Results tagged ‘ David Price ’

Yanks get healthy on the road as Tiger tamers

That the Yankees seem to have righted themselves could not have come at a better time. The Mets, the hottest team in the major leagues with an 11-game winning streak, a 10-0 home record and an overall best mark of 13-3, come to Yankee Stadium Friday night for the first round of the 2015 Subway Series.

While the Mets were winning all 10 of their games at Citi Field thus far, the Yankees went on a 10-game trek through Baltimore, St. Peterburg and Detroit and emerged with seven victories and showed exceptional pitching, timely hitting and much improved fielding.

After dropping two of three games to the Orioles, the Yankees swept a three-game series from the Rays and took three of four games from a Tigers team that had the best record in the majors at the start of the set and might have been knocked out of first place in the American League Central if the Royals could win Thursday night against the White Sox. Similarly, a Red Sox loss Thursday night would have thrust the Yankees into a first-place tie in the AL East.

All this sounded impossible a week and a half ago when the Yankees seemed adrift with an abundance of hitting, pitching and fielding lapses. They started the trip with a woeful 2-4 record and come home with a strapping 9-7 mark.

Granted, they ran into a Tampa Bay club that is already heavily laden with injuries, but the Detroit team the Yankees faced has one of the most ferocious lineups in the game and yet was held to nine runs in four games, an average of 2.3 runs per game by the Tigers, who began the series averaging 6.4 runs per game.

The Yankees’ 13-4 victory Wednesday night when they jumped on former AL Cy Young Award winner David Price for six runs in the first inning contained more runs by them than the Tigers scored in the entire series. Former two-time AL Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera was tamed with a 2-for-13 showing.

The Yankees followed that blowout with a tight pitching duel in Thursday’s frosty Comerica Park (33 degrees at first pitch) between Masahiro Tanaka and Anibal Sanchez. Neither was involved in the decison as the score was 1-1 in the seventh inning, the last for each starter.

Tanaka gave up a first-inning run on a sacrifice fly by Victor Martinez and held the Tigers to two hits, both doubles by J.D. Martinez, one out into the seventh with two walks and six strikeouts. The Yankees’ offense wasn’t much better. They had merely three hits. Their runs, both scored by Jacoby Ellsbury, came on a balk by Sanchez and an infield out.

The winning decision went to Dellin Betances (3-0), who snuffed out a rally in the seventh with two critical outs and added a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts. Andrew Miller followed with a  no-hit, two-strikeout ninth inning to go 6-for-6 in saves.

Behind the pitchers was outstanding defense from a team that made 11 errors over its first eight games. The Yankees in their past eight games have committed only one error. Third baseman Chase Headley made two sparkling, back-handed plays that robbed hits and in one case in the seventh inning saved a run.

Playing a day game gave the Yankees the opportunity to get back home the same evening and not in the wee hours of the following morning, so they could enjoy a deserved night of rest before the job ahead of them against their resurgent neighbors from Queens.

All Yanks join Ellsbury in hit parade

No sooner had Jacoby Ellsbury reached first base with a leadoff single in the third inning Wednesday night at Detroit that I said to myself, “Anyone else on this team want to help this guy?”

Ellsbury had accounted for both Yankees runs in Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss with solo home runs and opened Wednesday’s game with a single and a stolen base but was stranded at second base.

I do not claim any penchant for mental telepathy, but I may have transmitted something across to the rest of the Yankees because all they did an entire turn through the batting order that inning was follow Ellsbury’s lead and reach base with hits.

It was a manager’s absolute dream as Joe Girardi watched each player he placed in the lineup knock his way on base. Ellsbury’s speed got him a second steal as he outran a pickoff. Derek Jeter brought him home with a double as the parade began, followed by a single by Martin Prado, a double by Mark Teixeira and singles by Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli. Not only did the Yankees get nine hits in a row but also eight straight with runners in scoring position, which in some cases this year has been a series worth of clutch hits.

And that was no tomato can on the mound off of whom the Yankees got nine consecutive hits, two shy of the Rockies’ major league mark against the Cubs in 2010. The Detroit starter was none other than 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner David Price, who entered the game with a 10-5 career record against the Yankees.

Price never did get an out that inning. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus yanked him for another lefthander, Blaine Hardy, who gave up two more runs on sacrifice flies by Ellsbury and Jeter as the Yankees swelled their lead to 8-0.

Remember how excited the Yankees were Monday night when they scored eight runs against the Royals with James Shields starting? Well, this time they scored that many runs in just one inning.

Ellsbury certainly looks comfortable back in the leadoff spot where he batted most often in his years with the Red Sox. Girardi has had to use him in the 3-hole much of this year because of the inconsistency and injuries to Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran.

Usual leadoff man Gardner was out the first two games of the trip because of a right ankle bruise. He was back Wednesday night but dropped to the 8-hole because of his career problems against Price (2-for-20 entering play).

With two hits, two stolen bases and an RBI over his first three plate appearances, Ellsbury definitely was a table setter. Yet for a change he had plenty of support.

As appreciative as Girardi for all this offense was Yanks starter Shane Greene, who did not give up a hit or a run until the fourth inning. The righthander did not pitch as it he had a huge lead but rather as if the score was close, the best approach for a pitcher to take.

Green gave up two runs, five hits and one walk with a hit batter and eight strikeouts in seven innings to remain undefeated in eight starts since July 21 and improve his record to 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA.

The big-inning victory also did the Yanks quite a bit of good in the standings. They picked up a game on the Orioles in the American League East and now trail by six and sliced a game off the deficit for the second wild card spot to 2 1/2 games behind the Mariners and two behind the Tigers.

Victory vs. Tigers still eludes Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda was hoping to make history Tuesday night in his start against the Tigers and 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner David Price. Detroit is the only team in the major leagues against whom Kuroda does not have a victory. With a defeat of the Tigers, Kuroda could have joined 13 other pitchers who have beaten all 30 big-league clubs.

For a while there, it appeared as if Kuroda would do just that. After giving up a first-inning run on a sacrifice fly by Victor Martinez, Kuroda set down 13 hitters in a row and watched his teammates take the lead on home runs by Brian McCann and Martin Prado and a two-out, RBI double by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Home runs off Price are nothing new. He entered the game tied for the most homers allowed in the AL with 20. Both bombs were solos, however, so the Tigers remained within striking distance. Detroit cut the deficit to 3-2 on a leadoff home run in the seventh by shortstop Andrew Romine, brother of Yankees farmhand Austin Romine.

Kuroda ended up being hurt by the over-shift defensive alignment that has been in vogue this year. Leading off the seventh inning of a one-run game, Victor Martinez hit a soft grounder to the left side where no one was stationed to field it. A weak dribbler became a leadoff single.

Kuroda almost got out of the inning. He retired Torii Hunter on an infield pop and J.D. Martinez on a fly to center. Nick Castellanos kept the inning alive with a single to center. Alex Avila followed with a single to right field that tied the score.

That was Kuroda’s last inning, so he was hung with a no-decision and is still without a career victory against Detroit. The Yanks have another series against the Tigers Aug. 26-28 at Comerica Park, which if his turn comes up would be Kuroda’s last chance to beat them.

Just for the record, the 13 pitchers who have defeated every club are former Yankees hurlers Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, Terry Mulholland, Randy Johnson, Javier Vazquez, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett, plus Curt Schilling, Woody Williams, Jamie Moyer, Barry Zito, Vicente Padilla and Dan Haren.

Another former Yankees pitcher made a return appearance at the Stadium Tuesday night. Joba Chamberlain, once a near cult figure with Yankees fans and now a setup man for the Tigers, relieved Price with two out in the ninth inning and a runner on first base to face Prado, whom he struck out as the game went into extra innings. Chamberlain was barely recognizable with a thick, black beard, which would have never passed muster with the Yankees’ grooming policy.

When a sacrifice isn’t called for

You have to question Brett Gardner’s thinking in the third inning Tuesday night. Light-hitting Brendan Ryan had just led off with a rare extra-base hit, a booming double to left field, and was out there in scoring position for Gardner, the Yankees’ hottest hitter and winner of American League Player of the Week honors for last week.

So what goes Gardy do? Lays one down. That’s right. He drops down a sacrifice bunt to push Ryan to third base. Huh? I have never liked that play unless the batter is a pitcher. You have a runner with good wheels already in scoring position with none out. Why not try to knock the runner in yourself? And if you make an out by at least hitting the ball to the right side the runner will advance anyway.

The play really looked bad when the next batter, Derek Jeter, hit a squibbing grounder to second base against a tight infield for the second out with Ryan having to hold third. Jacoby Ellsbury saved the inning for the Yankees with a liner down the left field line for a double to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

After giving up a run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Victor Martinez, Hiroki Kuroda settled down over the next few innings and the Yankees drew even against David Price in the second on Brian McCann’s 12th home run.

Yanks go Cy, Cy, Cy for third time

The Yankees are amid a stretch of facing three former Cy Young Award winners in a row. They faced the Tigers’ Max Scherzer Monday night (and beat him, 2-1), were paired against David Price Tuesday night and are scheduled against Justin Verlander Wednesday night.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this marks third time in franchise history that the Yankees have faced former Cy Young-winning starting pitchers in three consecutive games. The most recent period was June 8-10, 2001 when they went 1-2 against the Braves’ Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux. They also went 1-2 spanning the All-Star break in 1999, losing July 11 at Shea Stadium to the Mets’ Orel Hershiser, then going 1-1 July 15-16 against Atlanta’s Glavine and Maddux at Yankee Stadium.

Each of the Yankees’ last 15 games has been decided by two or fewer runs. They are 9-6 over that stretch. According to Elias, it is the club’s longest such streak of games with a final margin of no more than two runs. The previous high was 12 straight games by the old Highlanders from Sept. 10-20, 1904. Elias also noted that it is the longest such streak in the majors since a 16-game run by the 1975 Orioles in 1975. At 37-25 (.597), the Yankees have the majors’ best record in games decided by two or fewer runs.

The Nationals claimed left-handed reliever Matt Thornton off waivers from the Yankees. Thornton, who was 0-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 46 games totaling 24 2/3 innings, could have been taken back by the Yankees, but by letting him go they free up some $4 million for next year’s payroll. The Yankees recalled lefthander Rich Hill from Triple A Scranton to take Thornton’s place. Manager Joe Girardi said that lefthander David Huff and Hill will inherit Thornton’s lefty specialist role.

McCarthy stays on a roll

Brandon McCarthy continued his effectiveness in his brief time with the Yankees with 5 2/3 solid innings Monday night in a 2-1 victory over the Tigers. Paired against last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer, McCarthy out-dueled him into the sixth inning.

The only run off McCarthy was not earned because of a throwing error by third baseman Marty Prado in the fifth inning that put Tigers shortstop Eugenio Suarez on first base. After stealing second base, Suarez scored on a single by Ian Kinsler.

Otherwise, McCarthy was brilliant. He worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second inning with strikeouts of Alex Avila and Suarez and finished with eight strikeouts overall. The righthander allowed five hits and two walks and lowered his ERA with the Yankees to 2.08 to go with a 4-0 record. What an improvement over the 5.01 ERA he had with the Diamondbacks to go with a 3-10 record.

Returning the cut fastball to his arsenal has rejuvenated McCarthy, that and an improved Yankees infield defense. Ground-ball pitchers love it when the infielders are reliable, even at unfamiliar positions, which Chase Headley at first base after Mark Teixeira was a late scratch due to light-headedness.

“I told Headley I might use him at first base when Tex needed a day off,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t think I’d be telling him that at 6:15, however.”

Girardi has been overjoyed about McCarthy. “He has been huge for the rotation,” the skipper said. “Every start for us has beenb good. He used his curveball really well tonight, more than he has since he has been here. He got a lot of outs with that pitch.”

For his part, Scherzer relied on his defense as well, particularly center fielder Ezequiel Carrera, who is getting a shot following the departure of Austin Jackson to Seattle in the three-team trade that brought David Price to Detroit from Tampa Bay. The Yankees will get Price on their menu Tuesday night.

Carrera’s diving, belly-flop catch in the third inning on the warning track of a drive by Jacoby Ellsbury became a long sacrifice fly instead of a game-breaking, extra-base hit. Brian McCann singled in the second run of that inning.

“That was an unbelievable play,” Girardi said of Carrera. “It kept this a really, really close game. Our guys put good at-bats against Scherzer.”

Poor base running by Prado cost the Yankees a run in the fourth. Brett Gardner got in a rundown between first and second so that Prada could try to score from third base, but he did not move and Gardy was tagged out to end the threat. Scherzer pitched through the seventh but left with the Tigers trailing by a run. Detroit would never find that run, thanks to efficient relief by Matt Thornton, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley and David Robertson (30th save).

Yankees mired in mediocrity

So after 82 games, the Yankees have reached the level of mediocrity. Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Rays put the Yankees’ record at 42-42. Another lackluster offensive showing wasted a strong start by Hiroki Kuroda and resulted in the Yanks’ fourth straight loss.

The Yankees’ only run came on a throwing error by the versatile Ben Zobrist, who is playing shortstop these days instead of second base or the outfield because Yunel Escobar is on the disabled list. After that, Jacoby Ellsbury stole second but was stranded as Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran flied out and Alfonso Soriano struck out.

Kuroda pitched well enough to win. He scattered nine hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in eight innings. The Rays bunched three singles for a run in the fourth inning. James Loney led off the sixth with his fifth home run for what proved the winning run.

In the bottom of that inning, Derek Jeter singled and stole second, but the Yankees couldn’t get him home. Ellsbury was called out on strikes. After a walk to Teixeira, Beltran flied out and Soriano looked at a third strike.

In the ninth, Grant Balfour, who has been a bust as a closer (5.34 ERA), walked two batters but escaped danger when Yangervis Solarte grounded out to end the game.

The Yankees had 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Rays weren’t much better (1-for-8), but Tampa Bay is a last-place club that is 12 games under .500. Former Cy Young Award winner David Price had his streak of consecutive double-digit strikeout games end at five but still had nine punchouts, the most he ever totaled in a game against the Yankees. Price raised his career record against them to 10-5 with a 3.81 ERA, including 6-2 with a 3.67 ERA at Yankee Stadium.

Wednesday’s series finale marks the end of five consecutive sets against American League East competition for the Yankees, who got off to a great start when they swept first-place Toronto, but they have not won a series since. They lost two of three to the Blue Jays in a return engagement at Toronto, two of three to the Orioles, two of three to the Red Sox and the first two games of this series to the Rays. They have gone from 3-0 to 6-8 in this stretch.

Fortunately for the Yankees, mediocrity seems to have hit the entire division. Despite the recent downturn, the Yankees are only 3 1/2 games out of first place. Checking the standings in the other divisions, it would appear that the Yanks would have to win the division in order to make the playoffs because four other clubs are well ahead of them for the two wild card berths. There are 80 games remaining on the schedule, however, plenty of time for the Yankees to change direction, which clearly they must to return to serious contention.

Yanks’ bats atone for early mistakes

When a team is struggling offensively as the Yankees have throughout this homestand it can afford precious few mistakes. The Yankees were guilty on that count Friday night and lost the chance to pin David Price on the ropes.

The Yankees had to wait until Price was out of the game to blast their way back into it. Back-to-back home runs by Mark Teixeira (No. 4) and Alfonso Soriano (No. 5) in the eighth inning off righthander Joel Peralta made it a new ballgame and rejuvenated a relatively stagnant Yanks offense.

Vidal Nuno, who has replaced Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery on his right shoulder) in the rotation, hurt himself with a wild pitch in the second inning that allowed Sean Rodriguez, who had doubled with one out, to cross to third base. It permitted Rodriguez to score on an infield single by James Loney. Yankees left fielder Alfonso Soriano contributed to that run since he made a circular track of Rodriguez’s liner to left-center for that double.

After the Yankees went ahead, 2-1, in the second on Brian McCann’s two-run home run off Price, his second in six career at-bats against the lefthander, Nuno let the Rays regain the lead with his own wildness that compounded another defensive lapse.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who has played a splendid center field in his first year with the Yankees, lost Evan Longoria’s drive to right-center in the lights that should have been the second out of the inning but instead became a triple. Wil Myers tied the score moments later with a single to left.

Nuno walked the next two batters, which loaded the bases, and the Rays made it 3-2 on a sacrifice fly by .154-batting Logan Forsythe. Nuno failed to get through the fifth as Desmond Jennings drove an 0-1 pitch to the opposite field for his third home run of the season.

Price, who has been battered a bit in the early going (4.75 ERA entering play), settled down once the Rays were back on top. The 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, pitched scoreless ball after the McCann home run through the seventh with eight strikeouts. The Yankees were very happy to see him out of the game at that point.

Hunch on McCann pays off for Girardi

Yankees manager Joe Girardi had a hunch, and it paid off in the first inning Friday night. The skipper planned to give Brian McCann, the Yankees’ left-handed batting catcher, a game off against Rays lefthander David Price, until he noticed something on the statistical information he was studying.

Although it was a small sample size, Girardi saw that McCann had a .600 career batting average against Price. It was based on 3-for-5 with a home run. While Girardi gave backup catcher John Ryan Murphy a start to get McCann from out behind the plate the night before a day game, the manager decided to use McCann as the designated hitter instead.

McCann had been slumping lately as were many of the Yankees. He had only one hit in his previous 15 at-bats going into the opener of the three-game set against Tampa Bay. Girardi’s crystal ball was clear this time as McCann turned around a 94-mph fastball on a 3-1 count from Price for his fourth home run and a 2-1 Yankees lead in the second inning.

It was decidedly a Yankee Stadium home run as it landed just over the auxiliary scoreboard, a target that Yankees fans hope will become familiar to McCann, whose power in the National League was muted somewhat by the less friendly dimensions at Atlanta’s Turner Field, his former home turf.

Price has been bitten by the gopher ball this year. McCann’s home run was the eighth allowed by Price this year in 43 innings.

Yanks make Price pay this time

David Price usually has the edge over CC Sabathia whenever the former American League Cy Young Award winners face each other, but that was not the case Thursday night. The Yankees punished Price for past losses and gave Sabathia all the offense a pitcher could want in a 10-2 victory.

Price lasted only five innings and was mugged for 10 hits — six for extra bases — as the Yankees hit for the cycle against him. There were doubles by Scott Sizemore, Yangervis Solarte, Brian Roberts and Derek Jeter, triples by Roberts and Jacoby Ellsbury and home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Brian McCann to send Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, to his first loss of the season.

Price entered the game with a 6-1 record and 2.41 ERA in his pairings with Sabathia. That ERA climbed to 3.06 after the Yankees banged him around this time. It was also the first time since he won the AL Cy Young Award in 2012 that Price lost a game against a former Cy Young winner. He had defeated R.A. Dickey twice and Tim Lincecum and Sabathia once apiece prior to Thursday night’s loss.

Sabathia, the AL Cy Young Award winner with the Indians in 2007, stayed out of the one big, bad inning that had characterized earlier starts. His teammates in the infield kept a potential big inning from developing in the second by pulling off a triple play.

The Rays’ first run off Sabathia was not earned due to a passed ball by Brian McCann. CC gave up a home run to Sean Rodriguez leading off the seventh, which turned out to be the big lefthander’s last inning. He scattered six other hits, walked two and struck out six to even his 2014 record at 2-2.

CC has had a tough go of it against Tampa Bay. Thursday night’s victory improved his career mark against the Rays to 12-13 and 4-8 at Tropicana Field. Since joining the Yankees, Sabathia’s record against the Rays is 5-12.

The Yankees’ fifth straight victory followed Wednesday’s sweep of a split-admission doubleheader in which they blanked the Cubs, 3-0 and 2-0, the first time in 26 years that a major-league club won both ends of a twin bill by shutouts since the Twins won, 11-0 and 5-0, May 6, 1988 at Oakland. The previous time the Yankees did it was April 19, 1987 over the Royals, 5-0 and 1-0.

Solarte had another big night, climaxed by his first major-league home run, off Grant Balfour in the ninth inning. Solarte also doubled and singled and started the triple play.

Roberts, who entered the game mired in a 1-for-25 slump and having missed three games with back issues, had a triple, a double and a single and drove in two runs. Soriano also had three hits with Ellsbury, Jeter and McCann adding two apiece in the 16-hit onslaught.