Results tagged ‘ Josh Reddick ’

Beltran homers to atone for weak base running

On a night when the Yankees seemed to be doing so many things to avoid scoring, a home run and shutdown pitching made up for all the bizarre offensive mistakes Thursday night in a 4-1 victory at Oakland against a team that had swept the Yankees at home last month.

Carlos Beltran was at the center of the Yankees’ schizophrenia. He drove in a run in the third inning with a double, then failed to score when right fielder Josh Reddick dropped Brian McCann’s fly ball with two outs by not running because he lost count of the outs.

That missed run looked huge when the Athletics tied the score in the fourth on a home run by Reddick off Ivan Nova, the only blemish on the righthander’s third straight impressive start that bodes well for his chances to stay in the rotation even with CC Sabathia coming off the the 15-day disabled list to start Friday night.

The Yankees regained the lead in the sixth on a two-out, RBI double by Aaron Hicks. This was the weirdest inning of the night for the Yanks. They had four hits in the inning against Oakland starter Kendall Graveman (1-6) but scored just the one run.

Chase Headley, who has really pick things up offensively of late, led off with a single but was picked off first base, although Headley and Yankees manager Joe Girardi thought Graveman balked. Dustin Ackley singled and crossed to third on a single to right field by Didi Gregorius, who did not run hard out of the box and then tried to stretch his hit on Reddick’s throw to third base and was out at second. Hicks’ two-bagger at least gave the Yankees something from the inning.

Beltran atoned for his base running gaffe by bashing a two-run home run in the top of the ninth off reliever Fernando Rodriguez. Turning a one-run lead into a three-lead with Aroldis Chapman coming in for the bottom of the ninth was very positive penance for Beltran. He got a chance to play hero thanks to Brett Gardner, who walked with two outs right before him. It was a big night for Gardner, who reached base four times (two singles, two walks), stole a base, scored two runs and robbed Yonder Alonso of a potential RBI extra-base hit with a running, leaping catch on the left field warning track in the second inning.

Nova limited the A’s to four hits and no walks with three strikeouts over the first six innings and got 12 outs on ground balls, a sign that his sinker was effective. Also efficient. Nova threw only 62 pitches. He is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings as a starter this year.

It may have been surprising to see Nova remain in the dugout as the seventh inning rolled around, but just as he did Wednesday night with Nathan Eovaldi pitching a one-hitter through six Girard could not resist the temptation to nail things down by bringing in Dellin Betances to pitch the seventh, Andrew Miller the eighth and Chapman the ninth. Opponents should take note — you are looking at a six-inning game if you fall behind the Yankees by the middle innings.

Late rallies fall short

When discussing using Lyle Overbay in right field now that Mark Teixeira is back at first base on a regular basis, Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted that it is not a great risk for a career first baseman to play out there because that patch at Yankee Stadium is not very large. That is not the case in a place like Oakland’s Coliseum.

Overbay did a serviceable job playing right field at the Stadium for three games last week against the Indians. No incidents and it helped to keep his bat in the lineup. Overbay was 3-for-9 in the series.

Tuesday night was another story. The Coliseum’s outfield is among the largest in the majors and foul ground is the most, which adds to the real estate outfielders need to cover. Overbay’s lack of experience came into play in the second inning when the Athletics got a run on a no-man’s-land double by Derek Morris, the Oakland catcher. With two out and a runner on first base, Morris hit a slicing flare near the right field line. Overbay looked to second baseman Robinson Cano as he ran in for the ball rather than taking charge. That slight hesitation was enough for the ball to drop just inside the line. Running on the crack of the bat, Josh Reddick scored all the way from first to push Oakland’s lead to 2-0.

The situation might have proved critical if the game had remained close, which was not the case until the last inning. In the fourth, Morris broke it open with a three-run home run off CC Sabathia, who had a rough night in his home area. Sabathia, who grew up in nearby Vallejo, Calif., also allowed a run with a wild pitch in the sixth inning when he got a late break off the mound and could not recover in time to cover the plate.

The A’s got to Sabathia immediately as Coco Crisp led off the first inning with his eighth homer of the season and third leading off a game this year and 15th of his career. It was not a good omen for Sabathia (6-5, 4.07 ERA), who was stung for six runs and eight hits in six innings as his career mark against the A’s went to 8-10 with a 4.66 ERA in 172 innings, including 4-6 with a 5.30 ERA at the Coliseum in 86 2/3 innings.

The 6-4 Oakland victory marked the first time this year that the Yankees lost a game started by a former Cy Young Award winner. They had been 6-0 in such games before suffering the defeat to Bartolo Colon, the 2005 winner when he was with the Angels.

The Yankees threatened Colon in the top of the first by loading the bases with one out on a single by Brett Gardner, last week’s American League Player of the Week, and two walks. Colon entered the game with only six walks in 77 1/3 innings, so the sudden lack of control was surprising. The Yankees failed to capitalize as Kevin Youkilis and Overbay both popped out.

Colon allowed the Yankees only two more hits and two more walks through the sixth. He had to sweat out the last two innings as the Yankees scored two runs each in the eighth and ninth before being able to celebrate his sixth straight victory that improve his record to 8-2. Colon has given up only three runs in 36 innings (0.75 ERA) over that stretch to lower his season ERA from 4.56 to 2.92.

The Yankees didn’t do much offensively until the last two innings. There were some good signs in the loss. Teixeira knocked in three runs with a pair of singles. Cano, who has been in a slump on the trip, reached base four times with a double, a single and two walks. Vernon Wells, also struggling, came off the bench and got a big RBI single. Gardner had two more hits, and so did Chris Stewart. Travis Hafner walked twice and smashed the ball hard twice but had nothing to show for it. Left fielder Seth Smith gloved Hafner’s drive in the ninth at the wall for the final out.

Not a dandy Andy

From the beginning Sunday, it was an uneasy outing for Andy Pettitte against the Athletics in the finale of the homestand. The lefthander had trouble at the beginning of nearly every inning. He let the leadoff hitter reach base in the first four innings. In the fifth, the one inning in which he got the leadoff hitter out, Pettitte ended up allowing two runs on Yoenis Cespedes’ fifth home run of the season.

That was one of two long balls yielded by Pettitte. The other was a solo shot by designated hitter Luke Montz leading off the third. Montz had doubled off Pettitte leading off the second. Pettitte pitched out of the stretch almost continually during his 100-pitch outing in which he gave up four runs (three earned), five hits, four walks and hit a batter as his ERA climbed to 4.06.

“The issue is everything,” Pettitte said after the Yanks’ 5-4 loss. “It was just a battle out there. I had no command of my fastball. My release point is floating, and my cutter is nonexistent right now.”

The first run off Pettitte was not earned due to a wild throw to first base by Robinson Cano, the second baseman’s first error of the season. Cano got the run right back in the bottom of the third by following a two-out double by Brett Gardner with a single to center.

Pettitte’s early departure created the opportunity for recent Triple A call-up Preston Claiborne to make his major-league debut. Claiborne was impressive his first time out with a perfect sixth and seventh before giving way to Boone Logan, who ended up the loser for allowing a solo home run to Josh Donaldson in the eighth that unlocked a 4-4 score.

“Those were two important innings,” Yankee manager Joe Girardi said of Claiborne’s work.

The Yankees suffered another injury as shortstop Eduardo Nunez was removed from the game in the fifth inning because of an irritated left ribcage. Results of an MRI were negative. The Yanks hope this will not be an extended injury. They are headed for an inter-league series at Denver where they could be short-handed since pitchers must hit in those games. Jayson Nix will play shortstop and newly-acquired Chris Nelson third base. Nix had been taking ground balls at first base as part of his utility role but will be needed to play regularly with Nunez sidelined.

The Yankees got Pettitte off the hook with three runs in the sixth as A’s lefthander Jerry Blevins faltered in relief of starter Dan Straily against two left-handed hitters. Blevins hung a 1-2 curve to Ichiro Suzuki, who doubled into the right-field corner to drive in one run. After Nix struck out for the second out, Lyle Overbay, who had a strong homestand, won an eight-pitch battle and singled to center to knock home the tying runs.

Overbay, who is batting .368 in a five-game hitting streak with a triple, two homers and six RBI in 19 at-bats, had the Yankee Stadium crowd of 38,134 on its feet again in the eighth when he flied out to the warning track in right-center with two runners aboard for the third out. Gardner’s two-out single in the ninth off A’s closer Grant Balfour gave Cano another at-bat, but after a wild pitch Cano was intentionally walked before Vernon Wells ended the game by striking out.

Another good relief effort came from Shawn Kelley in the ninth after Josh Reddick doubled off Logan to start the inning. Kelley got the next three batters, two of them on strikeouts. Reddick’s hit was significant, by the way.

Reddick did not start Sunday, which was no surprise based on several factors. For one, Reddick bats left-handed, and the Yankees’ starting pitcher was the left-handed Pettitte (oddly, they have never faced each other). For two, Reddick is off to an awful start (.148 in 88 at-bats). For three, he had been worthless at Yankee Stadium. Reddick, a late-inning defensive replacement in right field, had the longest hitless streak of any batter in the history of the current Stadium covering 33 at-bats (22 with the A’s and 11 with the Red Sox), which ended with that double.

With a 2-for-3 game, Suzuki continued his punishment of Oakland pitching. A .328 hitter in 933 career at-bats against the A’s, Ichiro’s 306 hits are the most by an opposing player against the franchise since it moved to the Bay Area from Kansas City 45 years ago.

CC OK with ND after Martin walk-off

CC Sabathia answered the questions about CC Sabathia Friday night.

The big question was whether the lefthander could still be the staff ace. A resounding yes was the big guy’s response.

Unfortunately, Sabathia had nothing on his personal ledger to account for his eight brilliant innings against an Oakland team that has been as much a surprising success story this season in the American League West as Baltimore has been in the AL East.

CC got hung with a hard no-decision as Rafael Soriano failed to nail down a save for only the fourth time in 46 opportunities this year. A home run by pinch hitter Brandon Moss with one out in the ninth inning wiped out the Yankees’ 1-0 lead that Soriano was brought in to protect after Sabathia had limited the Athletics to three singles and two walks with 11 strikeouts over the first eight in an efficient 113 pitches.

Sabathia was in a joyful mood after the game because his catcher, Russell Martin, kept the Yanks in first place with a walk-off home run in the 10th off A’s lefthander Sean Doolittle.

“With a day game [Saturday], I didn’t want us to play all night,” Martin quipped.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi called Martin’s 18th home run the biggest of the season. Such superlatives are common when a team get down to the last dozen games of the schedule. A loss would have been crushing for the Yankees because it would have allowed the Orioles, who won in Boston, to pull into a first-place tie.

Sabathia took a no-hitter into the sixth and already had eight K’s to that point. A single to center by Stephen Drew leading off the sixth was Oakland’s first hit and its only one until the eighth when Sabathia got into his singular jam. A second hit by Drew, a two-out infield single by Collin Cowgill and a hit batter loaded the bases, but Josh Reddick flied out to left off a tailing fastball from Sabathia. That was the only contact Reddick made as he struck out four times.

“He had a good slider, good changeup, good fastball,” Martin said of Sabathia. “Everything was good.”

“You never want to be the guy that messes things up,” Sabathia said, referring to the Yankees’ winning streak that has stretched to six games. “I was able to make pitches when I needed to. The other guy [A’s starter Jarrod Parker] was throwing a great game against us, so I couldn’t let up.”

There may have been a sense of déjà vu for Soriano. Back on July 22, he gave up a home run to Seth Smith in the ninth inning at Oakland that sent the game into extra innings that the A’s won in 12. The starting pitcher that day was also CC Sabathia.

That was then. This is now and where Sabathia despite not winning in five starts since Aug. 24 wants to be.

“This game was important to him and important to us,” Girardi said. “If CC is going to get into a hot streak, this is the time to do it.”

Positive trip ends on negative note

An uplifting trip for the Yankees ended on a real downer Sunday night. They had Mariano Rivera poised to finish off a 2-1 victory, but the great Mo suffered his fifth blown save of the season and the 14th of his career against the Red Sox, by far the most against any one team.

That forced Yankees manager Joe Girardi to use Phil Hughes out of the bullpen in extra innings. Hughes was available out of the pen because the Yankees are currently going with a six-man rotation. This was Hughes regular day to pitch, and the idea was to have him available out of the pen in case of a breakdown by starter Freddy Garcia.

Instead, the breakdown came from Rivera. He gave up a leadoff double to Marco Scutaro, who had four hits. Mo at first thought Scutaro’s ball had cleared the Green Monster, but it banged off it. A crucial play came next on a sacrifice attempt by Jacoby Ellsbury (a Most Valuable Player Award candidate bunting? Yeah, the Red Sox really wanted this one).

Eduardo Nunez broke too quickly from third base, costing Rivera a chance for an out there when Ellsbury’s bunt went right to the pitcher. Mo got the out at first, but Scutaro reached third from where he scored on Dustin Pedroia’s fly ball to left to tie the score and extend an interminably long night even later.

Hughes got in trouble one out into the 10th by giving up a double to David Ortiz, the only one of Boston’s 11 hits that went for extra bases. Carl Crawford, who was 9-for-12 (.750) in the series, was walked intentionally, as Hughes faced Josh Reddick. The rookie, who is batting .338 playing right field for injured J.D. Drew, drove a curveball into the left field corner for the game-winning hit.

In truth, the Yankees were lucky to be leading heading into the bottom of the ninth. Both their runs were on home runs by Nunez and Brett Gardner, who had a terrific game with three hits and two stolen bases. They were hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 base runners.

Garcia pitched one-run ball for five innings, and Boone Logan, Corey Wade, Rafael Soriano and David Robertson supplied first-rate relief before Rivera crashed. The Yankees were 5-2 on a trip that ended bumpily with two losses in three games at Fenway Park.