Results tagged ‘ Wil Myers ’

A-Rod back at 3B? It almost happened

The Yankees nearly pulled off a third consecutive ninth-inning victory Friday night at San Diego to begin the 10-game, three-city trip that takes them to the All-Star break. They made a lot of noise but ended up one run short.

Had they been able to tie the score, it would have been interesting to see how the Yankees would navigated their way in the field in subsequent innings. Alex Rodriguez, for example, would have played third base for the first time since 2013. He was excited about the prospect and was wearing his glove as he stood on the dugout steps when Brett Gardner made the final out of the 7-6 loss.

Stranded at third base was Carlos Beltran, who was not supposed to play against the Padres because of a sore right hamstring. He was not needed to play in the outfield, but A-Rod was needed at third base because manager Joe Girardi had already used Chase Headley, Ronald Torreyes and Rob Refsnyder.

Rodriguez and Beltran had big pinch hits in the four-run ninth. Rodriguez singled home a run and eventually came around to score on an infield out by Aaron Hicks. After Didi Gregorius scored on a wild pitch by Brandon Maurer to make it a one-run game, Beltran doubled to left-center. Girardi considered using pitcher Masahiro Tanaka as a pinch runner but kept Beltran in the game. He hobbled to third base on a grounder to the right side by Jacoby Ellsbury before Gardner ended the rally.

The Yankees caught a break that inning because the day before the Padres traded closer Fernando Rodney, who was having a great season, to the Marlins. Matt Thornton, who pitched for the Yankees a couple of years ago, opened the gates by walking Brian McCann on four pitches and hitting Starlin Castro with a 2-2 pitch before yielding the single against the shift to Rodriguez. That was career hit No. 3,110 for A-Rod, who tied Hall of Famer Dave Winfield for 19th place on the all-time list. Winfield happened to be at Petco Park to witness the hit.

Prior to the ninth, the Yankees experienced a stretch of 18 batters in which only one reached base — McCann with a solo home run (No. 13) in the sixth. Their late rally was an attempt to atone for letting the game get out of hand early, which was due largely to another ineffective outing by Nathan Eovaldi.

The Yankees loaded the bases against Padres starter Colin Rea in the first inning but failed to score. San Diego responded in the bottom half with three runs. The key blow was a two-out, two-run double by Derek Norris. Eovaldi was hurt by the long ball once again as he gave up rookie second baseman Ryan Schimpf’s first career home run in the second and a two-run shot to Wil Myers in the fifth.

Eovaldi was strung for six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. He is winless in six starts since May 29, a stretch in which he is 0-4 with a 9.20 ERA. The righthander has allowed 31 earned runs and 45 hits, including 12 home runs, in 30 1/3 innings in those starts, this from a pitcher who 10 starts into the season was 6-2 with a 3.71 ERA. That ERA has since climbed to 5.54.

In other developments, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes‐Barre outfielder Aaron Judge was named the International League Player of the Month for June. Judge batted .343 in 102 at-bats and led the IL with nine home runs, 30 runs and a .477 on-base percentage. He also finished among the top three with 25 RBI, 16 extra‐base hits, 70 total bases, 21 walks and a .686 slugging percentage.

Conversely, Nick Swisher has decided to leave the Triple A club. Swish, who played for the Yankees from 2009-12, was hoping to make a comeback after being released by the Braves in spring training. The Yankees have had openings at first base because of injuries, but Swisher never got the call.

The switch hitter batted .255 with seven homers and 25 RBI in 55 games for SWB. After watching Rob Refsnyder, Chris Parmelee and Ike Davis take turns at first base, Swish decided to go home and spend time with his infant daughter.

“I don’t think we would have signed him if we didn’t want to take a look at him,” Girardi told reporters. “We just felt some guys were ahead of him at the time, so he never was called. I respect what he did. He had another baby, so go and enjoy that.”

Yanks’ bats atone for early mistakes

When a team is struggling offensively as the Yankees have throughout this homestand it can afford precious few mistakes. The Yankees were guilty on that count Friday night and lost the chance to pin David Price on the ropes.

The Yankees had to wait until Price was out of the game to blast their way back into it. Back-to-back home runs by Mark Teixeira (No. 4) and Alfonso Soriano (No. 5) in the eighth inning off righthander Joel Peralta made it a new ballgame and rejuvenated a relatively stagnant Yanks offense.

Vidal Nuno, who has replaced Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery on his right shoulder) in the rotation, hurt himself with a wild pitch in the second inning that allowed Sean Rodriguez, who had doubled with one out, to cross to third base. It permitted Rodriguez to score on an infield single by James Loney. Yankees left fielder Alfonso Soriano contributed to that run since he made a circular track of Rodriguez’s liner to left-center for that double.

After the Yankees went ahead, 2-1, in the second on Brian McCann’s two-run home run off Price, his second in six career at-bats against the lefthander, Nuno let the Rays regain the lead with his own wildness that compounded another defensive lapse.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who has played a splendid center field in his first year with the Yankees, lost Evan Longoria’s drive to right-center in the lights that should have been the second out of the inning but instead became a triple. Wil Myers tied the score moments later with a single to left.

Nuno walked the next two batters, which loaded the bases, and the Rays made it 3-2 on a sacrifice fly by .154-batting Logan Forsythe. Nuno failed to get through the fifth as Desmond Jennings drove an 0-1 pitch to the opposite field for his third home run of the season.

Price, who has been battered a bit in the early going (4.75 ERA entering play), settled down once the Rays were back on top. The 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, pitched scoreless ball after the McCann home run through the seventh with eight strikeouts. The Yankees were very happy to see him out of the game at that point.

Yankees bashed again; Nova hurt

A couple of regular Yankee killers had plenty of help from their teammates in killing the Yankees Saturday night. Evan Longoria and Chris Archer had their usual success against the Yankees, but so did a whole bunch of other Tampa Bay Rays.

Clearly, the Rays have awaken from their early-season offensive malaise the past two nights against the Yankees. Tampa Bay followed Friday night’s 11-5 bashing with a 16-1 slaughterhouse Saturday night. By the seventh inning, the many changes in both team’s lineups made the game resemble a spring training exhibition.

The Yankees’ bullpen has been so depleted through these two games that manager Joe Girardi used utility infielder Dean Anna on the mound in the eighth inning. Anna, who started the game at shortstop for resting Derek Jeter, gave up two runs and three hits in his first major-league pitching assignment.

Even worse news for the Yanks was that losing pitcher Ivan Nova was removed from the game in the fifth inning because of right elbow soreness. That could explain why he was so ineffective. The righthander was lit up for eight earned runs and eight hits, including four home runs, in four-plus innings as his ERA soared to 8.27.

The Rays had five home runs in all — two apiece by Wil Myers and Ryan Hanigan and one by Longoria. Hanigan drove in six runs and Myers and Longoria four each as part of the 16-hit attack.

Longoria’s home run was career No. 164 to set a Tampa Bay franchise record, passing the previous record holder, Carlos Pena. It was also Longoria’s 26th career homer against the Yankees, the most of any player since 2008, the third baseman’s American League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award season. The next closest over that stretch is the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista with 19.

Over about the same amount of plate appearances against the Yankees as Longoria, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has 15 home runs, which indicates how powerful Longoria has been. Longoria is a .314 career hitter with 19 doubles and 71 RBI in 338 at-bats against the Yankees.

Archer continued his winning ways against the Yankees. The righthander gave up one run and three hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings to improve his career mark against them to 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 28 2/3 innings. Last year, Archer became the first rookie pitcher to beat the Yankees three times in a season since Kevin Brown did it for the Rangers in 1989. Brown later pitched for the Yankees.

It was a quiet night for the Yankees’ offense. They managed only three hits with a two-out double by Kelly Johnson in the fifth inning driving in their only run. Rays pitching retired the Yankees’ last 13 hitters in a row.

Yankees’ condition is critical

As if the Yankees didn’t have enough trouble Tuesday night, a former teammate added to their misery. Jason Giambi put the finishing touch on a wild, 5-4 Indians victory over the White Sox in Cleveland while the Yankees were going down quietly, 7-0, to the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees’ situation is now critical. They trail the Indians for the second wild-card playoff berth by five games with five to play. Do the math and it comes out to the Yankees’ tragic number being down to one. One more Yankees loss or Indians victory will keep the Bombers home during the postseason for only the second time in the past 19 seasons.

Tampa Bay kept a sturdy hold on the first wild-card spot with the victory despite a shaky start by Matt Moore (16-4). The lefthander struggled with command (six walks, three wild pitches, one of which put a strikeout victim on base) but gave up only three hits in five innings. The Yankees were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base against Moore and were 0-for-10 with 11 stranded runners for the game.

Runs have been hard to come by for the Yankees lately. They have scored one in their past 20 innings on Mark Reynolds’ third-inning home run Sunday against the Giants. The Yanks were shut out for the 11th time this season, the most in one year since they were blanked 15 times in 1990. This was the third time the Yankees were held scoreless this year by Tampa Bay.

As has been in the case in his recent starts, Hiroki Kuroda took a while to get into a rhythm on the mound. The Rays had a 3-0 lead four batters into the game. Kuroda gave up a leadoff home run to Matt Joyce, a single to Wil Myers, a double to David De Jesus (who took third on the throw home) and a sacrifice fly to Evan Longoria. The way the Yankees’ offense has sputtered lately, that was probably the game right there.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi had lefthander Boone Logan up in the bullpen in the sixth inning but curiously did not bring him into the game to face left-handed batting James Loney with the bases loaded and one out. Loney lined a double to right-center for two runs that pretty much sealed the deal for the Rays.

Meanwhile, the Indians had one of those inspiring victories that can propel a club into postseason play. Cleveland closer Chris Perez blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth by giving up two solo home runs. The Tribe had the last laugh, however, when Giambi went yard as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth with two out and a runner on second base.

It was tough going all around for the crowd of 43,407 at the Stadium. The truck carrying Mariano Rivera bobblehead dolls for Tuesday night’s giveaway was late, which created long lines for ticketholders to collect their gift.

Wells delivers big-time in the pinch

For the first time in more than a month, Vernon Wells found himself talking to reporters after a game about something other than struggling with the bat. A slump that had reached disastrous proportions – 9-for-his-previous 90 at-bats, a chilly .100 stretch – put him on the bench in favor of recent Triple A call-up Zoilo Almonte, already a crowd favorite at Yankee Stadium.

Wells tried not to get discouraged. He continues to work on a daily basis with batting coach Kevin Long to recover a stroke that got him off a strong start this year with the Yankees. So when manager Joe Girardi told him in the seventh inning to get ready that he may be needed off the bench, Wells saw that flame-throwing lefthander Jake McGee was in the Tampa Bay bullpen and went down the tunnel into the cage and hit some balls off a tee.

The call from the skipper came for Wells to bat for Chris Stewart after a bases-loaded walk to David Adams that got the Yankees to 5-4 in the game. With two out, a big hit was needed to put the Yankees in control. Wells got the big hit, his biggest in a long time, a bases-clearing double that headed the Yankees toward a 7-5 victory. With one swing, Wells drove in as many runs (three) as he had in his previous 97 at-bats combined.

“I never lost my confidence,” Wells said. “When you lose your confidence, you’re done.”

Wells concentrated on tracking McGee’s fastball. He decided to take the first pitch, which came in at 96 miles per hour and was a strike.

“I saw the ball really well and when I saw 96 on the scoreboard, I thought, ‘OK, at least I could see it,’ ” Wells said. “It’s the ones that go into the catcher’s mitt you don’t see that worry you. After that, I thought about getting a good swing and letting him supply the power. It felt good to hit a ball that didn’t land in somebody’s glove.”

The comeback victory was big for the Yankees, who coupled with the Orioles loss trail second-place Baltimore by only a half-game in the American League East standings. Meanwhile, the Rays’ loss dropped them into a virtual tie for fourth in the division with the red-hot Blue Jays, who won their 10th straight game.

“We have a chance to win a series against a division rival that has been tough on us, so this was an important victory,” Girardi said.

In many ways, it was a victory gift-wrapped from the opposition. Five Rays pitchers combined to walk nine batters, four of whom scored. Robinson Cano reached base five times, including a career-high four walks, the most for a Yankees player in a game since Alex Rodriguez May 15, 2009 against the Twins. Adams walked twice. He entered the game with zero walks in 86 major-league plate appearances. Tampa Bay also made two errors that resulted in three unearned runs, all driven in by Almonte with a two-run single and, of course, a bases-loaded walk.

A 3-1 Yankees lead all went away in the sixth inning when Wil Myers clouted his first major-league home run, a grand slam off a 0-1 fastball from CC Sabathia. The rookie’s drive to right-center was nearly caught by center fielder Brett Gardner but slammed off the top of the auxiliary scoreboard and into the stands.

Myers, who was called up from the minors two weeks ago, was the centerpiece of an off-season trade with the Royals in which the Rays surrendered pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis. Tampa Bay seems to grow pitchers. Alex Colome, Saturday’s starter, has not allowed an earned run in two major-league starts totaling nine innings.

Girardi hit pay dirt with the Wells move but not the one that called for Evan Longoria to be walked intentionally to pitch to Myers. You can’t fault the manager there, however. Longoria had already homered in the game to continue a loud history against Sabathia (.383, four doubles and six home runs in 47 at-bats). Myers may be on the come but prior to that at-bat he had yet to prove himself. He may start making managers re-think their positions.

The Yankees caught a major break when Rays manager Joe Maddon replaced Alex Torres at the start of the seventh. The lefthander had retired the five batters he had faced – three on strikeouts – and the Yankees had three lefty batters due up that inning – Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay. Despite being right-handed, Joel Peralta has Maddon’s confidence in getting left-handed batters out. Peralta did retire Hafner but after walking Cano and before allowing a double to Overbay. A rally was in place. Walks to Almonte and Adams set the stage for Wells.

“In this game,” Wells said, “You never know what can happen.”

Ain’t that the truth.

Fans appreciate rookie’s big night

Before Friday night’s game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not care to make a commitment beyond this game as to how often Zoilo Almonte would play. The rookie outfielder was making his first major-league start is as far as Girardi would go. The skipper did point out, however, that sometimes a player does so well he keeps himself in the lineup.

That could be the case with Almonte. Who knows? He won over the Yankee Stadium crowd in the Yankees’ 6-2 victory over loss to the Blue Jays; that’s for sure. When is the last time you saw a rookie urged out of the dugout for a curtain call?

That is what happened with Almonte in the sixth inning after he crushed a 0-1 fastball from Tampa Bay righthander Roberto Hernandez into the Yankees bullpen for his first big-league home run. It was the fourth straight hit for Almonte, who got his first major-league knock as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning Thursday night and had singles his first two times up Friday night. Since 1916, the only other Yankees player to get at least three hits and a home run in a single game within his first three major league games was Oscar Azocar Sept. 18, 1990 against the Royals in his second career game.

“You don’t expect a kid to get three hits in his first game,” Girardi said. “That can give a kid a lot of confidence.”

“I felt a little nervous,” Almonte said through translator Kenny Leandry. “I always thought this day would come, God willing, and when that day would come, I would be grateful.”

Asked if this was the best day of his life, Almonte said, “Today and when my son was born.”

The crowd also liked the throw he made from left field in the fourth inning that discouraged Luke Scott from attempting to score from third base after the Rays had loaded the bases with one out that helped David Phelps work out of the jam.

“That was an important inning,” Girardi said. “When they didn’t score after loading the bases; that turned the whole game around.”

Perhaps during a week at the Stadium in which the Dodgers showed off Yasiel Puig and the Rays displayed Wil Myers, Yankees fans wanted to get excited about an up-and-coming young player in pinstripes. Almonte, who turned 24 earlier this month, is a switch hitter from the Dominican Republic who has been on the Yankees’ radar for some time. Girardi felt the youngster pressed a bit in spring training but rebounded with strong numbers at Triple A Scranton (.297, six homers, 36 RBI).

Someone in the crowd even chanted “MVP” when Almonte came to bat in the eighth inning. He struck out. Hey, noboby’s perfect.