Results tagged ‘ Gold Glove ’

Yanks to honor Teixeira before regular-season finale

The Yankees will honor Mark Teixeira in a ceremony prior to their 3:05 p.m. game Sunday, Oct. 2, against the Orioles. Teixeira, 36, will retire as a player at the end of the 2016 season.

He joined the Yankees as a free agent Jan. 6, 2009 when he signed an eight-year contract. In that time, Teixeira has batted .248 with 530 runs, 183 doubles, five triples, 203 home runs, 615 RBI, 472 walks, a .343 on-base percentage and .820 OPS in 948 regular-season games and 3,494 at-bats. The Yankees’ record during Tex’s tenure is 542-406 (.572).

With the Yankees, he earned three Gold Gloves (2009-10, ’12) and a Silver Slugger (2009), and was named to two American League All-Star teams (2009, ’15). As part of the Yankees’ World Series-winning team in 2009, Teixeira finished second in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting. He led the AL with 122 RBI (including a league-leading 31 go-ahead RBI) and tied for the league lead with 39 home runs. He also hit an 11th-inning “walk-off” home run to win Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the Twins.

In franchise history, Teixeira is tied with Roger Maris for 15th place in home runs, trailing only Lou Gehrig (493), Don Mattingly (222) and Jason Giambi (209) among players whose primary position was first base. Along with Maris, Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez, Tex was one of four Yankees all-time to hit at least 30 home runs in each of his first three seasons with the club.

Originally drafted by Texas as the fifth overall pick of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Teixeira has played 14 seasons in the majors with the Rangers (2003-07), Braves (2007-08), Angels (2008) and Yankees (2009-present) and batted .268 with 1,096 runs, 406 doubles, 18 triples, 406 home runs, 1,291 RBI, 914 walks, a .360 on-base percentage and an .869 OPS in 1,852 games and 6,908 at-bats. He is a three-time All-Star (also 2005), five-time Gold Glove winner (also 2005-06) and three-time Silver Slugger winner (also 2004-05).

Only four switch-hitters in baseball history have more home runs than Teixeira (Mickey Mantle-536, Eddie Murray-504, Chipper Jones-468 and former teammate Carlos Beltran-419) and only four players have more home runs since his debut in 2003 (Albert Pujols-519, David Ortiz-479, Miguel Cabrera-441, Adam Dunn-417).

A Maryland native who now lives on Greenwich, Conn., Teixeira has been actively involved in charitable endeavors throughout his career, including participation on the Board of Directors of Harlem RBI, supporting a scholarship fund at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, and creating a scholarship at his high school, Mt. St. Joseph, in the name of his friend Nick Liberatore, who passed away in a car accident while the two were in school together.

Teixeira not tempted to change his mind

Could a game like Sunday’s give Mark Teixeira second thoughts about retiring?

Nope.

The first baseman reiterated his stance from last week that he will step away from the game as a player at the end of the season.

“I love playing first base, but every year it gets tougher and tougher,” Teixeira said after the Yankees’ 3-2 victory over the Indians. “I only have a few of those [games] left.”

Perhaps it is his conscience being eased at making what he feels is the right decision, but Teixeira has appeared more comfortable in recent days than he has in recent years. Sunday, he was a central figure in a victory that unfortunately took second fiddle to the other slice of news, that Alex Rodriguez will end his playing career after Friday’s game when the Yankees return to Yankee Stadium for a weekend series against the Rays following a brief trip to Boston.

Teixeira drove in what proved the deciding run with an opposite-field double to left batting left-handed in the fifth inning. A more startling contribution came in the seventh when he beat speedy Francisco Lindor to first base with both sliding into the bag for the final out that prevented the Tribe from tying the score.

The Indians scored their first run in that inning and had runners on first and second with two out when Lindor hit a smoking grounder down the first base line. Teixeira gobbled it up, but reliever Adam Warren broke late for the bag and could not cover in time to beat Lindor. That was left to Teixeira, who got to his feet, hastened to the bag and then dived for it with his glove extended that hit the base seconds before the outstretched hand of an equalling diving Lindor.

“The first thing on a play like that is to make sure the ball doesn’t get down the line,” Teixeira said. “It would be two runs if that happens. I was hoping to flip it to Adam, but he wasn’t there. I knew I would have to dive because Lindor was coming down the line at full steam while I was starting from scratch.”

It was the type of play that demonstrated why Teixeira won three Gold Gloves for fielding during his exemplary career. The Indians made it a one-run game with a run in the eighth on a wild pitch by Dellin Betances, who atoned for that by earning his second save.

Masahiro Tanaka (8-4) pitched into the seventh and allowed six hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in what manager Joe Girardi called his best game of the season. “To shut down a team that beat him up badly the last time out was impressive,” Girardi said.

Brett Gardner opened the game for the Yankees with a triple off Carlos Carrasco (7-6) and scored on a sacrifice fly. Gardy tied Jake for the team lead with five triples, including three in his past six games. It was Gardner’s third leadoff triple this year, all in the past 18 games. No other major league team has more than two.

Didi Gregorius made the score 2-0 in the fourth with his 13th home run to put a nice touch on Didi Gregorius Bobblehead Day.

One weird sight came in the third when Ellsbury, on first base with a walk, kept running around the bases as Teixeira lifted a foul pop behind third and into a double play. So what happened?

“I asked him about it, and his answer might be stranger than why he kept going,” Girardi said. “It was a first for me. Put it down to a brain cramp.”

Who’s on 1st? Ref, not A-Rod, while Tex is hurt

Any plans Alex Rodriguez may have had taking grounders at first base before Monday night’s scheduled game at Yankee Stadium were washed away as batting practice had to be canceled due to severe thunderstorm activity.

Then again, it might have been just a waste of time for A-Rod, who has stated a desire to play the position if it will get him into the lineup more often. Another injury to Mark Teixeira has opened up first base again, but manager Joe Girardi clearly prefers to use rookie Rob Refsnyder there if Tex is not available.

Teixeira, who has missed time this season because of right knee and neck issues, was out of the starting lineup Monday night for the second straight game. He fouled a ball off the area above his left ankle Saturday. A CT scan after the game was negative, but the area is very swollen. Girardi said he did not anticipate being able to use Teixeira Monday or Tuesday nights.

Rodriguez was in the lineup as the designated hitter against the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman and did what will keep him in the lineup, which was to hit a home run. His blow into the left field bleachers off a 2-0 meatball from Gausman in the second inning was A-Rod’s ninth home run of the season and career No. 696.

Before the thunderstorms hit, Rodriguez was able to hit into a BP session and banged several balls into the seats, so he was able to take that into the game.

A-Rod lost playing time at DH against right-handed pitching when Girardi used Carlos Beltran while he was recovering from a hamstring strain. Beltran was back in right field Monday night.

The Orioles tied the score in the third on a solo homer by Jonathan Schoop off Ivan Nova. Beltran helped build the run in the bottom of that inning that turned out to be the decider for the Yanks. Beltran went against the shift with a single to left field that pushed Brett Gardner to third base from where he scored on a fly ball by Brian McCann.

Nova got the Yankees to the seventh inning when Girardi began the merry-go-round of Dellin Betances in the seventh, Andrew Miller in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth for three more scoreless innings that ran the bullpen’s current shutout string to 22. Chapman had the Yankee Stadium crowd of 31,102 buzzing while pitching to J.J. Hardy when one pitch zoomed in at 105 miles per hour, the fastest pitch thrown ib the major leagues this season.

Rodriguez did not take well to playing first base last year when the Yankees asked him to work out at the position early in the season. He played poorly there and seemed content to be a permanent DH rather than have to wear a glove again, which he did with distinction as a Gold Glove winner at shortstop and third base.

But that was two hip surgeries ago for Rodriguez, who will turn 41 later this month. His .216 batting average is 79 points below his career mark. He is 2-for-13 (.154) on the homestand.

Refsnyder, who was an outfielder in college and an infielder in the minor leagues, has done a decent job at first base and has given the Yankees consistent if unspectacular offense. He is batting .269 with eight doubles and 10 RBI in 93 at-bats.

“He has just had the one day of work, so I’m not ready to commit to that yet,” Girardi said. “Right now I’m going with Ref there. Alex is DHing tonight so I’m going with Ref there. It’s something that we’ll continue to talk about but we’ll stick for Ref for now.”

The Yankees need to win games and not be giving auditions for an important position at this stage of the season. A-Rod had his chance to be a factor at first base and did not work hard enough when the Yankees needed him. Now that playing time as the DH is threatened, he picks up a first base glove. Girardi is making the right call here.

Bernie to make his retirement official 

Although he has not played a game in the major leagues since the end of the 2006 season and has already fallen off the Hall of Fame ballot, Bernie Williams has never officially announced his retirement as a player.

That will change at 5:45 p.m. Friday in the press conference room at Yankee Stadium before the first game of this season’s Subway Series when Williams will formally sign his retirement papers in a ceremony to be overseen by general manager Brian Cashman and assistant general manager Jean Afterman.

During Friday’s press conference, the Yankees will unveil a logo related to his uniform number (51) retirement and Monument Park plaque dedication, which will take place on Sunday, May 24, prior to the Yankees’ 8:05 p.m. game against the Texas Rangers.

Additionally Friday — in an on-field ceremony at approximately 6:45 p.m. — the Hard Rock Cafe will debut a souvenir pin that honors Williams. Fifteen percent of net sales from the pins will go to Hillside Food Outreach (www.hillsidefoodoutreach.org).

Bernie will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game against the Mets.

Williams, 46, played his entire 16-year major-league career with the Yankees (1991-2006). The switch hitter batted .297 over 2,076 games. In franchise history, the former center fielder ranks third in doubles (449), fifth in hits (2,336), sixth in games played and runs scored (1,366) and seventh in home runs (287) and RBI (1,257). The five-time American League All-Star (1997-2001), four-time Gold Glove winner (1997-2000) and Silver Slugger Award recipient (2002) won the American League batting title in 1998 with a .339 average.

A four-time World Series champion in pinstripes (1996, ’98, ’99, 2000), Williams is the Yankees’ all-time postseason leader in home runs (22) and RBI (80), ranks second in playoff runs scored (83), hits (128) and doubles (29) and is third in games played (121).  He was named the 1996 AL Championship Series Most Valuable Player after batting .474 with two home runs and six RBI in 19 at-bats in the Yankees’ five-game series against the Orioles.  In Game 1 of the 1999 ALCS against the Red Sox, Williams hit a 10th-inning home run to win the game for the Yankees.

I remember telling Bernie when the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot came out by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that whether he liked it or not he was officially retired. He just laughed and said, “Man, I can’t believe five years went by so fast.”

 

Bernie Williams


 
Williams stayed on the ballot for only two years. He received 9.6 percent of the vote in 2012 and 3.3 percent in 2013. Players need to achieve 75 percent of the vote to gain election and are dropped from consideration if they do not get five percent of the vote. I voted for him both years and wish more of my colleagues recognized the Hall of Fame worthiness of his career.

Bernie will riff for Hall’s 75th anniversary next year

Longtime Yankees favorite and Latin Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Bernie Williams has joined the lineup of performers for next year’s celebration concert to honor the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Williams played on four World Series championship teams for the Yankees and was the Most Valuable Player of their American League Championship Series triumph over the Orioles in 1996. The six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner is enjoying a post-baseball career as a guitarist and songwriter and has had two No. 1 singles on Billboard’s contemporary jazz charts.

Among the selections Williams will perform will be “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” from his 2009 album, Moving Forward, with the world-renowned Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, which will serve as the house band for the 75th anniversary concert Aug. 2, 2014 at Cooperstown, N.Y.

“I am honored to be performing with the Boston Pops in celebrating the Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary next year,” Williams said. “The event will be a great celebration of baseball and music, so I hope you’ll plan to join us in Cooperstown next August.”

The concert will be produced by LGH19 Productions and will be part of a 12-month musical celebration that includes an ongoing silent auction to benefit the Hall of Fame. VIP tickets may be purchased on the official concert website – http://www.cooperstownconcert.com. Additional information may be found on http://www.bernie51.com.

Blue Jays no patsies this time

So the Blue Jays did not roll over and play dead for a change. That was a tough wake-up call for the Yankees who lost ground in the race for a postseason berth. The Yankees have had their way with the Jays this year but not Monday night as Toronto emerged victorious against the Yanks for the first time since April 21 and only the second time in 14 meetings.

R.A. Dickey, who lost his previous two starts against the Yankees this year, had the upper hand this time with 6 1/3 sound innings. The first-inning run he yielded was not earned due to a passed ball by catcher Josh Thole. The other run Dickey allowed, in the fifth, was quite earned since it came on Alex Rodriguez’s 650th career home run.

Brett Gardner also reached a milestone in the fifth inning with a two-out single that was the 500th hit of his major-league career. The Yankees did not have much else to celebrate offensively. The Jays bullpen shut down the Yanks for 2 2/3 innings with Casey Janssen notching his 24th save.

Derek Jeter returned to the lineup but had a quiet night going 0-for-3 with a walk.

Phil Hughes watched his record fall to an unsightly 4-13 with a 4.91 ERA as he failed to pitch the minimum number of innings – five – to qualify for a winning decision for the 10th time in 25 starts this year. Hughes gave up the 1-0 lead the Yankees gave him in the first two innings later and was knocked out in a three-run Toronto fifth that was fueled in part by a rare error from 10-time Gold Glove winner Ichiro Suzuki.

Hughes nearly worked out a second-inning jam, but Kevin Pillar poked a soft single to center field that tied the score. A leadoff walk to Jose Reyes in the third was asking for trouble. Edwin Encarnacion singled sharply to left to score Reyes, who had advanced to second on a bunt, that gave the Blue Jays the lead.

A-Rod’s homer got the Yanks even again, but the game got away from Hughes in the fifth. He gave up a double to Reyes with one out and a single to Ryan Goins. Reyes was held at third, which gave Hughes a chance to get out of the inning without a run scoring. Encarnacion lifted a fly ball to right field that was deep enough to score Reyes but was more damaging when Ichiro dropped the ball while leaping on the warning track.

Instead of two outs and a runner on first, the Blue Jays had a run in, one out and runners on first and third. Adam Lind doubled down the right field line to score Goins and after an intentional walk to Brett Lawrie loaded the bases Moises Sierra delivered another run with a sacrifice fly.

Lefthander David Huff took over at that point and was one of the few highlights for the Yanks. He struck out Thole to put an end to the fifth and tacked on three more scoreless innings with four strikeouts. It was an important contribution because Huff kept manager Joe Girardi from having to use several relievers to complete a game in which his starter made an early exit.

Girardi said after the game that there were no plans to remove Hughes from the rotation despite the righthander’s troubles. Hughes is winless with a 5.64 ERA in his past nine starts since July 2 and is 1-9 with a 5.32 ERA over his past 13 starts.

With the Athletics winning at Detroit, the Yankees fell 4 ½ games behind for the second wild-card berth.

Perfect finish: Mo vs. Puig (guess who won?)

How painful it must have been for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, winner of nine Gold Gloves at first base during his playing days with the Yankees, to watch his club make so many fielding mistakes in the day game of Wednesday’s split-admission doubleheader. The Dodgers made four errors, two coming on a bizarre play by relief pitcher Ronald Belisario in the seventh inning as the Yankees took charge with three runs en route to a 6-4 victory.

Dodgers second baseman Skip Shumacher twice bobbled ground balls by Robinson Cano, but neither error was costly. The seventh-inning double blunder by Belisario was another story. With runners on first and second and one out, Vernon Wells hit a soft popup between the plate and the mound. Belisario appeared to let the ball drop in hopes of getting a double play. He kicked the ball instead for the first error, then tried to recover and threw wildly for a second error and a run scored.

Ichiro Suzuki, who was all over this game, lofted a single down the left field line that gave the Yankees a four-run lead, which proved important an inning later when Hanley Ramirez, who had four hits for the Dodgers, smoked a two-run home run off Preston Claiborne.

In a pitching match-up of two Asians, Yankees righthander Hiroki Kuroda (Japan) and Dodgers lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu (South Korea), Ichiro stole the show. He ended a 115-at-bat homerless streak in the sixth with a leadoff dinger off Ryu. After getting that two-run single, Suzuki saved a run with a leaping catch on the warning track of a drive by Adrian Gonzalez that almost surely would have scored Yasiel Puig, who had led off the inning with a double.

“I knew the ball was not going to be a home run, that it was still in the park,” Ichiro said of the Gonzalez drive. “The only question for me was which way I would turn because the ball was hit right over my head.”

Ichiro turned to his right, leaped and reached for the ball all in one motion. His 3-for-4 day at the plate continued a hot stretch that began on the West Coast trip. Suzuki has 10 hits in his past 22 at-bats, a .455 run that has raised his season batting average to .274. The Yankees’ left-handed hitters did a good job against Ryu. Their other two runs were the result of a double in the second inning by Lyle Overbay.

“Ichiro has been swinging the bat extremely well,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He has the ability to get hot. When we got Lyle, we didn’t anticipate his getting so many at-bats against left-handed pitching, but we have really needed him.”

After David Robertson did one of his Houdini acts in the eighth (walk two batters, get the next two out), Mariano Rivera went for his 25th save in the ninth, and no one was leaving Yankee Stadium until they saw him go for the third out against Puig. Mo fell behind 2-0 in the count before coming back to strike him out.

Puig made quite an impression in his first game at the Stadium. He had two hits and in each case attempted to stretch a single into a double, once successfully and once not. But his aggressiveness was noted and appreciated, not the least of which by Rivera.

“I like to see young boys played hard like that,” he said. “That is the way he played to get to the major leagues and the way he should play in the major leagues.”

Rivera stopped short of saying he could appreciate the drama of the ninth inning: the worldly veteran closer against the up-and-coming youngster, any more than he did Sunday at Anaheim when he faced three-time Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols with the bases loaded to get the final out of that game.

“I cannot think about that because I have a job to do in either case,” Rivera said. “It is important for me to concentrate on getting the job done.”

And nobody does it better.

Yankees take what Orioles give them — in triplicate

So maybe you cannot chew gum and walk at the same time, or in the case of Orioles center fielder Adam Jones blow bubble gum and field at the same time. An error by Jones in the seventh inning Friday night on a ball he appeared to have caught was the critical play in the Yankees’ 5-2 victory over Baltimore that gave them a share of first place in the American League East with the Red Sox, who were rained out.

The three-run rally that resulted in the Yankees’ fourth straight victory was as weird as it can get. They did not have a hit in the inning. Orioles lefthander Troy Patton entered the game after starter Miguel Gonzalez walked Francisco Cervelli to start the inning. After Brett Gardner sacrificed Cervelli to second base, the Orioles decided to walk Kevin Youikilis, who had three hits, intentionally.

Somewhat surprisingly, Yankees manager Joe Girardi allowed lefty-swinging Travis Hafner to bat against Patton, who made a huge gaff by hitting the Yanks’ designated hitter with a 3-2 pitch that filled the bases and brought up Vernon Wells. O’s manager Buck Showalter brought in righthander Pedro Strop, a Yankees punching bag, to pitch to Vernon Wells. The Yanks’ left fielder got good wood on a drive to center. Jones, a Gold Glove winner last year, made a long run to the warning track to catch up with the ball blowing a bubble along the way. For a quick moment it seemed as if Jones had ended the threat, but the ball clanged off his glove for a two-base error that cleared the bags as the Yankees unlocked a 2-2 score.

This was the same Jones who in Game 3 of last year’s American League Division Series blew a bubble with his gum while tracking a drive to right-center by Derek Jeter that fell on the warning track for a run-scoring triple.

The good fortune continued for the Yankees the next inning with their second triple play since 1969. The Orioles got a rally going against CC Sabathia after leadoff singles by Alex Casilla and Nick Markakis. Manny Machado followed with a grounder to second baseman Robinson Cano, who flipped to shortstop Jayson Nix for what looked like the beginning of a double play. But why settle for two outs when you might get three?

Nix thought he had a shot at getting Casilla going to third and threw to that base instead of first. Casilla got in a rundown and was tagged out by Youkilis, the third baseman, who saw that Machado was midway between first and second and gunned the ball to first baseman Lyle Overbay, who ran Machado toward second and then tossed to Cano to complete the 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple killing.

I ran into WCBS Radio voice John Sterling while leaving the yard later, and he told me in making the call on the play said, “Nix turns and throws to third base, why, I’ll never know.”

I must admit that I felt the same way. The Yankees had a sure double play, and you never know what can happen when a fielder throws behind a runner. Nix ended up making an alert play in spite of its unorthodoxy.

The previous triple play turned by the Yankees was April 22, 2010 at Oakland on an around-the-horn job from third baseman Alex Rodriguez to Cano to first baseman Nick Johnson on a ground ball by Kurt Suzuki. That game was a loss by the Yankees. This one might have been, too, except Baltimore did everything but hand it to them.

The Yankees took advantage of all the breaks the Orioles gave them. The players who scored the Yanks’ five runs all reached base without a hit. Orioles pitchers held the Yankees to six hits but walked six batters and hit two.

Sabathia, meanwhile, was brilliant under difficult situations with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees with a 25-miles-per-hour wind. One of the two runs off CC was not earned due to a balk, which the lefthander disputed. That second run for Baltimore that tied the score in the seventh loomed large until the bottom of the inning when Jones’ glove lost its glove and the Yankees tripled their pleasure.

Tex, Lowe elected to Arizona Fall League Hall

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and new pitcher Derek Lowe were named to the Arizona Fall league Hall of Fame Tuesday, along with Rangers manager Ron Washington. All three men were at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night for the second portion of the four-game series between the clubs with the top two records in the American League.

Arizona Fall League director Steve Cobb said of the election, “Mark and Derek have been remarkably consistent professionals throughout their standout careers, and Ron has become one of the most respected managers in baseball.”

The Arizona Fall League, which was founded in 1992, formed its Hall of Fame in 2001 to honor the top major-league players and managers who honed their skills in the AFL. The selection committee, chaired by lone-time baseball executive Roland Hemond, based its appointments on individual achievement at the major-league level since participating in the Arizona Fall League.

Teixeira, who played for the Peoria Javelinas in 2002, is the fastest switch hitter to 300 career home runs and is also the first switch hitter to reach 30 home runs and 100 RBI in each of the past eight seasons (2004-11). Teixeira holds the major-league record of homering from each side of the plate in a game 13 times. Defensively, Tex is the AL career fielding percentage leader among first basemen with a minimum of 1,000 games. He is a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and three-time Silver Slugger recipient.

Lowe, who pitched for the Sun Cities Solar Sox in 1993 and Peoria Javelinas in 1995, is one of three pitchers with more than 160 victories and 80 saves, along with Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz. Lowe is one of five Arizona Fall League pitchers to hurl a no-hitter, along with Jered Weaver, Clay Buchholz, Roy Halladay and Phil Humber. Lowe’s no-hitter in 2002 was the first at Fenway Park since 1965. He was the winning pitcher in all three clinching postseason games in 2004 when Boston went on to its first World Series championship since 1918.

Washington, who was a hitting coach for the Sun Cities Solar Sox in 1992 and the Tucson Javelinas in 1993, is the first manager in Rangers history to increase the team’s victory total in four consecutive seasons. He guided Texas to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and ’11 and is the only manager in the history of the Rangers/Senators franchise (1961-2011) to win a postseason series.

The Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame increased its membership to 31 with the elections of Teixeira, Lowe and Washington. Other AFL Hall of Famers connected now or formerly with the Yankees are Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Alfonso Soriano and bench coach Tony Pena.

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.