Results tagged ‘ Mason Williams ’

Late-inning bullpen breakdown strikes Yanks again

The situation had reached the level that just scoring a run would be considered a moral victory for the Yankees. At this stage of the season, however, they need more than moral victories. They need out-and-out Ws, yet another late-inning breakdown Sunday on a trip that has turned into a train wreck stretched their losing streak to four games and dumped them 5 1/2 games out of the second American League wild card position.

The Yankees, who had been shut out in their previous three games, ended a 33-inning drought in the seventh Sunday at Toronto when Didi Gregorius belted his 19th home run of the season that tied the score at 1.

Jose Bautista, who had homered off Michael Pineda in the fourth inning, struck again in the eighth, another damaging inning for Dellin Betances in recent appearances. A leadoff walk to Josh Donaldson proved critical, particularly since Betances’ long stride to the plate makes him vulnerable to stolen bases. Last year’s AL Most Valuable Player wasted no time swapping second and then got to third on a risky crossing on a slow ground ball to the left of second base by Edwin Encarnacion.

That brought up Bautista, who lined a single to center that put the Jays ahead once more. Dalton Pompey ran for Bautista, and he stole second base as well with two out by taking advantage of another Betances shortcoming, throwing to bases. Betances stepped off the rubber as Pompey broke for second but instead of running directly at Pompey the reliever made one step toward the runner and tossed the ball behind him, to first baseman Mark Teixeira, who had no chance to keep Pompey from stealing second.

The steal did not result in a run as. Betances struck out Troy Tulowitzki, but that play explained why manager Joe Girardi had to pull Betances from the game when he began the bottom of the ninth with another walk, this time to Melvin Upton Jr., losing him after being ahead 0-2 in the count.

At that point, Betances was protecting the Yankees’ first lead in 36 innings. Blue Jays closer Jose Osuna blew the chance for his 36th save and was done in on three two-strike singles and a sacrifice fly. Osuna was ahead in the count 1-2 to Teixeira, 0-2 to pinch hitter Billy Butler and 1-2 to Mason Williams and gave up hits to all three. Ronald Torreyes put the Yankees ahead with his fly ball to right-center.

So Betances had a chance at a winning decision in the ninth, which has been his inning since Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller were traded, but the 6-foot-7 righthander has been shaky the past nine days with only one save against a blown save and two losses.

The walk to Upton whom Girardi thought Betances had struck out during the at-bat promoted the manager to make a move. Girardi simply could not allow Upton, a speedy runner, an easy path to second base with Betances on the mound. The skipper called on Tyler Clippard, who ended up losing the game for the second day in a row.

After failing to get down a sacrifice bunt on two tries, Kevin Pillar punched a single to right field that sent Upton to third base. More successful at bunting was Ezequiel Carrera, the 9-hole hitter, on a safety squeeze that worked with Upton crossing the plate.

Clippard worsened matters with a shovel pass in an attempt to get Upton that eluded catcher Gary Sanchez that put the trail runners on second and third. It also forced the Yanks to walk Donaldson intentionally to create a double-play situation with Encarnacion, who showed why he is leading the league in RBI with a bouncer to the right side for the game-winning single.

The 4-3 loss was as deflating as the Yankees have had all year, and they have had several just on this trip, which ends Monday night, in which they have lost eight of 10 games and may have removed themselves from serious contention. They are 5 1/2 games behind the Orioles for a playoff berth and also trail the Tigers by four games, the Mariners by three and the Astros by 2 1/2. The Yankees have even put themselves within catching distance of the Royals, who are only a half-game behind them.

Injuries piling up down the stretch for Yankees

Yankees manager Joe Girardi had something of a makeshift lineup for Sunday night’s finale of the four-game series at Fenway Park where they hoped to avoid a sweep. Three of the players in the Yankees’ batting order were not even on the club a week ago.

Injuries to second baseman Starlin Castro and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury sustained in Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox forced Girardi to improvise. Mason Williams, who was recalled from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last week, started in center field. At second base was Donovan Solano, who was called up Sunday morning. At first base was Billy Butler, who was released by the Athletics two weeks and signed by the Yankees last week.

Also out of the lineup was third baseman Chase Headley, who has a stiff lower back. Ronald Torreyes started in his place.

Castro’s injury is the most serious, a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring. He pulled up lame while running out a double in the fifth inning. Such ailment often takes two weeks to recover from, and that is all that is left of the Yankees’ season. His loss comes at a time when he has been hot with 12 hits, including a home run and three doubles, in his past 24 at-bats.

Ellsbury bruised his right knee sliding into the fence in right-center field while tracking a double by Xander Bogaerts that started the two-run rally in which the Red Sox overtook the Yankees and knocked them behind four clubs in pursuit of the second American League Wild Card slot in the playoffs. Luis Severino was charged with his first earned run in 20 innings as a reliever as the Red Sox tied the score. They got the winning run on a wild pitch by Adam Warren.

Castro and Ellsbury underwent MRI exams Sunday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and were treated by Dr. Christopher Ahmad, the team physician. Both players are expected to rejoin the club in St. Petersburg, Fla., by Tuesday night when the Yanks open a three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Struggling Yankees stagger down the standings

Remember all those clubs the Yankees jumped over in the Wild Card standings when they were in that seven-game winning streak? Well, some of them have reversed course and are now looking at the Yankees in their rear-view mirrors.

By losing five of their past six games, including the first two games of this 11-game trip, the Yanks have staggered in the standings. Thursday night, they were two outs from moving to three games out of first place in the American League East and to one game back for the second Wild Card berth. But a five-run ninth inning by the Red Sox, who won again Friday night, has dropped the Yankees six games behind Boston in the AL East standings and 3 1/2 back of Toronto for the second Wild Card slot.

In addition, the Wild Card field is getting crowded again. The Tigers and the Mariners, whom the Yankees had leap-frogged last week, are back ahead of them. Detroit also lost Friday night but remained a game ahead of the Yankees along with Seattle, which took an eight-game winning streak into Friday night’s pairing with Houston, which is only a half-game behind the Yankees. A Seattle victory would push the Mariners over the Tigers and two games up on the Yanks. A Houston victory would put the Astros even with the Yankees and one game behind the Mariners and Tigers. And if the Blue Jays should win at Anaheim, the Yankees would fall to four games behind Toronto and Baltimore, which beat Tampa Bay, for the second Wild Card position.

That is how quickly things can change in a pennant race. Once again, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to empty his bullpen as he used six pitchers against the Red Sox, who showed off their muscle again with 12 hits, half of them for extra bases.

The Yankees got good games from Baby Bombers Gary Sanchez, who belted a two-run double in the fifth inning to get them to 3-2, and Mason Williams, who had two hits and made a dazzling catch in right field in the eighth. Billy Butler forced Red Sox manager John Farrell to bring in his closer, Craig Kimbrel, with a two-run, pinch-hit home run in the ninth, but the Yankees could not get closer.

They needed to do better than gain a split of the four-game series at Fenway Park, but that is now the best the Yankees can hope for.

Gardner back to catalyst form on homestand

Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner were a dynamic 1-2 punch at the top of the batting order for the Yankees the first month of the season. But since Ellsbury went on the 15-day disabled list May 20 because of a right knee strain, Gardner seemed lost without his partner.

Going into this homestand, Gardner was in a 94 at-bat stretch in which he hit .223 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs and 12 RBI while watching his season batting average slide from .291 to .262. He has turned it around the past three nights at Yankee Stadium, however, climaxed by a 4-for-5, three-RBI performance Friday night that has pushed his average back up to .277. And not surprisingly, the Yankees won all three games with Gardner back in catalyst mode.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was at a loss before the game to explain the club’s seesaw season during which they have had seemingly equal stretches of good and bad play. One thing the skipper did say that what the Yankees do when things are going good is “not giving extra outs and hitting home runs.”

They adhered to that axiom in the 7-2 victory over the Tigers. Three home runs, including Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th career hit, against former American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander powered the Yankees to their third straight victory and kept the Detroit righthander winless at Yankee Stadium in four career regular-season decisions. As for not giving extra outs, well, they came close to that but were able to rectify their lone error with a snappy play at the plate to defuse a potentially productive sixth inning for the Tigers.

The Yankees had just taken a 4-2 lead on a two-run home run by Gardner (No. 7) in the bottom of the fifth. The Yanks’ two prior homers were solo shots by Rodriguez (No. 13, career No. 667) in the first and Didi Gregorius (No. 3) in the second. In only his second start of the season after coming back from a right triceps injury, Verlander was not of Cy Young vintage.

Ian Kinsler started the sixth against Adam Warren (5-4), who had yet another strong night as a starter (8 IP, 7 H, 2R-ER, 0 BB, 7 K), with an infield single. Miguel Cabrera, who had struck out in his first two at-bats against Warren, lined a single to right field, sending Kinsler to third.

Yankees third baseman Chase Headley failed to handle right fielder Carlos Beltran’s relay for an error, but he atoned for that immediately when he retrieved the ball behind the bag and threw home to nail Kinsler at the plate on a fine tag by catcher John Ryan Murphy. Cabrera took second on the play but died there as Victor Martinez fouled out to Headley and Yoenis Cespedes grounded out.

The Yankees then pulled away with two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth. Gardner was a significant part of both rallies. He got the seventh inning started by bunting for a single with one out and eventually scored on a wild pitch. In the eighth, Gardner’s two-out single to left scored Chris Young, who had doubled.

Young entered the game as a defensive replacement in center field for rookie Mason Williams, who jammed his right shoulder sliding back into first base on a pickoff attempt by Verlander in the fifth inning. Williams was examined by team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad, but no further tests were ordered.

Big homers by Gardner & Beltran spark Yanks

Miami is the only one of 30 major league teams that CC Sabathia does not have a victory against, a situation that remained after his start Thursday night. While Sabathia failed to get that first winning decision over the Marlins, he avoided being tagged with a loss, thanks to his teammates.

The Yankees came back from a 3-1 deficit with two outs in the sixth inning against Miami starter Mat Latos when rookie Mason Williams lashed his second double of the game to right-center and Brett Gardner followed by driving a 2-0 pitch to right for his sixth home run to knot the score.

The Yankees had tried to give Sabathia a big cushion with a first-inning rally that fizzled after Gardner, Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez all singled to produce a run. A one-out walk to Brian McCann loaded the bases, but Carlos Beltran struck out and Didi Gregorius popped out to shortstop.

Sabathia followed the lead of Michael Pineda Wednesday night by retiring the Marlins in order the first time through the batting order, but unlike Pineda, who also did that a second time through the lineup, CC’s no-hit bid ended in the fourth when Dee Gordon hit a liner into the right field corner and legged out a triple. After Adeiny Hechevarria struck out, Christian Yelich grounded out to second with Gordon crossing the plate with the tying run.

The Marlins took the lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Mathis. In the sixth, Giancarlo Stanton clocked his 25th home run on a drive to left off a 1-0 pitch. Sabathia did not walk a batter and struck out seven, but he was looking at a possible ‘L’ before the Yanks’ two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth.

They had Latos on the ropes several times but let him wiggle free. The Yankees stranded six base runners in the first three innings and eight through five.

Beltran, who heard his share of boos from the crowd of 38,239 at Yankee Stadium when he left five runners on base combined in the first and fifth innings, got the fans on his side in the seventh when he broke the tie with a two-run home run to left off reliever Mike Dunn.

Rodriguez also singled in the fifth for his second hit of the game and career No. 2,999. He lined out to right field in the sixth and got one more at-bat in the Yanks’ four-run eighth as they pulled away toward a 9-4 victory.

Hungry to see A-Rod get his 3,000th hit, fans booed Sam Dyson heavily when he walked him on four pitches, none of which was anywhere near the strike zone. It was the second straight walk for Dyson, who ended up being charged with four earned runs in one third of an inning. McCann’s third hit of the game drove in a run as did Chris Young with a double and Stephen Drew with a sacrifice fly.

Rodriguez got payback when he scored from third base on a wild pitch.

Miami raises the heat on Eovaldi

Can there be anything more embarrassing to a pitcher than what happened Tuesday night to Nathan Eovaldi?

Paired against David Phelps, the pitcher for whom he was traded for in an off-season deal, and appearing in his former stomping grounds, Marlins Park, Eovaldi endured a nightmare of a first inning. After retiring the leadoff batter, Eovaldi allowed seven consecutive hits – all but one well struck – before getting a second out. He did not get a third. After Dee Gordon, batting for the second time in the inning, singled and Derek Dietrich doubled to make the score Miami 8, NY 0, Yanks manager Joe Girardi yanked Eovaldi and signaled for Chris Capuano to soak up innings.

Surely, this was the last thing on Eovaldi’s mind when he was warming up. He was back in his old yard and wanted to show that the Marlins made a mistake in letting him go. Yet before the first inning was over, the pitcher who went to Miami in the exchange, Phelps, had the advantage of an eight-run lead against the club that swapped him.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Yankees game in which the starting pitchers had been traded for each other and both played for the other team during the previous season (or earlier in the same season) was July 22, 1993, when the Yankees and Jim Abbott defeated the Angels and Russ Springer, 12-1, at Yankee Stadium.

The night did not improve for the Yankees, who were pummeled, 12-2, and come home to New York having lost five of their past six games and their prior hold on first place in the American League East, which has become a free-for-all with four clubs separated by merely two games.

What happened to Eovaldi is something Marlins fans had seen before. The righthander had a 13-27 record in three seasons with Miami and allowed 393 hits in 369 innings. Despite the high velocity of his pitches, Eovaldi gives up a lot of his. He faced 12 batters Tuesday night and gave up nine hits, raising his total for the season to 97 in 71 1/3 innings. In his briefest inning for the Yankees, Eovaldi’s ERA raised nearly a full run, jumping from 4.13 to 5.12.

Buoyed by the Marlins’ first-inning outburst, Phelps had a two-hit shutout through five innings and gave up two runs and six hits through seven in improving his record to 4-3. Giancarlo Stanton gave Phelps additional support as if he needed it with a three-run home run off Chris Martin in the fifth.

The Yankees did not get on the board until the sixth on a two-out, RBI single by Brian McCann. Mason Williams, a late-inning replacement, doubled in a run in the seventh by which time there were enough changes so that the game resembled a spring-training exercise.

Rookie’s debut lone highlight for Yankees

Mason Williams broke into the major leagues with a bang Friday night. Williams, part of several roster moves by the Yankees after Andrew Miller’s assignment to the 15-day disabled list, made his big-league debut as the starting center fielder at Camden Yards.

Williams, 23, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, found out how hitter-friendly the Baltimore park is. Batting ninth in the order, Williams drove a 0-1 fastball from righthander Ubaldo Jimenez into the right field bleachers in the fourth inning, a home run for his first hit in the majors. And among those in the crowd of 33,203 were Williams’ mother and brother.

What was interesting about Williams going yard was that he had not homered at all this year in 201 at-bats combined at SWB and Double A Trenton. Williams hit 23 home runs in 1,832 at-bats over his six minor-league seasons.

Williams, who also made two good plays in the field, will always remember this night, but the Yankees would love to forget it. The first inning was a bad omen when the Yankees loaded the bases with none out and failed to score. The Orioles had no such woes and coasted to an 11-3 victory.

Michael Pineda, pitching on 10 days’ rest after being skipped one turn in the rotation to conserve innings, was off his game and was tagged for six runs (five earned) and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. It was a bad omen for him as well when he walked the first batter he faced. That runner eventually scored on a single by Chris Davis, who did greater damage two innings later with a three-run homer.

Yankees starting pitchers had allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of their previous 11 starts (since May 29), during which they were 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 67 2/3 innings.

It was also a miserable night afield for the Yankees. Third baseman Chase Headley committed his 14th error and had to leave the game in the fifth inning because of a groin injury. First baseman Mark Teixeira had his streak of errorless games end at 108 when he made a wild throw over second base in Baltimore’s four-run sixth inning. Caleb Joseph reached base and pushed a runner to third base when his fly ball fell between center fielder Brett Gardner and right fielder Carlos Beltan, each of whom thought the other was going to catch it. The runner who got to third base on that “hit” eventually scored.

It was an unsightly night for the Yankees’ first game against an American League East opponent since May 14 at Tampa Bay. The Yanks went 12-11 against non-divisional opponents in that span. After this three-game series, the Yanks will not face another divisional foe until July 3-5 at Yankee Stadium against the Rays.