Results tagged ‘ Logan Forsythe ’

Yankees suffer flop at the Trop

After winning three consecutive series and going 7-3 against such contenders as the Orioles, Giants and Astros, the Yankees seemed to place themselves in contention as well, particularly since they were spending this weekend at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla, home of the last-place Rays.

Thud.

That was the sound the Yanks made Friday night as they fell to Tampa Bay, 5-1, failing to take advantage of a Baltimore loss to Toronto, which moved the Blue Jays to a half-game of overtaking the Orioles for first place in the American League East.

The Yankees banged out 10 hits but all were singles, and only one, a two-out knock by Mark Teixeira in the eighth, came with runners in scoring position in nine such at-bats. A bright spot was a pinch-hit single in the ninth by Alex Rodriguez, only his second hit in 24 at-bats since the All-Star break.

A brighter spot was the work of rookie righthander Chad Green, who picked up from starter Ivan Nova in the fifth and pitched the rest of the way. Green’s command occasionally was as shaky as Nova’s (three walks), but he allowed only one hit and struck out five in 3 2/3 innings. Green might actually have been auditioning for a job in the rotation should Nova be dealt before Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Nova (7-6, 4.90 ERA) was in trouble from the get-go. He gave up solo home runs to Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson on inside fastballs in the first inning. The first five hits the Rays had against Nova were for extra bases. Brad Miller tripled and doubled. Evan Longoria added an RBI double.

Green at least kept the Yankees within striking distance, but they failed for the most part to hit in the clutch. The Yanks got two hits in the first inning off eventual winning pitcher Jake Odorizzi (5-5), which is twice as many as they had over seven innings against him back on May 29 at the Trop. That day, Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the seventh only to lose it and the game on a two-run home run by Starlin Castro, the only hit for the Yankees in the game. Ironically, Castro was the only Yankees player in the lineup Friday night who failed to get a hit.

Five Rays homers cost Yanks shot at sweep

Michael Pineda endured a nightmare of a first inning Sunday that put a damper on a bright, sunshine day in which the Yankees were shooting for their first series sweep since Aug. 28-30 last year at Atlanta. Instead, they fell back into the cellar of the American League East and hobbled their way to Arlington, Texas, to begin an 11-day, nine-game trip that starts Monday night against a Rangers team that is tied for first place in the AL West.

Five pitches into Sunday’s game before a crowd of 40,931 at Yankee Stadium, Pineda had two outs and nobody on base. He then gave up hits to the next six batters, including two doubles and two home runs, as the aggressive Rays attacked him early in the count to put up a five-spot against which the Yankees brought little resistance in falling, 8-1.

The only positive for Pineda Sunday was that he managed to pitch through the fifth inning, which spared manager Joe Girardi of digging too deep into his already overworked bullpen. Masahiro Tanaka’s seven-inning start Saturday helped, but Girardi knew from the outset Sunday that he did not have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller available. This game turned out not to be the type in which either of the late-inning shutdown guys works.

Birthday boy Steven Souza celebrated turning 27 with two home runs, a two-run shot in the first and a solo blast in the fifth. Pineda also gave up dingers to Corey Dickerson following a two-out double off the top of the center field wall by Evan Longoria in the first inning and to Steve Pearce leading off the third. Logan Forsythe, who had three hits, joined the home run derby with Tampa Bay’s fifth of the game, a solo shot in the eighth off Nick Goody.

It was also Carlos Beltran’s birthday. The Yankees right fielder turned 39 but did not have as explosive a game as Souza. Beltran was 1-for-4. His first-inning single off eventual winning pitcher Drew Smyly was career hit No. 2,472 for Beltran, who tied Ted Simmons for 10th place among switch hitters. In ninth place at 2,605 is Tim Raines.

The day turned grimmer for the Yankees when Alex Rodriguez, who has driven in their only run with a two-out double in the fourth inning, could not bat when his turn came up again in the sixth. Girardi had to use the left-handed hitting Dustin Ackley as a pinch hitter against the lefty-throwing Smyly (although Ackley singled for his first hit of the season, in his eighth at-bat).

An MRI exam on Rodriguez’s sore left oblique was negative, but the situation shows the dilemma the Yankees are in with Aaron Hicks already out several days because of traumatic bursitis in his left shoulder. The Yanks have proved vulnerable to left-handed pitching. They are 2-5 against left-handed starters and are batting .225 with two home runs overall in 213 at-bats off lefties. Against right-handed pitching, the Yankees are batting .246 with 16 home runs in 358 at-bats.

The Yankees said that A-Rod will make the trip to Texas. But if he cannot play right away, and that is very likely considering how lingering oblique injuries tend to be, and with Hicks out as well, the Yankees lose two right-handed bats. Switch-hitter Nick Swisher, who was released by Atlanta and signed a Triple A contract with the Yankees, is playing for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but is not on the 40-man roster. The Yankees are not believed interested in dropping anyone off the 40-man roster at this time, which limits their options if they make an internal move for outfield and DH help. The best bet for a call-up would be outfielder Ben Gamel, who is hitting .300 with a .368 on-base percentage at SWB but alas bats left-handed.

The Yanks have known along that staying healthy is a challenge to a team with aging players. The upcoming trip that continues to AL East rival stops in Boston and Baltimore could be a major test for them.

Thank Heathcott for September callups

I doubt you will be hearing Yankees manager Joe Girardi gripe about the inequities in roster expansion in September, a favorite topic of his. Not after what happened Monday night, not after a player who was just called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre two days ago delivered the critical blow in what was perhaps the Yanks’ most improbable victory of the season.

This was a tale of two games, really, well, one inning and the other eight, actually. The Yankees were no-hit for seven innings, still scoreless after eight and facing a damaging loss to the Rays with two outs and nobody on in the ninth.

Then, you guessed it, somebody walked, the play that starts so many inconceivable rallies. The somebody was Brett Gardner, who just as quickly put himself in scoring position with a steal of second base.

Rays righthander Brad Boxberger, zeroing in on what would have been his 35th save, instead sustained his sixth blown save as Alex Rodriguez doubled to right-center to tie the score. Suddenly the Yankees had life on what was previously a dead night. After Brian McCann was walked intentionally, Slade Heathcott wasted no time by swinging at the first pitch and driving a three-run home run to left field.

Slade Heathcott! Right, the same young outfielder who had not batted in a big-league game since May and who spent most of this season on the disabled list because of a quad injury and who was still on a Triple A roster before joining the Yankees Saturday as a, that’s right, September callup.

Rosters may expand from the usual 25 to up to 40 come Sept. 1. Managers such as Girardi have railed against this practice in recent years, but it was sure nice for the Yankees to have had Heathcott part of Monday night’s unlikely 4-1 victory.

This was a scoreless game for seven innings, a pitcher’s duel between starters CC Sabathia of the Yankees and Erasmo Ramirez of the Rays. Sabathia had arguably his best game of the season as he did not allow a run for the first time in his 26 starts over 6 2/3 innings.

Unfortunately, the Yankees didn’t get him any runs, either, nor hits until Carlos Beltran foiled Ramirez’s no-hit bid with a scorching single off the shoulder of first baseman Richie Shaffer leading off the eighth.

Pinch runner Rico Noel swiped second, but the Yankees failed to advance him further. Tampa Bay broke the scoreless tie and ended a 21-inning scoreless streak in the bottom of the eighth against Justin Wilson on a two-out, RBI double by Logan Forsythe, who reached third on Brendan Ryan’s second error of the game.

Caleb Cotham got a big third out with a strikeout of Asrubal Cabrera and was rewarded with his first major-league victory when the Yankees rallied in the ninth. Andrew Miller added an exclamation point to the victory by striking out the side in the ninth for his 33rd save.

One of those losses that hurts a bit more

All losses hurts, especially those in a pennant race. Yet some have more of a sting than others. Such a loss occurred to the Yankees Saturday, a 3-2 setback to Tampa Bay that combined with Toronto’s 5-1 victory over Baltimore pushed them back to 1 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East.

The frustration showed in the way Didi Gregorius slammed down his bat after he made the third out of the eighth inning on a vicious line drive caught by Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe that left the bases loaded.

The Yankees, trailing by a run, seemed to have a game-turning rally in place against Tampa Bay righthander Alex Colome, who was hit hard enough throughout the eighth that he got gun shy and loss sight of the plate.

Even the two outs that began the inning were well struck, a hard grounder up the middle by Alex Rodriguez into an over-shift and a smoking liner to first baseman James Loney by Carlos Beltran. Chase Headley worked the count to 3-2 before drilling a single to center. Greg Bird followed with a rope to left for another single.

Colome wanted no part of Brian McCann, pinch hitting for John Ryan Murphy, and walked him on five pitches to fill the bags. Now there was no place to put Gregorius, but Colome fell behind 2-0 before getting a called strike on an automatic take by the Yanks shortstop.

It would have been a good time for Gregorius to make up some of the discrepancy in his home-and-away splits. He had doubled in a run back in the fifth off starter Mike Moore and eventually came around to score the Yankees’ second run on two infield outs. Didi had a good cut at the 2-1 pitch, but the lazar of a liner hit leather.

Manager Joe Girardi was not taken aback by Gregorius’ act of frustration. In fact, the skipper approved it. Showing emotion in that circumstance was understandable and reflected frustration all around by Yankees hitters whose return from a rambunctious trip has been calmed by two games of limited production. The Yanks won Friday night primarily because three of their four hits were home runs. They totaled only five hits Saturday and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. They had no such at-bats Friday night.

Gregorius was a big part of the Yankees’ 5-1 trip through Atlanta and Boston as he hit .583 with seven runs, one double, two home runs and 10 RBI. That raised his road record this year to .317 with eight doubles, one triple, three home runs and 26 RBI. At Yankee Stadium, the picture has not been so rosy as Gregorius has been a .222 hitter with 10 doubles, five home runs and 19 RBI.

It is not the time for bats to turn cold. In Moore, the Yankees were facing a pitcher who has struggled since returning from Tommy John surgery (8.04 ERA) and a Rays lineup that lost slugger Evan Longoria in the fifth inning with a hand injury from being hit with a pitch. In addition, the Yankees must contend in Sunday’s series finale with righthander Chris Archer, who is 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA in eight career starts against them.

Nathan Eovaldi lost for the first time in 14 starts since June 16 and had a nine-game winning streak end. He gave up three runs on a couple of two-out hits — singles by Kevin Kiermaier for one run in the second and by Astrubal Cabrera for two runs in the third. The righthander walked four batters, hit one and struck out seven in losing for the first time this year in 13 starts this year at the Stadium where he is now 5-1.

Well, one streak ended Saturday, so perhaps one can end again Sunday.

Yankees have plenty of pop at the Trop

Tropicana Field was where the Yankees began to turn their season around last month with a three-game sweep of the Rays to get back to .500 after a 3-6 start. Good times at the Trop continued for the Yankees Monday night, who made sure they would leave St. Petersburg after Thursday night’s game still in first place in the American League East.

The 11-5 victory pushed the Yankees’ lead over Tampa Bay to four games. It was a satisfying triumph in many ways but probably mostly for CC Sabathia, who ended a 13-month losing streak. The big guy earned his first victory since April 24, 2014 at Boston. CC had been winless in nine starts since with seven losing decisions, although he spent much of that time on the disabled list because of a knee injury.

The Yankees’ offense exploded against Rays righthander Alex Colome, who had allowed only one home run all year until the Yanks connected off him four times. Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran had solo shots, but the big blows were a pair of two-out, three-run home runs by Chase Headley in the fourth inning and Brett Gardner in the sixth. Colome watched his ERA climb from 1.80 to 5.63.

Mark Teixeira, who had a four-hit night, smacked the Yankees’ fifth home run of the game in the ninth off reliever Erasmo Ramirez, a two-run shot that was the only one hit with less than two out.

Sabathia, who has had a recent history of giving up leads, was hard pressed to gag the 9-1 spread his teammates had opened up before the seventh-inning stretch. The Yankees had averaged only 2.27 runs per game in support of Sabathia before Monday night and made up for that big-time.

The winning decision, the 209th of Sabathia’s major league career, tied Vida Blue for 24th place on the all-time list of left-handed pitchers’ victories.

Sabathia got off to a shaky start. He walked the first two batters on nine pitches and gave up a one-out double to Logan Forsythe that scored a run to negate A-Rod’s first inning jack (career No. 662). CC caught a break when Steven Souza, thinking Gardner might catch Forsythe’s drive, tagged up at second base instead of playing it half-way down the line and was unable to score ahead of shortstop Didi Gregorius’ blistering relay to the plate that nailed the runner.

CC settled down after that and retired 11 batters in a row before surrendering his second hit, a one-out single in the fifth by Asdrubal Cabrera, who was erased on a double play. By that time, the Yankees had a 5-1 run lead that grew the next inning on Gardner’s homer.

Sabathia shows signs of tiring in the seventh in allowing solo home runs to Forsythe and Joey Butler and an unearned run, but his teammates kept pouring it on to make sure the run support was sufficient.

There were plenty of positive signs for Yankees hitters. Teixeira raised his batting average from .212 to .239. Headley had four RBI. Beltran’s 2-for-5 game continued his heating-up May in which he is batting .324 with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in 37 at-bats following an April in which he hit .162 with five doubles, one triple and seven RBI in 68 at-bats.

The 14-hit assault helped the Yankees to a 4-0 mark at the Trop and 6-1 overall against the Rays this season.

CC still deep in the woods

Splitting the two-game series with the Dodgers was a plus for the Yankees. Naturally, a sweep was preferable but considering how hot Los Angeles had been making up 10 ½ games in the standings in a little over a month winning one of the two games was a positive first step for the Yankees on this trip because the next two stops appeared to be soft spots on the schedule.

After the three-game weekend series at San Diego against the Padres, who are next to last in the National League West, the Yankees will move on to Chicago to play the last-place White Sox of the American League Central. The start of the supposedly soft stretch turned out a rough patch as the Yankees lost to the Padres, 7-2.

Friday night was a golden opportunity for CC Sabathia to straighten himself out. If the Yankees are going to make a serious run at the AL East title or at least a wild-card playoff berth they need their ace to pitch like one. Unfortunately, Sabathia’s struggles continued as he remained winless in five starts since July 3.

The lefthander did end a stretch of three straight starts in which he allowed at least seven runs, but it was close. The Padres scored five runs off Sabathia, who left the game with two down in the sixth and two runners on base, so had they scored it would have been yet another 7-spot against him. Preston Claiborne walked the first batter he faced intentionally to load the bases and struck out Jesus Guzman to end the threat.

It was another messy outing for Sabathia, who gave up two runs in a 28-pitch first inning and continued to slide downhill after that. The Padres stroked 11 hits off CC, equaling the highest total he has allowed this year (May 20 at Baltimore). Over his past five starts in which he is 0-4 with a 7.85 ERA, Sabathia has allowed 44 hits, including six home runs, in 28 2/3 innings. For the season, opponents are batting .277 against Sabathia, who in 152 2/3 innings has given up 168 hits, including a career-high 24 home runs. CC, who has never had a losing record over a full season, is 9-10.

The best thing Sabathia did in the game was drive in one of the two runs in the second inning that tied the score. He allowed the Padres to regain the lead in the fourth when taken deep by Logan Forsythe. Even worse, CC failed to cover first base on a grounder to the right side by opposing pitcher Andrew Cashner, who was credited with a single and soon after scored on a triple by Everth Cabrera, one of four hits in the game for the San Diego shortstop.

It might have been worse for Sabathia if not for an excellent play by his catcher, Chris Stewart, who after grabbing Brett Gardner’s one-hop throw from center field took a blow to the head in tagging out Chase Headley at the plate in the third inning. That was the only real highlight in the game for the Yankees.

In their first appearance at Petco Park, the Yankees did not give a sellout crowd of 44,124 much to appreciate. They failed to take advantage of Red Sox and Rays losses and fell four games out of the wild-card chase. Curtis Granderson returned to the lineup but looked rusty without getting a ball out of the infield and striking out twice in a 0-for-4 game.

Eduardo Nunez, who became the eighth different player to start at third base for the Yankees this year, doubled in a run, made a good tag to catch Cabrera trying to steal third, handled three grounders without incident but needed two throws saved by Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay. Nunez also did a terrific piece of base running in the second by scoring from third base easily on the contact play for Sabathia’s RBI.