Results tagged ‘ Lyle Overbay ’

Momentum from Baltimore stalled in Boston

With a bullpen gasping, the last thing the Yankees needed Friday night was for their starting pitcher to blow up in the early innings. That is precisely what happened to Hiroki Kuroda, who soon after righted himself and pitched into the seventh but that first-inning damage did not go away. Although the Yankees evaporated the four-run deficit stemming from that inning, the weakened bullpen could not keep the Red Sox at bay and help the Yankees to another stirring, come-from-behind victory.

Instead, it turned out to be a night out of, well, Friday the 13th for the Yankees, whose movement in the American League wild-card chase stalled as the result of the 8-4 loss. In essence, the score was the same after the first inning when the Red Sox took a 4-0 lead off Kuroda, who threw 33 pitches and looked as if he might have to make an early exit.

The Red Sox threatened to blow the game wide open by loading the bases with one out in the second inning, but Kuroda worked out of it without giving up a run and did the same in the third after a leadoff double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. In fact, Kuroda retired 12 of the next 13 batters and was in a tie game by the time he reached the seventh inning.

John Lackey, who has had run-support issues all season, allowed the Yankees to chip away at the four-run spread. The Boston righthander gave up a Green Monster home run to Brendan Ryan in the third and needed a splendid, running catch from hamstrung right fielder Shane Victorino on a sacrifice fly by Lyle Overbay in the sixth to prevent that from becoming a much bigger inning.

The bottom of the Yankees’ order – Ryan and Chris Stewart – pushed Lackey out of the game in the seventh with one-out singles, and left-handed reliever Craig Breslow lost the lead as Robinson Cano drove in two runs with his third double and fourth hit of the game.

The Yankees came from behind in two of their three victories in Baltimore leading into this series and appeared bound to do so again before the Red Sox started putting runners on base in the bottom of the seventh beginning with a scorching single off Kuroda that Eduardo Nunez at third base could not handle.

The back end of the Yankees’ bullpen was not up to the task. Manager Joe Girardi, with Mariano Rivera and David Robertson unavailable because of recent use and Boone Logan disabled, went with a pair of rookies. Lefthander Cesar Cabral hit the only batter he faced, David Ortiz. Righthander Preston Claiborne walked the bases loaded and after a big strikeout of Daniel Nava got creamed on a 0-1 fastball to Saltalamacchia for a grand slam.

So all the positives the Yankees achieved in Baltimore blew up in one bad night in Boston. The Rays shut out the Twins to maintain a 1 ½-game lead for the second wild-card spot over the Indians, who moved a half-game ahead of the Yankees. Looking at just the loss column, the Yanks, Orioles and Royals all have 69 losses, three more than the Rays, and the days are withering down.

Pitchers stifled because of managers’ scrap?

Someone will have to explain to me what CC Sabathia and Chris Tillman had to do with the beef between their managers, the Yankees’ Joe Girardi and the Orioles’ Buck Showalter, at the end of the first inning Monday night in the opener of a crucial four-game series between the American League wild-card playoff berth foes at Camden Yards.

The shouting match between the skippers apparently was over Girardi’s admonishing Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson for reasons the Yankees manager did not specify after the game only to say that he has always been dedicated to defending his players. One can only assume the player he was defending was catcher Austin Romine after hearing Showalter’s post-game remarks that the issue may have been sign stealing or signaling pitch location.

Well, it all made for interesting theater and little else. So what was the point of plate umpire Ed Hickox issuing warnings to the pitchers? What did Sabathia and Tillman have to do with all this? Here is a pivotal game between a couple of postseason candidates and the pitchers are neutralized for no good reason.

Camden Yards is a home-run haven that requires pitchers to use every inch of the plate and they are told from practically the start of the game that they work the inner half at their peril. What a joke.

Despite this limitation, both starters worked deeply into the game. Sabathia was provided a 1-0 lead before he took the mound on a home run by Alex Rodriguez. But for the 12th time this season, CC gave up a lead as the Orioles tied the score with a run in the bottom half of the first on a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones.

The pitchers exchanged zeroes until the fifth when another sacrifice fly, by J.J. Hardy, put the Orioles ahead. Baltimore picked up an additional run thanks to the legs of Alexi Casilla. He singled with two out and stole second from where he scored on a single by Nick Markakis, one of his three hits in the game.

Sabathia hurt himself in the eighth with a throwing error that helped the Orioles to another run on a two-out double by Manny Machado. Lyle Overbay’s 14th home run leading off the eighth inning ended Tillman’s stretch of 14 consecutive outs and his outing as well. Tommy Hunter struck out the next three innings.

The Yankees got the tying run to the plate after Rodriguez led off the ninth with a single, but Jim Johnson withstood a warning-track drive by Curtis Granderson to get his 43rd save.

It was not the way the Yankees wanted to start the series. They fell three games behind the Rays for the second wild card and 1 ½ games behind the Orioles and Indians with only a one-game edge over the Royals.

6 steals by 6 players: a 1st for Yanks in 97 years

Do you recognize any of these names?

Roxy Walters, Wally Pipp, Lee Magee, Frank Gilhooley, Hugh High, Paddy Baumann.

Well, there is a good chance you may have heard of Pipp. He was the Yankees first baseman who came out of the lineup because of illness in 1925 and was replaced by Lou Gehrig, who only played every day after that for 14 years.

The other guys were all teammates of Pipp on the Yankees of 1916, which was the last time before Thursday night that six different players had a stolen base for them in a single game. Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells each stole a base in the Yankees’ 9-8, 10-inning loss to the Red Sox.

That tied a franchise record for most players stealing at least one base in a game. It was the ninth time it happened but the first since Wally and his mates did it May 31, 1916 (Memorial Day) in the second game of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Polo Grounds.

Yanks don’t take advantage of big rally

How many big rallies begin with a walk? It is a rhetorical question. I am not looking it up. Leave us just say a lot.

So when Ichiro Suzuki walked to lead off the seventh inning for the Yankees Thursday night it hardly seemed dramatic considering the score at the time was 7-2 Red Sox. But as Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch used to say famously during his managerial days, “Oh, them bases on balls.”

Perhaps Red Sox manager John Farrell had similar thoughts. If he didn’t, he should have. The leadoff walk has an ominous look to it regardless of the score. Suzuki’s stroll to first base was just the ominous sign the Yankees needed to get started toward a six-run rally that turned the tables in the game, yet another startling crooked-number inning that the Yanks have constructed regularly during their offensive renaissance of the past month.

In the blink of an eye, Ichiro was standing on third base after a pinch single by Vernon Wells chased Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, who departed with a five-run lead but by inning’s end was still winless in his career against the Yankees.

Brett Gardner greeted lefthander Matt Thornton with a single to score Ichiro. With Derek Jeter at bat, Wells shook up the Red Sox with a steal of third, one of the Yanks’ season-high six swipes in the game. Thornton walked Jeter, which loaded the bases for Robinson Cano, who hit a bases-loaded double earlier in the game. This time he hit into a fielder’s choice but another run scored.

Alfonso Soriano also did an about-face from previous at-bats. Boston used an exaggerated shift against him all night. Twice he hit into it and flied out. This time against righthander Junichi Tazawa Sori poked a single to the right side for an RBI single that made the score 7-5. The Red Sox’ collective collar was tightening.

Curtis Granderson doubled to make it a one-run game. After Alex Rodriguez struck out, Lyle Overbay pushed the Yankees into the lead with a ground single to right for two more runs. 8-7 Yanks, and what made it even cooler was that the situation was set up for them out of the bullpen with David Robertson in the eighth and Mariano Rivera in the ninth.

Robertson did his part with a hitless, two-strikeout eighth. In the ninth, Rivera came within one strike of registering a save that would have matched his uniform No. 42. But he walked – there’s that stat again – Mike Napoli on a full count. Pinch runner Quintin Berry stunned everybody by breaking for second base on Mo’s first pitch to Stephen Drew. The throw from Austin Romine, just into the game behind the plate, bounced in front of Jeter and went into left-center field as Berry wound up on third base.

Rivera’s save and the Yankees’ lead disappeared when Drew hit a flare single to right for a single that knotted the score. Career save No. 650 would have to wait for Rivera, whose blown save was his sixth of the season.

One pair of Sox down, one more to go

Touché!

The Yankees paid the White Sox back for that miserable three-game sweep a month ago at Chicago by returning the favor at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks’ futility at U.S. Cellular Field marked the low point of the season. They left there only one game over .500 (57-56) but have played .692 ball since (18-8) and are 11 games over at 75-64 as they continue to push for a high point of the season, a postseason berth.

What better way to go into a four-game showdown with the Red Sox at the Stadium beginning Thursday night than to dust off an inferior opponent even if things got a bit dicey in the later innings? The Yanks watched a 6-1 lead behind a good outing by CC Sabathia (13-11) shrink to 6-5 by the eighth inning before Mariano Rivera settled matters with his first four-out save in two years.

Mo’s 41st save this season and career No. 649 complimented a sturdy offensive attack by the Yankees, who had another crooked-number inning that have become more regular these days. It was a four-run fourth against rookie righthander Eric Johnson in his big-league debut that put the Yankees in control. Johnson contributed to the rally with a throwing error. The big blow was a two-run triple by Brett Gardner after Lyle Overbay’s RBI single had put the Yanks ahead. Robinson Cano, who homered (No. 26) in the first inning, drove in the fourth run of the fourth with an infield single in a three-hit, two-RBI game.

Alfonso Soriano’s 40th RBI in 37 games with the Yankees on a sacrifice fly in the seventh seemed a tack-on run at the time but proved the game decider when the White Sox put together a four-run inning of their own the next inning.

Sabathia pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in five starts. He left with one out and a couple of runners on base, both of whom scored as David Robertson had a rollercoaster inning that required Rivera’s parachute as the White Sox closed to one run. Mo stranded two runners by striking out Alejandro De Aza looking and then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

No wonder manager Joe Girardi wants him back next year.

A-Rod sick; Reynolds slick

Alex Rodriguez was a late scratch from the Yankees’ lineup Saturday because of flu-like symptoms. There is no truth to the rumor that Lyle Overbay, who recently had the flu, passed along the symptoms to A-Rod so he could get into the game.

Once again, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had right-handed Mark Reynolds in the original lineup at first base against a right-handed starting pitcher, Baltimore’s Scott Feldman. It worked for Joe Friday night as Reynolds had two doubles, a single and an RBI in the Yankees’ 8-5 victory. With Rodriguez down Saturday, Reynolds moved to third base and Overbay was inserted at first.

The move had an early payoff for the Yankees. Reynolds robbed Wilson Betemit of a hit leading off the third inning with a diving stop to his left and a strong throw across the diamond to Overbay.

Long ball returns to Yankees’ arsenal

The power is back for the Yankees, is it ever. I don’t think we will hear people complaining about the Yankees relying too much on the long ball the way they did last year. As tepid as the Yanks’ offensive attack has been this year, watching balls go over fence is a welcome sight.

Alfonso Soriano led the way Tuesday night with two home runs and four RBI in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays. Sori fell into a slump as he approached his 2,000th career hit, but the same thing did not happen as he approached his 400th home run. He reached it one pitch after he cranked out No. 399 two innings earlier. Soriano also made a dazzling defensive play in left field in the ninth inning with a terrific, running and leaping catch to help stall a late Toronto rally.

Alex Rodriguez hit career home run No. 651, and Mark Reynolds went hard as well. Reynolds also played one inning at second base as both Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez came out of the game with injuries. Reynolds, normally a corner infielder, played second base twice in 2007 with the Diamondbacks. His ninth-inning, fill-in role included being part of a double play that ended the game. It was one of four twin killings for the Yankees in the game.

Cano left the game in the first inning after being hit by a pitch from Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ in the left hand. X-rays were negative. Nunez, who took over at second base and was a part of two double plays, twisted his right knee in the eighth. He remained in the game and got a single in the ninth. Manager Joe Girardi decided to play it safe and had Lyle Overbay pinch run for Nunez. Overbay stayed in the game at first base with Reynolds moving over to second.

Andy Pettitte pitched another beauty with seven shutout innings in which he allowed five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Pettitte pushed his season record over .500 at 10-9 and in so doing reached double figures in victories for the 14th time pitching for the Yankees, which set a franchise record as he broke the tie he had shared with Whitey Ford.

It was a continuation of good fortune for Pettitte, who hit a bit of a wall at mid-season but has rebounded nicely. In his past six starts, Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 33 2/3 innings and has allowed two runs or less in five of those starts.

Derek Jeter, in his second game back from the disabled list, got into the mix with two hits and an RBI.

This was a satisfying victory all around for the Yankees, who were hoping to gain some ground in the postseason chase and moved within one game of third place in the American League East.

Jeter to rejoin Yankees in Toronto Monday

More reinforcements are coming for the Yankees. Barring injury, Derek Jeter will return to the Yankees Monday night when they open a three-game series at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The Captain is on an injury-rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Scranton and was to play seven innings at shortstop Saturday night. He is expected to go through a light workout Sunday and then fly to Toronto to rejoin the Yankees.

Jeter was 0-for-3 with a walk Friday night and showed that his legs are back in shape by scoring on a wild pitch. He was out the entire first half while recovering from two bone fractures in his left ankle and was disabled again after coming back due to a right quadriceps strain.

The Yankees had more good news regarding Brett Gardner, who was hit in the right hand by a pitch from the Rays’ Chris Archer in Friday night’s 7-2 loss. X-rays were negative. Gardner was not in the lineup Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with his hand and everything to do with David Price being the opposing pitcher.

Manager Joe Girardi said that whenever a lefthander opposes the Yankees at least one of the three left-handed hitting outfielders has to be on the bench. Girardi chose to go with Curtis Granderson, who has four career home runs against Price, and Ichiro Suzuki, who entered the game with a 1-for-3 history against Price. Gardner, who is 2-for-14 (.143) in his career against Price, was essentially bitten by the computer.

Girardi was also forced to use Mark Reynolds at first base against Price because Lyle Overbay was still down with the flu. Reynolds had only four hits in 24 at-bats (.167) in his career against Price, but three of the hits were home runs. Overbay is 4-for-12 (.333) off Price.

Support for Kuroda with bat and glove absent

Hiroki Kuroda has had his share of poor run support this year. It happened again Saturday with the Yankees scoring only run. What made this game different is that the Yanks poorly supported him defensively as well.

Weak fielding has not been an issue for the Yankees this year. Despite all the injuries, the Yanks have slapped leather pretty well. Kuroda was hurt by two errors that were factors in the 6-1 loss to the Red Sox, a huge disappointment considering Kuroda has been so dependable all season.

The damaging inning was the fourth when the Red Sox scored three runs with the aid of an errant throw by Yankees first baseman Lyle Overbay and a blown call by third base umpire Bill Welke. Expanded replay will not come to Major League Baseball until 2014, so the Yankees had to live with Welke’s blunder Saturday.

Boston had runners on the corners with none out after David Ortiz led off with a double and Mike Carp singled. Kuroda held firm and struck out Daniel Nava looking. Stephen Drew then hit a bouncer to Overbay, who instead of throwing home to get the plodding Ortiz decided to throw to second base in an effort to start a potentially inning-ending double play.

That decision exploded in Overbay’s face. His throw to second was high and pulled Robinson Cano off the base. No out there. Cano’s relay to first was not in time to get Drew. No out there. In the meantime, Ortiz scored, and the Red Sox still had two runners on base. Overbay blamed himself for sailing his throw.

Carp and Drew then pulled off a double steal, although replays indicated that Alex Rodriguez tagged Carp on his thigh before his foot hit the base at third. Welke was right on top of the play and called the runner safe even though video replays showed otherwise. Both runners eventually scored on two-out singles by Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury.

That inning was part of a weird game for the Yankees. They ran themselves out of potentially productive inning in the second. Red-hot Alfonso Soriano singled and Rodriguez walked to begin the inning. Curtis Granderson followed with a flare to shallow center that was gloved by Drew, the shortstop who then turned and threw to second base to double-off Soriano.

Soriano also led off the fourth with a single but was caught stealing, snuffing out another possible scoring opportunity. The Yankees never really mounted a strong attack against John Lackey (8-10), who pitched into the seventh and ended a personal four-game losing streak by winning for the first time in six starts since July 12.

On the plus side for Overbay, he had three hits, but the Yankees had only one hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position, and that hit by Overbay did not score a run. Cano had an 11-game hitting streak stopped as failed to get a ball out of the infield. The Yankees need to shake this one off and try to win the series behind CC Sabathia Sunday night at Fenway Park.

Will rout gets Yankees on a roll?

Will Tuesday night’s 14-7, 19-hit victory over the Angels be the start of something big for the Yankees? They certainly hope so as the days begin to dwindle in the final third of the season if the Yankees want to make a splash and qualify for postseason play.

The addition of Alfonso Soriano and the return from the disabled list of Curtis Granderson and Aleex Rodriguez have surely given the Yankees’ batting order some depth. It was not that long ago Lyle Overbay was batting cleanup in some games; now he is batting eighth.

After an overabundance of low-scoring and tightly contested games, the Yankees were due for an old-fashioned blowout and got it Tuesday night. Eduardo Nunez (4) and Soriano (6), the first two batters in the order, combined to drive in 10 runs, a franchise first since 1920 when RBI became an official statistic in baseball. It marked the first time any 1-2 hitters combined for 10 RBI since the Blue Jays’ Russ Adams (4) and Reed Johnson (6) did it July 1, 2005 at Boston in a 15-2 Toronto victory over the Red Sox.

The RBI figures were personal career highs for both Nunez and Soriano. The rest of the lineup all came through as well as everyone who came to bat for the Yankees had at least one hit with Overbay and Granderson joining Soriano with three-hit games. Vernon Wells socked his first home run in 208 at-bats since May 15 at Seattle. Of Wells’ 11 homers this season, four have come against teams for which he formerly played – three against the Blue Jays and one against the Angels.

I was a big proponent of the Yankees’ re-acquiring Soriano, who is one of my favorite players. After Soriano had a rough time of it for the Yanks in the 2003 World Series against the Marlins when he hit .227 with nine strikeouts, there were loud calls for him to be traded. I was opposed to that, although who could argue with letting him go to bring Rodriguez here at the peak of his powers? Well, I did, but to no avail.

Anyway, now they are here together, and the lineup seems all the better for it.

The Yankees have a lot of work to do. They need to go on one of those outrageous runs like the Dodgers have done to get back into the post-season mix. CC Sabathia got back to .500 (10-10) with a positive outing yet one that could be considered only fair. He held the Angels to three hits but walked six batters and got a huge break from an umpire’s terrible call on a runners’ break off third base erroneously judged too soon.

Nevertheless, Sabathia pitched into the seventh inning, didn’t give back any leads and even got his first putout in two seasons with a hustling cover of first base.

The night after winning consecutive games for the first time in 23 games, the Yankees made it three straight victories in a stretch equally as long. Before anyone dismisses what they have done because the Angels are a stumbling team, consider that the Yankees recently went 1-5 combined against the Padres and White Sox, two clubs that are even worse.