Results tagged ‘ Mike Aviles ’

Yanks may have lost long before the ninth inning

Before everybody climbs all over David Robertson for getting beat with his third best pitch in the ninth inning, look back to several other innings when the Yankees had a bevy of opportunities to break the game open and failed. In one-run losses, which the Yankees have had too many of this year, there are usually other areas to point to other than the game-losing play.

You could go all the way back to Boston’s starting pitcher, Jon Lester, who walked a career-high seven batters in his 5 1/3-inning outing, including the leadoff hitter in four innings, but only two of them scored. The Yankees were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base in the first six innings. In the final three innings against three Red Sox relievers, the Yankees did not get a runner into scoring position.

The Red Sox treated the 4-3 victory as a playoff triumph, and why not? Playing spoiler is what is left of their season. They surely spoiled Tuesday night for the Yankees, who dropped into a first-place tie in the American League East with the Orioles, 9-2 winners over the Rays.

Holding on to leads continues to be a problem for the Yankees on this trip in which they are 3-5 and amid this 22-game stretch of games against AL East competition in which they are 5-9 to this point with eight remaining. Hiroki Kuroda could not protect 1-0 and 3-2 advantages.

Derek Jeter’s two-run double in the sixth was the Yankees’ lone clutch hit and uplifting at that, but he was left stranded as reliever Junichi Tazawa came in and struck out Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez. In the bottom half, Kuroda gave up a home run to Dustin Pedroia that tied the score. Pedroia had a big night with three hits and two RBI.

Even bigger for Boston was Jacoby Ellsbury, whose fourth hit of the game won it. He singled off a changeup from Robertson to compete the winning rally that was created by two ground singles through the left side by Pedro Ciriaco and Mike Aviles, who may have had the at-bat of the game as he fought off several tough pitches before getting the hit.

Robertson used his fastball to great advantage in the eighth in striking out the side. In the ninth, he broke out the breaking ball a bit more, which resulted in some awkward swings by Red Sox hitters but well-placed knocks. The changeup was a dangerous call to Ellsbury, that’s for sure.

Rodriguez’s 13-game hitting streak came to an end, but Swisher showed some life for the first time on the trip with a double and a single. Jayson Nix laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners up that Jeter knocked in with his double.

The Yankees’ record in one-run games fell to 17-22. After stops at Tampa Bay and Baltimore against their closest pursuers in the division, the Yankees may have thought Boston would be a soft stop. What happened Tuesday night should have changed their minds. The Red Sox made it clear they are not rolling over.

Teixeira’s hustle helps construct 3-run inning

The Yankees scored three runs in the first inning due primarily to a player running hard to first base. If there is one gripe I hear from fans more often than any other is that the modern player does not always hustle. Well, you cannot say that about Mark Teixeira.

No one would consider Tex as speed demon, but his running to first base full throttle not only prevented an inning-ending double play and drove in a run but also gave Raul Ibanez the chance to produce two more runs.

With runners on first and third and one out, Teixeira hit a bouncing ball into the over-shift employed by the Red Sox. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia threw to shortstop Mike Aviles covering second for the second out of the inning, but Aviles’ throw to first was a hair late to get Teixeira, who busted it out of the box and never let up.

Major league players should do that all the time, but not all do. Curtis Granderson, who had doubled with one out, scored from third base on the play. Tex’s hustle all kept the inning alive for Ibanez, who crushed a 2-2 sinker from Boston’s Aaron Cook for a two-run home run that gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead.

It just shows you what hustle can accomplish. As former Yankees coach Frank Howard used to say to players, “All that is required of you is to run hard to first base four times a game. Is that too much to ask?”

Smilin’ Yanks tame Royals

Freddy Garcia climbed back onto the bike Tuesday night after bumpy outings in his two previous starts. The righthander some help from his defense, not to mention some over-aggressive base running by the Royals.

The Yankees were aware Kansas City likes to run (44 stolen bases), which became evident right away when Chris Getz swiped third base with two outs in the first inning. Garcia stranded him there by retiring Billy Butler on a ground ball to shortstop.

The Royals ran themselves out of a potential rally in the third inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Matt Treanor, Garcia made a nice play to glove a sacrifice attempt by Alcides Escobar. Treanor, a catcher, wandered off first base and was thrown out trying to steal second by Garcia. Getz reached base with two out and also was gunned down trying to advance on a ball in the dirt but Russell Martin recovered nicely to get an out at second base.

Melky Cabrera’s home run off a 2-0 pitch leading off the fourth ensured that a Royals player would navigate his way around the bases without incident and tied the game at 1. Garcia gave up back-to-back, one-out singles to Mike Aviles and Treanor in the fifth but escaped damage with a strikeout looking of Escobar and then watched right fielder Nick Swisher skid across the grass to make a run-saving grab of a low liner by Getz.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi allowed Garcia to start the seventh (he had pitched into the eighth his last time out), but after Jeff Francoeur singled and Eric Hosmer walked made the move to the bullpen. David Robertson retired Aviles on a routine fly ball but walked Treanor to fill the bases. After a conference on the mound with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Robertson came back to strike out Escobar and Getz.

It was a key moment for the Yankees because usual eighth-inning reliever Rafael Soriano was not available because of a sore right elbow. He met with team physician Chris Ahmad before the game and is scheduled for an MRI Wednesday.

Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera finished off the 3-1 victory rather nicely to guarantee that Garcia, who lowered his ERA to 2.61, would even his record at 2-2. He has been a terrific addition to the staff. And before you get the idea that the Royals were some kind of pushovers out there, consider that they went into the game with a team batting average 15 points higher than the Yankees’.

This one finished with smiles all around, especially after Rivera made a Gold Glove stop of a hard grounder by Aviles and started a game-ending double play. Mo’s grin was particularly ear-to-ear as he notched his 13th save.

There were smiles, too, for Derek Jeter, who had his third straight multi-hit game and knocked in the Yankees’ first run with a two-out single in the third, and Alex Rodriguez, who unlocked a 1-1 score with a bases-loaded single in the fifth, also after two were out. After going eight games without driving in a run, A-Rod has three RBI in the past two games.