Homestand momentum wilting in desert

The momentum the Yankees derived from the recent 7-3 homestand against the Red Sox, Royals and White Sox has wilted in the Phoenix heat. The Diamondbacks, floundering in the National League West, have gotten first-rate starts from Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke to keep the Yankees in last place in the American League East.

Greinke, who left the Dodgers as a free agent for the Arizona desert, has rebounded from a shaky start to improve his record to 4-3 despite a 5.08 ERA. A solo home run by Starlin Castro in the second inning was all the offense the Yanks mustered against Greinke until the seventh when the former Cy Young Award winner gave up singles to Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks to start the inning. Both eventually scored on an infield out and an RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury that got the Yankees to 5-3 before Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira struck out to defuse the rally.

Michael Pineda had another head-scratching outing. He struck out nine batters in five innings but gave up five earned runs and nine hits as his ERA soared to 6.60. He gave up the 1-0 lead Castro’s homer gave him in the bottom of the second with two outs on a triple by Chris Owings and a single off a wayward slider by Nick Ahmed.

The D-backs stung him for two runs and four hits in the third inning. Two innings later, Jake Lamb crushed a two-run homer that seemingly put the game out of reach considering the work of Greinke, who retired 12 batters in a row after the Castro homer on four strikeouts and eight infield outs.

It was also a sloppy game defensively for the Yankees, who committed two errors and a passed ball. They at least posed a threat in Tuesday night’s game as opposed to Monday night when Arizona pounded them into submission, 12-2. Chad Green, a Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up, was pounded for six runs (four earned) and eight hits, including homers by Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt.

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