Results tagged ‘ Anthony Swarzak ’

Yankees lose home run derby to Mariners

The day he was notified that he was the American League Player of the Week for the games that ended Sunday night Gary Sanchez went out and campaigned for winning the award again this week. The rookie catcher continued the impressive start to his major league career Monday night, although his performance was not sufficient to prevent the Yankees from dropping a 7-5 decision to the Mariners in a game in which all the runs were the result of home runs, an unusual sight in spacious Safeco Field.

Sanchez cranked two home runs, which made him the first player in club history to total eight dingers in his first 19 major-league games. He connected for a solo home run off Seattle starter Cody Martin with two out in the first inning. Then after Kyle Seager put the Mariners ahead, 3-2, with a three-run home run off Michael Pineda in the fourth inning, Sanchez regained the lead for the Yanks with a two-run bomb over the center field wall in the sixth.

Two batters after Sanchez’s two home runs were a couple of solo shots by Starlin Castro, which marked the first time two Yankees teammates homered twice in the same game since Oct. 3, 2012 by Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.

Cano now plays second base for the Mariners and had three hits Monday night. He nearly had a 4-for-4 game, but Jacoby Ellsbury robbed Cano of a potential extra-base hit with a dazzling, running catch in right-center in the eighth inning. The next batter, Nelson Cruz, homered to left off Kirby Yates for the seventh round-tripper of the night. On his 32nd home run of the season, Cruz broke his bat and the Yankees’ backs.

They threatened in the ninth against a shaky Edwin Diaz, who walked Brian McCann on four pitches to start the inning, gave up a one-out single to Chase Headley and then balked the potential tying runs into scoring position before recovering to retire pinch hitter Mark Teixeira on a fly ball and Brett Gardner on a grounder.

The key blow came in the bottom of the sixth when Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a quick hook of Pineda after he walked Seager with two out. Pineda had thrown only 82 pitches to that point, but Girardi called on lefthander Tommy Layne to face lefty-swinging Adam Lind, who popped up for the second out.

Girardi then brought in righthander Anthony Swarzak to face righty-swinging Mike Zunino. This did not turn out as well. The Mariners catcher drove a 3-2 slider into the right field seats that as it turned out put Seattle ahead for good.

The Yankees tried to get Sanchez an at-bat in the ninth, but the rally ended two batters before his next turn. He had another solid night back of the plate as well as Sanchez threw out another base runner to end the seventh inning.

Bullpen breakdown costs Yanks chance to advance

There was a time until last month when the Yankees might have easily put away Tuesday night’s game even after the Blue Jays had cut a 6-0 deficit to 6-4 in the sixth inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi could have turned to his No Runs DMC formula of having Dellin Betances come on in the seventh, Andrew Miller in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.

That setup became history when the Yankees traded Chapman to the Cubs and Miller to the Indians to acquire needed prospects to help bolster the farm system and bring promise to the future. The Yankees brought Adam Warren back to the organization from the Cubs in the Chapman deal. Warren had pitched very well since returning to the Yankees until Tuesday night when he experienced a nightmare of an eighth inning that propelled the Blue Jays to a come-from-behind 12-6 victory.

If only it had kept raining back between halves of the fifth inning when a severe thunderstorm halted play for 42 minutes. With the Yankees ahead 5-0 at the time, it would have been an official game had the rain not subsided. The Yankees actually added to their lead when play resumed on a two-out, RBI single by Didi Gregorius, who had also driven in their first run with a home run (No. 16) in the first inning. That pushed the shortstop past Brian McCann for the club lead in homers.

Speaking of the long ball, rookie catcher Gary Sanchez whacked two home runs, a solo shot in the second and a three-run bomb in the fourth.

All that offense looked safe in the hands of Michael Pineda, who pitched five scoreless innings with four hits allowed, no walks and two strikeouts in sinking his season ERA below 5.00 (4.89) for the first time all year. Pineda was victimized by the storm as Girardi had to go to his bullpen which was not up to the task. On a night when they were primed to beat Toronto and with Baltimore also losing, the Yankees lost a major opportunity to gain ground in the American League East standings and wild-card chase.

Anthony Swarzak was stung by home runs to Troy Tulowitzki, who was 4-for-5, and Russell Martin, in the sixth as Toronto closed to 6-4. But it was the eighth inning that was a true disaster.

Warren entered the game having pitched 11 shutout innings since rejoining the Yanks. He was in trouble from the beginning as Josh Donaldson won a 12-pitch duel in drawing a leadoff walk. Edwin Encarnacion then tied the score with his 34th home run, a tracer’s bullet to left field.

One out later, Tulwotzski singled for his fourth hit and Martin cranked his second homer of the game. Chasen Shreve came on and faced five batters, all of whom reached base (two hits, two walks, one hit batter) and all but one scored. Michael Saunders’ double to drive in the eighth run of the 47-minute half inning meant that the entire lineup reached base during the frame, which is not something you see every day.

The Yankees hope they never see it again.

Rays have shown more life than Yankees

As the non-waiver trade deadline looms, the Yankees are trying to let their front office know what kind of team they are, but a recent push into possible contender status has encountered a detour in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The last-place, going-nowhere Rays have stung the Yankees the past two nights at Tropicana Field to win a series the Bombers considered vital to determine whether they would be buyers or sellers by Monday’s trade deadline.

This series in microcosm was detailed in the seventh inning. Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier caught the Yankees napping and essentially stole a run. His trek around the bases made it appear that the game was more important to Tampa Bay despite it being 20 games under .500.

What seemed to be a one-out single by Kiermaier became a double when he took advantage of a flat-footed Carlos Beltran in right field and an out-of-position shortstop Didi Gregorius around the bag at second. Continuing to hustle, Kiermaier stole third off reliever Anthony Swarzak, who paid scant attention to the runner and not giving catcher Austin Romine a chance to throw Kiermaier out.

Steven Souza Jr. then lined a single to left-center to send in Kiermaier and push the Rays’ lead to 4-2. Tim Beckham made it 6-2 by crushing a ball over the center field wall, Tampa Bay’s third home run of the game and fifth of the series that ends Sunday afternoon.

Nathan Eovaldi, who lost for the first time since July 1, gave up only three hits, but two of them were home runs. Brad Miller, who tripled and doubled Friday night, turned around a 99-mph heater from Eovaldi in the first inning.

After Brett Gardner gave the Yankees the lead in the third with a two-run home run off lefthander Drew Smyly, Eovaldi gave it right back when .169-hitting catcher Curt Casali homered off a hanging slider following a leadoff single by Beckham.

Smyly was just as stingy as Eovaldi. The lefthander gave up four hits over six innings and ended a personal seven-game losing streak with his first winning decision in 12 starts since May 16.

With a lefty starting against the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi put Alex Rodriguez in the starting lineup for the first time in eight days and got nothing in return. A-Rod struck out in all four of his plate appearances.

Rodriguez’s batting average is down to .206. His wilting offense is not something just of recent vintage, either. Over the past calendar year since August 2015, A-Rod in 397 at-bats has hit .199 with 13 doubles, 18 home runs, 54 RBI and 123 strikeouts.

On the plus side for the Yanks, Chase Headley had two hits, including his 10th home run, a solo shot in the eighth off Matt Andriese, and Adam Warren retired the three batters he faced in the eighth, which may have been an inning too late to bring him into the game.

Kiermaier continued to torture the Yankees in the eighth with a dazzling, leaping catch high atop the center field fence to rob Romine of a potential extra-base hit right after the Headley homer.

Buyers? Sellers? How about winners?

Take heart, Yankees fans, your club may just get in this race for a post-season berth after all. All this debate about whether they Yankees should be buyers or sellers at the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline could rage for another two weeks.

For the second straight night, the Yanks showed Baltimore they are not ready to be buried in the standings. A 7-1 victory pushed the Yanks’ record above .500 at 47-46 and within 6 1/2 games of the Orioles in the American League East standings. That is not an insurmountable deficit with 10 weeks remaining on the schedule.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, if the Yankees were going to be taken seriously as a contender they had to start playing better within their division. Three straight victories over AL East clubs on this homestand is a nice start.

The Yanks’ keystone combination of second baseman Starlin Castro and shortstop Didi Gregorius were the chief architects of this victory. Each had two hits and scored two runs with Castro driving in four runs.

Gregorius had a premium at-bat with two out in the second inning against Orioles starter Vance Worley. After falling behind 0-2, Gregorius worked the count full and won a 10-pitch duel with a walk. Castro then crushed a 3-1 pitch to left field for his 11th home run. The Yankees pushed their lead to 3-0 in the fifth on an RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury, but he was thrown out at third base later in the inning trying to advance all the way to third base from first base on a ball that eluded catcher Caleb Joseph.

An extra run would have come in handy in the sixth when the wheels fell off for Nathan Eovaldi, who had been banished to the bullpen two weeks ago but worked his way back into the rotation with 7 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Eovaldi was pretty effective for the most part Tuesday night. He got 12 outs in a row before he walked Ryan Flaherty with one down in the sixth.

A single up the middle by Adam Jones and a well-struck double to left by Joey Rickard produced a run and spelled major trouble for Eovaldi, who then walked Manny Machado to load the bases for major-league home run leader Mark Trumbo.

Anthony Swarzak came on and got two foul pop-ups to get the Yankees out of the jam. First baseman Rob Refsnyder made a dazzling catch down the right field line of Trumbo’s towering fly. Gregorius ran down Jonathan Schoop’s floater down the left field line.

“He made quality pitches,” manager Joe Girardi said of Swarzak. “He went right after hitters.”

Gregorius and Castro were at it again in the bottom of the sixth as the Yankees added two more runs. One out after a leadoff walk to Brian McCann by Orioles reliever Odrisamer Despaigne, Gregorius lined a single to left. Castro followed with a smoking liner to right-center for a two-run double.

Chase Headley put on the finishing touch with a two-run home run in the eighth off Mychal Givens.

The Yankees clearly won the bullpen game in this one and did so without having to use Dellin Betances or Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman. While the Orioles’ pen allowed four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, the Yankees’ Swarzak and Nick Goody combined for 3 2/3 hitless innings with five strikeouts.

Yankees go homer-happy at the Stadium

Notes from the Yankees’ 9-8 victory over the Rockies Wednesday at Yankee Stadium on Starlin Castro’s home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning against reliever Jason Motte:

It was the Yankees’ second “walk-off” victory this season. Brett Gardner’s solo home run in the ninth inning April 23 at the Stadium beat the Rays. The Yanks have overcome a four-run deficit in each of their past two victories (also June 18 at Minneapolis). The Twins open a three-game series at the Stadium Friday night. Those are their two largest deficits the Yankees have overcome in victories in 2016. They are 16-9 in their past 25 home games (since April 22) after starting the year 3-6 at Yankee Stadium.

Tye Yankees were 1-3 against Colorado this year. Since 1913, the Yankees have still only twice been swept by an opponent in a season series of at least four games: 0-4 against the Mets in 2013 and 0-12 against the Athletics in 1990.

Castro, who had 3-for-5 with two runs and a run batted in, hit his first career “walk-off” home run on the second pitch of the ninth. It marked his sixth career “walk-off” hit. Wednesday was his fifth game this season with at least three hits.

Chase Headley hit the Yankees’ first grand slam of the season in the second inning. It was his fourth career grand slam, first with the Yankees and first since Sept. 9, 2012 for the Padres against the Diamondbacks. Headley’s fourth home run of the season was his first since May 25 against the Blue Jays.

Since 2010, Yankees hitters lead the major leagues with 44 grand slams, 11 more than the team with the next highest total, the Red Sox. The Yankees had been one of three American League teams without a grand slam this season, along with the Twins and the Indians. In 2015, the Yanks hit an AL-best seven grand slams (the Giants led the majors with nine).

Carlos Beltran hit his 19th home run in his 68th game this season, a three-run shot in the seventh. That matches his home run total for all of 2015, in 134 games. Beltran has homered in three of his past five games and six of 13. Each of his seven homers in June has come with runners on base (only three of his first 12HR were with runners on. Since May 19, Beltran has a slash line of .339/.385/.706 with 20 runs, seven doubles, 11 homers and 32 RBI in 29 games and 109 at-bats. His 50 RBI for the season are the most by a Yankees hitter through 71 team games since 2011, when Mark Teixeira had 55 RBI and Curtis Granderson 54.

Brett Gardner, who had 1-for-3 with two walks and scored a run, has reached base safely in nine of his past 13 plate appearances. He drew two walks for the second straight game and has a .432 on-base percentage at home. Gardner got his team-high fourth outfield assist in the first inning when he threw out Charlie Blackmon at the plate.

Didi Gregorius tied the score at 8 with a two-out, RBI single in the seventh. It was his third career game-tying RBI in the seventh inning or later, his first since Sept. 13, 2013 for the Diamondbacks against the Brewers (also a seventh-inning single).

The Yankees scored eight of their nine runs on home runs (grand slam, three-run homer, solo homer). It was their second game this season with multiple homers with multiple runners on (also April 6 against the Astros). Five of the Yankees’ past 17 homers (since May 6) have come with at least two runners on (they had none from April 8 through June 5). The Yanks ended a five-game home run drought at the Stadium.

CC Sabathia allowed six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings, which stopped a string of eight starts in which he had pitched five or more innings. The lefthander had allowed six runs (four earned) in his previous seven starts combined during which he pitched to an ERA of 0.82 over 44 innings. Sabathia turned his right ankle twice during his outing and left the Stadium with it tightly wrapped. X-rays were negative, and he said he expected to make his next start.

Dellin Betances (one inning, two strikeouts), Andrew Miller (one inning, two strikeouts) and Aroldis Chapman (one inning, two strikeouts) combined to retired all nine batters with six strikeouts. After Ryan Raburn’s two-run home run off Anthony Swarzak in the fifth inning, Yankees relievers retired the final 14 Colorado batters of the game. The Yanks are 10-0 when Betances, Miller and Chapman pitch in the same game.

Yanks’ trip smoothing out after ‘rocky’ start

After the disappointment of getting swept in a two-game series at Denver, the Yankees are on the verge of trumping that with a four-game sweep at Minneapolis. They are three-quarters of the way there with very impressive victories over the Twins heading into a Father’s Day finale Sunday with Nathan Eovaldi opposing Minnesota’s Ervin Santana.

Friday night, the Yankees struck early with four first-inning runs on the way to an 8-2 victory behind Masahiro Tanaka (4-2), who was sharp as a tack (one run, seven hits, no walks, five strikeouts) over eight innings. Carlos Beltran, who missed both games against the Rockies, whacked a two-run home run in that first inning to stop a 0-for-12 slump.

Beltran added another two-run homer at a more clutch moment Saturday. The opposite-field blow to left off righthander Kevin Jepsen tied the score with one down in the eighth inning. The Yankees continued their comeback against the Twins’ ragged bullpen with three runs in the ninth, then had to hold their breath somewhat when Aroldis Chapman gave up back-to-back homers to Eduardo Escobar and pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki to survive, 7-6.

Give Suzuki credit. He fouled off four consecutive 102-mph fastballs from Chapman before connecting on yet another 102-mph heater. But most of the credit Saturday went to the Yankees, who had fallen into a 4-0 hole against Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, who had a four-hit shutout working through six innings.

Leading off the seventh, Beltran got one of his rare leg hits these days with a dribbler to the left side on which Eduardo Nunez could not make a bare-handed play. Alex Rodriguez, who had a three-homer game at Target Field in late July last year, followed with a drive to right off a 1-2 fastball for his eighth home run of the season and career No. 695.

The Yankees got two more hits that inning but pushed across no more runs. With one out in the eighth, another infield single, this time by Brett Gardner, preceded a home run, Beltran’s 18th of the season. Gardner had been hitless in his previous 14 at-bats and was 1-for-15 on the trip.

Lefthander Fernando Abad, who was having a fine season out of the bullpen until the Yankees came to town, got the last out of the eighth, which turned out to be the only one he would get in the game. He began the ninth with a walk to Chase Headley. You could always hear the uh-oh coming out of Twins manager Paul Molitor’s mouth in the dugout.

Didi Gregorius, who has broken a 1-1 score with a three-run home run off a first-pitch fastball from Abad Thursday night, dropped down a beauty of a bunt for a single. After a Juan Centeno passed ball advanced the runners, Rob Refsnyder was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Righthander Ryan Pressly came on and struck out pinch hitter Starlin Castro but fell into a full count with Jacoby Ellsbury and had to come in with a fastball which Ellsbury knocked into right-center for a two-run single. A wild pitch by Pressly moved crucial as it turned out. It moved Refsnyder to third from where he scored on a fly ball by Gardner. That run proved vital when Chapman gave up the two homers after he had struck out the first two batters.

So it was a shaky 13th save for Chapman that preserved the winning decision for Andrew Miller (4-0), who had shut down Minnesota with two strikeouts in the eighth. Anthony Swarzak also played a big part in the game with a 1 2/3 hitless innings of two-strikeout relief.

The Yankees’ late rallies took Michael Pineda off the hook. The righthander had another of his weird games where he was overpowering (nine strikeouts) but unable to pick up key third outs of innings. Three of the Twins’ four runs off Pineda in 5 1/3 innings were scored after two were out on an RBI single by Escobar in the second and a two-run homer by Korean slugger Byung Ho Park in the fourth. An error by Pineda in the sixth led to a run on a sacrifice fly by Park.

With 55 hits, including a dozen Saturday, the Yankees are averaging 11 hits per game on the trip. Beltran and Gregorius had three hits apiece Saturday. Beltran has homered in six of his past 13 games, eight of 19 and 13 of 36. Gregorius has had a huge trip with 10-for-20 (.500), two homers, six runs and nine RBI. The bunt single off Abad increased Didi’s batting average against left-handed pitching to .383 in 60 at-bats. He is hitting .287 overall.

Headley, who could not get off the Interstate for the first two months, has his average up to .260 while batting .471 in 17 at-bats on the trip and .417 in his seven-game hitting streak. Now if only the Yankees could get Brian McCann re-started. The catcher took an 0-for-4 collar Saturday, is hitless in his past 12 at-bats and in a 4-for-32 (.125) rut that has shrunken his season average to .207.

Successful homestand ends on a down note

On the face of it, a 5-2 homestand is a good thing. Except that it does not seem like such a good think considering the Yanks’ record was once 5-0.

After a four-game sweep of the Angels, the Yankees won the opener of a three-game series against the Tigers on a shutout, but they dropped the next two games and scored only one run in each. Sunday in front of an Old Timer’s Day crowd of 47,474 at Yankee Stadium they ran into a hot, young pitcher in Michael Fulmer, who improved his record to 7-1 while shutting out the Yankees on two hits through six innings.

Fulmer was one of the players the Tigers got from the Mets last year in the trade for Yoenis Cespdes. The pitching-rich Mets knew they had to give up some talent to get a player of Cespedes’ quality and losing Fulmer was one of the prices they paid for getting to the World Series.

Suzyn Waldman told me a nice story about Fulmer. He is an Oklahoma native and was excited about being here on Old Timer’s Day weekend so he could meet Kay Murcer, the widow of Bobby Murcer, a fellow Okie.

Michael Pineda battled Fulmer for six innings and got a pain in the butt along the way on a single off his rump by Victory Martinez in the fourth inning when Detroit scored its first run on a sacrifice fly by Nick Castellanos. Hey, it could have been worse. The Tigers loaded the bases with none out and came away with merely one run. Pineda finished the inning with a flourish in retiring Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a line drive to shortstop Didi Gregorius and a strikeout of Mike Aviles.

The Tigers struck early again in the sixth inning with a walk and a single putting runners on first and third with none out. Victor Martinez got a run home with an infield out, but Pineda held the damage to that by striking out J.D. Martinez.

It was a mostly positive outing from Pineda, who nevertheless took the loss as his record fell to 3-7. Ian Kinsler, who drove in five runs in the Tigers’ 6-1 victory Saturday, belted his second home run of the series, a two-run shot, in the seventh off Anthony Swarzack to give Detroit a comfort zone.

The Yankees wasted leadoff doubles in the third and fifth innings and mounted a threat in the seventh when they had the bases loaded with two out against lefthanders Justin Wilson, their teammate last year. Gregorius hit the ball on the screws, but Detroit center fielder Cameron Maybin put it away. Gregorius has hit left-handed pitching well all season (.370 in 54 at-bats), so manager Joe Girardi was justified in letting him hit there rather than going to his bench for a pinch hitter.

The loss pushed the Yankees back under .500 (31-32), and they will get a needed day off Monday before going on the road to Denver and Minneapolis. Sunday finished a 41-day stretch in which the Yanks played 40 games. The Yankees were 23-17 over that period.