Results tagged ‘ Justin Turner ’

Costly errors end successful homestand on a downer

Sloppy play, which has not been a characteristic of the Yankees this year, cost them a chance to finish off a triumphant homestand Wednesday. They were guilty of three errors, two of which came in the ninth inning that made both runs of the Dodgers’ 2-0 victory unearned.

So the Yankees finished up the homestand with a 7-3 record, but they squandered an opportunity to gain ground in the Wild Card chase on a day when Toronto lost, so they remained two games behind for the second Wild Card slot on the eve of what could be a season-shaping trip.

The Yankees take to the road for 11 games over the next 12 days — four in Boston Thursday night through Sunday, three in St. Petersburg, Fla., Tuesday through next Thursday and four in Toronto next Friday night through Monday, Sept. 26. That will leave only six games remaining in the regular season, which the Yankees will close out at home with three-game sets against the Red Sox and the Orioles.

All of which means the Yankees will have an abundance of opportunities to make up ground in the postseason hunt, but they will need to have fewer innings than Wednesday’s ninth. Two of Dellin Betances weaknesses came into play that inning and stuck him with the loss.

After reaching base on Starlin Castro’s misplay of a soft, back-spinning liner, Corey Seager took advantage of Betances’ long stride to the plate in his delivery and stole second base. Justin Turner broke up the scoreless game with a double over third base that scored Seager.

Turner alertly tagged up and crossed over to third base on Adrian Gonzalez’s flyout to deep left-center. Yasmani Grandal next hit a one-hopper right back to Betances, but the 6-foot-8 reliever made an awkward throw home that sailed over catcher Gary Sanchez’s high-stretched mitt for another damaging error.

After having shut out the Dodgers the night before on solo home runs by Jacoby Ellsbury, Didi Gregorius and Sanchez, the Yanks managed only three hits, all singles, off five L.A. pitchers in sustaining their 10th shutout loss of the season.

Clayton Kershaw, the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL Most Valuable Player, made only his second start since coming off the disabled list due to herniated disks in his back, and was masterful for five innings. He allowed only one hit with no walks and five strikeouts.

The first of two rain delays shorted Michael Pineda’s outing after four innings in which he gave up two hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Tommy Layne, Luis Severino and Tyler Clippard held the Dodgers scoreless as well until Betances’ hiccup. Severino has not allowed an earned run in eight relief outing covering 18 2/3 innings. Clippard has given up one earned run over 19 innings (0.47 ERA) in his 21 appearances since joining the Yankees from the Diamondbacks.

The Yankees also lost rookie outfielder Aaron Judge likely for the remainder of the regular season. Judge has a strained right oblique, a condition that is slow to heal. The Yankees called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfielder Mason Williams, who played right field in the last two innings after Rob Refsnyder was lifted in the seventh for pinch hitter Brian McCann.

The Yankees finished the season 8-12 in inter-league play. It was just their fourth non-winning record against NL clubs in 20 seasons of inter-league play. The Yanks were also 9-11 in 2013, 9-9 in 1999 and 5-10 in 1997, the first year of inter-league play.

They have a 16-3-1 inter-league series mark and are 45-31 (.592) in inter-league match-ups at the current Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. They are 6-7 in inter-league competition against the Dodgers, one of only two clubs against which the Yankees have losing records. They are also 13-14 against the Phillies.

Wild night at Dodger, er, Yankee Stadium

The Yankees find fans all over the map as they travel around North America during the season. The boosters are akin to Notre Dame’s famed subway alumni.

I recall a game at Anaheim in the early 1990s when Don Mattingly came off the bench at whacked a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning that pushed the Yankees into the lead of a game they eventually won. As Mattingly rounded the bases, the cheers from the Big A’s stands were so loud you would have sworn you were in the Bronx, which is about as far from Orange County, California, as you can get.

Whatever the venue, be it Baltimore’s Camden Yards, certainly Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field or even Boston’s Fenway Park, pockets of Yankees fans abound in the stands. Well, a collection of boisterous Dodgers fans gave the Yankees at taste of their own medicine Monday night at Yankee Stadium in the opener of a three-game, inter-league series.

A cluster of Dodgers fans filled a sizeable portion of the seats along the third base to left field line. The group went even so far as to mimic the roll call of the Yankees’ bleacher creatures but by calling out the names of the Dodgers instead. When the Dodgers rallied for a run right off the bat in the first inning, it seemed more like Dodger Stadium than Yankee Stadium.

Yankees fans finally responded with loud boos when fans near the left field foul pole unveiled a blue “LA” banner amid a three-run rally by the Dodgers.

There is plenty of history between these clubs. After all, they have been paired in 11 World Series, the most of any two teams. When the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn prior to 1958, they faced the Yanks seven times in the Series and won only once, in 1955. Since they made Southern California home, the Dodgers split four Series against the Yankees, winning in 1963 and ’81 and losing in 1977 and ’78.

Unfortunately, the Yankees did not give their fans much reason to retaliate in the 8-2 loss that caused them to lose ground in the Wild Card race. The Yanks remained two games behind the Orioles and dropped a game behind the Tigers for the second Wild Card berth.

It was a rough night for the Baby Bombers. Right fielder Aaron Judge and catcher Gary Sanchez made errors that led to runs. Starting pitcher Bryan Mitchell could not get out of the third inning, although four of the six runs against him were not earned, due to the two errors. Tyler Austin wore the golden sombrero with four strikeouts. The most effective Yankees pitcher was lefthander Richard Bleier, who tossed four shutout innings of hitless relief. He walked one batter, hit one and struck out three.

The Yankees’ runs came on two long home runs. Starlin Castro’s 21st dinger of the season landed in the second deck in left field in the second inning. Judge bashed a 432-foot bomb into the left-center field bleachers in the fifth. The Dodgers countered with late-inning home runs by Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner, to the absolute delight of the Dodgers Blue crowd than drowned out Yankees Universe at least for one night.

Yanks end two of Dickey’s streaks

The Yankees ended R.A. Dickey’s string of one-hitters and his consecutive innings streak of no earned runs all in the same inning – the third – Sunday night. The righthander, who pitched one-hitters in his previous two starts, lost his chance for three in a row when Alex Rodriguez beat out an infield hit to third base, the Yankees’ second hit of the game.

And there would be more to come. The Yankees reached base regularly in the early going. They scored more runs in the third inning – four – than Dickey had allowed in a game in all but one of his 14 previous starts. He allowed eight runs in a 14-6 loss at Atlanta April 18 but no more than three runs in any other start.

Dickey worked out of trouble in the second inning when the Yankees loaded the bases with one out. Dickey put the first runner on with an error by dropping a toss from first baseman Justin Turner while covering first base. He then walked Nick Swisher and gave up a single to right by Raul Ibanez, but third base coach Rob Thompson held Mark Teixeira at third base. Dickey kept the ball in the infield after that by retiring Chris Stewart on a pop to second and CC Sabathia on a fielder’s choice.

One of the amazing aspects of Dickey’s remarkable season is his walks total – only 21 in 99 innings coming into this game, a terrific ratio for a knuckleball pitcher. The Yankees’ patience at the plate resulted in Dickey issuing three walks in the first three innings. A-Rod’s infield single was between walks as the Yankees again loaded the bases.

They have not done well when the bags are full this year (.181 entering play Sunday night), but they reversed that trend against Dickey. Teixeira scored Curtis Granderson with a sacrifice fly, a run that ended Dickey’s stretch of 44 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run, thereby leaving intact Dwight Gooden’s franchise mark of 49 such innings in 1985.

Swisher tore into a 2-1 knuckler and drove it over the right field wall for his 11th home run and a 4-0 Yankees lead. Before the game, Swisher talked about how he sometimes bats right-handed against knuckleball pitchers but that he would stay on the left side against Dickey because of the power aspect. Nine of Swish’s home runs have come while batting left-handed.

Dickey had another of his incredible achievements stopped in the fifth inning. After he hit Granderson with a pitch to begin the inning, Dickey was charged with a wild pitch while facing Rodriguez that allowed Granderson to take second base. It was the first wild pitch thrown this season by Dickey coming in his 104th inning, an astonishing feat for a knucleballer.

Yanks seek to start new road streak

Friday night’s loss to the Mets at Citi Field ended the Yankees’ road winning streak at seven, their longest such stretch since they won eight in a row June 24-July 9, 2009. The five runs they allowed in the first inning was the most they have allowed in the opening inning of a game since July 14 last year when the Blue Jays scored eight runs (three earned) off Bartolo Colon in a 16-7 Toronto victory.

The Elias Sports Bureau reported that the Yankees became the last team in the majors to allow more than four runs in any inning this season. It was only the third time in Andy Pettitte’s 487 regular-season starts that he allowed at least five runs in the first inning. The other times were Sept. 4, 2001 at Toronto – five runs – and Aug. 21, 1995 at Oakland – six runs.

Clay Rapada’s impressive stretch of 21 consecutive batters held hitless was ended in the eighth inning when Mets second baseman Justin Turner doubled. Rapada has set down each of the past 16 left-handed batters he has faced and has limited lefty swingers to a .137 batting average in 51 at-bats for the season with just two extra-base hits, one double and one home run.

The Yankees’ 27 errors this season are the fewest in the majors. They also lead the majors with a .989 fielding percentage. In Joe Girardi’s term as manager since 2008, the Yankees have combined for a .986 fielding percentage, the best in the American League and second in the majors only to the Phillies’ .989.

Ivan Nova entered Saturday night’s start with a 12-game winning streak on the road. The club record for consecutive road victories is 15. It was set over the 1936 and ’37 seasons by Monte Pearson and tied over the 1948 and ’49 seasons by Allie Reynolds. Russ Ford of the old New York Highlanders won 13 straight road decisions over the 1910 and ’11 seasons.

Andy recovers but hurt by 1st-inning 5-spot

The first inning Friday night at Citi Field was a stunning development for Andy Pettitte, who allowed five runs, which was the total he had yielded in his previous two starts covering 13 innings. Both were no-decisions, by the way, which Andy might have settled for again if the Yankees could get back in the game.

The five spot in the first put the Yankees in a decided hole and not surprisingly all the runs were scored after two were out. This has been a Mets specialty this season. They lead the majors in two-out runs. Their first-inning uprising brought the season total of two-out runs to 155.

The Mets had the bases loaded with one out, but it looked like Pettitte would work out of danger when he got Lucas Duda on a fly to shallow center. Justin Turner turned back a 1-2 sinker for a single through the middle that scored two runs. The real killer blow came on the next pitch, a hanging slider on Pettitte’s first delivery to Ike Davis, who popped a three-run home run to right field.

That was a crusher for Pettitte, who allowed insult to injury by later in the inning giving up a single to opposing pitcher Jonathan Niese, although Pettitte would return the favor the next inning.

Two weekends ago when the Yankees were out-homering the Mets, 8-2, in the Bombers’ sweep of the first round of the Subway Series, a lot of people around the Mets complained about the cheapness of home runs to right field at Yankee Stadium. Well, the homer by Davis was just as much a bargain-basement job.

In fact, the ball was almost caught by Nick Swisher. The right fielder leaped at the wall near the 330-foot mark for the ball that hit against the thumb of his glove and fell over the fence when his glove hand made contact with the top of the wall. So who’s talking cheap now?

Davis, who has shown recent signs of coming out of a season-long slump, was hitting only .121 at Citi Field this year before that at-bat but over his past 12 games overall has hit .382 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 34 at-bats. As horrid as Davis has been this year, his 36 RBI are only three behind David Wright, who is hitting over .350.

It was also Davis’ first career at-bat against Pettitte, who was retired last year. Davis broke into the majors in 2010 but did not face Pettitte. Mets manager Terry Collins loaded his lineup with right-handed hitters against the lefty Pettitte except for Davis, Duda and, of course, Niese. Andy caught a break with Jason Bay on the disabled list because of a concussion. Bay is a .400 hitter in 35 career at-bats against Pettitte.

Before the series, Collins said Citi Field would play different from Yankee Stadium as far as home runs were concerned. That was probably wishful thinking. Citi Field was an airline hangar for three seasons before the Mets got wise and brought in the fences the past offseason to make the yard fairer to hitters. It is by no means a bandbox, but the Yankees have proved they can hit home runs anywhere.

This was demonstrated by Alex Rodriguez, who got the Yankees on the board in the sixth by driving a 1-1 cutter into the Big Apple well over the 408-foot mark in straightaway center for his 12th home run of the season and career No. 641.

Leading off the seventh, Andruw Jones, who gave the Mets fits for years in his heyday with the Braves, launched his seventh home run into the left field stands beyond the old dimensions. Jones also made one of the fielding gems of the night, a diving catch in left field in the seventh that became a double play as Wright, who had doubled in a run, kept running and was forced out at second.

Pettitte was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh after having settled in nicely after the first-inning debacle. He pitched five scoreless innings after that with only two hits allowed, no walks and six strikeouts.

A-Rod praises Reyes, then makes him pay

Before the game, Alex Rodriguez paid Mets shortstop Jose Reyes a major compliment. During the game, Reyes tried to live up to it but ended up making a big out on the bases in the seventh inning as the Yankees were clinging to a 3-1 lead.

“They have the world’s greatest player playing shortstop over there, and the most exciting,” A-Rod said in reference to Reyes, who entered the game leading the National League in batting, runs, hits and triples. “I turn on the TV every time I get a chance to watch him.”

Rodriguez got a close-up view of the speedy leadoff hitter without need of a television Friday night in the opening game of Subway Series II at Citi Field. They were right next to each other in what proved a pivotal play, not to mention a disputed one and perhaps a mistaken one.

Reyes certainly showed off his wheels on an attempt to go from first base to third base on an outfield fly. He had led off the seventh with a single off Yankees reliever Corey Wade. When Justin Turner flied out to deep center, Reyes tagged up and headed for second after the catch by Curtis Granderson.

Shortstop Eduardo Nunez mishandled Granderson’s throw, and the ball trickled behind him. Reyes slid hands first into second, picked himself up and darted for third when he saw that the ball was loose. Nunez made a strong throw to Rodriguez, who applied the tag. Or did he?

Plate umpire Jerry Layne, who made the ruling at third, thought so and called Reyes out. Reyes and third base coach Chip Hale argued the ruling claiming that A-Rod did not tag Reyes. They were soon joined by Mets manager Terry Collins, who was ejected from the game by Layne.

Video replays were a bit inconclusive. One angle seemed to verify that Rodriguez had tagged Reyes on the left hip before he reached third base. Another angle was less convincing. Clearly, Reyes did not feel the tag, which is why he protested so demonstratively. But having already reached scoring position and with the heart of the order coming up, Reyes may have been smart not to try for third.

For this one night anyway, before a Citi Field record crowd of 42,020, Reyes had to take a back seat to another shortstop in New York because Nunez had four hits. The last of them was an RBI single in the eighth to score Russell Martin, who had reached on an error by first baseman Daniel Murphy and advanced on a sacrifice by Brett Gardner.

Pitchers Ivan Nova and Boone Logan also dropped down successful sacrifice bunts as the Yanks did a good job playing the NL game. Nunez was actually spared an error in the first inning due to Reyes’ speed. He was credited with a single for beating out a grounder to short ahead of a throw by Nunez that sailed over first baseman Mark Teixeira. Official scorer Jordan Sprechman wisely took into account Reyes’ jets in not charging Nunez with an error.

The Yankees had an incredible 19 at-bats with runners in scoring position but only four hits in those situations, so the score could have been a lot worse than 5-1. Rodriguez doubled in a run in the ninth that cost Mariano Rivera a save opportunity.

With the lead up to four runs, Yankees manager Joe Girardi started the bottom of the ninth with Hector Noesi, who sported a new uniform number. He switched to No. 64 so that new teammate Sergio Mitre could have the No. 45 he wore in his previous sting with the Yankees. Rivera was eventually summoned after Josh Thole singled with one out to face – who else? – Reyes.

The at-bat lacked drama as Reyes grounded out meekly to the guy who said so many nice things about him earlier in the evening.

Wet and wild start in Round 2

It didn’t take long for the wet grounds at Yankee Stadium to come into play Saturday night in Round 2 of the Subway Series. Rain forced the cancellation of the Mets’ batting practice two hours before game time. About 40 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, another heavy rain shower hit the area.

The infield was covered each time, but not the outfield, so it was not surprising to see right fielder Nick Swisher slip and fall down while fielding a liner to right-center by Jose Reyes for a leadoff double in the very first inning.

The Mets loaded the bases with none out against A.J. Burnett on a single to left by Daniel Murphy and a walk to Carlos Beltran. A flyout to right by Jason Bay got Reyes home from third base. It looked as if Burnett might get out of the inning with no more damage when he struck out Fernando Martinez on a killer knuckle curve.

Justin Turner, who had three hits Friday night and was robbed of a fourth by a nifty pickup at first base by Mark Teixeira, proved a tougher challenge. Turner, a Triple A Buffalo call-up who has done a terrific job in place of injured All-Star third baseman David Wright, worked the count full before lining a single to right field that made the score 2-0.

It marked the seventh consecutive game in which Turner drove in a run, which set a Mets rookie record. Turner had shared the previous mark with Ron Swoboda, who had an RBI in six straight games in 1965. Later in his career, Swoboda played in 152 games for the Yankees from 1971-73.

The pre-game downpour did nothing to deter the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team that completed its drill by landing in shallow center field. All 10 jumpers did a magnificent job navigating their way through the rain to land safely. Equally impressive was Steven Voigt Jr., son of a Navy SEAL team member who lost his life in the Persian Gulf, who threw a perfect strike with some mustard on it for the ceremonial first pitch.

Russell Martin, who caught Voigt’s pitch, drew the Yankees even in the second inning with a two-run home run to left. It was his eighth homer, the most of any catcher in the majors this year.

Yanks need to take back Stadium from Mets fans

The thing I remember most about that first inter-league game between the Yankees and the Mets in 1997 other than the buzz at Yankee Stadium that was usually reserved for post-season games was how upset Yankees players were afterward about how Mets fans had drowned out Yankees fans.

The Yankees acted like a bunch of sore high school kids, which was kind of refreshing because too often major-league players can seem so blasé about their surroundings. After being shut out by journeyman righthander Dave Mlicki, the Yankees set matters right by winning the next two games and turning the Stadium back over to Yankees fans.

They need to do that again the rest of this weekend. Perhaps because many Yankees fans had left the Stadium in the late innings and their team behind, it sounded as if we were at Citi Field in the ninth inning when closer Francisco Rodriguez finished off the Mets’ 2-1 victory by striking out Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher.

The Yankees have now lost six straight home games for only the second time since 1990. They dropped eight home games in a row May 16-26, 2003. Another game of poor clutch hitting (1-for-10 with runners in scoring position) subdued the Yankees. Mets pitchers retired the last 11 Yankees hitters in succession, seven on strikeouts.

The Yankees caught a few breaks in this game or it might not have been as tight as it was. The second of two doubles by Mets third baseman Justin Turner was a slicing drive down the right field line that Swisher made a long run to get to and then belly flopped for without success.

The ball bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, which was good news for the Yanks. With two out, Carlos Beltran would have scored easily from first base had Turner’s hit remained in play. As it was, Beltran had to stay at third base, and Freddy Garcia worked out of danger by getting Josh Thole on a grounder to first.

The Yankees failed to capitalize on a break the previous inning. Brett Gardner reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Jose Reyes, whose peg to first had pulled Daniel Murphy off the bag. But did it? TV replays indicated that Murphy’s foot was on the base when the ball hit his glove and that he came off after making the catch, but first base umpire Jeff Kellogg did not see it that way.

The day before at Citi Field, the Mets got a big out in the ninth inning on a play at first in which Murphy clearly was off the base, but the umpire didn’t see it and the Washington runner was called out. Mets manager Terry Collins argued briefly with Kellogg but didn’t press it, perhaps out of guilt over Thursday’s call.

Despite three close pickoff attempts by Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, a knuckleball pitcher but with a good move to first, Gardner was able to steal second base. Brett then made a base-running error on Derek Jeter’s single to deep short.

Reyes went deep in the hole for Jeet’s grounder, which kept Gardner close to second. But when Reyes threw to first base in a vain attempt to get Jeter, Gardner should have crossed to third once the shortstop released the ball. His hesitance changed the inning.

Not to fall victim to the fallacy of the pre-determined play, the Yankees had a better chance to score with Gardner on third rather than second, particularly if Curtis Granderson’s had flied out to right the way he did that would have been a sacrifice fly and not just an out.

Dickey stiffed the Yankees by striking out Mark Teixeira looking and retiring Alex Rodriguez on a ground ball behind second base with Reyes making a tracer’s bullet of a throw to first. Jeter’s infield single was the Yankees’ only hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Teixeira accounted for the Yankees’ only run off Dickey with his 11th home run with two out in the third. The Mets tied the score off Garcia in the fourth on two-out doubles by Fernando Martinez and Turner and took the lead in the sixth on a solo homer by Murphy.