Yanks win series from Red Sox; Phelps hurt

The Yankees finished up a disappointing trip with two comeback victories in Boston despite their starting pitchers failing to last long enough to qualify for victories in both games. Most disturbing is that Sunday night’s starter, David Phelps, had to come out of the game after just two innings because of right elbow inflammation.

Manager Joe Girardi said after the game that Phelps’ elbow has been nagging at him for about two weeks. An MRI revealed inflammation but nothing more serious than that. The righthander said his arm would loosen up after warming up before starts, but it did not loosen up Sunday night.

This taste of bad news came on a night when the Yankees got some good news about their pitching. Michael Pineda, one of several starters who have gone on the disabled list this year, threw 58 pitches in a 3 1/3-inning start for Triple A Scranton in which he allowed three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Girardi said the Yankees hope Pineda can throw as many as 75 pitches in his next start and 90 in the start after that before considering reinstating him probably in mid-August.

There were also reports circulating that Masahiro Tanaka may play catch Monday when the Yankees return to New York to open a four-game series against the Tigers. This set will prove a major test for the Yanks, who will face Max Scherzer, David Price, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello, one of baseball’s top rotations.

Brett Gardner put the finishing touches on a huge trip for him in which he batted .478 with four doubles, five home runs and seven RBI in 23 at-bats. Gardy doubled in two runs in the second inning as the Yankees came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score off an erratic Clay Buchholz and knocked in the deciding run in the sixth off reliever Craig Breslow with his 15th home run of the season.

An RBI double by Chase Headley and a two-run single by Stephen Drew in the fifth helped the Yanks erase another three-run deficit. The bullpen handled matters from there. Esmil Rogers pitched three innings of hitless, three-strikeout relief for a victory in his first appearance with the Yankees. Dellin Betances and David Robertson (29th save) supplied a shutout inning apiece as the Yankees held the Red Sox without a hit over the final five innings after Boston had gotten seven runs and eight hits over the first four frames.

The Yankees had also evaporated a 3-0 deficit Saturday in an eventual 6-4 victory. Shane Greene was removed by Girardi with two outs in the fifth inning and could not get the winning decision that went instead to Shawn Kelley, who pitched 1 1/3 innings of hitless, three-strikeout relief.

Gardner’s main competition for American League Player of the Week honors may be his own teammate, Carlos Beltran, who continued his hot streak with his sixth straight multi-hit game. He had a double and a single and scored two runs. On the trip, Beltran hit .480 with five runs, two doubles, one home run and five RBI in 25 at-bats.

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