Results tagged ‘ Pedro Strop ’

O’s closer proves there is only one Rivera

What Yankees fans never see from Mariano Rivera was what Orioles fans witnessed Monday night from Jim Johnson. The Orioles closer, who led the American League is saves last season with 51, sustained his third consecutive blown save, something that Rivera has never done, and the Yankees took advantage of it to come away with a 6-4, 10-inning victory.

Johnson was gone by the time the Yankees scored the deciding runs in the extra inning off Pedro Strop and Brian Matusz with clutch hitting by Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner. Rivera kept the lead intact with his 17th save in 17 opportunities. Johnson began the season with a similar streak with 14 saves before coming unglued in his past three appearances.

Hafner dealt the crushing blow to Johnson this time with a one-out home run in the ninth, the Yankees’ fourth solo shot of the evening in Baltimore’s humid Inner Harbor air. Johnson’s latest failure opened the gates for the Yankees to improve their record in games where they get on the scoreboard first to 19-0 and extend the Orioles’ losing streak to six games.

The Yankees were in danger of losing their first game when they scored first because their offense was reduced to the long ball with no one on base and CC Sabathia blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2. Robinson Cano and Orioles first baseman Chris Davis entered the game tied for the AL lead in home runs with 12 and maintained that tie as each got his 13th in his first at-bat.

David Adams, the rookie who has done so well at third base and turned a few more good plays Monday night, hit his first career home run to put the Yankees up, 2-0, in the second, but Davis made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second and Nick Markakis singled in the tying run in the fifth.

It was a strange start for Sabathia, who allowed a double-digit hit total (11) for the second game in a row (23 total in his past 12 2/3 innings) and had only two strikeouts, although he did not walk a batter. The lefthander is winless in four starts since April 27. Former teammate Freddy Garcia actually pitched better. He allowed the two solo homers and just one other hit with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings.

Lyle Overbay’s leadoff homer in the seventh off lefthander Troy Patton put the Yankees ahead again, but Sabathia couldn’t hold the advantage as the Orioles grabbed the lead on RBI doubles by Markakis and J.J. Hardy. Shawn Kelley stopped the O’s there with two more strikeouts. He added a third in the eighth, which gives the righthander 15 of the past 21 batters he has faced and 33 in 18 1/3 innings for the season.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter entrusted the lead to Johnson, who began the ninth by retiring Cano on a groundout. Johnson fell behind 3-1 in the count to Hafner, who drove a 94-miles-per-hour fastball over the left field fence for his eighth home run. The Yankees were back in business.

Johnson’s woes have come after a run of 35 consecutive saves dating to last July. He has given up eight earned runs and nine hits in 2 1/3 innings (30.86 ERA) in the three blown saves, which has driven his season ERA from 0.95 to 4.22.

In the 10th, Ichiro Suzuki ran his Camden Yards hitting streak to 20 games with a leadoff double off Strop, a reliever who has struggled against the Yankees. Vernon Wells, riding the bench despite having good career numbers against Garcia (.438, one home run), came up as a pinch hitter for shortstop Reid Brignac and doubled to left to send home Ichiro.

Austin Romine bunted Wells to third, but Wells could not advance as Jayson Nix grounded out. After Cano was intentionally walked, Hafner delivered an insurance run with a line single to right off the left-handed Matusz. Rivera then showed Johnson how it’s done with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th.

Hafner. Wells. Overbay. There are those names again. Yankees fans are getting used to seeing these guys do important stuff.

Yankees take what Orioles give them — in triplicate

So maybe you cannot chew gum and walk at the same time, or in the case of Orioles center fielder Adam Jones blow bubble gum and field at the same time. An error by Jones in the seventh inning Friday night on a ball he appeared to have caught was the critical play in the Yankees’ 5-2 victory over Baltimore that gave them a share of first place in the American League East with the Red Sox, who were rained out.

The three-run rally that resulted in the Yankees’ fourth straight victory was as weird as it can get. They did not have a hit in the inning. Orioles lefthander Troy Patton entered the game after starter Miguel Gonzalez walked Francisco Cervelli to start the inning. After Brett Gardner sacrificed Cervelli to second base, the Orioles decided to walk Kevin Youikilis, who had three hits, intentionally.

Somewhat surprisingly, Yankees manager Joe Girardi allowed lefty-swinging Travis Hafner to bat against Patton, who made a huge gaff by hitting the Yanks’ designated hitter with a 3-2 pitch that filled the bases and brought up Vernon Wells. O’s manager Buck Showalter brought in righthander Pedro Strop, a Yankees punching bag, to pitch to Vernon Wells. The Yanks’ left fielder got good wood on a drive to center. Jones, a Gold Glove winner last year, made a long run to the warning track to catch up with the ball blowing a bubble along the way. For a quick moment it seemed as if Jones had ended the threat, but the ball clanged off his glove for a two-base error that cleared the bags as the Yankees unlocked a 2-2 score.

This was the same Jones who in Game 3 of last year’s American League Division Series blew a bubble with his gum while tracking a drive to right-center by Derek Jeter that fell on the warning track for a run-scoring triple.

The good fortune continued for the Yankees the next inning with their second triple play since 1969. The Orioles got a rally going against CC Sabathia after leadoff singles by Alex Casilla and Nick Markakis. Manny Machado followed with a grounder to second baseman Robinson Cano, who flipped to shortstop Jayson Nix for what looked like the beginning of a double play. But why settle for two outs when you might get three?

Nix thought he had a shot at getting Casilla going to third and threw to that base instead of first. Casilla got in a rundown and was tagged out by Youkilis, the third baseman, who saw that Machado was midway between first and second and gunned the ball to first baseman Lyle Overbay, who ran Machado toward second and then tossed to Cano to complete the 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple killing.

I ran into WCBS Radio voice John Sterling while leaving the yard later, and he told me in making the call on the play said, “Nix turns and throws to third base, why, I’ll never know.”

I must admit that I felt the same way. The Yankees had a sure double play, and you never know what can happen when a fielder throws behind a runner. Nix ended up making an alert play in spite of its unorthodoxy.

The previous triple play turned by the Yankees was April 22, 2010 at Oakland on an around-the-horn job from third baseman Alex Rodriguez to Cano to first baseman Nick Johnson on a ground ball by Kurt Suzuki. That game was a loss by the Yankees. This one might have been, too, except Baltimore did everything but hand it to them.

The Yankees took advantage of all the breaks the Orioles gave them. The players who scored the Yanks’ five runs all reached base without a hit. Orioles pitchers held the Yankees to six hits but walked six batters and hit two.

Sabathia, meanwhile, was brilliant under difficult situations with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees with a 25-miles-per-hour wind. One of the two runs off CC was not earned due to a balk, which the lefthander disputed. That second run for Baltimore that tied the score in the seventh loomed large until the bottom of the inning when Jones’ glove lost its glove and the Yankees tripled their pleasure.

Yanks find different atmosphere at Camden Yards

Orange was the predominant color at Camden Yards for an Orioles-Yankees game Thursday night for what might have been the first time in 15 years. Ever since 1998, the first of 14 straight losing seasons for the Orioles, games against the Yankees in Baltimore provided local fans the opportunity to scalp tickets to willing New Yorkers who traveled to the Chesapeake Bay to see their heroes.

The main attraction was Cal Ripken Jr., who had a statue unveiled in his honor 16 years to the night he broke Lou Gehrig’s streak of consecutive games with No. 2,131 that would eventually grow to 2,632 and earn the “Iron Man” a place alongside the “Iron Horse” in the Hall of Fame. The rest of the night, however, belonged to the upstart 2012 Orioles, who received a standing ovation from Cal and the others in the sellout crowd of 46,298 after a rousing victory over the Yankees that left the teams tied for first place in the American League East.

The Yankees nearly spoiled it all for all those orange shirts when they erased a 6-1 deficit in the eighth inning with a five-spot on the sort of rally they have lacked much of the year. The offense came alive in a game in which the Yankees fell behind, 4-0, in the first inning. Erratic relief work by Pedro Strop, who faced four batters and gave up two walks and two hits to spit up Baltimore’s lead, was welcomed by the Yankees, who got clutch hits from Alex Rodriguez (RBI double), Curtis Granderson (RBI single) and Ichiro Suzuki (a two-run single) and a four-pitch walk to pinch hitter Chris Dickerson to force in a run.

Then it was the Yankees pen’s turn to falter. The Orioles treated David Robertson like a tomato can of a boxer with a 1-2 punch, a solo home run by Adam Jones and a two-run shot by Mark Reynolds. Robertson’s bell was still ringing in the dugout when his replacement, Boone Logan, was slugged for another homer, by Chris Davis.

The 10-6 Baltimore victory was definitely a knockout as the Orioles went yard six times. Reynolds had his third two-homer game against the Yankees in a week’s time. Over his past seven games, Reynolds has batted .423 with eight home runs, 16 RBI and eight runs in 26 at-bats. Six of those jacks have come against Yankees pitchers. This is a guy who was benched at mid-season when he was batting less than .200 and striking out twice a game.

The first of Reynolds’ home runs Thursday night was a solo in the sixth off Joba Chamberlain. The other Orioles’ homers were a big, three-run job by Matt Wieters in the first inning and a solo by Robert Andino in the third, both off David Phelps, who put the Yanks in 4-0 and 6-1 divots. Yet he was taken off the hook by the Yankees’ eighth-inning comeback.

Robertson, whose record fell to 1-6, is 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in his past three appearances. Both home runs he yielded Thursday night were on two-strike pitches as he failed to put away Jones or Reynolds.

All the runs the Yankees scored in the eighth came after two were out, an encouraging sign, but more and more the fact that they have lived and died by the home run this year is starting to haunt them. The team that leads the majors in home runs is suddenly getting outslugged. Ten games into a 22-game stretch against AL East competition, the Yankees are 3-7 and have been out homered, 22-9. Thursday night was the 25th game in which the Yankees failed to hit a home run, and they are 4-21 in those games.

Camden Yards has always been a place where the Yankees have enjoyed playing with an overall record of 104-57 (.646), but they have to realize that the way the Orioles are playing now it will no longer seem like a home away from home.

Clutch hit a long-time coming

The Yankees waited all night Monday for a clutch hit and finally got it in the 12th inning from Raul Ibanez, the club RBI leader through the first five games with six. He can thank Orioles reliever Pedro Strop for speeding up his bat to produce the game-winning hit in the Yankees’ 5-4 victory.

How many times do you see it? A flame thrower simply throws the ball past a hitter, then tries to get cagey and allows the batter to hit a softer delivery. The Orioles challenged Ibanez, who pinch hit for Andruw Jones in the 11th and remained in the game as the designated hitter, by walking Curtis Granderson with Robinson Cano, who led off with a double, on third base and two out.

Ibanez couldn’t catch up to Strop’s gas and swung through two 95-mph fastballs. Then Strop got cagey and tossed up an 84-mph slider. You could almost hear Ibanez lips smack as he crushed the pitch for a ground-rule double to break the tie that had existed since the sixth inning. It was only the Yankees’ second hit in 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position in the game.

Hitting in RBI chances has been a problem for the Yankees in the early going. They are batting .189 in 53 at-bats with runners in scoring position this season. Cano had two doubles and a single Monday night but still has not driven in a run this year. Neither has Alex Rodriguez, who was 0-for-5 and stranded four of the Yankees’ 12 runners left on base.

Cano might have gotten his first RBI in the seventh inning when he doubled down the left field line, but a strong throw to the infield by left fielder Endy Chavez and a remarkable relay to the plate by shortstop J.J. Hardy nailed Nick Swisher running from first base at the plate.

It was something of a questionable “send” by third base coach Rob Thompson considering that Swisher had reached base by getting hit in the ankle and that there were none out with Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira due up. Cut Rob some slack, though. With only one RBI combined from A-Rod and Tex in 39 at-bats so far, who could blame him for forcing the Orioles to make a great play, which Hardy did.

Fortunately for the Yankees, the Orioles were even more futile. Baltimore was hitless in eight at-bats in the game and is 2-for-23 (.087) in those situations in the series. Only one of the Orioles’ runs was the result of a hit – a first-inning home run by Hardy – as Baltimore took advantage of two wild pitches by Freddy Garcia and an error by catcher Russell Martin for its other runs.

Mariano Rivera, whose blown save in the season opener set a sour tone in the lost weekend against the Rays, reverted to form with a perfect, 2-strikeout bottom of the 12th for career save No. 604, which gives the Yankees a chance to get to .500 Wednesday night at Camden Yards.