Results tagged ‘ Tropicana Field ’

Sanchez continues to make history

The Yankees’ hopes for a postseason berth grow less frail as long as Gary Sanchez keeps making history. They climbed to 2 1/2 games of the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card berth Wednesday night by riding once again the rookie catcher’s coat tails.

The Yanks have rebounded nicely from that four-game sweep at Fenway Park with two victories over the Rays at Tropicana Field. Wednesday night, they build a 7-0 lead in the second inning off Alex Cobb, a pitcher who has given them trouble in the past (5-2, 2.13 ERA entering the game) and waltzed to an 11-5 decision.

Cobb made the same mistake Brad Boxberger did Tuesday night by challenging Sanchez with two runners on base and first base open, and the result was the same, a three-run home run. With that blow, Sanchez got to 18 home runs faster than any player in major-league history. Four innings later, he got to 19 home runs quicker than anyone in major-league history with a solo shot off a 0-2 pitch from Joe Marks.

Sanchez had driven in the Yankees’ first run of the game with a single through the middle. The two-homer, five-RBI was just a continuation of a sweet ride that has put him in the AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award discussion. In the six games on this trip, Sanchez is batting .423 with two doubles, five homers and 13 RBI in 24 at-bats.

It has been an extraordinary run for Sanchez, who now has hit one more home run in his six weeks with the Yankees than he ever hit in a full minor-league season. He has also been first rate behind the plate working well with the pitching staff and helping to control opponents’ running games.

Masahiro Tanaka, who ran his winning streak to seven games, had a most unusual outing. Armed with a seven-run lead, the righthander was stung for four solo home runs in the third inning. He had never before given up four home runs in a whole game.

Bobby Wilson began the attack with a leadoff homer. Two outs later, the Rays went back-to-back-to-back on big flies by Evan Longoria, Brad Miller and Corey Dickerson, the last two coming on consecutive pitches.

Sanchez responded with his sixth-inning homer. Miller added a fifth solo shot for Tampa Bay, his second, in the eighth off Adam Warren, but the Yankees answered with three runs in the ninth, two on a homer by Starlin Castro fill-in Donovan Solano. The Yankees finished with 17 hits, including four by Brian McCann, who played in his 1,500th career game. McCann, who has been displaced by Sanchez as the regular catcher, has gravitated well to the designate hitter role.

Tanaka (14-4) surrendered his ERA lead as it rose from 2.97 to 3.07. He has pitched to a 2.28 ERA over his past nine starts with seven victories. He improved his season record against the Rays to 4-0 with a 2.88 ERA, his career mark against Tampa Bay to 6-0 with a 2.82 ERA and is now 6-1 with a 2.27 ERA this year against AL East competition. The Yankees are 23-8 in his starts.

While the Yankees gained ground against the Orioles, they still have three other clubs between them. The Astros and Mariners won while the Tigers were rained out at Minneapolis. Baltimore’s lead for the second Wild Card is down to one game over Detroit and Houston and two over Seattle, which is a half-game ahead of the Yankees.

Castro has perfect timing in ruining no-hit bid

Starlin Castro picked an ideal time to break up a no-hitter with a two-run home run Sunday that gave the Yankees a one-run lead. After all, it came in the top of the seventh inning at Tropicana Field. Yankees fans know what that means this season — here come Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman to do their 7-8-9 magic in the late innings.

It was a startling turnaround for the Yankees, who were facing losing the series against Tampa Bay and falling back into last place in the American League East. On top of that, after being smashed, 9-5, Saturday, the Yanks were on the verge of being no-hit Sunday for the first time in 13 years.

Jake Odorizzi was that good.

If not for a change in an umpire’s decision that allowed Dustin Ackley to reach first base on an error by Rays shortstop Brad Miller, Odorizzi still would have had a perfect game going one out into the seventh. As it was, a no-hitter was in place even after he walked Brett Gardner. Then Castro came through with perfect timing. His home run to left-center was the first — and last — Yankees hit of the game, but it gave them a 2-1 lead in the very capable hands of Betances, Miller and Chapman, who teamed up for nine consecutive outs, seven on strikeouts.

Betances retired the side with two strikeouts in the seventh. Miller struck out the side in the eighth. Chapman duplicated Betances’ feat in the ninth for his seventh save. The 2016 back end of the bullpen formula was perfect again and gave the Yankees a lift leaving Florida for Canada and a three-game date in Toronto with the Blue Jays, who took two of three last week at Yankee Stadium.

As seems to be the custom these days, the Yankees were hit with another injury, a jammed right shoulder to Ackley diving back into first base. Ackley had been playing first base in place of regular Mark Teixeira, who has been out with neck stiffness that required a cortisone injection last week.

After Michael Pineda’s disappointing start Saturday that ended a stretch of nine straight six-plus-inning outings by Yankees starters, Nathan Eovaldi got the rotation on another hopeful roll. The righthander allowed one run, six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in six innings and extended his personal winning streak to six games. Over his past seven starts, Eovaldi has pitched to a 2.72 ERA with 35 hits allowed, 12 walks and 35 strikeouts in 43 innings.

Masahiro Tanaka got the weekend off to strong start with seven innings of no-run, two-hit pitching Friday night in a 4-1 victory that featured home runs by Alex Rodriguez (No. 6 and career No. 693) and Carlos Beltran (No. 11 and career No. 403). Beltran raised those numbers to 12 and 404 with his 2,500th career hit Saturday off Matt Moore, the lone highlight in a loss that continued the slide of Pineda, who was battered for six earned runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings as his record fell to 2-6 with a 6.92 ERA.

Eovaldi did a terrific job keeping the Yankees close in a game in which they struggled to get a hit and settled for merely one. But it was good enough for an important ‘W.’

Yankees have plenty of pop at the Trop

Tropicana Field was where the Yankees began to turn their season around last month with a three-game sweep of the Rays to get back to .500 after a 3-6 start. Good times at the Trop continued for the Yankees Monday night, who made sure they would leave St. Petersburg after Thursday night’s game still in first place in the American League East.

The 11-5 victory pushed the Yankees’ lead over Tampa Bay to four games. It was a satisfying triumph in many ways but probably mostly for CC Sabathia, who ended a 13-month losing streak. The big guy earned his first victory since April 24, 2014 at Boston. CC had been winless in nine starts since with seven losing decisions, although he spent much of that time on the disabled list because of a knee injury.

The Yankees’ offense exploded against Rays righthander Alex Colome, who had allowed only one home run all year until the Yanks connected off him four times. Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran had solo shots, but the big blows were a pair of two-out, three-run home runs by Chase Headley in the fourth inning and Brett Gardner in the sixth. Colome watched his ERA climb from 1.80 to 5.63.

Mark Teixeira, who had a four-hit night, smacked the Yankees’ fifth home run of the game in the ninth off reliever Erasmo Ramirez, a two-run shot that was the only one hit with less than two out.

Sabathia, who has had a recent history of giving up leads, was hard pressed to gag the 9-1 spread his teammates had opened up before the seventh-inning stretch. The Yankees had averaged only 2.27 runs per game in support of Sabathia before Monday night and made up for that big-time.

The winning decision, the 209th of Sabathia’s major league career, tied Vida Blue for 24th place on the all-time list of left-handed pitchers’ victories.

Sabathia got off to a shaky start. He walked the first two batters on nine pitches and gave up a one-out double to Logan Forsythe that scored a run to negate A-Rod’s first inning jack (career No. 662). CC caught a break when Steven Souza, thinking Gardner might catch Forsythe’s drive, tagged up at second base instead of playing it half-way down the line and was unable to score ahead of shortstop Didi Gregorius’ blistering relay to the plate that nailed the runner.

CC settled down after that and retired 11 batters in a row before surrendering his second hit, a one-out single in the fifth by Asdrubal Cabrera, who was erased on a double play. By that time, the Yankees had a 5-1 run lead that grew the next inning on Gardner’s homer.

Sabathia shows signs of tiring in the seventh in allowing solo home runs to Forsythe and Joey Butler and an unearned run, but his teammates kept pouring it on to make sure the run support was sufficient.

There were plenty of positive signs for Yankees hitters. Teixeira raised his batting average from .212 to .239. Headley had four RBI. Beltran’s 2-for-5 game continued his heating-up May in which he is batting .324 with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in 37 at-bats following an April in which he hit .162 with five doubles, one triple and seven RBI in 68 at-bats.

The 14-hit assault helped the Yankees to a 4-0 mark at the Trop and 6-1 overall against the Rays this season.

Sweep has Yanks motoring into Motor City

After limping out of Baltimore where they lost two of three games to begin the current trip, the Yankees got upright at Tampa Bay. Did they ever.

Their first sweep of a series of three or more games at Tropicana Field in nearly 10 years was just the antidote the Yankees needed to move on to Detroit where they will play the team with the best record (10-2) in the major leagues over the next four days. After that, they pair up against the club with the best current mark in the National League, the 10-3 Mets back at Yankee Stadium for the first round of the Subway Series.

The Yankees’ offense came alive and their bullpen thrived in the three games at St. Petersburg, Fla., against a Tampa Bay club that has given them trouble in recent years. Since Sept. 2, 2011, the Yankees are 26-37 against the Rays. Tampa Bay has not lost a season series to the Yankees since 2009 and are 52-43 since.

The Rays are dealing with some major injuries, which is why it was all the more pivotal for the Yankees to take advantage of them and get their own record back to .500 at 6-6. The Yanks batted .268 over the three games with three doubles, three triples and three home runs. They averaged 6.3 runs per game and hit .333 (7-for-21) with runners in scoring position.

Conversely, the Yankees pitching staff limited Tampa Bay to one hit in 17 at-bats (.059) with runners in scoring positions. The Rays were a combined 0-for-14 in that department Saturday night and Sunday. The usually dangerous Evan Longoria was merely 1-for-10 (.100) in the series.

Masahiro Tanaka had a brilliant start Saturday night following a shaky one Friday night by Adam Warren. Michael Pineda was just okay Sunday, but the bullpen made up for lapses in the rotation. The Yankees’ relief corps was not scored upon in 10 1/3 innings during which it allowed only five hits and four walks with 15 strikeouts. 

After the 9-0 rout Saturday, the Yankees were in a tight game most of Sunday and emerged on top by a 5-3 score. They got a run right off the bat against Matt Andriese, but the Rays shot back with two runs in the bottom of the first inning on a home run by Steven Souza Jr. The Yankees regained the lead with a four-hit third inning and kept it despite Pineda’s inconsistency.

Dellin Betances worked out of a jam in the seventh, then pitched a scoreless eighth to hand the baton to Andrew Miller, who picked up his fourth save by striking out the side after having yielded a leadoff double.

At the top of the order Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner were on base a combined five times and scored two runs. Alex Rodriguez also scored two runs and hit a scorching double. Chase Headley knocked in two runs with a double and a single. Mark Teixeira also had two RBI with a sacrifice fly and a productive infield out. Garrett Jones, playing right field for ailing Carlos Beltan (cold), had three hits, including a triple, and Didi Gregorius contributed a pair of singles.

The result was the Yankees’ first sweep of a series of three or more games in St. Pete since Sept. 9-13, 2005 and their first overall since a three-gamer Aug. 22-24 last year against the White Sox.

Now it is off to Comerica Park, which has been another horror house for the Yankees. They are 6-10 there since May 3, 2011 and 28-32 overall since the park opened in 2000. The Yanks are 1-4-1 in their last six series in Detroit since 2010 and were 1-4 combined in postseason games there in 2011 and ’12.

The Yankees do catch a break in the coming series in that they will have not have to face former teammate Shane Green, who won again Sunday to push his record to 3-0. The righthander, who went to Detroit in the three-team trade that sent Gregorius to the Bronx from Arizona, has allowed only one earned run and two overall in 23 innings for an ERA of 0.39. Green has allowed 12 hits and five walks with 11 strikeouts.

It looks as if the Yankees are finally running into some luck.

Yanks end bumpy trip on upbeat note

So when is a 2-3 trip considered good? When it starts out 0-3.

That was the situation with the Yankees at the end of a somewhat bumpy ride through Baltimore and St. Petersburg. They finished in an upbeat fashion Sunday with a 4-2 victory that included a semblance of a sustained offense and an encouraging outing by Hiroki Kuroda.

The victory also lifted the Yankees back into second place in the American League East, albeit a distant second since they trail the first-place Orioles by seven games. The Yanks are also 3 1/2 games behind in the chase for the second wild-card berth.

Kuroda was working on extra rest, which is something Yankees manager Joe Girardi intends to do as often as he can in the season’s final six weeks to prevent the fade the Japanese righthander sustained in the second half of the 2013 season. He certainly seemed to benefit from the extra time off.

Never before at his best against the Rays (2-4, 6.07 ERA) or at Tropicana Field (1-2, 6.94 ERA), Kuroda was in first-half form with 6 2/3 innings in which he allowed two runs and four hits. Pitching to contact (one walk, one strikeout), Kuroda retired 17 batters in a row from the first through the sixth innings.

Kuroda gave up a run in the first inning, and that run looked quite large when Rays righthander Jeremy Hellickson, who has pitched only since last month after undergoing arthroscopic right elbow surgery in January, took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and got the first two out then rather easily.

A walk to Stephen Drew was the beginning of a sloppy inning for Hellickson, his last in the game, as the Yankees strung together four hits — a double by Martin Prado, a two-run single by Brett Gardner that gave the Yankees the lead, followed by singles by Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury resulting in another run. The hit by Ellsbury was his only one on the trip in 20 at-bats but came at a good time. Prado also had a superlative game defensively at second base with eight assists and one putout.

Evan Longoria’s RBI single in the seventh off a tiring Kuroda cut the Yanks’ lead to 3-2, but Shawn Kelley stranded a runner at third before turning matters over to Dellin Betances in the eighth and David Robertson (33rd save) in the ninth, which has become a can’t-miss tandem.

Mark Teixeira made it 4-2 in the eighth with his 20th home run of the season and career No. 361, which tied him with Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio on the all-time list. Nice company that.

So the trip’s finish was far better than the start. The Yankees’ offense continues to be a concern. They averaged merely 2.6 runs per game on the trip and have been outscored by 37 runs this season.

But they come home with some momentum and have a chance to make some headway on the upcoming homestand against the also-ran Astros and White Sox.

McCann thwarts Maddon’s strategy


Give Brian McCann a hearty cheer.

The catcher got the Yankees off to a quick, 1-0 lead in the first inning Thursday night at Tropicana Field by crossing up Rays manager Joe Maddon’s over-shift with a line single to left field, a big, two-out hit that gave CC Sabathia a run before he took the mound against longtime nemesis David Price.

Regular readers are probably weary of listening to me moan about hitters not taking what the defenses are giving them. More than any other manager Maddon has made use of the infamous Boudreau Shift to thwart dead-pull hitters.

The macho mentality that exists today among hitters is such that many believe it is cheap to hit the ball the other way and take advantage of an empty portion of the field for a single. They would rather try for home runs and simply hit into an area filled with fielders.

Ken Singleton of the YES Network pointed out during McCann’s at-bat in the first inning that he watched the catcher take batting practice and noticed him hitting balls to the left side frequently. Taking that approach into the game, McCann came up with two out and runners on first and second and punched Price’s first pitch on a line over the vacated shortstop spot and into left field for a run-scoring single.

Very nice to see.

Sabathia missed latest date with Price

CC Sabathia’s hamstring injury that has terminated the season prevented another matchup against the Rays’ David Price. The two former Cy Young Award winners have been paired against each other on a regular basis.

Sabathia’s last start was Friday night at Yankee Stadium against the Giants in which he pitched seven innings plus one batter and got the victory thanks to Alex Rodriguez’s record 24th career grand slam that unlocked a 1-1 score in the bottom of the seventh. CC somehow pitched into the eighth inning despite straining his left hammy in the second inning.

Had he not been hurt and stayed on turn in the rotation, Sabathia would have been scheduled to start for the Yankees Wednesday night against Tampa Bay and his fellow lefthander. Perhaps CC would just as soon avoid Price, whose most recent victory was Aug. 24 against Sabathia and the Yankees at Tropicana Field.

It was the ninth time Price and Sabathia squared off against each other. The Rays have won eight of those games with Price putting up a 6-1 record and 2.68 ERA in 59 2/3 innings. Nine of his 20 career starts against the Yankees have come against Sabathia.

Kuroda overpowered by Rays

Hiroki Kuroda has picked up the Yankees all season. Now his teammates can pay him back by picking up the rest of this series for him. Kuroda simply was not himself Friday night in a 7-2 loss to the Rays that stifled the momentum the Yankees were thriving on after sweeping a four-game series from Toronto that alerted other contenders that they intend to be in the thick of the race for a postseason berth.

The Yankees came from behind in all four games against the Blue Jays, but there would be no heroics at Tropicana Field as the Rays kept hitting balls over the fences to push the Yankees further behind over the first five innings.

Kuroda gave the Yankees innings – six – and little else. The seven runs and the four home runs were the most allowed in a game this year by Kuroda, who has yielded 20 hits in his past 11 2/3 innings. The Yanks gave Kuroda a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out, RBI single by Alfonso Soriano crossing up Rays manager Joe Maddon’s over-shift, but in the second the righthander was jolted by a three-run home run by Rays catcher Jose Lobaton that ended Kuroda’s homerless streak of 58 1/3 innings.

Tampa Bay kept it up with solo shots by Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce back-to-back in the third inning and Ben Zobrist leading off the fifth. Along the way, Lobaton picked up a fourth RBI on a single in the fourth. Kuroda entered the game leading the American League in earned run average but dropped into fifth place and surrendered the lead to the Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez.

The offensive surge was more than enough support for Chris Archer, another impressive young pitcher in the Rays’ corral who has been murder on the Yankees this year. The righthander held the Yankees to two runs, four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in seven innings to run his record against them this season to 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Archer, who pitched a two-hit shutout against the Yankees in his previous start against them July 27 at Yankee Stadium, became the first rookie pitcher to win three games against them in one season since 1989 by Kevin Brown, then with the Rangers.

The Yankees’ big bats were awfully quiet. Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Soriano and Alex Rodriguez combined for that one hit by Soriano in 16 at-bats with three strikeouts. Leadoff man Brett Gardner had a hand – rather, legs – in scoring both the Yankees’ runs.

He led off the game with a walk, stole second, crossed to third on a deep flyout by Granderson and scored on the hit by Soriano. Gardner tripled leading off the fifth and scored on an infield out by Cano. Gardner suffered an embarrassing moment in the eighth, which he led off with an infield single, by getting picked off first base by reliever Jamey Wright.

So the five-game winning streak is over, but the Yankees still have a chance to win the series, which they have done in each of their past four series. Saturday night’s second game of the set pairs former AL Cy Young Award winners CC Sabathia and David Price. It will mark the ninth matchup between the two lefthanders. Price has had the upper hand in the rivalry with a 4-2 record and 2.52 ERA with the Rays winning six of the eight games.

Woes continue for Sabathia

For so long CC Sabathia has been high among the things you can count on around the Yankees that it is surprising to see him go through the stretch he has had the past month. CC bottomed out Sunday in an 8-3 loss to the Rays in which he was roughed up for seven runs and seven hits in seven innings. Clearly, seven was not a lucky number for Sabathia as the Yankees surrendered sole possession of first place in the American League East and dropped into a tie with the Red Sox, who come to Yankee Stadium later this week.

Perhaps surprising is not the word for Sabathia against the Rays or at Tropicana Field. The Rays have been a difficult opponent for the lefthander, whose career record against them fell below .500 (10-11) with a 3.48 ERA in 220 innings. At the Trop, CC is 3-7 with a 4.39 ERA in 108 2/3 innings. He is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in the St. Petersburg, Fla., dome in two starts this season with 14 hits allowed, including five home runs, in 14 innings.

Sabathia remained winless since April 27 and over five starts in that stretch is 0-2 with three no-decisions and a 4.85 ERA in 36 2/3 innings with 37 hits allowed, five of them homers. His ERA for the season has climbed to 3.96.

Tepid velocity on his fastball has been an issue for Sabathia this season. The home runs by Sean Rodriguez, a two-run shot in the third, and James Loney, a three-run bomb in the sixth, were off ineffective fastballs. CC also didn’t help himself in a two-run second inning when the Rays got one hit, a soft single at that, by not covering first base on a play that prolonged the inning.

The Yankees could not afford such lax play on a day when Rays starter Alex Cobb, who is becoming something of a Yankee killer with a 3-1 mark and 2.21 ERA against them, was his usual stingy self against the Bombers. The righthander, who improved to 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA, took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning before Brett Gardner finally got the Yanks on the scoreboard with his fifth home run.

That ended Cobb’s scoreless streak against the Yankees at 22 1/3 innings. They got two more runs with assistance from wild reliever Cesar Ramos, who allowed two four-pitch walks and a two-run double by David Adams, before Joel Peralta restored order.

David Huff, who was claimed off waivers from the Indians and added to the roster Sunday, also had control issues in giving up a run in the eighth on two walks and a double to Desmond Jennings. From the seventh inning on this year, the Yankees have outscored opponents, 70-42. This was a game, however, that was decided long before the seventh inning.

Yanks over Tampa Bay thanks to Overbay

Two outs, nobody on base and watch out for Lyle Overbay. That is pretty much how the Yankees came up with a 4-3, 11-inning victory over the Rays Saturday. Oh, sure, there were plenty of other factors that contributed to the thrilling, come-from-behind triumph, but it was a pair of at-bats by Overbay that made the greatest difference in the game that put Tampa Bay’s record back to .500 at 24-24 and pushed the Rays six games behind the 30-18 Yankees.

Overbay was a key figure in Fernando Rodney blowing his fifth save in 14 opportunities this year, a far cry from the 2012 season when the Rays closer had the best conversion rate in the majors at 96 percent on 48-for-50. Rodney entered the ninth with a 3-1 lead that Tampa Bay had acquired partially against the Yankees’ vaunted bullpen and got the first two outs of the inning.

Rodney never did get that third out. Overbay drew a walk on a 3-2 changeup, the pitch that would continue to let Rodney down that inning. After Overbay moved to second base on a balk by Rodney, Brennan Boesch, fresh up from Triple A Scranton, batted for catcher Austin Romine and poked a changeup inside the left field line for a double that scored Overbay.

Brett Gardner followed with a single to center off yet another ineffective changeup. Boesch made it to the plate with the tying run with a nice slide on a close play. The way Rodney was going he might not have ever gotten out of that inning if Gardner had not been thrown out at second base trying to steal for the final out. Gardner had made a base running gaffe by not advancing to second base on center fielder Desmond Jennings throw home, which would have negated the need for an attempted steal in that spot with Robinson Cano at the plate.

Ivan Nova, who was activated from the disabled list Friday, made his first relief appearance in two seasons and did quite a dance in the bottom of the 10th. The Rays loaded the bases with one out on a couple of singles and a walk, but Nova struck out .344-hitting James Loney on a nasty curve and got Matt Joyce on a grounder to second to keep the Yankees alive.

Then in another two-out, nobody-on situation in the 11th, Overbay made a great swing on a 96-mph fastball from Josh Lueke and crushed his eighth home run, to right field. That triggered a call to Mariano Rivera, who showed Rodney and everyone else in the Tropicana Field crowd of 25,874 how saving a ballgame is done with a 1-2-3 inning featuring two strikeouts. Mo’s conversion rate remained 100 percent at 18-for-18.

Nova got the winning decision in relief in another ensemble effort from the bullpen, the area of the game that most separates the Yankees from the Rays. The Rodney walk of Overbay was an example of Tampa Bay bullpen’s problem this season. Rays relievers have walked 73 batters in 133 2/3 innings whereas the Yanks’ pen has issued 52 walks in 148 1/3 innings. The Yankees’ relief corps is 10-4 with 20 saves and a 3.16 ERA while the Rays’ pen is 6-11 with 10 saves and a 4.92 ERA.

The Yankees were not able to hang an ‘L’ on unbeaten Rays starter Matt Moore (8-0), but they did the next best thing, which was to stay close in the game until he departed, which was after the sixth inning with the score 1-1. Rookie Vidal Nuno kept pace with Moore until the seventh when he gave up a leadoff hit.

Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan could not prevent Tampa Bay from taking the lead at that point, 3-1, but Preston Claiborne kept the inning from getting too messy. The rookie righthander came into the game with runners on first and second, none out and two runs in and got a force play and two strikeouts.

Ichiro Suzuki made a dazzling, sliding, game-saving catch in right field of a sinking liner by Yunel Escobar in the bottom of the ninth that spared David Robertson, who had started the inning with a walk to Joyce, who was sacrificed to second. Joyce almost surely would have scored on Escobar’s ball had Ichiro not gobbled it.

Suzuki also had two hits. Travis Hafner got the Yankees off to a good start against Moore with a two-out, RBI single in the first inning, but it would be a long time before they scored again and in the most difficult of circumstances – two out, nobody on base and down to their last strike. Victories do not come sweeter than this.