Results tagged ‘ Chris Nelson ’

Mariners roll ‘7’ in the first inning

The only good thing the Yankees could say about the top of the first inning Wednesday night is that they still had 27 outs to try and get back into the game. Man, was that one ugly frame.

Many folks were still walking to the seats while the Mariners were running all around the bases on the way to a 7-0 lead that they gave to starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, the former Japanese Olympics and Pacific League star who has gotten off to a great start here in the U.S. (4-1, 1.74 ERA).

Yankees starter Phil Hughes could not get into a rhythm and was gone before the lengthy inning was over. Seven consecutive Seattle batters reached base at one point, four of whom scored on one swing, a familiar swing at that, by Raul Ibanez, who crushed a 0-1 fastball to right-center for his fifth home run of the season and second in this series. In his first five at-bats in his return to Yankee Stadium since last October’s postseason heroics, Ibanez has wounded his former team with two home runs and six RBI.

Hughes had no command of his breaking pitches and was forced to rely on his fastball, which the Seattle hitters knew was coming since nothing else was working for the righthander. A one-out walk to Dustin Ackley got the rally started and was followed by three singles that produced two runs and another walk before Ibanez lowered the boom.

Home runs tend to be rally killers, but not this time. Former Yankees prospect Jesus Montero joined Ibanez in haunting the Yankees with a single. After a fielder’s choice, Michael Saunders chased Hughes with a run-scoring double. Fans were none too kind to Hughes, whose ERA rose to 5.88, as he walked to the dugout. The fans’ attitude improved when reliever Preston Claiborne ended the inning with a strikeout.

This was a stunning development considering that the Mariners rank next to last in the American League in team batting average and runs scored. Seven runs are often the most they can score in a whole series let alone one inning.

It was also a wild start in a major-league debut of David Adams, the starting third baseman who was called up by the Yankees from Scranton. Chris Nelson was optioned to the Triple A affiliate to make room on the 25-man roster for Adams, who turned 26 Wednesday. That’s some birthday present.

Yanks’ bullpen has final say in Cy Young duel

It is not entirely true that the marquee matchup Tuesday night of the Yankees’ CC Sabathia and the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, a couple of former American League Cy Young Award winners, did not materialize. Each had impact in the game. It is just that the outcome occurred after they had departed.

Neither starter was involved in the decision, although for a time it seemed that Hernandez would be the winner and Sabathia the loser. This was a game that ended up decided by the bullpens. In that case, it is no contest against the Yankees these days.

Shawn Kelley took over for Sabathia in the seventh with the score 3-1 Mariners, runners on first and third with one out and retired Kelly Shoppach on a strikeout and Raul Ibanez on a fly to left. After a botched attempt for a force on a sacrifice bunt gave Seattle runners on first and second with none out in the eighth, David Robertson worked another of his Houdini tricks by striking out Michael Saunders and getting pinch hitter Justin Smoak to line into a double play. Mariano Rivera provided a spotless ninth to make it 16-for-16 in save opportunities this season.

The relievers’ 2 2/3 combined innings extended the pen’s current scoreless streak to nine games covering 23 2/3 innings. The relief corps has pitched to a 0.77 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .161 batting average with seven walks and 36 strikeouts over that stretch.

One of the three runs off Sabathia, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, was not earned due to an error by first baseman Lyle Overbay that led to a run in the third. Overbay would atone for that bobble in the seventh with a sacrifice fly that unlocked a 3-3 score. Overbay had doubled in a run to get the Yankees on the board in the sixth against Hernandez, who came out after that inning because of back spasms. That was the opening the Yankees needed.

Seattle’s bullpen was not the support system for King Felix that the Yankees’ was for CC. Yoervis Molina gave up a leadoff single in the seventh to Chris Nelson and wild-pitched him to second base. One out later, lefthander Charlie Furbush walked left-handed batting Brett Gardner and yielded a two-run, game-tying double to right-center by lefty-swinging Robinson Cano, the Yankees’ only hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Furbush walked Vernon Wells intentionally to get at another left-handed batter, back from the disabled list Curtis Granderson, and walked him quite unintentionally. Overbay, also swinging from the left side, put a charge into a 3-2 fastball for a drive to deep enough center to score Cano with the go-ahead run. The Yanks’ pen handled matters from there.

The other two runs off Sabathia, who walked two batters and struck out 10, came on a home run in the sixth by Ibanez, who returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time since he was a 2012 postseason hero for the Yankees. CC enjoyed when Ibanez poked homers to right field last October against the Orioles and Tigers but not at all when he found his favorite area for homer No. 4 this season.

No one at the Stadium was expected to cheer Ibanez when he homered against the Yankees, but the reaction from the crowd of 41,267 to Ibanez when he first came to the plate, in the second inning, was curious to say the least.

Considering the dramatic impact of his heroics seven months ago, it was somewhat surprising that Ibanez received such a tepid response from the fans, who applauded politely but with few of them standing. There were even some sounds of boos, although that might have been chants of “Ra-oool.” You can never tell when guys have names that rhyme with “boo.” Think of Moose Skowron or Lou Piniella or Goose Gossage, for example.

Rivera could see Ibanez in the dugout in the ninth and was determined to keep him there. Ibanez was in the hole two batters away when Mo ended the game.

Big day for the Yankees’ ‘Replacements’

“The Replacements” on the Yankees had a big day Monday. After being stymied, 1-0, in the first game of a makeup doubleheader at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, the Yankees stormed to a 7-0 victory in the second game with many major contributors being players who might not have been in the team’s picture for 2013 at all if not for all the injuries that have beset them.

Considering how hit the Indians have been lately (15-2 since April 28 after winning the opener), a split was a positive for the Yankees, particularly the way it played out considering that their best player, Robinson Cano, had only 1-for-9 with three strikeouts in the twin bill.

Rookie lefthander Vidal Nuno got the victory in his first major-league start with five innings of three-hit, three-walk, three-strikeout pitching to extend his scoreless streak since being called up from Scranton last week to eight innings. Nuno was originally signed by the Indians but was eventually released and pitched in an independent league before the Yankees gave him a second chance.

Another rookie, righthander Adam Warren, followed Nuno with three shutout innings to earn his first major-league save at the end of the trip during which he also picked up his first big-league victory.

Several of Nuno’s former Triple A teammates helped him get that ‘W.’ Infielder Corban Joseph, who was called up as the 26th-man as allowed for doubleheaders, played first base in the opener and second base in the nightcap. He got his first major-league hit, a leadoff double in the seventh that started a six-run rally.

Backup catcher Austin Romine picked up his first hit of the season, a double that scored Joseph. Jayson Nix, who has been pushed into a starter’s role in the infield with the injuries to Kevin Youkilis and Eduardo Nunez, drove in a run with one of his two hits in the game. Vernon Wells continued his hot trip with an RBI single, and Lyle Overbay plated two more runs with a double. Wells and Overbay were spring-training pickups to help offset the injuries to Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. On the trip in which the Yankees won six of eight games, Wells hit .345 with four home runs and nine RBI in 30 at-bats and Overbay had two doubles, a homer and seven RBI in 28 at-bats.

Utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez, recently acquired from the Cubs, played all 18 innings at shortstop and had 2-for-6 at the plate. Between games, the Yankees optioned Brennan Boesch to Scranton. Boesch had one of the Yankees’ four hits in the first game. The move was made so the Yankees could bring up another pitcher, Brett Marshall, but it could also signal that Granderson is close to being activated.

Justin Masterson was masterful for the Indians in his four-hit shutout with three walks and nine strikeouts in the first game. The Yankees did little against the righthander’s hard sinking fastball that produced 11 groundouts and three other outs in the infield. Boesch’s hit was the only one for the Yankees that reached the outfield. Chris Nelson and Chris Stewart each had an infield single, and Brett Gardner bunted for a hit.

There were some positives for the Yankees in the opener. David Phelps, who has been in the rotation while Ivan Nova is on the disabled list, gave up a first-inning home run to Jason Kipnis and despite wildness (five walks) pitched into the seventh and gave up only three other hits and struck out seven batters. It was a tough loss, but Phelps did a good job in keeping the team in the game and giving manager Joe Girardi length on a day when the bullpen could have been taxed.

Mariano Rivera, who had four saves on the trip, did not have to do anything Monday except to receive a gift before the doubleheader. Even though the Indians had already honored Mo when the Yankees played in Cleveland in April, Tribe president Mark Shapiro presented Rivera with a gold record of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” from the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

Pettitte rediscovers cutter, winning ways

You can turn the panic button off regarding Andy Pettitte. Perhaps a dose of Kansas City was all the lefthander needed.

Pettitte has had a lot of success against the Royals over the years, although it is only fair to point out that Kansas City had been a downtrodden franchise for much of that time. This is a different Royals team this season with Kansas City threatening to be a contender in the American League Central. Nevertheless, they looked like the same old Royals against Pettitte, who bounced back from two awful games to post a 3-2 victory, his first winning decision in four starts since April 19.

That improved Pettitte’s career mark against the Royals to 15-3 with a 3.40 ERA, including 9-2 with a 3.11 ERA at Kauffman Stadium.

The cut fastball that had abandoned Pettitte in his recent starts made a triumphant return as Andy pitched seven strong innings against a much meatier lineup than the Royals had in the past. He gave up five hits, including Billy Butler’s fourth home run, walked only one batter and struck out eight.

Pettitte pitched well in situations, a signature strength of his. With runners on first and second and one out in the second, Andy got two soft groundouts to avoid damage. He gave up an infield single to Eliot Johnson leading off the third. Johnson was able to steal second because of a ball in the dirt. It proved a big steal. He came around to score on two groundouts. But that and Butler’s bomb were all that marred the sort of effort we have come to expect from Pettitte but what had been missing of late.

Pettitte’s ERA over his past three starts was 7.04 and over his past two 9.64. Ouch! Even worse was his statement after a dismal game against the Athletics that his cut fastball was nonexistent. When a 40-year-old pitcher makes such an admission, there is cause for serious concern. But to his credit, Pettitte kept working between starts to find the lost pitch, which he rediscovered to help the Yankees win their fourth straight game and maintain first-place standing in the AL East.

The bullpen came through again with shining colors. David Robertson struck out the side in the eighth (the Royals have struck out 21 times in 17 innings in this series), and Mariano Rivera withstood a two-double to make it 14-for-14 in save situations this season. Vernon Wells, whose two-run home run in the fifth had given the Yankees the lead, ran down Mike Moustakas’ drive to left-center for the final out.

As much a patsy as the Royals have been for Pettitte so have the Yankees been a nemesis for James Shields, who had one of his better games against them but was a loser for the 15th time in 22 career decisions. The righthander was hurt not only by Wells but also by a throwing error by Moustakas, his third baseman, that allowed Chris Nelson, who doubled, to score with two out in the third inning.

Shields also hurt himself by hitting Chris Stewart with a 1-2 pitch to begin the fifth inning. Stew scored on Wells’ home run. Jayson Nix entered the game with two hits, both home runs, in four career at-bats against Shields and added two more hits, a double and a single. Nix has done very well spelling Eduardo Nunez at shortstop on this trip.

The best news, naturally, was the return to form of Pettitte, whose 249th career victory tied him with Hall of Famer Vic Willis for 45th place on the all-time list. Next up in 44th place is another Hall of Famer, Bob Gibson, at 251.

Yanks break out big in Joe’s 500th victory

The Yankees scored more runs in the second inning Friday night at Kansas City than they scored in each of the three games of the recent series at Coors Field. The Denver yard is supposed to be hitter-friendly, yet the Yanks were shut out in one game and scored three runs in each of the next two games. In the second inning at Kauffman Stadium, supposedly a pitcher-friendly facility, the Yankees exploded for four runs off Wade Davis on a pair of two-run home runs by Ichiro Suzuki and Lyle Overbay. Go figure.

This was the sort of game expected in Denver. The Yankees broke out for 16 hits, half of them for extra bases, to produce an 11-6 victory, Joe Girardi’s 500th as Yankees manager.

The Royals closed to 4-3 in the bottom of the second as Phil Hughes fell victim to the long ball, which he had avoided in his previous three starts. It came from an unexpected source, too. Jayson Dyson ended Hughes’ 23-inning homerless stretch and a two-year homerless streak of his own with a two-out, three-run blow that was the outfielder’s first home run since 2010 and only his second in 473 career at-bats.

Hughes, who was 1-0 with three no-decisions and 1.93 ERA over his past four starts, was not as effective this time out. A two-run double by Alex Gordon in the fifth inning tied the score at 5, but the Yankees came to Phil’s rescue by putting up a five-spot in the sixth. They chased Davis with a double by Suzuki and a single by Jayson Nix and then did their usual damage against Bruce Chen.

The lefthander has found a home with the Royals, his 10th club, the past few years, but wherever he has been the Yankee have given him trouble. He has a 2-6 career record against them and had his ERA climb to 6.87 in 77 1/3 innings against the Yankees after they had their way with him in this game as well.

Overbay, who had quite a night (4-for-5, five RBI), knocked in his fourth run of the game with his second double. Chris Nelson got his first two RBI since joining the Yankees with a single. He scored on a triple by Brett Gardner, who came home on a single by Robinson Cano as the Yanks went 4-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the inning.

Hughes was toast one batter after yielding a long solo homer to right by Mike Moustakas in the bottom of the sixth. The bullpen was a bit thin after five relievers worked in Thursday’s rain-delayed victory. Shawn Kelley was nothing short of brilliant by striking out the first five batters he faced and six of seven. Boone Logan added two more strikeouts in a perfect ninth. Nine of the Royals’ last 11 hitters struck out.

Ichiro had 3-for-5 to raise his career batting average at Kauffman Stadium to .377, the highest of any opposing player in the park’s 40-year history. This place may not be so pitcher friendly after all.

Rain delay washes out CC

The poor weather that has plagued the Yankees-Rockies series at Coors Field drenched CC Sabathia in Thursday’s finale. A 1-hour, 59-minute rain delay forced Yankees manager Joe Girardi to burn Sabathia, who was on quite a roll before the game was interrupted.

Sabathia had retired 11 consecutive batters beginning with a sacrifice fly by Carlos Gonzalez that tied the score at 1 in the first inning through the fourth. A first-inning single by Troy Tulowitzki, who returned to the lineup after not starting the first two games of the series with a groin injury, was the only hit allowed by Sabathia, who walked one batter and struck out two.

The Yankees had a 2-1 lead when rain forced a halt in play. Vernon Wells, who had three hits in Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory, kept up hit hot hitting with a run-scoring single in the first inning off lefthander Jeff Francis. Chris Nelson, whose return to Denver had been relatively quiet in the first two games (1-for-6), doubled and scored the go-ahead run for the Yankees in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Chris Stewart.

The lengthy delay not only caused the departure of Sabathia but also that of Francis, who came into the game with a 7.27 ERA and might have suffered more at the hands of Yankees hitters. Righthander Adam Warren took to the mound for the Yankees in the bottom of the fifth.

Robinson Cano achieved a milestone in the third inning with his 1,500th career hit, an infield single. He did even more damage when play resumed with his ninth home run of the season, a solo shot to right in the fourth inning off righthander Adam Ottavino, who replaced Francis.

That would be the Yankees’ last hit before Lyle Overbay doubled with two out in the ninth to end a stretch of 12 straight batters retired against two Colorado relievers.

The Yankees’ bullpen did its job as well. Preston Claiborne had another impressive outing as he stranded two Rockies base runners in the sixth and got a double play after giving up a leadoff hit in the seventh. The Rockies reached the rookie for two more singles, however, but for the rescue came David Robertson to strike out dangerous pinch hitter Todd Helton. Mariano Rivera made it 13-for-13 in saves with a scoreless ninth.

The series was characterized by good pitching overall. A total of 11 runs were scored by the two teams combined in the three games. This was not your father’s Coors Field.

Untypical victory at Coors Field truly a team effort

Sometimes it comes down to one simple play. A blown hit-and-run play turned into an important stolen base for the Yankees that turned the ninth inning Wednesday night into a melodrama that sent them toward a very satisfying, dugout-emptying victory.

Normally when you hear the phrase “dugout-emptying,” it is in reference to a brawl. This time it was literal for the Yankees. With Eduardo Nunez still unavailable due to an irritated left ribcage, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was forced to use all the available players in an inter-league game at a National League park where the designated hitter is forbidden. Thank heaven this one didn’t go extra innings or you might have seen some pitchers playing elsewhere on the field.

The Yanks’ 3-2 victory over the Rockies was truly a team effort. The deciding run that was set up by a stolen base that should have been an out scored thanks to the hustle of Brennan Boesch, the Yankees’ third pinch hitter of the night, who beat out an infield hit with a dash down the first base line while Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado took ever-so-slightly too long to get off a throw.

Vernon Wells, who crossed the plate for the tiebreaking run, then trotted out to third base with his oversized outfield glove, marking the first time he had played the infield in a major-league game. Sure enough, a ball was hit to him, but he handled Carlos Gonzalez’s grounder with ease and got the second out of the inning. Mariano Rivera withstood a two-out single and a steal of second base by Michael Cuddyer to make it 12-for-12 in saves when he retired Wilin Rosario on a fly to center.

Wells, whose three-hit game included his seventh home run that accounted for the Yanks’ other two runs, was asked to play third base because starter Chris Nelson had been lifted earlier in the ninth for pinch hitter Travis Hafner, who struck out. Without Nunez, Girardi had no infielders he could call on, a situation that the manager had explained to Wells even before the game started.

It was also Wells who benefit from a dropped throw by shortstop Jonathan Herrera from catcher Rosario on a busted hit-and-run play. Wells, who had left off the inning with an infield single, ended up with a gift of a stolen base. Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt in a non-save situation was not sharp and walked Lyle Overbay. After Ichiro Suzuki bunted the runners over, Jayson Nix was intentionally walked to load the bases. Girardi had his ace in the hole in Hafner, but the DH without a spot in the starting lineup at Coors Field struck out.

Boesch was Girardi’s last available player to use as a pinch hitter for catcher Austin Romine (Chris Stewart would have to catch the bottom of the ninth). Arenado made a terrific stop of a hard grounder to his left by Boesch, but the third baseman glanced momentarily to second base before throwing to first where Boesch beat the play by a hair.

Pitchers played major parts for the Yankees as well. Starter David Phelps went six innings and was hurt only by a two-run homer by Todd Helton. Recent Triple A call-up Preston Claiborne pitched a 1-2-3 seventh (the righthander has retired all nine hitters he has faced in his first two appearances for the Yankees) and David Robertson added a scoreless eighth.

This is not the sort of stuff fans are used to seeing at Coors Field. Tuesday night, it was 2-0 Rockies. Seven runs in two games in a yard where every night it seems that seven runs are scored every two innings is pretty rare. The Yankees ended a five-game losing streak at Coors dating to June 20, 2002 and are 29-9 in games following shutout losses since Girardi became manager in 2008, including 3-0 this year.

Not a dandy Andy

From the beginning Sunday, it was an uneasy outing for Andy Pettitte against the Athletics in the finale of the homestand. The lefthander had trouble at the beginning of nearly every inning. He let the leadoff hitter reach base in the first four innings. In the fifth, the one inning in which he got the leadoff hitter out, Pettitte ended up allowing two runs on Yoenis Cespedes’ fifth home run of the season.

That was one of two long balls yielded by Pettitte. The other was a solo shot by designated hitter Luke Montz leading off the third. Montz had doubled off Pettitte leading off the second. Pettitte pitched out of the stretch almost continually during his 100-pitch outing in which he gave up four runs (three earned), five hits, four walks and hit a batter as his ERA climbed to 4.06.

“The issue is everything,” Pettitte said after the Yanks’ 5-4 loss. “It was just a battle out there. I had no command of my fastball. My release point is floating, and my cutter is nonexistent right now.”

The first run off Pettitte was not earned due to a wild throw to first base by Robinson Cano, the second baseman’s first error of the season. Cano got the run right back in the bottom of the third by following a two-out double by Brett Gardner with a single to center.

Pettitte’s early departure created the opportunity for recent Triple A call-up Preston Claiborne to make his major-league debut. Claiborne was impressive his first time out with a perfect sixth and seventh before giving way to Boone Logan, who ended up the loser for allowing a solo home run to Josh Donaldson in the eighth that unlocked a 4-4 score.

“Those were two important innings,” Yankee manager Joe Girardi said of Claiborne’s work.

The Yankees suffered another injury as shortstop Eduardo Nunez was removed from the game in the fifth inning because of an irritated left ribcage. Results of an MRI were negative. The Yanks hope this will not be an extended injury. They are headed for an inter-league series at Denver where they could be short-handed since pitchers must hit in those games. Jayson Nix will play shortstop and newly-acquired Chris Nelson third base. Nix had been taking ground balls at first base as part of his utility role but will be needed to play regularly with Nunez sidelined.

The Yankees got Pettitte off the hook with three runs in the sixth as A’s lefthander Jerry Blevins faltered in relief of starter Dan Straily against two left-handed hitters. Blevins hung a 1-2 curve to Ichiro Suzuki, who doubled into the right-field corner to drive in one run. After Nix struck out for the second out, Lyle Overbay, who had a strong homestand, won an eight-pitch battle and singled to center to knock home the tying runs.

Overbay, who is batting .368 in a five-game hitting streak with a triple, two homers and six RBI in 19 at-bats, had the Yankee Stadium crowd of 38,134 on its feet again in the eighth when he flied out to the warning track in right-center with two runners aboard for the third out. Gardner’s two-out single in the ninth off A’s closer Grant Balfour gave Cano another at-bat, but after a wild pitch Cano was intentionally walked before Vernon Wells ended the game by striking out.

Another good relief effort came from Shawn Kelley in the ninth after Josh Reddick doubled off Logan to start the inning. Kelley got the next three batters, two of them on strikeouts. Reddick’s hit was significant, by the way.

Reddick did not start Sunday, which was no surprise based on several factors. For one, Reddick bats left-handed, and the Yankees’ starting pitcher was the left-handed Pettitte (oddly, they have never faced each other). For two, Reddick is off to an awful start (.148 in 88 at-bats). For three, he had been worthless at Yankee Stadium. Reddick, a late-inning defensive replacement in right field, had the longest hitless streak of any batter in the history of the current Stadium covering 33 at-bats (22 with the A’s and 11 with the Red Sox), which ended with that double.

With a 2-for-3 game, Suzuki continued his punishment of Oakland pitching. A .328 hitter in 933 career at-bats against the A’s, Ichiro’s 306 hits are the most by an opposing player against the franchise since it moved to the Bay Area from Kansas City 45 years ago.

Yanks doing things right against lefties

That vulnerability the Yankees once showed against left-handed pitching appears to have worn away. Their 5-4 victory over the Astros Wednesday night improved the Yanks’ record to 8-3 in games started by left-handed opposing pitchers, including their past five at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have won six of the past eight games against left-handed starters.

Nevertheless, they continue to seek ways to bolster their lineup against lefties. After the game, the Yankees announced that they had acquired infielder Chris Nelson from the Rockies in a deal for cash considerations and/or a player to be named. Nelson, 27, was batting .242 in 66 at-bats for Colorado but apparently was available because Nolan Arenado was seeing more playing time at third base. Nelson was a .301 hitter with nine home runs and 53 RBI in 2012. He bats right-handed, can play third base and second base, although defense is not his strong suit. Nelson is expected to join the Yankees Friday night when they open a three-game series against Oakland.

The Yankees cleared space on the 40-man roster for Nelson by assigning catcher Francisco Cervelli (broken right hand) to the 60-day disabled list. They will have to make a move for the 25-man roster when Nelson is activated, most likely returning infielder Corban Joseph to Triple A Scranton.

With all their injuries, the Yankees have had to use left-handed batters against left-handed pitching, and it has worked out. Travis Hafner walked and scored in the second inning, and Robinson Cano belted his eighth home run in the third.

Lyle Overbay doubled, walked twice and made an alert base-running maneuver that led to the deciding run. In the sixth inning with the score 4-4, Overbay was on first base and Eduardo Nunez on third with one out when Ichiro Suzuki, another lefty swinger who had two hits, hit a grounder between first and second. Overbay stopped in the baseline and forced second baseman Jose Altuve to throw to first base while Nunez sprinted home before the Astros could complete the double play by throwing out Overbay in a rundown.

“It takes a heads-up play like that to prevent the double play from happening,” manager Joe Girardi said. “That is what veterans do. They don’t get frazzled by situations.”

Neither did the Yankees’ bullpen. David Phelps was okay in his start (four runs, eight hits, one walk, five strikeouts, two hit batters in 5 2/3 innings), but Boone Logan (2-1), David Robertson and Mariano Rivera (11-for-11 in saves) combined for 3 1/3 spotless, two-hit innings with four strikeouts.

It got a big scary for Mo in the ninth when rookie outfielder Brandon Barnes led off with a line single to right. Matt Dominguez hit the ball hard, too, but Cano made a back-handed stab and got an unassisted double play by tagging Barnes, who was running on the play. Rivera reared back and fired three strikes past Marwin Gonzalez to end a stretch of 16 consecutive dates of games in which the Yankees went 11-5 and won four of the five series.

Burnett’s 4 K’s in 1 inning a 1st for Yankees pitchers

A.J. Burnett made Yankees history Friday night when he struck out four Colorado batters in the sixth inning. Believe it or not, he became the first Yankees pitcher ever to do that. Granted, it is a rarity, but it is hard to believe it had never happened before for a franchise that is more than one hundred years old.

For a pitcher to have the chance to strike out four batters in an inning means that one of them had to reach base on a third-strike wild pitch or passed ball. Since A.J. has had a special relationship with wild pitches over the years, he was an ideal candidate to be the first Yankees pitcher to pull off the oddity. Burnett’s 111 career wild pitches rank second among active pitchers behind only Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who has 124.

In fact, it marked the second time in his career that Burnett had four K’s in an inning. He also did for the Marlins against the Mets July 5, 2002, which was the first of two seasons in which he led his league in wild pitches with 14. The other was in 2009 with the Yankees when he had 17. A.J. was second in the American League in wild pitches with 16 and is leading this year with 12.

No. 12 came after Burnett got called third strikes past Chris Iannetta and Carlos Gonzalez. Chris Nelson reached first after Burnett’s third strike to him went all the way to the backstop. It gave Burnett a shot at a franchise first, which he accomplished by striking out Todd Helton swinging.

Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the night for Burnett, who gave up solo home runs to Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki and two more runs on infield outs 6 1/3 innings in a 4-2 loss. It might have been worse except that the Rockies stranded 11 runners.

Alex Rodriguez drove in both Yankees runs with Curtis Granderson scoring each time, but the Yanks had only two hits after the second inning. Rockies righthander Ubaldo Jimenez, who was the National League’s starting pitcher in last year’s All-Star Game, struggled early this year but picked up his second straight victory. Jimenez, who had an 11-game winless stretch in April and May, scattered four hits and four walks over seven innings.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi correctly assessed before the game that Colorado could benefit more than any other NL club in inter-league competition because of the presence of Giambi as its designated hitter. In addition to his home run, Giambi also singled twice and walked.