Results tagged ‘ Ezequiel Carrera ’

Late-inning bullpen breakdown strikes Yanks again

The situation had reached the level that just scoring a run would be considered a moral victory for the Yankees. At this stage of the season, however, they need more than moral victories. They need out-and-out Ws, yet another late-inning breakdown Sunday on a trip that has turned into a train wreck stretched their losing streak to four games and dumped them 5 1/2 games out of the second American League wild card position.

The Yankees, who had been shut out in their previous three games, ended a 33-inning drought in the seventh Sunday at Toronto when Didi Gregorius belted his 19th home run of the season that tied the score at 1.

Jose Bautista, who had homered off Michael Pineda in the fourth inning, struck again in the eighth, another damaging inning for Dellin Betances in recent appearances. A leadoff walk to Josh Donaldson proved critical, particularly since Betances’ long stride to the plate makes him vulnerable to stolen bases. Last year’s AL Most Valuable Player wasted no time swapping second and then got to third on a risky crossing on a slow ground ball to the left of second base by Edwin Encarnacion.

That brought up Bautista, who lined a single to center that put the Jays ahead once more. Dalton Pompey ran for Bautista, and he stole second base as well with two out by taking advantage of another Betances shortcoming, throwing to bases. Betances stepped off the rubber as Pompey broke for second but instead of running directly at Pompey the reliever made one step toward the runner and tossed the ball behind him, to first baseman Mark Teixeira, who had no chance to keep Pompey from stealing second.

The steal did not result in a run as. Betances struck out Troy Tulowitzki, but that play explained why manager Joe Girardi had to pull Betances from the game when he began the bottom of the ninth with another walk, this time to Melvin Upton Jr., losing him after being ahead 0-2 in the count.

At that point, Betances was protecting the Yankees’ first lead in 36 innings. Blue Jays closer Jose Osuna blew the chance for his 36th save and was done in on three two-strike singles and a sacrifice fly. Osuna was ahead in the count 1-2 to Teixeira, 0-2 to pinch hitter Billy Butler and 1-2 to Mason Williams and gave up hits to all three. Ronald Torreyes put the Yankees ahead with his fly ball to right-center.

So Betances had a chance at a winning decision in the ninth, which has been his inning since Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller were traded, but the 6-foot-7 righthander has been shaky the past nine days with only one save against a blown save and two losses.

The walk to Upton whom Girardi thought Betances had struck out during the at-bat promoted the manager to make a move. Girardi simply could not allow Upton, a speedy runner, an easy path to second base with Betances on the mound. The skipper called on Tyler Clippard, who ended up losing the game for the second day in a row.

After failing to get down a sacrifice bunt on two tries, Kevin Pillar punched a single to right field that sent Upton to third base. More successful at bunting was Ezequiel Carrera, the 9-hole hitter, on a safety squeeze that worked with Upton crossing the plate.

Clippard worsened matters with a shovel pass in an attempt to get Upton that eluded catcher Gary Sanchez that put the trail runners on second and third. It also forced the Yanks to walk Donaldson intentionally to create a double-play situation with Encarnacion, who showed why he is leading the league in RBI with a bouncer to the right side for the game-winning single.

The 4-3 loss was as deflating as the Yankees have had all year, and they have had several just on this trip, which ends Monday night, in which they have lost eight of 10 games and may have removed themselves from serious contention. They are 5 1/2 games behind the Orioles for a playoff berth and also trail the Tigers by four games, the Mariners by three and the Astros by 2 1/2. The Yankees have even put themselves within catching distance of the Royals, who are only a half-game behind them.

W’s continue to elude CC

If nothing else, CC Sabathia gave the Yankees length Wednesday night. Other than that, quite frankly, there was nothing else.

Sabathia pitched one out into the seventh inning, but once again he came up empty, even against longtime Yankees patsy Mark Buerhrle. The Yankees have not given Sabathia much run support this year, and while manager Joe Girardi claims CC could have two or three victories by now that 5.45 ERA says otherwise. It has gotten to the point that the Yankees need to score six runs for CC to win a game. True. It can happen. Look at Buerhle. His record is 4-2 despite a 6.00 ERA.

Toronto leads the league in runs scored, and the Blue Jays had their hitting cleats on again with 12 knocks in a 5-1 victory that ended several streaks. The big one from the Jays’ point of view was the 12-game losing streak Buehrle had going against the Yankees over the past 11 seasons. The lefthander allowed one run over five innings and is now 2-12 in his career against them.

The big one from the Yankees’ point of view was that of five straight winning series by dropping two of three in Toronto. It was still a good trip overall at 4-2 but somewhat dissatisfying because the Yankees were 3-0 at one point leaving Boston. They kept their hold on first place for the 14th straight day since April 23.

Another streak stopped was the lossless stretch by the rotation as Sabathia became the first Yankees starter to suffer a losing decision since he was beaten by the Mets April 25 10 games ago. The rotation had been 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in the past seven starts since Masahiro Tanaka went on the disabled list.

Sabathia’s record now stands at 0-5 as he has gone winless for 13 months. The lefthander took the mound with a 1-0 lead, but he gave it up in the second inning by hanging a breaking ball to 9-hole hitter Ezequiel Carrera, who grounded a two-run single to right field.

A balk by Sabathia in the fourth inning led directly to another run on a single by Chris Colabello, the Triple A Buffalo call-up who had four hits Wednesday night and was 6-for-8 in the series.

Russell Martin, a one-time batterymate of Sabathia, had an even more productive series against his former team. He homered in the seventh inning in his second straight 3-for-4 game. Martin also had the game-winning hit as a pinch hitter Monday night. He was 7-for-9 in the series with two doubles, two home runs and three RBI. Martin, who also scored three runs and stole a base, entered the series batting .227 and finished it hitting .286.

The only positive streak that continued for the Yankees was that of Jacoby Ellsbury (1-for-4), who has hit in nine straight games. Infielder Jose Pirela, who sustained a concussion in spring training, was activated and doubled and singled his first two times up. Pirela took the place of fellow infielder Gregorio Petit, who was placed on the DL because of a bruised right hand, a result of being hit by a pitch Tuesday night.

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).