Results tagged ‘ Adrian Beltre ’

Mac, Didi pay back Rangers in 6-run ninth inning

Just before the Yankees came to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night, Rangers public relations director John Blake, one of the best in the business, passed in front of me in the press box to tell the Texas beat writers that “21 victories would be a club record for one month.”

At the time, it seemed the Rangers were a cinch for that record. Texas had a 7-3 lead and appeared on the verge to run its June mark to 21-6. Not so fast, cowpokes. As it turned out, the Yanks still had plenty left in their holsters.

Did they ever.

Two nights after the most grueling defeat of the season when the Rangers followed a 3 1/2-hour rain delay to score four runs in the ninth and overcome a one-run deficit, the Yankees exploded for six runs to pay Texas back with a 9-7 victory.

Brian McCann, who had homered with the bases empty in the eighth, came up again with two on in the ninth and tied the score with a three-run homer. Yankees fans had barely stopped cheering when Didi Gregorius followed a walk to Starlin Castro with a first-pitch drive to right field for the game-winning blow. His seventh home run of the season was the first walk-off hit of his career.

Both homers came off Rangers closer Sam Dyson, who was summoned after Matt Bush gave up a leadoff single to Rob Refsnyder and walked Jacoby Ellsbury.

Brett Gardner singled to left-center off Dyson, and when center fielder Ian Desmond bobbled the ball Refsnyder came home. Alex Rodriguez hit the ball hard as well, but his liner was gloved by second baseman Rougned Odor. That would be the only out recorded by Dyson, who got the save Monday night but this time suffered his first blown save of the season in 17 tries.

It was pretty dull going for the Yankees until the ninth. Masahiro Tanaka was roughed up for six earned run and eight hits in six innings and left with the score 6-1 Texas. In what at the time was essentially a mop-up role, Luis Cessa allowed only a solo homer to Adrian Beltre in three innings as the Yanks tried to stay close on a sacrifice fly by Chase Headley in the sixth and Mac’s first homer in the eighth.

Nevertheless, the Yankees were hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position before the ninth. They went 2-for-3 in those situations in the final frame to produce one of the most exhilarating victories of the season merely two nights after the most debilitating loss.

Yankees and Rangers swap zeroes

Go figure this game. Two pitchers take the mound with identical 5.10 ERAs. Each has struggled a ton lately. The Yankees’ Chase Whitley was 1-3 with an 11.25 ERA in his previous five outings. The Rangers’ Nick Martinez, who pitched college ball at Fordham, was winless in seven starts since his only victory of the season May 24.

So what happened? Both pitched shutout ball over six innings.

It was a very positive sign for Whitley, who got solid support from his defense. Five of the seven hits he allowed were at the start of innings, usually a bad omen.

In the second inning, Leonys Martin got to third with none out on an error by third baseman Zelous Wheeler and a wild pitch, but Whitley kept the ball in the infield with two groundouts bookending a strikeout to strand Martin.

In the third, Daniel Robertson led off with a single and stole second base. After Shin-Soo Choo was called out on strikes, Robertson tried to steal third and was gunned down by Francisco Cervelli. Whitley finished off the inning by striking out Elvis Andrus.

Adrian Beltre followed Jim Adduci’s leadoff single in the fourth by grounding into a double play. In the fifth, Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, who doubled with one out, tried to score on an infield single by Robertson but was thrown out at the plate by Brian Roberts.

Whitley’s night was done after he gave up another leadoff hit in the seventh, a single by Beltre, but Matt Thornton and Adam Warren made sure the All-Star third baseman did not advance.

The Yankees had it even worse against Martinez, who held them to three hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings before Neftali Feliz, the former American League Rookie of the Year, followed with 1 2/3 hitless innings of relief. The Yanks did not get a runner past first base over the first seven innings.

Martinez, too, had helped from his defense. Martin in center field climbed the auxiliary scoreboard in right-center to rob Brian McCann of a potential extra-base hit in the second inning. The ball did not appear to be over the wall when Martin gloved it.

The zeroes kept piling up after the starters were gone. The Yanks did not get a runner into scoring position until one out in the ninth when Derek Jeter doubled into the left field corner. It was career double 535 for DJ, who replaced Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig as the franchise’s all-time leader in two-base hits.

Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to have lefthander Neal Cotts walk lefty-swinging Jacoby Ellsbury intentionally and go after Carlos Beltran, a switch hitter who would bat right-handed against Cotts. The curious strategy worked as Beltran grounded into a double play that sent the game into extra innings.

Yanks ride rollercoaster to victory

The momentum swings in Tuesday night’s game resembled the rollercoaster at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park across the highway from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Yankees went up to a 3-0 lead, then down to a 4-3 deficit and then up again to a 5-4 victory.

Just a week after getting a save in the All-Star Game where Mariano Rivera served as his setup man, Joe Nathan sustained only his second blown save in 33 opportunities this year as the Yanks staged a dramatic rally that sent Texas to its first loss in 52 games this season when the Rangers were leading after eight innings.

To finish things off, Rivera returned to his normal role and got his 32nd save of the season and 640th of his career with a 1-2-3 ninth featuring two strikeouts, a perfect end to an absolutely startling comeback for the Yankees, who appeared down for the count against the Rangers’ impressive bullpen.

Texas relievers recorded 10 consecutive outs before Nathan walked Vernon Wells with one out in the ninth. Nathan further improved the Yankees’ condition with a wild pitch that not only advanced Wells to second base but also forced the Rangers to bring their outfielders in shallower for a possible play at the plate.

Eduardo Nunez benefitted from the altered defense with a drive to the wall in left-center for an RBI triple, the Yanks’ first hit since the fourth inning. The run scored by Wells ended a streak of 25 2/3 scoreless innings by the Texas pen dating to July 11. Brent Lillibridge then atoned for an earlier damaging error with a single to left that scored Nunez with what proved the winning run.

Phil Hughes has had somewhat surprising success at Rangers Ballpark despite its being a hitters’ paradise. Tuesday night it appeared that success would continue as the Yankees gave Hughes an early lead and he was doing a good job at protecting it. For five innings anyway.

Everything fell apart for Hughes, however, in the sixth. An error by Lillibridge at third base with one out opened the door for the Rangers, who came back from being down 3-0 to take a 4-3 lead. Adrian Beltre followed the error with a double for Texas’ first run. Hughes got the second out on a fly to center by A.J. Pierzynski but gave up a single to Elvis Andrus that got Texas to 3-2.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a quick hook of Hughes (80 pitches) for lefthander Boone Logan, who faced left-handed batting Mitch Moreland, who drove a home run over the center field fence. Only one of the three runs charged to Hughes was earned as his ERA at Rangers Ballpark fell to 1.90 over 23 2/3 innings.

The Yankees also had an exceptional defensive game with second baseman Robinson Cano making one of his patented across-the-body throws to first on a far-ranging play to his right in the seventh and center fielder Brett Gardner belly-flopping in right-center to haul down a drive by Andrus.

Yankees provide no support for Hughes

Finding the silver lining some days is virtually impossible. Thursday was one of those days for the Yankees. The 2-0 loss to the Rangers at least went by quickly – 2 hours, 24 minutes – well ahead of the severe thunderstorm activity that was forecast.

There was little thunder and lightning in the Yankees’ offense as they were limited to two hits, both singles, and two walks by Derek Holland, who entered the start with a career mark against the Yankees of 0-5 with an 8.85 ERA. The lefthander mixed a hard fastball with a tantalizing slider to win for the first time in five starts since May 31 with a complete-game shutout, the first of each for him this year.

“He got ahead of hitters with his fastball and was able to put them away a lot of times with his slider,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Yet as dominant as Holland was, the Yankees were never really out of the game, and that was because of Phil Hughes, who did much to keep a hold on his spot in the rotation. Hughes clearly was the silver lining in this one. The only real mistake he made was a 1-1 changeup to Jurickson Profar, a left-handed hitting third baseman who crushed it to lead off the fifth inning with a home run to right field.

The other run off Hughes came in a strange third inning. David Murphy led off with a single. Murphy tried to steal second base on a pitch that Profar took for ball four. When Murphy came off the bag to brush off his uniform, shortstop Jayson Nix alertly tagged him. Murphy was called out. Other players should have taken notice of Nix’s move. Hey, you never know.

Engel Beltre, a rookie getting a start in center field, singled to right field, moving Profar to third base from where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler. Beltre, no relation to Adrian Beltre, Texas’ regular third baseman who served as the designate hitter, was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in the Bronx, so it was somehow fitting that he got his first major-league hit at Yankee Stadium. Before this series, Engel Beltre’s last appearance at the Stadium was in a PSAL Championship game for James Monroe High.

Hughes had been pushed back two days in the rotation and said it worked to his benefit. “It gave me a chance to step back and work on things I needed to do to move in the right direction,” he said. “I felt I had a better plan.”

The righthander threw 106 pitches over eight innings. In addition to the walk, he also hit a batter and struck out five. The bottom of the order hurt Hughes, not the top or middle. The 1-through-6 hitters for Texas were 2-for-20 (.100) off Hughes, whose overall record fell to 3-7, including 1-5 at the Stadium with a 5.86 ERA.

As good as Hughes was, the piddling offense was the game’s true story for the Yankees. They got a leadoff single in the first inning from Ichiro Suzuki and a two-out single from Austin Romine in the third. That and two leadoff walks was it. Holland retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced. Vernon Wells, getting a rare recent start in right field, batted cleanup and struck out three times, all on sliders.

It was the seventh time this season that the Yankees have been shut out. The blanking came the day after the first game this year that the Yankees did not win when they scored at least five runs.

“We’re struggling right now,” Girardi said. “I think we will get better, but time will tell.”

Andy ties Whitey for K record in loss

Andy Pettitte couldn’t even come away with a consolation prize Wednesday night. A seventh strikeout in the Yankees’ 8-5 loss to the Rangers would have given Pettitte the club record. His strikeout of Adrian Beltre in the fifth inning was career No. 1,957 for Pettitte, who tied Whitey Ford for the most punchouts by a pitcher in franchise history.

Pettitte’s final inning was the sixth. After retiring A.J. Pierzynski, the leadoff hitter that inning, Pettitte got two strikes on the next four hitters but failed to get strike three each time. Lance Berkman grounded out to third. Mitch Moreland singled to center. David Murphy came back from 0-2 to draw a walk. Leonys Martin ended the inning with a popout to shortstop.

The Yankees tried to get Pettitte off the hook in the bottom of the sixth. Trailing, 4-1, the Yanks rallied to make the score 4-3 on RBI singles by Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner but could get no closer. Lyle Overbay, who had homered off Texas starter Justin Grimm for the Yankees’ first run in the second inning, struck out. After a walk to Zoilo Almonte loaded the bases, Jayson Nix grounded into a double play.

Pettitte’s third consecutive loss that dropped his record to 5-6 came down to one bad inning – the third when the Rangers scored four runs, one of which was unearned due to a throwing error by Nix on a sacrifice bunt by Elvis Andrus that filled the bases with none out. Petttitte caught Nelson Cruz looking at a third strike, but Beltre and Pierzynski followed with two-run doubles. Pettitte at least stranded Pierzynski at second by retiring Berkman on a groundout and Moreland on a called third strike.

After the Yankees closed the gap, Joba Chamberlain opened it again in the seventh by giving up a two-run homer to Cruz. Chamberlain needed to be bailed out by Preston Claiborne after being touched for another double by Beltre and a two-out single by Berkman. Claiborne got Moreland on an infield pop for the third out after replacing Chamberlain, whose ERA skied to 6.38.

Chamberlain’s stretch of ineffectiveness covers his past seven appearances in which he has given up nine earned runs in 6 2/3 innings (12.15 ERA).

“He is making mistakes in the middle of the plate,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I still have confidence in him. His stuff is too good not to turn it around.”

The Yankees tried to turn it around for them in the seventh when a two-run home run by Ichiro Suzuki off Ross Wolf again made it a one-run game at 6-5. Yet once again, the Yankees let the Rangers stretch their lead with a two-run ninth. Both runs were not earned. An error by center fielder Brett Gardner, who dropped a drive by Pierzynski on the warning track in left-center, put runners on second and third with one out. A single by Berkman and sacrifice fly by Moreland added insurance runs for Rangers closer Joe Nathan, who notched his 26th save with a perfect bottom of the ninth.

The loss dropped the Yankees 3 ½ games behind the first-place Red Sox in the American League East and in a virtual tie for second place with the Orioles, who also lost.

Ichiro steals spotlight from Japanese pitchers

The all-Japanese pairing of the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda and the Rangers’ Yu Darvish turned into a standoff Tuesday night. The game was decided by another Japanese player in the bottom of the ninth inning as Ichiro Suzuki hit a walk-off home run for a 4-3 Yankees victory.

It was the second career walk-off homer for Suzuki, whose other was Sept. 18, 2009 with the Mariners off Mariano Rivera, who just happened to be the winning pitcher Tuesday night. Ichiro has three other walk-off hits. It was the Yankees’ first walk-off victory of the season.

For one game at least, the Bronx Bombers were back. Ichiro’s shot off a 1-2 fastball from Texas reliever Tanner Scheppers was the fourth solo homer of the game for the Yankees, who had not homered in the previous two games and four of the past five. In fact, they hit only four homers in their previous 15 games combined.

“That’s Yankees baseball,” catcher Chris Stewart said. “We haven’t seen much of it this year.”

Both starting pitchers left the game with the score 3-3.

Kuroda had a slight edge as he pitched two batters into the seventh inning, and one of the three runs he allowed was not earned due to a throwing error by third baseman David Adams. The other two runs were on solo homers by Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin. Kuroda walked one batter and struck out six.

Darvish lasted 5 1/3 innings. All three of his runs were on inning-leadoff home runs by Travis Hafner in the fourth, Brett Gardner in the fifth and Jayson Nix in the sixth. Darvish gave up seven hits overall with two walks and six strikeouts.

Gardner’s home run was his seventh of the season, which already matches his career high. He hit seven homers in 2011 in 510 at-bats. His seventh dinger this season came in his 289th at-bat.

Nix’s home run was his second of the season and ended a homerless stretch of 202 at-bats. It was also the first home run for the Yankees by a right-handed batter in 18 games covering 255 at-bats since June 4 when switch hitter Mark Teixeira connected from the right side off Indians lefthander Scott Kazmir.

Adams’ errant throw allowed Adrian Beltre to reach first base in the fourth inning (Beltre would later make two errors himself although neither resulted in a run). Singles by A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman loaded the bases. Beltre scored as Mitch Moreland hit into a fielder’s choice.

Beltre’s first error put Zoilo Almonte on first base in the fourth. Almonte quickly got to second base by stealing it but he was stranded. Beltre failed to glove a smoking liner by Hafner with one out in the fifth, and Robinson Cano made it from first to third. Darvish averted danger by striking out Lyle Overbay and retiring Almonte on a force play.

After Stewart’s single in the sixth that ended Darvish’s night, the Yankees did not have a base runner until Stewart again walked on four pitches leading off the ninth. Gardner grounded into a force play and then made the second out attempting to steal second. That left matters up to Ichiro as he moved into center stage on a night that began with two of his countrymen on the mound.

Bullpen breakdown prevents Yanks’ sweep

The string of strong starts for the Yankees against the Rangers in the four-game series ended Thursday as Ivan Nova struggled over 5 2/3 innings and left the game trailing, 4-0. Nova had stopped a five-game winless streak in his previous start, but he was not as sharp this time out.

Yet it was the bullpen that was at greater fault for the Yankees’ failure to complete a four-game sweep as Texas saved face with a 10-6 victory. Nevertheless, taking three of four games pushed the Yankees over the Rangers for the best record in the American League and served notice on Texas that a third consecutive trip to the World Series has a treacherous pathway through New York.

The Yanks’ pen will have to do better than it showed Thursday, however. The Yankees overcame the deficit Nova created and actually took the lead before Cody Eppley, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain let it get away. The Rangers struck for eight runs over the last four innings against four relievers.

Chamberlain had the roughest outing. He allowed two earned runs, four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Cut him some slack because Chamberlain is coming back from Tommy John shoulder surgery and an injured ankle. The rust shows. Opponents are batting .448 against Joba, whose ERA is 9.00.

Nova’s most impressive inning was the third when he worked himself in and out of trouble. He loaded the bases on a double by rookie Mike Olt and walks to Elvis Andrus and Michael Young, not a smart thing to do with Josh Hamilton coming up. But Nova struck out Hamilton on three pitches, the last a mean curve in the dirt, got Adrian Beltre to ground into a fielder’s choice with third baseman Casey McGehee getting a force at the plate and struck out David Murphy.

The Rangers had gotten to Nova early. A single by Young, a double by Hamilton and a single by Beltre gave Texas a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Nova faced another bases-loaded situation in the sixth but did not escape this time.

The Texas rally began with one of those dreaded fly balls to left field at Yankee Stadium during day games. Andruw Jones lost sight of Hamilton’s drive in the blazing sun, and the ball fell for a leadoff double. Nova worsened matters by hitting Beltre with a pitch. A single by Murphy scored a run, and after a sacrifice and an intentional walk the bags were full.

Nova got an out on a force play at third base but a run scored. When he walked Olt, the 9-hole hitter, to load the bases again, manager Joe Girardi made the move to Cody Eppley, who retired Andrus on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

The Yankees got Nova off the hook, however, as they batted around in the bottom of the sixth in putting up a 5-spot to take the lead. Rangers lefthander Derek Holland entered the inning with a one-hit shutout working but he could not survive the onslaught that befell him. As many rallies do, it began somewhat quietly on an infield single by Ichiro Suzuki, who advanced to second on an infield out.

Derek Jeter got the Yanks on the board with a single to center, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Jeet took second on the throw to the plate and was able to score on a single to center by Nick Swisher, who got his ninth RBI of the series. After Mark Teixeira struck out, Jones atoned for his misplay at the top of the inning by driving a first-pitch slider down the left field line for a two-run home run that tied the score.

McGehee also hit the ball hard to right-center, but it looked like the third out until Olt, playing right field, dropped the ball for a two-base error. Russell Martin abruptly greeted reliever Tanner Scheppers with a single to center that scored McGehee to put the Yanks ahead.

Too bad it did not last very long.

Phelps gets his men — on the bases

Pitchers with the best pickoff moves tend to be left-handed. Think Andy Pettitte or Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. Since the lefthander faces first base when in the stretch, he has a better view of what type of lead a runner is taking.

David Phelps, who started Monday night’s game for the Yankees against the Rangers, is a right-handed pitcher, but his determination to keep base runners close was the equal of Pettitte in the early going. Phelps got himself out of trouble spots in the second and third innings by picking runners off base.

Fans sometimes get on a pitcher if he throws over to first base too often. Such behavior can get on the nerves of managers and pitching coaches as well. They prefer the pitcher concentrate on the batter. But what manager or pitching coach is not happy when that determination results in an out?

Phelps concentrated so much on Elvis Andrus at first base in the first inning that he lost Josh Hamilton to a base on balls. A two-out single by Nelson Cruz created the first run of the game. In the second inning, Phelps hit Ian Kinsler with a pitch. Again, peering off at first base Phelps nailed Kinsler trying to slide back into the bag.

In the third with Andrus and Adrian Beltre on first and second, respectively, with one out after singles, Phelps seemed to have eyes in the back of his head as he detected Andrus wandering too far off second base. Robinson Cano, playing near the bag with the right-handed Cruz at bat, was in perfect position to field Phelps’ pickoff throw that trapped Andrus and gutted the rally.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he hoped to get five innings or 80 pitches from Phelps, whichever came first. Actually, Phelps gave his skipper the numbers simultaneously, pretty much. Phelps threw 78 pitches over five innings before Derek Lowe was called on to make his Yankees debut.

Early departure for Hughes

On a night when the Yankees lost a pitcher they were counting on to be a major part of their rotation, another starter they envision having a big season could not get through the third inning.

The news that Michael Pineda is toast for 2012 and will have right shoulder arthroscopic surgery May 1 was still fresh when Phil Hughes took the mound Wednesday night at Rangers Ballpark In Arlington. That yard had been the sight of some of Hughes’ finest work, especially 6 1/3 hitless innings May 1, 2007 in a game he was forced out of because of a severely strained left hamstring that shelved him for three months.

Hughes had pitched 16 1/3 innings in four starts in Arlington before allowing a run when Adrian Beltre led off the second with his third home run. Hughes got three ground balls after that and a strikeout to start the third before everything started falling apart.

Mitch Moreland, hitting .139 entering the game, singled, and Ian Kinsler doubled. An infield out got a run home before Hughes hit Josh Hamilton with a pitch and gave up two more runs on a single by Beltre and a double by Michael Young. When he hit Nelson Cruz with a pitch to load the bases, Hughes was taken out of the game for Clay Rapada, who got the final out without the Rangers’ adding to their 4-0 lead.

It was not a pretty night for Hughes, whose ERA bloated to 7.88. The Yankees had been excited about Hughes this year after he put up the best statistics among the starters in spring training, but he has not come close to duplicating that (1.56 ERA) in the regular season. With Pineda gone for good this year, the Yankees need the other starters to pick up the slack.

Mixed results for Yanks in All-Star Game

PHOENIX – It was anything but a 1-2-3 inning for David Robertson, who got a 1-2-3 result in the second inning of the All-Star Game Monday night at Chase Field. Called on early because the Red Sox’ Josh Beckett was hurting, Robertson had plenty of support from his teammates in getting through the inning in his debut All-Star performance.

For all the heat Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez are taking for not coming here, it was good to see three Yankees on the field when Robertson came into the game to join starters Robinson Cano at second base and Curtis Granderson in center field.

Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista made a stunning, sliding catch in the right field corner on a foul drive by Braves catcher Brian McCann, the Most Valuable Player of last year’s All-Star Game at Anaheim, Calif.

Cardinals right fielder Lance Berkman, who was Robertson’s teammate with the Yankees for a couple of months last year, lined a single through the middle. Robertson needed assistance from Cano to get out of trouble. As Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday looked at a 3-2 cutter down the middle for a called strike three, Berkman tried to steal second, but he slid off the bag with Cano alertly tagging him after taking the throw from Tigers catcher Alex Avila. That completed a strike-‘em-out, thrown-‘em-out double play.

Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, still swinging for the fences the night after his close loss to Cano in the Home Run Derby, connected off Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee for a leadoff home run in the fourth inning. The American League’s first 11 batters were retired in order before Gonzo’s homer, the first in an All-Star Game since 2008 at Yankee Stadium, by another Red Sox player, J.D. Drew, in the seventh inning. Two innings earlier, Holliday, then with the Rockies, homered for the National League.

The AL jumped on Lee for two more hits, singles by Bautista and the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, before Lee was lifted by NL manager Bruce Bochy of the Giants for Nationals righthander Tyler Clippard. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre lashed a single to left, but a strong throw by the Astros’ Hunter Pence cut down Bautista at the plate.

Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who has been booed regularly here for two days, heard his first cheers when he followed singles by the Mets’ Carlos Beltran and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp for a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth off Rangers lefthander C.J. Wilson. It was the first All-Star home run by a Brewers player for Fielder, who was the captain of the NL in the Home Run Derby and had incurred Arizona fans’ wrath for not putting the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton in the competition.

Three stolen bases helped the NL scratch out a run in the fifth, by which time Granderson and Cano had come out of the game. Each had grounded out twice. Yankees catcher Russell Martin was the only AL position player who did not get into the game, a 5-1 NL victory.