Results tagged ‘ Eric Hosmer ’

Yanks homers give Chapman a chance to close

Yankees fans got their first look at Aroldis Chapman in pinstripes Monday night. The lefthander was everything as advertised with gun readings in triple figures, but there was some rust as well befitting a pitcher who sat out a 30-day suspension at the start of the season for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.

Of the 17 pitches Chapman threw in the ninth inning, six were 100 miles per hour or faster — four topped out at 101 and the other two were at 100. After quick strikeouts of the first two batters of the inning, pinch hitter Paulo Orlando ripped a double to center field on what at 90 mph was probably a changeup.

That was impressive for Orlando, who was on the bench all night and then was told to go up and try to hit a guy throwing 100 mph regularly. Alcides Escobar followed with a sharply-struck single past Didi Gregorius at shortstop to drive in Orlando before Lorenzo Cain was out on a pepper shot to Chapman.

In the 6-3 victory, the Yankees figured out a way to solve their dilemma of hitting with runners in scoring position — just come up with no one on base let alone in scoring position and hit the ball over the fence.

That approach worked very well against Royals righthander Chris Young, not the former Yankees outfielder but the journeyman pitcher who was one of Kansas City’s World Series heroes last year. The Yanks bashed five solo home runs off Young in 2 2/3 innings.

Brian McCann began the assault with two out in the first inning. After the Royals tied the score in the second on a homer by Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran led off the bottom of the inning by taking Young deep. Beltran was just getting started it seemed.

Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks started things off in the third with bombs to right field. Two outs later, Beltran connected again for his 38th multi-homer game (all but one are two-homer games). That marked the first three-homer inning for the Yankees since May 25 last year, also against KC and Jeremy Guthrie, by Gardner, McCann and Chase Headley.

That was it for Young, who tied a dubious franchise record for home runs allowed in a single appearance and departed the game with a swollen 6.68 ERA. Such an outing did not bode well for the defending World Series champs because they have had just as hard time as the Yankees scoring runs this year. KC entered play with only one more run scored than the Bombers.

The Royals might have been better off starting Dillon Gee, who gave up only one run on a sacrifice fly by Hicks in 5 1/3 innings.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hoping Ivan Nova, starting in place of disabled pitcher CC Sabathia, could give the Yankees at least 75 pitches. Nova did even better than that (81 pitches), but his own error probably cost him a shot at a winning decision.

Nova missed the bag taking a throw from Mark Teixeira while covering first base on a grounder by Escobar and lost a precious out. When left-handed Eric Hosmer came to the plate with two down in the fifth, Girardi brought in lefthander Phil Coke to face the Royals first baseman who flied out to the left field warning track. Failing to pitch a full five innings to qualify for a victory, Nova was hung with a no-decision despite a first-rate effort.

The victory went to Kirby Yates (2-0), who pitched scoreless, one-hit ball for 1 2/3 innings. It was also a big night for rookie Ben Gamel, who singled in his first major-league plate appearance in the eighth.

The Yankees finished the game 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, but they enjoyed their new formula for scoring.

1st-inning fade costs Yanks and CC

It really came down to the first inning. The Yankees had a potential big inning going against Royals righthander James Shields, a pitcher they repeatedly roughed up over the years in his time with the Rays.

A bunt single by Brett Gardner followed by single by Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead before an out was made. After Travis Hafner struck out for the first of three times in the game, Zoilo Almonte singled to right field to load the bases. Third base coach Rob Thompson was smart to hold up Ichiro at third because right fielder David Lough got to the ball quickly.

With two outs, it is a different story for the third base coach. It is hard to get successive, two-out hits. But with one out, the assumption is that someone down the line can keep the rally going. It did not happen as Lyle Overbay struck out and Eduardo Nunez flied out to center.

“You think you’re going to get more than one run in that situation,” manager Joe Girardi said.

That one run was all CC Sabathia had to work with all game. He held the lead through the fifth working on a one-hit shutout. Then the Royals stung him with something the Yankees have sorely lacked recently – extra-base hits. Leadoff home runs by Lough in the sixth and Billy Butler in the seventh and back-to-back, one-out doubles by Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer in the eighth turned the game around in Kansas City’s favor, 3-1. Sabathia’s 37th career complete game was a loss, the ninth such result of his career and the first since July 21, 2011 at Tampa Bay.

“It doesn’t matter how many runs you give up; a loss is a loss,” Sabathia said. “It’s frustrating. We’ve lost a lot of guys [to injury], but the guys in here have done a great job to keep us in this thing until the others come back.”

Those extra-base hits for the Royals really stuck out on a night when the Yankees hit nothing but singles again, six of them in all with four coming in the first inning. The Yanks scored one run for the third consecutive game, and 34 of their past 37 hits have been singles.

They had let Shields off the hook, and he got into a groove after that. Double plays came to his aid in the second and third innings before he retired the Yankees in order through the seventh as he registered 14 consecutive outs. Shields improved his career record against the Yankees to 8-15 with a 4.34 ERA and 3-9 with a 4.98 ERA in 14 starts at Yankee Stadium. He had not won in the Bronx since May 20, 2010.

Girardi continued to express support for a group that has been offensively challenged for quite some time.

“I never forget how hard it is to play this game,” he said. “There is no lack of effort. I said from the beginning of the season that we are going to have to win close games. Asking about trading for players is asking me to put down the guys in that room. I will never do that. We have to play the brand of ball we are capable of playing. I feel like these guys can get the job done. I’ll always believe in them.”

Yanks’ clutch hitting needs to improve

The Yankees can’t say they didn’t have their chances. A season-long problem of hitting in the clutch, particularly against opponents’ bullpens, plagued them throughout Wednesday night’s 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Royals.

On a night when they got a one-hit effort from starter A.J. Burnett over the first seven innings, the Yankees couldn’t get a lead of more than one run, leaving them vulnerable to a Kansas City comeback, which occurred in the eighth when a two-out single by former Yankees utility player Wilson Betemit knocked in the tying run.

Inning after inning, the Yankees squandered scoring opportunities. Twice they left the bases loaded, and in three other innings they stranded two runners. They were forced into extras by a Royals team that had only two hits through nine innings while the Yankees had 11.

The Yankees left 14 runners on base and had only one hit in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position in regulation play. The Royals weren’t much better (1-for-9, 8 left on), but were good enough to stay even with the Yankees despite the large discrepancy in hit totals.

The second inning looked especially promising for the Yankees when Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada strung together singles with none out, but the rally gagged after that. Curtis Granderson’s 12th home run gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the third but was offset by Eric Hosmer’s first major-league homer, an impressive blast by the former No. 1 draft choice into the second deck in right field in the fourth.

Each side scored in the 10th, but it only prolonged the agony for the Yankees. Hosmer struck again in the 11th with a sacrifice fly that scored .220-hitting Chris Getz, who opened the inning with a walk off losing pitcher Buddy Carlyle. Yankees pitchers allowed 11 walks, which helped fortify the Royals, who finished with four runs and four hits to the Yanks’ three runs and 12 hits, 10 of which occurred in non-RBI situations.

Granderson’s two-out, run-scoring single in the 10th was only the Yankees’ second hit in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position. For the season, they are batting .236 in those situations. Needless to say, this must improve.

Smilin’ Yanks tame Royals

Freddy Garcia climbed back onto the bike Tuesday night after bumpy outings in his two previous starts. The righthander some help from his defense, not to mention some over-aggressive base running by the Royals.

The Yankees were aware Kansas City likes to run (44 stolen bases), which became evident right away when Chris Getz swiped third base with two outs in the first inning. Garcia stranded him there by retiring Billy Butler on a ground ball to shortstop.

The Royals ran themselves out of a potential rally in the third inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Matt Treanor, Garcia made a nice play to glove a sacrifice attempt by Alcides Escobar. Treanor, a catcher, wandered off first base and was thrown out trying to steal second by Garcia. Getz reached base with two out and also was gunned down trying to advance on a ball in the dirt but Russell Martin recovered nicely to get an out at second base.

Melky Cabrera’s home run off a 2-0 pitch leading off the fourth ensured that a Royals player would navigate his way around the bases without incident and tied the game at 1. Garcia gave up back-to-back, one-out singles to Mike Aviles and Treanor in the fifth but escaped damage with a strikeout looking of Escobar and then watched right fielder Nick Swisher skid across the grass to make a run-saving grab of a low liner by Getz.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi allowed Garcia to start the seventh (he had pitched into the eighth his last time out), but after Jeff Francoeur singled and Eric Hosmer walked made the move to the bullpen. David Robertson retired Aviles on a routine fly ball but walked Treanor to fill the bases. After a conference on the mound with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Robertson came back to strike out Escobar and Getz.

It was a key moment for the Yankees because usual eighth-inning reliever Rafael Soriano was not available because of a sore right elbow. He met with team physician Chris Ahmad before the game and is scheduled for an MRI Wednesday.

Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera finished off the 3-1 victory rather nicely to guarantee that Garcia, who lowered his ERA to 2.61, would even his record at 2-2. He has been a terrific addition to the staff. And before you get the idea that the Royals were some kind of pushovers out there, consider that they went into the game with a team batting average 15 points higher than the Yankees’.

This one finished with smiles all around, especially after Rivera made a Gold Glove stop of a hard grounder by Aviles and started a game-ending double play. Mo’s grin was particularly ear-to-ear as he notched his 13th save.

There were smiles, too, for Derek Jeter, who had his third straight multi-hit game and knocked in the Yankees’ first run with a two-out single in the third, and Alex Rodriguez, who unlocked a 1-1 score with a bases-loaded single in the fifth, also after two were out. After going eight games without driving in a run, A-Rod has three RBI in the past two games.