Results tagged ‘ Josh Hamilton ’

Leads come and go for Sabathia & Yankees

The Yankees simply could not hang on to a lead Thursday night. These see-saw battles often end with the team up last winning, which was the case as the Rangers turned them away, 7-6, with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning. After winning six consecutive series, the Yankees had to settle for a split of the four-game set in Arlington, Texas.

CC Sabathia, pushed into starting with Michael Pineda (strained right forearm flexor muscle) going on the 15-day disabled list, set the tone by failing to cling to leads of 3-0 and 5-4. The lefthander has squandered a dozen leads this season, most in the majors.

The Yankees staked Sabathia to a three-run advantage before he took the mound as they jumped on Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a triple down the left field line. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner. One out later, Mark Teixeira connected for the first of two home runs in the game. After a single by Brian McCann and a walk to Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley knocked in the third run of the inning with a two-out single.

It did not take long for Sabathia to lose that lead. He gave up leadoff singles to Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus and allowed the Rangers to tie the score on one swing, by Josh Hamilton off a hanging breaking ball.

Sabathia entered the game having held left-handed batters to a .189 batting average for the season and no home runs in his past 15 starts. Leading off the second inning, another left-handed hitter, Shin-Soo Choo, took Sabathia deep for a 4-3 Texas lead.

The Yankees gave Sabathia another chance in the third when his catcher, Brian McCann, smacked a two-run home run. Texas tied the score an inning later on an inside-the-park home run by Ryan Rua on a drive to center that Ellsbury played poorly. He dived for the sinking liner and had it get past him all the way to the wall as Rua circled the bases.

Sabathia came out of the game after giving up a leadoff single to Rua in the sixth, but Justin Wilson struck out Choo and induced a double-play grounder from Robinson Chirinos. Sabathia had to be hospitalized after the game because of symptoms of dehydration. The temperature in Arlington was 100 degrees for the first pitch.

Teixeira’s second homer, a solo shot in the seventh, put the Yanks in front again. It was career homer No. 389 for Tex, who tied Hall of Famer Johnny Bench on the all-time list.

A leadoff walk to Chirinos and a wild pitch by Wilson in the bottom of the seventh proved costly. Chirinos had to stop at third on a hard-hit single to left by Andrus off Dellin Betances but scored on a fielder’s choice by Prince Fielder.

The Rangers loaded the bags after that but failed to score. The Yankees also filled the bases with two out in the eighth but did not plate a run as Gardner struck out. Hamilton’s fourth RBI on a two-out single off Andrew Miller (0-2) in the bottom of the ninth did in the Yankees.

Miller, on the mound for the first time since last Saturday, did not appear sharp and was hit hard. Ellsbury made a fence-crashing catch to take down a drive by Andrus. Miller caught a break when a sizzling liner by Leonys Martin hit DeShields running from first to second, but nobody got in the way of Hamilton’s line single that was the game winner.

The Yankees maintained their six-game lead in the American League East with the Blue Jays jumping into second place over the Orioles, whose five-game winning streak ended. Fortified by trades that sent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitcher David Price to Toronto, the Jays pose a threat to the Yankees, who have 13 games remaining against the Canadian club this season.

Yanks’ and Tanaka’s winning streaks stopped

The extra day’s rest did not help Masahiro Tanaka Wednesday night as it had in his three prior starts, all winning decisions. The righthander labored his way through six innings in which the Rangers had base runners in each of them. Tanaka worked out of a couple of jams nicely but he could not keep Texas batters from reaching base on a regular basis.

Tanaka fell behind in the count continually in the outing, which robbed him of effective use of his split-finger fastball, a key weapon for him. His slider lacked the usual bite as he allowed nine hits and three walks. He left the game trailing, 4-2, but it might have been worse if the Rangers had done better than going 3-for-12 (.250) with runners in scoring position. They were 3-for-5 at one point before Tanaka held them hitless in the last seven clutch at-bats Texas had against him. The Rangers finished the 5-2 victory by going 4-for-17 (.235) in those situations.

Sloppy base running by the Rangers also kept the game close. Tanaka picked off Delino DeShields at first base after he walked him to start the first inning. Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos doubled with one out in the fourth but made the mistake of trying to cross to third base on a ground ball to the left side and was an easy out on shortstop Didi Gregorius’ alert toss to Chase Headley to stifle that rally.

One night after five runs in the first inning were not enough for the Rangers, who watched the Yankees do the rest of the scoring with 21 runs, five would be sufficient for Texas to end a four-game winning streak by the Bombers. The Yankees scored 11 runs in the second inning Tuesday night but only got two in that same frame Wednesday night. That turned out to be the only inning in which they scored.

Carlos Beltran led off that inning against eventual winning pitcher Colby Lewis (11-4) with his eighth home run of the season, and the Yankees added a run on successive singles by Gregorius, Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury.

However, Tanaka (7-4) coughed up the lead in the bottom of the inning as the Rangers used four singles and a walk to score three runs. Tanaka put the lead runner on base in five of his six innings. Two of them scored, including Adrian Beltre in the fifth when Josh Hamilton, who had two hits and two RBI, grounded into a double play.

The Yankees bullpen’s stretch of hitless innings ended at 13 when Hamilton singled in a run with two down in the seventh off Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Caleb Cotham. The run, charged to Chasen Shreve, was not earned due to an error by Gregorius, his first since June 21.

It was a winning night all around for the Rangers, who also acquired All-Star pitcher Cole Hamels from the Phillies in an eight-player trade.

Kuroda survives very slim margin for error

You look at the record – 11-7 – and it does not appear overwhelming. Yet that is just what Hiroki Kuroda has been for the Yankees this season.

In a year when CC Sabathia has struggled to maintain his status as staff ace, Kuroda has taken the baton and given the Yankees ace-like quality for much of the season. Had run support been more plentiful in Kuroda’s starts, he might have five or six more victories.

Even Monday night when he pitched an absolute gem, Kuroda had slim margin for error as the Yankees managed only two runs off Angels starter Garrett Richards. That skinny margin nearly cost Kuroda another winning decision in this game when Los Angeles rallied in the ninth inning only to fall one run short.

Kuroda shut out the Angels on three hits in eight innings to lower his season ERA to 2.33, which ranks second in the American League only to the 2.28 of the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez. Over his past seven starts covering 48 innings, Kuroda’s ERA is a microscopic 0.94. He is 4-1 in that stretch.

Josh Hamilton opened the second inning with a double to right-center, but he never got beyond second base as Kuroda retired the next nine batters in a row. A leadoff walk to Eric Aybar ended that run of outs but Kuroda ran off six more before Mike Trout beat out an infield single to start the seventh. Kuroda quickly erased him by getting Hamilton to ground into a double play. The other hit off Kuroda was a two-out double in the eighth by catcher Chris Iannetta, who was also stranded.

Brett Gardner, the hero of Sunday’s walk-off victory over the Tigers, was productive again with a two-out, RBI single in the third. It stayed a 1-0 game until the seventh when Curtis Granderson homered into the second deck in right field. That likely created a sense of déjà vu for Richards. He was the first pitcher to make his major-league debut at the current Yankee Stadium Aug. 10, 2011 and gave up six runs and six hits in five innings of a 9-3 Yankees victory. Two of the hits off Richards in that game were home runs by Granderson.

Granderson’s third home run of this season proved pivotal when the Angels came alive after Kuroda left the game. Boone Logan started the ninth and gave up a hit and got a strikeout. At the same time, Yankees fans in the Stadium crowd of 37,146 chanted “We want Mo,” a good sign of their allegiance to Mariano Rivera despite his having blown three straight save opportunities.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi wanted to stay away from Mo in this one and brought in David Robertson, who got into immediate trouble by walking Mike Trout and giving up a bloop double down the left field line that made the score 2-1. It forced the Yanks to walk Aybar intentionally to load the bases and set up a force at each. Robertson bore down hard for his first save with impressive strikeouts of Mike Trout and Chris Nelson.

In a way, it was a view into the future. A year from now when Rivera is retired and enjoying his life with his family, Robertson just may be the guy called on regularly to get those last important outs.

Yankees cannot take Angels lightly

The Angels team that arrived at Yankee Stadium to open a four-game series Monday night was not the team everybody expected to challenge for the American League West title. Expectations were high after the Angels signed free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton to a five-year contract for $125 million to be a bookend with three-time Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols.

Like the Yankees, the Angels are a fourth-place team in their division. Unlike the Yankees, who are still above .500 and a have a shot at a wild-card playoff spot, the Angels are somewhat buried at 10 games under .500. Pujols is lost for the season to injury. Hamilton, the AL MVP just three years ago, has had a subpar season (.221, 17 home runs, 55 RBI) yet was in the cleanup spot in manager Mike Scioscia’s lineup.

The Angels traditionally have given the Yankees a hard time. They were the only club against whom Joe Torre had a losing record in his 12 years as Yankees manager. Recent years have been a bit different.

Last year, the Yankees were 5-4 against Los Angeles in winning their second straight season series and their fourth straight non-losing season series against the Angels since 2009. That came on the heels of five straight losing season series from 2004-08. The Yanks’ 56-64 record against the Angels since 2000 is their only losing mark against any AL team over the span. The Yanks are 7-6 in the past 13 games between the clubs and 11-9 over the past 20.

The Angels won two of three games June 14-16 at Anaheim. At Yankee Stadium, the Yankees have won three of their past four games and six of their past eight against the Angels. The Yanks have won each of their past four home season series against L.A. Their 12-6 record over that span coincides with the move to the current Stadium (2009-12). It follows a stretch from 2003-08 of going 0-3-3 in home season series against the Angels.

Despite the Angels’ 53-63 record, the Yankees cannot take them lightly. Since the All-Star break, the Yankees have played the AL’s current top four teams (Tigers, 69-47; Red Sox, 71-49; Rangers, 68-50; Rays, 66-50) along with the Dodgers (67-50), who are tied for the third best record in the National League. The Yankees went 7-8 in those games but were 1-5 in games against the Padres (53-64) and the White Sox (44-72).

The Angels have significance in the career of Mariano Rivera, who made his major league debut May 23, 1995 at Anaheim. He started the game and allowed five earned runs, eight hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. Mo also recorded his first career save against the Angels May 17, 1996 in an 8-5 victory at the original Stadium. In his one inning, Rivera struck out Randy Velarde looking, gave up a single to Mike Aldrete and retired Garrett Anderson on a double play for the first of 643 career saves.

Vernon Wells played two seasons with the Angels (2011-12) and batted .222 with 24 doubles, four triples, 36 home runs and 95 RBI in 208 games and 748 at-bats. . .Alex Rodriguez has 70 career home runs against the Angels, his most against any opponent and the most by any opposing hitter against the Angels. . . Curtis Granderson has homered in nine of his past 15 games against the Angels. . .Since the start of the 2009 season, Robinson Cano has hit .333 (51-for-153) in 39 games and 153 at-bats against the Angels with 15 multi-hit games and 21 extra-base hits (10 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs).

Umps’ calls: Yankee win one, lose one

It would be nice to watch a game once in a while that did not have a questionable call or two by an umpire. In the age of high definition television, umpires are under even more scrutiny, which they should be.

There were a couple of more examples in the early going Saturday at Angel Stadium. In one case, the Yankees may have caught a break. In another case, they got hosed.

Brett Gardner flirted with a home run to right field with two out in the third inning and settled for a run-scoring triple. TV replays indicated that a fan leaning over the railing may have interfered with the ball that affected Josh Hamilton’s play on the carom. That was the argument of Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

On interference, Gardner would have had to stop at second with an automatic double and Chris Stewart, who had scored from first base on the hit, would have had to go back to third. Scoscia lost his beef. Replays from various angles were inconclusive, but there was no checking by the umpires because that is restricted to home run calls, and there was not a question about whether Gardner’s ball was a homer.

A more conclusive replay was that of a steal attempt of third base by Ichiro Suzuki, who doubled with one out in the fourth. With Thomas Neal at the plate, Ichiro broke for third and appeared to have the base stolen, but umpire Manny Gonzalez ruled otherwise.

Yanks manager Joe Girardi, who had a perfect view of the play from his dugout perch, argued the call but was told the ball beat the runner. Heck, we all knew that. The question was whether third baseman Alberto Callaspo placed the tag on Suzuki before he reached the bag, which he did not. The throw to third from catcher Hank Conger was in the dirt, causing Callaspo to raise his glove to catch it on a short hop. The replay clearly showed that Ichiro’s right foot was on the bag when Callaspo tagged him near the waist.

I am not suggesting more replays, which would only serve to delay games that already take place on a snail’s pace. But can the umps get the obvious calls right? Please?

Can Derek make the All-Star team?

Do not be surprised if Derek Jeter earns a spot on the American League All-Star squad even though he probably won’t play an inning of baseball before the game, which is scheduled for July 16 at Citi Field in Flushing.

The Captain is extremely popular with fans all over the country. Just last year, he received more than 4.4 million votes, the third highest total of any AL player. Only Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista were ahead of him, and no other shortstop was within three million votes of Jeter.

Jose Reyes, in his first year in the AL with the Blue Jays after being traded from the Marlins, might have threatened Jeter’s hold on the All-Star vote at shortstop. But Reyes is also out for three months with an ankle injury, so his chances of overtaking the Captain seem out of the question now.

How weird would it be for Jeter to win an All-Star spot without having played a game? Well, go back to 1989. Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt retired in late May while batting .203 in 148 at-bats. The All-Star balloting was only a week old, and yet when it was over Schmidt was voted onto the National League squad as the starting third baseman, even though he had not played for six weeks. You could say that at least Schmidt played as many as 42 games, but then again, he was not very good in many of them. The future Hall of Famer was invited to the game that year at Anaheim Stadium and took a bow, but his place in the NL starting lineup was taken instead by the Mets’ Howard Johnson.

So don’t bet against Jeter.

No. 2 is No. 1

For the third straight season, Derek Jeter’s Yankees No. 2 jersey was the leading seller among Major League Baseball uniform tops. The Captain was one of three Yankees player in the top 10, according to sales announced by MLB.

The Rangers were the only other club with more than one player. Texas had two, including center fielder Josh Hamilton (No. 32), who was runner-up to Jeter.

Ichiro Suzuki’s No. 31 with the Yankees, which he began wearing after the July 23, was third on the list, which is pretty impressive. Robinson Cano’s No. 24 placed 10th on the list.

The players ranked from fourth to ninth were Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (No. 34), Angels center fielder Mike Trout (No. 27), Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (No. 22), Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish (No. 11), Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (No. 10) and Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander (No. 35).

Bullpen breakdown prevents Yanks’ sweep

The string of strong starts for the Yankees against the Rangers in the four-game series ended Thursday as Ivan Nova struggled over 5 2/3 innings and left the game trailing, 4-0. Nova had stopped a five-game winless streak in his previous start, but he was not as sharp this time out.

Yet it was the bullpen that was at greater fault for the Yankees’ failure to complete a four-game sweep as Texas saved face with a 10-6 victory. Nevertheless, taking three of four games pushed the Yankees over the Rangers for the best record in the American League and served notice on Texas that a third consecutive trip to the World Series has a treacherous pathway through New York.

The Yanks’ pen will have to do better than it showed Thursday, however. The Yankees overcame the deficit Nova created and actually took the lead before Cody Eppley, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain let it get away. The Rangers struck for eight runs over the last four innings against four relievers.

Chamberlain had the roughest outing. He allowed two earned runs, four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Cut him some slack because Chamberlain is coming back from Tommy John shoulder surgery and an injured ankle. The rust shows. Opponents are batting .448 against Joba, whose ERA is 9.00.

Nova’s most impressive inning was the third when he worked himself in and out of trouble. He loaded the bases on a double by rookie Mike Olt and walks to Elvis Andrus and Michael Young, not a smart thing to do with Josh Hamilton coming up. But Nova struck out Hamilton on three pitches, the last a mean curve in the dirt, got Adrian Beltre to ground into a fielder’s choice with third baseman Casey McGehee getting a force at the plate and struck out David Murphy.

The Rangers had gotten to Nova early. A single by Young, a double by Hamilton and a single by Beltre gave Texas a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Nova faced another bases-loaded situation in the sixth but did not escape this time.

The Texas rally began with one of those dreaded fly balls to left field at Yankee Stadium during day games. Andruw Jones lost sight of Hamilton’s drive in the blazing sun, and the ball fell for a leadoff double. Nova worsened matters by hitting Beltre with a pitch. A single by Murphy scored a run, and after a sacrifice and an intentional walk the bags were full.

Nova got an out on a force play at third base but a run scored. When he walked Olt, the 9-hole hitter, to load the bases again, manager Joe Girardi made the move to Cody Eppley, who retired Andrus on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

The Yankees got Nova off the hook, however, as they batted around in the bottom of the sixth in putting up a 5-spot to take the lead. Rangers lefthander Derek Holland entered the inning with a one-hit shutout working but he could not survive the onslaught that befell him. As many rallies do, it began somewhat quietly on an infield single by Ichiro Suzuki, who advanced to second on an infield out.

Derek Jeter got the Yanks on the board with a single to center, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Jeet took second on the throw to the plate and was able to score on a single to center by Nick Swisher, who got his ninth RBI of the series. After Mark Teixeira struck out, Jones atoned for his misplay at the top of the inning by driving a first-pitch slider down the left field line for a two-run home run that tied the score.

McGehee also hit the ball hard to right-center, but it looked like the third out until Olt, playing right field, dropped the ball for a two-base error. Russell Martin abruptly greeted reliever Tanner Scheppers with a single to center that scored McGehee to put the Yanks ahead.

Too bad it did not last very long.

Yanks continue to tame Texas

The Yankees continue to pick up the slack for ailing teammates and at the same time are making a bold statement against the Rangers, winners of the past two American League pennants. Texas, which leads the major leagues in scoring, has totaled only four runs in the three games thus far in this series.

Josh Hamilton was all the offense the Rangers could muster Wednesday night with two long home runs off Freddy Garcia. Fortunately for the Yanks, Garcia allowed only two other hits and no more runs to come away with his third consecutive victory. Freddy had perhaps the best slider of his season in holding down the Rangers for 6 2/3 innings. The righthander walked one batter and struck out six in improving his season record to 7-5 with a 4.68 ERA, a record you will take every day of the week from a fifth starter.

Garcia, who returned to the rotation last month when Andy Pettitte went on the disabled list, continued his career success against the Rangers. Freddy remained unbeaten against them over his past eight starts dating to Sept. 8, 2004. He is 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA in those games and 9-5 with a 4.03 ERA overall against Texas.

It was the third straight impressive start for the rotation since CC Sabathia was placed on the DL Sunday for the second time this season. Against the Rangers in this series, Yankees starters are 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings. Texas has had one hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Eric Chavez, who has done a remarkable job filling in at third base for disabled Alex Rodriguez, had another big night with three singles, a walk and a run batted in. Chavez’s one glitch was an errant throw in the ninth inning, although video replays indicated that Nick Swisher playing first base may have saved Chavez from a boot with a good scoop, but umpire Marty Foster apparently did not see that Swish kept his foot on the bag. The play did not prove costly as Rafael Soriano chalked up his 28th save.

For Chavez, August has been a torrid month. He is batting .516 with two doubles, four home runs and nine RBI in 31 at-bats this month, which has raised his season average from .265 to .303. Chavez has a six-game hitting streak (all multi-hit games) during which he is batting .609 with three home runs and seven RBI in 23 at-bats.

It is all part of a tremendous job done by starting third basemen for the Yankees during A-Rod’s absence, to the tune of .408 with seven home runs in 71 at-bats.

Swisher has hurt the Rangers all week and did so again with an RBI double in the Yanks’ three-run third inning. In eight games since being moved into the 2-hole, Swisher is batting .286 with eight runs, two doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI in 35 at-bats.

The Yankees extended their home winning streak against Texas in regular-season play to eight and have won 11 of the past 12 meetings between them at Yankee Stadium.

KC fans target Cano

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The American League is the home team for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium, but the Yankees’ Robinson Cano was rudely treated as a visitor Monday night at the start of the Home Run Derby.

The reason is that local fans were expressing their displeasure that Cano as captain of the AL Home Run Derby team did not select Billy Butler, the hometown Royals’ representative, to be one of the four sluggers for the competition. Obviously, this was a favorite-son beef, considering that Cano also passed on the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton and the Red Sox’ David Ortiz.

Cano’s selections in addition to himself were Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder and Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo. It is difficult to argue about those picks. Bautista is tied with Hamilton for the AL home run lead with 27. Trumbo has 22 homers and Cano 22.

As for choosing Fielder, who has 15 home runs, over Butler, who has 16, Cano is justified based on career performance. After all, Fielder was the Most Valuable Player of last season’s All-Star Game at Phoenix when he was still in the National League with the Brewers.

And Fielder ended up winning the Home Run Derby for the second time in his career. He also won in 2009 on the other side of the state at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. He is one of two players to have won the Derby more than once. The other was three-time winner Ken Griffey Jr.

Cano took the booing good-naturedly. He won the event last year but failed to homer this year. If nothing else, Robinson may have made some people happy.

“You play for the Yankees, everywhere you go you get booed,” he said.