Results tagged ‘ Ramon Santiago ’

CC fails to match up against Verlander

The Yankees took an aggressive approach against American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award candidate Justin Verlander in the first inning, and it paid off for a 2-0 lead in Game 3 of the AL Division Series.

Derek Jeter went after the first pitch and singled through the middle. Curtis Granderson took the first pitch for a ball, then fouled off two pitches before driving a triple to left-center that scored Jeter. Detroit’s Comerica Park is a bit of a triples yard. There were 44 three-baggers hit there in the regular season. Only Denver’s Coors Field and Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium had more, 49 apiece. Playing at Comerica for the Tigers, Granderson led the AL in triples with 23 in 2007 and 13 in 2008. Curtis had 10 triples this year, third in the league.

Speaking of triples, the Elias Sports Bureau reports that Jorge Posada , who tripled in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium, became only the second 40 year-old to triple in postseason play. The other was Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, who was also 40 when he did for the Phillies in Game 5 of the 1983 World Series against the Orioles at Philadelphia.

Alex Rodriguez remained hitless in the series but made contact to get Granderson home with a groundout to third base. The two-run lead was a nice way to get CC Sabathia started, but the lefthander was not at the top of his game. The hope was that he could settle in at some point, but his difficulty in throwing strikes pushed his pitch count up so that he was one pitch shy of 100 in five innings.

Three double plays saved CC, who walked six batters (one intentionally) over five innings. He had no more than four walks in any one start this year. One of those double plays scored a run, in the third inning when the Tigers tied the score. Ramon Santiago, who singled in the other run that inning, put Detroit ahead, 3-2, in the fifth with a double. In both cases, Santiago drove home Brandon Inge, the 9-hole hitter who batted .197 this year and has had scant career success against Sabathia (.190 in 58 at-bats) but who doubled and singled off him the first two times up.

Even worse than Inge against Sabathia is Jhonny Peralta, who has one hit in 17 career at-bats (.059) in regular season play. Sabathia came out for the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Don Kelly on a well-placed bunt. Peralta, who had grounded into a double back in the second, got a different kind of double this time, one off the wall that scored Kelly. CC was gone after Alex Avila sacrificed Peralta to third before having to face Inge a third time.

Verlander, meanwhile, just got stronger. Brett Gardner bunted for a single leading off the third but was erased on a double play. Verlander, whose fastball hit triple figures several times, struck out the side in the fifth and added two more punchouts in the sixth after Jeter had led off with a single.

Sabathia and Verlander, whose Game 1 start was suspended because of rain, were the first pitchers to start Games 1 and 3 of a postseason series since Kevin Brown for the Padres in the 1998 National League Division Series against the Astros. The previous time it occurred for an AL pitcher was Oakland’s Dave Stewart in the 1989 World Series against the Giants. There was a 12-day gap between Games 2 and 3 in that series because of an earthquake. Sabathia was the first Yankees pitcher to do it since Hall of Famer Whitey Ford lost Game 1 of the 1956 World Series at Brooklyn and came back on two days’ rest to win a complete game in Game 3 at the Stadium.

Yanks limp out of Detroit

It’s official. The Yankees are in a funk. Until Thursday, they had been the only team in the major leagues that had not lost three games in a row. Now they are not. Their first three-game losing streak came at the hands of the Tigers, who had lost seven straight games after dropping the first game of the series Monday night.

The Yankees threw away Thursday’s game, a 6-3 loss, literally. Two of the three errors they committed led directly to three runs, the deficit in the game. The Yankees’ offense was pretty active with 10 hits, including 3-for-8 (.375) with runners in scoring position, but were overtaken by a Detroit club that had only four hits.

A.J. Burnett continued the run of Yankees starting pitchers going deep into games with a seven-inning outing, and only two of the five runs off him were earned. However, one of the errors was his errant pickoff throw in the first inning that put Don Kelly, who reached base because Burnett hit him with a pitch on a count of 0-2, at third base from where he scored on Brennan Boesch’s sacrifice fly.

The Yankees took the lead in the fourth inning on RBI hits by Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez, who started as subs for resting Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Chavez had to leave the game, however, after suffering a bone fracture in the small toe of his left foot running out his first triple in four years. Chavez was headed back to New York to see club physician Chris Ahmad and may have to go on the disabled list.

That meant Rodriguez had to come into the game as a pinch runner, the first time he had such an assignment since his rookie season of 1995 with the Mariners when he spelled Tino Martinez. A-Rod, who had been on the bench not only resting his body but also a 7-for-50 (.140) slide, wound up with two hits and scored two runs, so maybe he is working himself back to form.

Detroit played some small ball in the sixth inning and tied the score after Ramon Santiago bunted Kelly to second base on a two-out single through the middle by Boesch, who topped off a big game in the eighth with a solo home run off lefthander Boone Logan.

The critical play came in the three-run seventh when the Tigers took control of the game. Burnett lost a 9-pitch duel with Victor Martinez, who singled to center leading off, then walked Magglio Ordonez and hit Ryan Raburn with a pitch to load the bases with none out. Brandon Inge broke the tie with a sacrifice fly, but Burnett should have been out of the inning after getting Santiago out on a bouncer to second baseman Robinson Cano playing in and Kelly on a grounder to short.

Nunez had all the time in the world to throw out Kelly but sailed his peg over first baseman Mark Teixeira. Two runs scored on the error, the second of the game for Nunez and his fifth in 22 innings in the field. For a backup infielder who is supposed to supply solid defense, this is unacceptable. Expect infield coach Mick Kelleher to work with Nunez to correct this part of his game.

Another coach with his work cut out for him is hitting coach Kevin Long. It is not a good sign when two of the three .300 hitters on the club are bench players – Nunez (.385) and Chavez (.303). Cano had two hits Thursday to get back over .300 (.303), but the Yankees had 6-for-32 (.188) with runners in scoring position and left 30 runners on base in the series.

Anything you can do, I can do better

Curtis Granderson wasn’t going to let the player who went to Detroit in the trade that brought him to the Yankees show him up Tuesday night. Austin Jackson, the rookie who replaced Granderson as the Tigers’ center fielder, led off the game by hitting CC Sabathia’s first pitch into the left-center field bleachers.

The Tigers kept hitting Sabathia hard that inning, but Granderson prevented the line drives from becoming hits. He raced into right-center to take down Ramon Sanitago’s blast to the warning track in right-center. Granderson topped that with a diving catch in left-center to rob Johnny Damon.

Tigers starter Justin Verlander, who has a history of first-inning problems (opponents are batting .293 off him in the first and .222 thereafter), spit up the lead by allowing two runs in the bottom of the first on Nick Swisher’s bases-loaded single. Swisher was in the lineup despite suffering from right tennis elbow. He said before the game it most bothers him when he swings and misses. Batters do a lot of that against Verlander, but with Alex Rodriguez down with a left calf strain Swish was needed. He just made sure not to swing and miss.

Verlander’s problems continued into the second, which Granderson got started with a home run of his own to get even offensively with Jackson. Verlander’s shaky start (four hits and four walks through the first 11 batters) had Detroit manager Jim Leyland warming up a reliever in the bullpen as early as the second inning.