, two Yankee starters took the collar. Robinson Cano was 0-for-4 with a walk and run scored and Austin Kearns did the same. Kearns’ 11-game hitting streak in which he was 14-for-35 (.400) came to an end.
  • Moseley was either too cautious or he got tired after pitching a one-hitter for the first three innings. He walked the leadoff batters in each of the next three innings and ended up with the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings. A grand slam in either inning would have allowed the Jays to get back into the game.
  • Chad Gaudin, fresh off his great back-to-back stints of long relief totaling five innings, struggled mightily in his two innings of mop-up work on Tuesday. He was tagged for three hits and he walked two in giving up three runs in two innings. 
BOMBER BANTER
Nick Swisher was forced to leave the game — literally — by manager Joe Girardi after he fouled a pitch off his left knee in the seventh inning. Swisher originally fouled off a 1-2 pitch by Craig Janssen off his knee but stayed in to continue his at-bat. But after fouling a second pitch off his left foot Girardi went out and ordered Swisher to leave the game. Brett Gardner took over the at-bat and struck out looking. Swisher said he hopes to play Wednesday. The Yankees will re-evaluate his knee before the game.  . . .  Javier Vazquez has been moved to the bullpen for now. Because of the encouraging debut of Ivan Nova on Monday, Girardi has decided to give the 23-year-old rookie another start, in place of Vazquez on Sunday. Vazquez is 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA in four starts in August. He will be available in the bullpen starting on Wednesday.
ON DECK
The Yankees will try to win the rubber game of the three-game series with Toronto on Wednesday. The Yankees will try to do it with their All-Star right-hander Phil Hughes.
Hughes (15-5, 3.90 ERA) came off an excellent outing against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday in which he gave up a run on four hits in six innings and fanned six batters. Hughes retired the last 11 Tigers he faced. He is 2-1 with a 3.75 ERA in his career against the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays will counter with right-hander Brett Cecil (10-6, 3.90 ERA). Cecil notched his first career victory against the Red Sox on Friday, limiting Boston to two runs in 6 2/3 innings at Fenway. He struck six and walked three. Cecil is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA against the Yankees lifetime.
Gametime will be 7:07 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Cano’s 6 RBIs Boosts Sabathia To 17th Win As Yanks Romp

GAME 124
YANKEES 10, MARINERS 0
Last season the last batter the Yankees would have wanted up with the bases loaded was Robinson Cano. His numbers with runners in scoring position and with the bases loaded were pretty awful.
But this season the batter the Yankees would most want up with the bases loaded is Robinson Cano. He proved that again on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
In both the fifth and sixth innings the Mariners walked Mark Teixeira to load the bases. (The first walk was intentional.) On both occasions Cano hurt the Mariners real bad. In the fifth he launched a grand slam home run and in the sixth he stroked a two-run single.
Led by Cano’s six RBIs, CC Sabathia and the Yankees rolled to an easy 10-0 victory over the Mariners to conclude their seven-game homestand with a series victory over the M’s and 5-2 record.
Sabathia ran his unbeaten streak at Yankee Stadium to 20 games with six shutout innings in which he gave up only three hits and no walks and fanned eight batters. In those 20 starts Sabathia is 15-0 with a 2.17 ERA.
The only thing that stopped Sabathia on Sunday was a 59-minute rain delay that prevented Sabathia from returning to the mound for the seventh despite the fact he had thrown only 76 pitches.
Sabathia now leads the American League in victories with 17.
Cano, meanwhile, established some bone fide Most Valuable Player credentials. The six RBIs were a career high for a game and he is now hitting .375 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in the 12 games he has substituted for Alex Rodriguez in the cleanup spot.
Luke French (2-4), who held the Yankees to no runs on two hits for 3 2/3 innings, gave up a solo home run to Austin Kearns with two out in the fourth inning. The next inning, wildness and a rare error from Gold Glove outfielder Ichiro Suzuki help lead to French’s eventual undoing after he retired the first batter.
French walked Derek Jeter and then Nick Swisher smashed a line drive to right that fell out of Suzuki’s glove for a single. Both runners moved up a base when Suzuki was unable to pick the ball up cleanly on the warning track. The Mariners then elected to walk the bases loaded with Teixeira to have the left-hander French pitch to the left-handed hitting Cano.
Bad move.
Cano drilled a first-pitch change-up into the second deck of the right-field bleachers to give the Yankees a 5-0 lead. The grand slam was the 10th of the season for the Yankees, which ties the 1987 Yankees for the most the team has ever hit in a year.
After the rain delay, the Mariners replaced French with reliever Chris Seddon and after one out Seddon walked Bret Gardner and rookie Eduardo Nunez followed with a rain- and puddle-aided double to right. Jeter then plated Gardner with a sacrifice fly.
Seddon then added to the Mariners eight-walk total in the game by handing out consecutive free passes to Swisher and Teixeira to load the bases again for Cano. The All-Star second baseman then turned the game into a laugher with his two-run single to right to make it 8-0.
Jorge Posada added his 15th home run of the season — a solo shot to right-field — in the eighth inning and Marcus Thames added an unearned run with an RBI single in the ninth to close out the scoring.
With the victory the Yankees moved to a season-best 30 games over .500 at 77-47 and they maintained their one-game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Boston Red Sox are in third place 6 1/2 games back.
The Mariners season record fell to 49-75.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Sabathia pitched a no-hitter for the first four innings. (Mariners catcher Adam Moore reached base on a rare Teixeira fielding error.) Sabathia also struck six batters in the first four innings. Sabathia has eight starts remaining and is on track to possibly win 20 or more games for the first time in his career. His previous high was 19 games in 2007.
  • Cano’s home run was his 25th of the season, which equals his previous season high. His six RBIs give him 86 on the season and he is now tied for eighth in the AL in that category. He is third in the league in batting at .325. 
  • Kearns extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his 10th home run of the season and his first as a Yankee at home. Since being acquired from the Indians, Kearns is hitting .341 with two home runs and six RBIs.
  • Swisher maintained Sabathia’s shutout with a perfect strike to home plate to nip Franklin Gutierrez trying to score on a single by Moore in the fifth inning. It was Swisher’s ninth outfield assist this season. However, replays showed that Posada actually held the ball in his right hand and tagged Gutierrez with his glove hand and home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook did not see it.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Once again the Yankee offense took its sweet time at getting at a young pitcher with a changeup. The Yankee
    s actually loaded the bases on French in the second inning on a walk, an error by Jose Lopez (which should have been an inning-ending double play) and another walk. However, Nunez hit an infield popup and Jeter flew out to center.
  • In the first inning, Swisher hit into a double play after Jeter had led off with a single. Cano also hit into a double play after a Teixeira single to end the third inning.
  • It was a miracle that the Mariners were still in the game when the rain forced a delay with French on the mound after he had given up five hits (including two home runs) and five walks. With Sabathia pitching for the Yankees that is not usually a problem. But if it had been A.J. Burnett, Dustin Moseley or Javier Vazquez it could have been a problem.
BOMBER BANTER

Rodriguez will be eligible to come off the disabled list on Sept. 5. In the meantime, he will travel with the team to Toronto and Chicago, where he will receive daily treatment for his strained left calf. Manager Joe Girardi plans to use a platoon of Ramiro Pena and Nunez at third base, with Pena starting against right-handers and Nunez starting against lefties. The Yankees are 12-0 this season in games in which Rodriguez has not played.  . . .  Girardi will not dilvulge his rotation plans past Wednesday’s final game in Toronto. Rookie Ivan Nova will pitch Monday, Moseley will pitch Tuesday and hil Hughes will pitch Wednesday. After an off-day on Thursday the Yankees could start Burnett in Chicago on Friday or pitch CC Sabathia on regular rest. The Yankees likely will shuffle the rotation in order to separate Burnett and Vazquez. Both are struggling and both are caught by Francisco Cervelli.
ON DECK

The Yankees are on their way to Toronto for a three-game series that begins on Monday. It will feature the major-league starting debut for Ivan Nova.
Nove (12-3, 2.86 ERA at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) threw three scoreless innings of relief in a previous stint with the Yankees. The 23-year-old right-hander features a good fastball with a slider, change and curve. Girardi was impressed that he threw strikes in his relief stint and hopes the young starter can do well as a starter on Monday.
Nova will be opposed by Brandon Morrow (9-6, 4.45 ERA). Morrow’s last start was pushed back three days because of a 17-strikeout, 137-pitch outing against the Tampa Bay Rays in which he lost a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning. In his last start, Morrow was shaky in four innings, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks to Oakland on Tuesday. Morrow is 2-0 with a 4.72 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:07 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Mariners’ Trade Target Nunez Keys Yanks With 1st Hit, RBI

GAME 123
YANKEES 9, MARINERS 5

The rumor was the Seattle Mariners dangled ace lefty Cliff Lee in front of the New York Yankees and they originally asked for catcher Jesus Montero, pitcher Zach McAllister and second baseman David Adams but the Mariners balked at the deal because of concerns about an ankle injury Adams suffered.
Once the Texas Rangers offered first baseman Justin Smoak to their package for Lee, the Mariners then called the Yankees back and asked for shortstop Eduardo Nunez along with Montero and McAllister. 
The Yankees refused. It was a good thing, too.
Nunez not only recorded his first major-league hit in his first major-league start on Saturday, he also notched his first major-league RBi with that hit, which proved to be the game-winning hit over — ironically — the Mariners.
Nunez came up in the bottom of the seventh inning with Austin Kearns at third and Curtis Granderson at first with one out in a 4-4 game. Nunez, who was recalled on Thursday to replace Lance Berkman on the roster and who was subbing at third base for the injured Alex Rodriguez, stroked a 1-1 fastball from Mariners starter Jason Vargas to the opposite field in right to score Kearns and give the Yankees their first lead since the first inning.
Vargas was removed from the game and Derek Jeter followed with an RBI single of his own and, one out later, Mark Teixeira made it 7-4 with a sacrifice fly.
Four members of the Yankees bullpen were the other heros of the day for picking up for struggling right-hander Javier Vazquez, who gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk in only three-plus innings of work.
Chad Gaudin, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera teamed up to give up only one run on four hits and no walks in the remaining six innings. Logan (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the victory.
Rivera, who was touched for a scratch run on two hits in the ninth inning picked up his 25th save in 27 chances this season. It was the first four-out save of the season.
Vargas (9-6) took the loss despite holding the Yankees offense to just one hit over the five innings following a horrific four-run first inning. Robinson Cano keyed the frame for the Yankees with a two-run single and Jorge Posada added a two-out, two-run home run.
Vazquez, however, who gave up solo home runs to Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Branyan in the first inning, coughed up the 4-2 lead in the second inning on another solo home by Suzuki and a two-out RBI single by Casey Kotchman that tied the game at 4. The scored remained knotted until Nunez stroked his clutch single in the seventh.
Most of the sellout crowd of 48,158 at Yankee Stadium erupted in cheers as Nunez recovered the ball and kissed it with a big grin on his face at first base.
With Rodriguez headed to the disabled list with the calf issue that slowed him this week, Nunez now becomes a very important player on the roster until the All-Star third baseman returns.
Sometimes the best trades are the ones you decide not to make. 
With the victory, the Yankees got back to their high-water mark of 19 games over .500 for the season (76-47) and they will enjoy their evening knowing they can’t be any worse than one game ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Rays are playing Oakland on the West Coast. If the Rays lose, as they did on Friday night, they will be two games back.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Cano was 2-for-4 in the game and his two RBIs give him an even 80 on the season. Cano had 85 RBIs last season and his career high is the 97 he drove in 2007. Cano is batting .324 on the season, the fifth best in the AL.
  • Posada’s home run in the first inning was his 14th of the season and his first one batting right-handed since June 13. Though he has 14 home runs and 43 RBis, Posada is batting .252, only seven points better than his career low of .245 in 1999.
  • Gaudin deserves most of the credit for the great work of the bullpen. Gaudin pitched two innings of shutout baseball on Friday in relief of a shaky A.J. Burnett. On Saturday he pitched three innings of one-hit, no-run baseball. He also struck out three batters.
  • Kearns struck out in his first two at-bats against Vargas before his one-out single in the seventh inning that started the Yankees’ three-run rally. The hit extended Kearns’ hitting streak to 10 games. He is hitting .333 in pinstripes.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Vazquez has reverted back to his form of April and May. In his first five starts, Vazquez was 0-3 with a 9.78 ERA. In his next 13 starts through July 26, Vazquez was 8-4 with a 3.43 ERA. But in his last five starts — each outing lasting less than the one before — Vazquez is 0-2 with a 7.44 ERA. Vazquez has given up eight home runs in those starts, including three in Saturday’s game. Two of them to Suzuki, who had three all this season, and one to Branyan
    , who hit two home runs in Friday;s game. Branyan’s first-inning home run is actually the first to land in the third deck in right-field. Branyan also was the first player to hit the windows in center-field of the Mohegan Sports Bar last season. That gives Branyan two of the longest home runs in the new Yankee Stadium.
  • Marcus Thames, inserted into the DH spot and batting fifth because he hits left-handers well, did not have a good day at the plate. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and his season batting average fell to .302.
  • Granderson and Brett Gardner had a difficult day in the outfield. They let three fly balls drop in the outfield that perhaps could have been caught. They also seemed to have problems with their footing. Granderson slipped once and Gardner slid down on a another bloop single.
BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees placed Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list after the game on Saturday. Rodriguez originally injured his left calf on Monday. After sitting out two games, manager Joe Girardi reinsterted him into the lineup Friday night. However, in his first at-bat Rodriguez reaggravated the injury on a ground ball to third base and he had to be removed from the game. The Yankees will rely on Ramiro Pena (who is hitting .197) and Nunez to play third base in place of Rodriguez. The Yankees will recall 23-year-old star rookie right-hander Ivan Nova (12-3, 2.86 ERA) from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Nova will make his first major-league start on Monday.
ON DECK

The Yankees will end their homestand on Sunday with an eye on winning the three-game series against the Mariners.
The Yankees will have ace left-hander CC Sabathia (16-5, 3.12 ERA) on the mound to do it. Sabathia held the Tigers to two runs over seven innings for his 16th victory. He is 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in his last three starts. He is 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA in his career against Seattle.
The M’s will counter with left-hander Luke French (2-3, 4.02 ERA), who is coming off his best outing of the season. He held the Orioles hitless for 5 1/3 innings last Tuesday. He is 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Nine-Run 6th Allows Yanks’ Hughes To Cruise Over Tigers

GAME 121
YANKEES 11, TIGERS 5

Yankee victory formula: Wear down the starter by going deep into counts, start scoring runs in enough quantities to force the starter out and beat the heck out of the middle relievers who replace him.
That is exactly what the New York Yankees did to starter Rick Porcello (5-11) and the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
The Yankees erupted for nine runs on six hits, three walks, a passed ball and a stolen base off Porcello and three Tigers relievers in at 11-5 thrashing at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees turned what was a dead even 2-2 pitcher’s duel between Porcello and Phil Hughes (15-5) into a laugher within the 35 minutes it took to complete the bottom of the sixth inning.
Robinson Cano led the assault on the Tigers with a RBI double and a two-run home in the inning. Austin Kearns added a two-run bases-loaded ground-rule double and Derek Jeter contributed a two-run triple.
Hughes, who started the game as the best supported pitcher in baseball, was the beneficiary of the 11 runs but he did pitch well. He gave up two runs on four hits and no walks and struck out six in six innings. His only egregious error was giving up a two-run home run first inning to Miguel Cabrera, which was the first baseman’s fourth home run of the series.
With the victory the Yankees won the four-game series with the Tigers and temporarily reclaimed their perch atop the American League East. Their 75-46 record put them a half-game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays as the Rays play a late game on the West Coast against the Oakland A’s.
The Tigers’ record dropped to 58-63.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • After losing two games in a row on Sunday and Monday by a combined score of 4-1 and managing only 10 hits, the Yankee offense awoke to score 26 runs on 29 hits in the last three games against the Tigers, They also did it without the top run producer on the team, Alex Rodriguez.
  • Hughes looked shaky in the first two innings but settled in to throw six very good innings. Hughes has gone at least five innings in each of his 23 starts this season. Hughes finished his outing by retiring the last 11 Tigers he faced.
  • Cano entered the series with the Tigers with no home runs and only two RBs in August. In the last three games, Cano homered in each game and drove in five runs. He is hitting .325 with 24 home runs and 78 RBIs this season.
  • Kearns extended his hitting streak to seven games and he was 4-for-9 in the three games he played against the Tigers with four RBIs.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Sergio Mitre was called upon to pitch the last three innings of the game protecting a huge 11-2 lead, But he ended up giving up six hits and a walk and three runs in his mop-up stint. His shaky command forced both Kerry Wood and Boone Logan to warm up in the bullpen on a day manager Joe Girardi wanted to rest the bullpen.
  • After two very good games starting in place of Rodriguez, Ramiro Pena finished the day 0-for-4 and he did not get a ball out of the infield.
  • Though he walked, stole s base and scored in the nine-run sixth inning Brett Gardner was also 0-for-4 and he also did not get a ball out of the infield.
BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees opted to place DH/1B Lance Berkman on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with a sore right ankle and recalled reserve infielder Eduardo Nunez from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With Rodriguez out and Pena replacing him at third base, the Yankees believed they needed another infielder to give Girardi more flexibility off the bench. Nunez was hitting .289 at Scranton with four home runs and 50 RBIs. Berkman will now have more time to rehab what has been a slow-healing ankle sprain.  . . .  Rodriguez sat out his third straight game but the Yankees do expect him back soon — likely as a DH or pinch-hitter rater than playing the field. Rodriguez has a slightly strained left calf.  
ON DECK

After winning their first series in August, the Yankees will look to make it two straight with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners beginning on Friday.
The Yankees will start A.J. Burnett (9-10, 4.66 ERA) in the opener. Burnett is coming off one of his best outings of the season — an eight-inning ef
fort in which he gave up just one run to the Royals on Sunday. However, he lost the game because the Yankees were shut out by Bryan Bullington. Burnett is 3-1 with 3.00 ERA in his career against the Mariners.
The Mariners will start ace right-hander Felix Hernandez (8-10, 2.62 ERA). In his last start, Hernandez pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Indians before being touched for six unearned runs in a loss on Sunday. Hernandez has pitched 14 2/3 consecutive innings without giving up an earned run.
Gametime will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Hit Batters, Ejection Overshadow Yanks’ Romp Over Tigers

GAME 120
YANKEES 9, TIGERS 5

Brett Gardner was hit with the game’s first pitch, after hitting two home runs the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera was hit with the pitch eighth inning, Derek Jeter narrowly escaped getting plunked in the bottom of the eighth and Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland was ejected before the bottom of the eighth inning began.
In between the hit batters and ejection the New York Yankees pounded out three home runs as part of nine-hit attack as they defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-5 on Wednesday.
Mark Teixeira set the tone for the evening with a two-run home run to the second deck in right-field to score Gardner after he was hit by Tiger starter Jeremy Bonderman (6-9) in the first inning.
The pitch that hit Gardner seemed suspicious in that it was Gardner’s hard but clean slide into Carlos Guillen in the ninth inning of Monday’s game. Guillen was placed on the disabled list earlier in the day with a bruised left knee as a result of the slide. When asked about the slide by reporters Leyland claimed the play was a clean one.
However, home plate umpire and crew chief Eric Cooper immediately warned both teams that any further purpose pitches would result in the ejection of the offending pitcher and manager.
Play resumed and the Yankees built their lead to 3-0 when Robinson Cano followed Teixeira with a solo home run of his own.
The Yankees later extended their lead to 6-2 with three runs in the fourth inning, keyed by a RBI triple by Ramiro Pena and a RBI single by Gardner.
After the Tigers came back with a two-run home run from Don Kelly in the fifth inning, the Yankees answered with a Curtis Granderson solo home run to push the Yankee lead back to 7-4.
A two-out, two-run double by Austin Kearns in the seventh inning seemingly put the game away for the Yankees at 9-4.
However, Chad Gaudin began the eighth inning by hitting Cabrera with an 1-1 pitch. Cabrera had hit solo home runs in the second and fourth innings off Yankee starter and winning pitcher Dustin Moseley (3-2). 
Leyland immediately stormed out of the dugout to protest why Cooper was not going to eject Gaudin for what looked to be deliberately targeting the Tigers’ Most Valuable Player candidate. Though Leyland returned to the bench he did not stop yelling at Cooper from the visitors’ dugout at Yankee Stadium.
Gaudin promptly gave up a single to Johnny Damon and walked Jhonny Peralta on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with no out.  David Robertson entered the game and, despite giving up a sacrifice fly to Brandon Inge, he retired the side to hold the Yankee lead at four runs.
Leyland was ejected at that point and then Tigers reliever Enrique Gonzalez tossed a pitch behind Jeter with one out in the eighth inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi started out of the dugout but elected not to argue and the Gonzalez continued to walk Jeter, Teixeira and Cano before Swisher ended the inning by hitting into a double play.
Another wild night in the Bronx ended with the Yankees and Moseley victorious. Moseley only gave up five hits in five innings of work. But unfortunately for him, three of the hits were home runs that accounted for four runs.
The Yankees used six relievers, including Mariano Rivera in the ninth, to escape with the victory. Those relievers held the Tigers to just one run despite giving up five hits, one walk and that one hit batter.
With the victory the Yankees held on to their share of first place in the American League East with the Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams are 73-46. The Red Sox remain 5 1/2 games out in the third place.
The Tigers fell to 58-62 on the season.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Granderson is flat out mashing the baseball thanks to the help he received from hitting coach Kevin Long on his swing. In his last seven games, Granderson is 9-for-26 (.347) with three home runs and four RBIs. 
  • Entering the game 0 for his last 11 at-bats, Teixeira was 3-for-4, reached base in all five plate appearances, homered, singled and doubled, drove in two runs and scored two runs.
  • Kearns’ two-out, bases-loaded ground-rule double give him a six-game hitting streak in which he is 8-for-19 (.421). Kearns is hitting .333 for the Yankees since his trade deadline acquisition from the Cleveland Indians.
  • Ramiro Pena, starting his second game in place of Alex Rodriguez, is 2-for-6 with two RBIs in those two games.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Moseley is 3-2 in his five starts replacing Andy Pettitte but he also has an ERA of 4.97 in those starts and has given up seven home runs in his last four starts. His inability to keep the ball in the ballpark led to Girardi taking him out of the game in the fifth inning despite the fact he threw only 84 pitches.
  • Jeter was 0-for-4, including a walk and a strikeout, and he did not get a ball out the infield. His season average dipped to .276, 37 points below his career average.
  • Jorge Posada was the only other Yankee not to have a hit in the game. He was 0-for-3 with an intentional walk in the seventh inning. He is hitting only .182 this month with a home run and only two RBIs. 
  • Gaudin may have not meant to hit Cabrera in the ribs, but his inability to retire Damon and Peralta led to Girardi having to use Robertson and Rivera on a night when the manager should not have had to use them. With Damaso Marte and Alfredo Aceves about to come off the disabled list soon, Gaudin may be one of the casualties when they return.
BOMBER BANTER

Andy Pettitte is frustrated after an MRI on Tuesday revealed his strained left groin has not healed. It will be at least another week before Pettitte will be allowed to throw again and the timetable for his return from the 15-day disabled list is clouded.  . . .  Lance Berkman is still hobbling on a swollen right ankle but said he is available to pinch-hit. Berkman, who injured the ankle hitting the back of Bryan Bullington’s foot on a play at first base in Kansas City, hopes he may be able to DH this weekend.  . . .  Rodriguez’s strained calf muscle leaves him day-to-day. A similar injury to Jorge Posada cost the veteran catcher six days.
ON DECK

The Yankees can win the four-game series with the Tigers with a victory on Thursday.
Phil Hughes (14-5, 3.95 ERA) will make the start for the Yankees. Hughes won his 14th game in his last start, allowing three runs in six innings against the Royals despite giving up nine hits. He is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA lifetime against the Tigers.
The Tigers will counter with right-hander Rick Porcello (5-10, 5.53 ERA), who pitched seven innings of solid baseball against the White Sox on Saturday. Porcello gave up only two runs but he did not get the decision in the Tigers’ victory. Porcello is 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

A-Rod’s 3-Homer, 5-RBI Exhibition Royally Flushes K.C.

GAME 116
YANKEES 8, ROYALS 3

Recently Hall of Fame outfielder told YES Network broadcaster Ken Singleton that once Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run the pressure on him would end and he would begin to hit home runs in bunches.
Unfortunately for the Royals, Willie Mays prophecy came true.
Rodriguez put on a power display at Kauffman Stadium like no other and the end result was three home runs, five RBIs and a victory for the New York Yankees over Kansas City.
Rdoriguez began his power display while leading off the sixth inning of a 1-1 game with a solo home run into the left field bleachers off Royals starter and losing pitcher Sean O’Sullivan (1-4). In fact, Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson followed Rodriguez one-out later with back-to-back solo home runs of their own to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
After the Royals touched Phil Hughes with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning, on the first pitch Rodriguez blasted a mammoth shot into the batter’s eye in center-field off reliever Kanekoa Texeira with one out in the seventh inning with Mark Teixeira on first after a single.
In the ninth inning, Teixeira again led off the inning with a single off reliever Greg Holland. After falling behind 2-0, Holland uncorked a fastball up and over the middle of the plate and Rodriguez deposited this one into a fountain in left-field to put the game out of reach at 8-3.
It was the 56th multiple home run game and the fourth three-homer game of his career. The three home runs also gave him 604 for his career and he now has 21 home runs and 97 RBIs for the season. 
With the five RBis, Rodriguez passed the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera and now leads the major leagues in runs batted in.
Hughes (14-5) pitched a solid six innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and one walk. He entered Saturday’s game with 7.68 runs per game, the best in the major leagues.
The Royals managed to put pressure on Hughes with some well-timed but not exactly well-stroked hits. They also benefitted from a lost ball in the lights. 
Wilson Betemit scored Billy Butler, who had doubled, with a seeing-eye single up the middle in the first inning to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees tied it in the fifth inning when Brett Gardner scored from third when Derek Jeter hit into a double play.
Betemit, who is 4-for-11 in the series, struck again leading off the sixth inning with his fifth home run of the season. The Royals added a run off Hughes with an infield hit from rookie Kila Ka’aihue, a bloop opposite field single by Alex Gordon and Yuniesky Betancourt ended up loading the bases with none out when Gardner lost Betancourt’s easy fly ball in the lights.
Ka’aihue scored one out later on a slow infield groundout to Teixeira at first base. Hughes wriggled out of further trouble by retiring Gregor Blanco and he left the game having thrown 98 pitches on a hot, humid Missouri evening.
Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Sergio Mitre shutout the Royals the rest of the way, giving up only one hit in three innings.
With the victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 72-44 and they maintained their two-game lead on the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Red Sox remain six games back in third place.
The Royals, meanwhile, fell to 48-69.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • Rodriguez told reporters after the game that he owed hitting coach Kevin Long for correcting a flaw in his swing so that he could clear his hips more consistently. The first two home runs Rodriguez hit on Saturday were on pitches at the knees and on the inside corner.
  • Teixiera has just three hits and one RBI in the series but he is putting a fielding clinic in Kansas City. On Friday night he made a spectacular running, leaping over the shoulder catch of a foul pop in the sixth inning. On Saturday, he made four highlight reel-worthy plays. Two diving stops of hot grounders, one leaping grab of a high-hopper and a deft scoop of one-hop throw from Ramiro Pena, who played third base in place Rodriguez so Rodriguez could be the DH.
  • Posada’s home run was his 13th of the season but it was his first home run since July 24 at Yankee Stadium against Kyle Davies and the Royals.
  • Granderson’s home run was his 11th of the season and three of them have come off of O’Sullivan. On July 25 at Yankee Stadium, Granderson hit two home runs off O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan has faced the Yankees three times within 26 days and is 1-2. 
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Before the three solo home runs in the sixth and Rodriguez added his pair of two-run shots, the Yankees struggled with runners in scoring position. In the first two games of the series they were 4-for-24 (.167) and they were 1-for-8 in this game. That means in three games they are hitting .156 with RISP.
  • In the second inning with Rodriguez and Posada having just pulled off a double steal, Granderson and Gardner struck out. In the third inning, Jeter had stolen second base and Nick Swsiher walked with one out but Teixeira was retired on an infield pop and Rodriguez struck out. Jeter then hit into a rally-killing double play but Gardner did manage to score the game-tying run.
  • Gardner did lose the ball in the lights in the sixth inning, however, Granderson did not hustle in from center to help his teammate and the ball dropped 20 feet in front of Gardner for a single.
BOMBER BANTER

Andy Pettitte threw all 50 pitches he was expected to throw in his bullpen session in Tampa, FL, but he said he did not feel completely comfortable pushing off the mound. This means he will have to wait for an evaluation from trainer Gene Monahan before he can take his next step in his attempt to come back from a left groin strain. The setback means Pettitte will not make a rehab start next week and the team will determine when Pettitte will resume throwing.  . . .  Reliever Alfredo Aceves, who is on the disabled list with lower back stiffness, threw 26 pitches in a rehab stint at Double-A Trenton. He is expected to pitch again on Tuesday and go three innings or 40 pitches. Aceves likely will be activated after that. The Yankees have missed the versatile Aceves in the bullpen this season and they will be pleased when he returns.
ON DECK

The Yankees have now clinched at least a split of the four-game series with the Royals and they will go for the series victory on Sunday.
Right-hander A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.87 ERA) will get the nod for the Yankees. Burnett shook off back spasms which delayed his start until last Tuesday and pitched well against the Rangers. He gave up three runs on six hits in seven innings but ended up with a no-decision. He is 3-2 with a 2.96 ERA in his career against the Royals.
Burnett’s opponent will be rookie right-hander Brian Bullington (0-2, 4.85 ERA), who will only be making his second major-league start. Bullington gave up three runs on five hits and a walk over six innings against the Angels on Tuesday. The Yankees have generally not fared too well against pitchers they are seeing for the first time.
Game-time will be 2:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

CC Overcomes Heat, Pesky Royals To Notch 15th Victory

GAME 114
YANKEES 4, ROYALS 3
CC Sabathia had two enemies on Thursday night: The sweltering heat of Kauffman Stadium and the scrappy band of Royals who play there.
Fortunately for Sabathia, he came close to succumbing to both but he held it together long enough to record his 15th victory of the season to lead the Yankees over the Royals.
Sabathia (15-5) pitched one-run ball for eight innings before the heat and the Royals put enough pressure on him with two outs in the ninth inning. However, after David Robertson surrendered a two-run double to Willie Bloomquist to bring the Royals to within a run, Robertson struck out Jason Kendall with Bloomquist on third to earn his first save of the season and only the second of his career.
Robertson was summoned only because Mariano Rivera was given the night off because he had pitched in the Yankees’ two previous contests.
The outfield trio of Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Austin Kearns along with Derek Jeter spearheaded a balanced 10-hit attack that handed Sabathia a 4-1 lead by the seventh inning. The foursome combined for nine of the 10 hits, scored three runs and drove in two.
Kearns blasted his ninth home run of the season and his first as a Yankee off Royals starter and losing pitcher Bruce Chen (7-6) with one out in the fourth inning to make the score 3-1. Alex Rodriguez drove in the final Yankee tally in the seventh inning after Jeter reached on an error and Swisher singled and Mark Teixeira advanced Jeter to third with a fly out to deep center.
Rodriguez’s grounder to third, with Swisher running to stay out of the double play, scored Jeter with what ultimately became the winning run. It was Rodriguez’s 91st RBI of the season, which is second in the major leagues.
The victory gives the Yankees a major-league best record of 71-43 and it also extended their lead in the American League East to a full two games over the idle Tampa Bay Rays. The Boston Red Sox, who lost 7-6 to the Toronto Blue Jays due to a ninth-inning meltdown by closer Jonathan Papelbon, dropped six games back in third place.
The Royals season record fell to 47-68.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • Coming off a 0-for-5 night in which he struck out four times, Swisher was 3-for-4 with a walk. His most impressive at-bat was his fifth-inning walk off Chen. Failing behind 0-2, Swisher battled Chen for 13 pitches to earn the free pass. It was a big reason why Chen was pulled the next inning after throwing 92 pitches.
  • Jeter is showing signs of life with the bat again with two hits and two runs scored. After hitting .243 in June and .245 in July, Jeter is hitting .348 in August. Jeter leads the major leagues in runs scored with 84. Teixeira is second with 83.
  • Granderson’s extra work with hitting coach Kevin Long paid some immediate dividends. Granderson was 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the second inning that opened the Yankees’ scoring. Both hits came off the left-hander Chen. Granderson entered the game hitting a woeful .206 against left-handers.
  • Sabathia ended up giving up 10 hits and two walks in 8 2/3 innings but still pitched in control to limit the Royals to three runs. He is tied with the Rays’ David Price for the American League lead in victories. This is the quickest Sabathia has reached 15 victories in his career.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • Though Teixeira and Rodriguez each contributed an RBI, the both of the them along with Robinson Cano combined to go 0-for-12 in the game and left eight men on base. 
  • Francisco Cervelli is finally crashing back to Earth. He was 0-for-4 in the game and his season average, which was .400 on May 17, has dropped to .250. After hitting .180 in June and .214 in July, Cervelli is batting .154 in August.
  • Swisher committed an embarrassing error on the bases after he singled in the first inning. With a 3-2 count on Teixeira, Swisher took off for second base too soon and was caught by Chen.
  • Robertson likely will not be used as a closer too often after he allowed a two-run double to Bloomquist, an infield single by Wilson Betermit that Robertson bobbled coming off the mound and he needed eight pitches to strike out Kendall with Bloomquist on third and pinch-runner Chris Getz on second.
BOMBER BANTER
As expected, Teixiera rejoined the team in time to start Thursday’s game after missing the previous two games tending to the birth of his son in New York.  . . .  Swisher was removed from the game in the eighth inning because manager Joe Girardi said he looked “exhausted.” The heat took out Royals starting center-fielder Gregor Blanco in the fifth inning. He was removed and required IV treatments in the Royals’ clubhouse.  . . .  Left-hander Andy Pettitte had his simulated game scheduled for Thursday in Tampa, FL, postponed due to a sore left hip flexor tendon. He will try again on Friday. Pettitte has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 20 with a strained left groin. 
ON DECK
The Yankees will attempt to clinch at least a tie in their four-game weekend series with the Royals on Friday.
Right-hander Dustin Moseley (2-1, 3.86 ERA) will make his third start for the Yankees. He is coming off a sterling victory over the Red Sox on Sunday in which he allowed only two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. Moseley is 0-0 with a 1.86 ERA against the Royals in his career.
The Royals will counter with right-hander Kyle Davies (5-7, 5.21 ERA). Davies has only one victory in his last 12 starts — with four losses and seven no-decisions. In his last outing against the Mariners he gave up two runs in the sixth inning after shutting out Seattle in the first five frames and lost. He is 2-0 with a 6.00 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 8:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Down 6-1 To Lee’s Rangers, Yanks Rally On Thames River

GAME 113
YANKEES 7, RANGERS 6

The deck was stacked against the New York Yankees on Wednesday night in Arlington, TX.
  • Mark Teixeira was back in New York tending to his new baby.
  • The Yankees were coming off two one-run losses to the Red Sox and Rangers, the last one to Texas came with future Hall of Fame reliever Mariano Rivera on the mound.
  • The Yankees were facing one of the biggest Yankee killers of all time in left-hander Cliff Lee who was 10-5 with a 2.63 ERA plus the only two Phillies’ victories in the 2009 World Series against the Yankees were the two games he pitched.
  • Yankee starter Javier Vazquez gave up six runs on eights hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings.
  • Meanwhile, Lee had struck out 11 batters and walked none in 6 1/3 innings and he began the sixth inning with a 6-1 lead.
But, the Yankees rallied from that 6-1 deficit to chase Lee from the game in the seventh inning. Then Marcus Thames brought the Yankees back to within one run with a home run in the eighth inning and put the Yankees ahead to stay with an RBI single in the ninth inning as the Yankees shocked the Rangers with a six-run comeback. It was the Yankees’ major-league leading 36th come-from-behind victory of the season and perhaps the sweetest.
The Yankees bullpen stepped up big-time to limit the Rangers to no runs on three hits and one walk over the last 4 2/3 innings to key the comeback. Newly acquired right-hander Kerry Wood (2-4) pitched two scoreless frames for the victory.
Mariano Rivera, who showed he was human in losing the first game of the series, came back in the second game to show why he is so special. After giving up a leadoff triple to Elvis Andrus in the bottom of the ninth, Rivera managed to retire All-Stars Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero without allowing Andrus to score.
The save was Rivera’s 24th of the season in 26 tries.
Perhaps Ranger closer Neftali Feliz could have taken a cue from the master. He began the top of the ninth inning with a 6-5 lead but walked leadoff batter Lance Berkman in an eight-pitch battle. 
After Berkman was replaced by pinch-runner Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner blooped a single to left. Feliz then uncorked a wild pitch to allow both runners to advance. Derek Jeter then scored Granderson on a single to tie the game.
With one out, Alexi Ogando was brought into the game to pitch to Thames. Thames, who quickly was down in the count 0-2, slapped a single past Young into left to score Gardner and give the Yankees their first lead of the night. Feliz (3-3), who not only blew the save but lost the game, broke the hearts of most of the sellout crowd of 48,676 at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington.
The victory improved the Yankees’ season record to 70-43. Coupled with the Tampa Bay Rays’ loss to the Detroit Tigers and the Yankees’ victory, the Yankees lead in the American League East is now 1 1/2 games.
The Rangers record fell to 65-48.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Thames, inserted into the three hole to replace Teixeira, did his best imitation of him in the two-game series. He was 5-for-10 with a home run, four singles, two runs scored and two RBIs. His five outs were all strikeouts.
  • Jeter chipped in three hits, including his game-tying single in the ninth and a leadoff triple off Lee in the sixth. Jeter later scored on a wild pitch. The three-hit game raised Jeter’s season average to .280.
  • Gardner, who entered the game in a 2-for-30 slide, was 0-for-2 in his first two-at-bats against Lee. However, in the seventh inning his RBI single up the middle off — the third straight hit off Lee — chased the veteran left-hander from the mound. Gardner ended the game 2-for-4 with a run scored, a stolen base and an RBI.
  • Berkman preceded Gardner’s knockout blow by slamming an RBI ground-rule double to the deepest cavern in center-field. After his slow start in his first six games with the Yankees, he is four for his last 12 with three RBIs.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Vazquez pitched horribly again. After only giving up a first-inning solo home run to Young, Vazquez was hammered for five runs on six hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings until he was replaced by Sergio Mitre in the fifth inning. Vazquez, citing a dead arm that has zapped his velocity, has given up 16 runs (13 earned) on 22 hits and seven walks in 16 innings over his last three starts. That is a 7.31 ERA and the Yankees have to be very concerned.
  • The Yankees set a season record with a total of 17 strikeouts in the game. Leading the parade was Nick Swisher with four strikeouts on an 0-for-5 night. Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez added three apiece. 
  • Six of the 17 strikeouts were looking and a lot of it had to do with an erratic strike zone by home-plate umpire Paul Emmel. Emmel was giving Lee pitches high and inside and low and outside and the Yankees were forced into expanding their strike zones. Once they started swinging their bats they began to start making Lee work and causing Lee to wilt in the oppressive Texas heat.
  • Three at-bats nearly kept the Yankees from winning the game. Jeter struck out with Berkman at third and Gardner on second with one out in the seventh inning. Swisher followed by striking out and ending the threat with the Yankees behind 6-4. In the eighth inning Thames led off with a homer to make the score 6-5 and, after one out, Frank Francisco walked both Robinson Cano and Posada. However, Austin Kearns hit into an inning-ending double play. 
DIAMOND NOTES

Teixeira will rejoin the Yankees in Kansas City on Thursday. He has missed the past two games because of the birth of he and his wife Leigh’s third child, a boy named William Charles.  . . .  Jeter’s first-inning single to right-field for his 2,877th major-league hit, passing Mel Ott and becoming the all-time hit leader among all New York franchises. Jeter is now in sole possession of 38th place on the all-time hit list.  . . .  Curtis Granderson, who was not in the starting lineup for the second straight game because he is hitting just .206 against left-handers and is hitting .239 overall, worked with hitting coach Kevin Long in a detailed batting session to smooth out some flaws in his swing. Since he raised his average to .254 on July 28, Granderson is in a 3-for-29 (.103) funk and his average is now at .239.  
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees, thankful for a split in Texas, are heading to Kansas City to play a four-game weekend series against the Royals.
CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.14 ERA) will pitch the opening game on Thursday. He is coming off a big win against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday in which he gave up just two runs in eight innings to earn his 14th victory. He is 16-10 with a 3.31 ERA in his career against the Royals.
The Royals will send the fourth straight left-hander to face the Yankees in Bruce Chen (7-5, 4.44 ERA). Chen gave up a run on just three hits and no walks in seven strong innings against the Seattle Mariners in his last start. He is 1-4 with a 6.83 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 8:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Moseley, Subbing For Ailing Burnett, Shuts Down Bosox

GAME 110
YANKEES 7, RED SOX 2

“Stepping up” is a popular word in today’s baseball lexicon. It simply means coming through with a great effort when a teammate is unable to play.
On Saturday, Ramiro Pena drove in two runs subbing for an injured Alex Rodriguez. On Sunday night it was Dustin Moseley pitching six-plus innings in place of injured starter A.J. Burnett as the New York Yankees “stepped up” to defeat the Boston Red Sox.
Moseley (2-1), who was scheduled to pitch Monday, was called upon to pitch a day early because Burnett was bothered by back spasms. After throwing 6 1/3 innings of two-run and six-hit baseball on short notice, Moseley earned a standing ovation from the crowd of 49,096 at Yankee Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ offense was running up the pitch count and wearing down Moseley’s more decorated opponent, Josh Beckett (3-2).
Derek Jeter led the assault with a two-out RBI single in the second inning and a two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning that finally chased Beckett from the contest. Beckett was shelled for seven runs on 11 hits and two walks in just 4 2/3 innings.
A pair of errors by second baseman Bill Hall and catcher Kevin Cash did not help Beckett’s cause either.
With the victory, the Yankees struck another serious blow to the hopes of the Red Sox to get back into the race for the top spot in the American League East. With their 69-41 record the Yankees are now seven games in front of the third-place Red Sox.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who were completely shut down and dismantled by Brandon Morrow’s 8 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball and 17 strikeouts, dropped their fifth straight game and now are 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees in second place.
The best the Red Sox can now hope for is win on Monday to tie the four-game series and leave the Bronx the same six games behind the Yankees when they arrived.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • The 28-year-old Texarkana, AR, native Moseley pitched a gem of a game in front of a national television audience. Using his sinking fastball and working both sides of the plate, Moseley gave up only six hits and two walks and contributed three excellent plays in the field to hold the Red Sox at bay. Moseley only gave up a solo home run to Hall to open the fifth inning and a leadoff double by Adrian Beltre in the seventh was cashed in for a run on an infield single by pinch-hitter Mike Lowell off reliever Joba Chamberlain.
  • Jeter’s RBI single in the second inning was the 2,784th hit of his career, which moved him into sole possession of 39th place on baseball’s all-time hit list, passing the legendary Babe Ruth. The crowd gave Jeter a huge ovation and he tipped his helmet to acknowledge the crowd. Jeter ended the day going 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
  • Lance Berkman finally got the Yankee Stadium boo birds off him with a 3-for-4 night, including two doubles. He scored two runs and drove in another. He began the day hitting .091 with the Yankees since he was acquired from the Astros at the trade deadline.
  • Mark Teixeira, who entered the game homerless in 31 at-bats against Beckett, hit his team-leading 25th home run of the season off the right-hander to lead off the fifth inning. It was a titanic blast that landed into the second deck of the right-field bleachers over the Modell’s sign.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Moseley looked to be faltering in the fourth inning after he gave up a two-out single to Victor Martinez with the score only 2-0. Moseley then walked J.D. Drew and Beltre in succession to load the bases. But he recovered by inducing an inning-ending groundout to Teixeira by rookie Ryan Kalish to end what could have been a big inning.
  • Jorge Posada’s troubles at the plate continue. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and he failed to get a ball out of the infield. In his last 12 games, Posada is 7-for-41 (.171) with no home runs and one RBI. His season average fell to .257.
  • Curtis Granderson did walk and score a run in the fifth but finished the game 0-for-3 and his average fell back to .243.
  • Chamberlain, who has lost his setup role in the bullpen, was a bit shaky again. He faced three batters in the seventh inning and allowed an infield single to Cash that scored Beltre and — after retiring Jacoby Ellsbury on a foul fly ball — he walked Marco Scutaro to load the bases with David Ortiz coming to the plate and a 7-2 lead. Manager Joe Girardi pulled Chamberlain in favor of left-hander Boone Logan, who retired Ortiz on a grounder to Robinson Cano to end the threat.
DIAMOND NOTES

Alex Rodriguez was able to return to the lineup despite being struck on the shin by a ball off the bat of Berkman during batting practice on Saturday and being scratched from the game. Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a walk, scored a run and the sixth inning he stole the 300th base of his career. He was removed from the game in the ninth inning due to stiffness in his shin. With the stolen base, Rodriguez joins Barry Bonds and Willie Mays as the only three players in baseball history to hit 600 or more home runs and steal 300 or more bases.  . . .  Burnett felt back spasms on Saturday while he was completing flat-ground tossing at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees decided to move Moseley up to pitch on Sunday and Phil Hughes to pitch on Monday against the Red Sox. Girardi said Burnett felt better on Sunday and he is scheduled to pitch Tuesday on the road against the Texas Rangers.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees have now put the rival Red Sox into almost a must-win situation on Monday after clinching at least a tie in their four-game series on Sunday.
The Yankees will call on right-hander Phil Hughes (13-4, 3.96 ERA) to win the series. Hughes limited the Blue Jays to one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings in a Yankees’ victory. However, in three of his past four starts Hughes has failed to make it to the sixth inning. In his career, Hughes is 1-2 with a 6.48 ERA against the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will counter with left-hander Jon Lester (11-7, 3.07 ERA), who has lost a career-high four straight games. His ERA is 5.06 since the All-Star break. He is 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA on the road. He is 4-1 with 4.01 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 2:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.