Results tagged ‘ Wrigley Field ’

Fans contribute to Yankees’ pain

The Yankees are having a tough enough time these days without the fans making it harder for them. After suffering their second straight shutout loss Sunday to complete a three-game sweep by the surging Blue Jays, the Yankees watched their first-place hold in the American League East dwindle to 1 1/2 games to Toronto, which remains three games behind in the loss column.

Make no mistake, however. The race in the division has tightened up to a degree that the Yankees could not have expected 12 days ago when they had a seven-game lead and were eight games up on the Jays, then in third place. The additions of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitcher David Price before the non-waiver trade deadline last month were serious upgrades for Toronto, which the Yanks witnessed first hand during this lost weekend.

And in Sunday’s 2-0 setback they took their lumps literally as well as figuratively. In the first inning after Josh Donaldson hit a long home run to left field off Masahiro Tanaka, a fan threw the ball back onto the field and struck left fielder Brett Gardner on the right side of his head.

“Not at all,” Gardner said when asked if he was upset. “Don’t care. I was just lucky the guy who threw it wasn’t as close as the second row.”

This tradition of tossing back onto the field opponents’ home runs began at Chicago’s Wrigley Field in the 1980s and has been part of the Yankee Stadium experience as well for some time. I must admit that it never made any sense to me. If I were to catch a home run ball in the stands, I would not throw it back onto the field. I would keep it and bring it home to my kids. Why honor a tradition that began with a franchise that has not won a World Series for more than 100 years?

Gardner was kind not to make a big deal out of it. In fact, he even said the fans were correct in getting on him because neither he nor teammate Jacoby Ellsbury did very much at the top of the order in this series. They were a combined 2-for-23 (both hits were singles by Gardner) with two walks and no runs scored in the series.

Less accepting of fans’ behavior was first baseman Mark Teixeira, who was still annoyed after the game that a fan in the box seats interfered with him as he tried to catch a foul ball by Blue Jays designated hitter Chris Colabello in the ninth inning. Colabello eventually struck out, but Tex was still sore about the situation.

“Tell the fans they can insult but not assault,” he said. “I know we just lost three games, and we’re sorry about that. But, please, no assaults, just insults.”

It was that kind of series for the Yankees, who scored only one run in the three games, none in the last two and are in a scoreless streak that has reached 26 innings, their longest in 24 years. The last time the Yankees went this long without scoring was back in the Stump Merrill days of May 15-18, 1991, a stretch of 32 blank innings.

The Yankees were shut out in consecutive games for the first time since May 12-13, 1999 against the Angels and had played 2,665 games between the consecutive shutout streaks, the longest stretch of not being shut out in back-to–back games in major league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Yankees began the homestand last Tuesday night with a 13-3 victory over the Red Sox. They scored only four runs in their next 45 innings.

“Just a bump in the road,” Teixeira said.

It was actually more like an enormous pothole. The Yankees wasted several strong pitching performances, including Tanaka’s six-inning stint Sunday in which he allowed three hits and no walks with five strikeouts. Unfortunately, two of the hits were home runs. Joining Donaldson was Jose Bautista with a solo blast in the fourth. The Jays out-homered the Yanks in the series, 6-1.

“It is never a good thing to get swept at home by the team that is chasing you,” Gardner said. “We’ll try to have a short-term memory, regroup on the off-day [Monday] and get back to our game in Cleveland. There are still another six or seven weeks left in the season.”

The Yankees found out over the weekend the rest of the season will be more challenging than they may have realized not that long ago.

D-Rob & Yanks come off the deck

If there is one thing David Robertson learned from Mariano Rivera about the closer’s role it is that you cannot dwell on blown saves. They are a hazard of the profession and while fans will agonize over squandered saves the closer cannot. It is a job like housekeeping in that people do not notice it as much unless you do not do it.

The daily grind of the baseball schedule demands that players turn the page, particularly closers. Like his predecessor, Robertson wanted another save opportunity the very next day after he gave up a game-winning, two-run home run to White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night. D-Rob got that chance Saturday after the Yankees came off the deck and scored three runs in the ninth inning against Chicago to tie the score and went ahead in the 10th on a home run by Jacoby Ellsbury with two out.

Robertson preserved the Yankees’ lead this time as he has done now in 10 of 11 save chances. He struck out the side. The third strikeout came after pesky Adam Eaton (8-for-14 in the series) singled with two out and stole second. So getting Gordon Beckham looking to end the game was a pressurized situation for Robertson.

This was a game the Yankees needed desperately. For the second straight day, the club that took a 3-0 lead in the first inning did not go on to win. The Yankees had the first-inning lead Friday night on Brian McCann’s three-run homer, but Hiroki Kuroda couldn’t hold it. The Yanks went in front again by a run with two runs in the seventh, but Robertson’s blown save cost them.

Saturday, the White Sox scored three runs in the first off Vidal Nuno, who tightened after that and pitched into the eighth without allowing another run. Yankees bats remained cold, however, as they had only one hit through seven innings and three through eight against lefthander John Danks. Now it would be the White Sox closer who would blow the save.

With two out and a runner on first base, the Yanks erupted for three runs off righthander Ronald Belisario, who nearly blew a save to them two nights ago when he gave up two runs in the ninth but held on to nail down a 3-2 White Sox victory. A double by Alfonso Soriano got one run in, and singles by Yangervis Solarte and McCann as a pinch hitter delivered two more. It marked the second time on the Chicago trip that the Yankees tied the score in the ninth after being shut out for eight innings and went on to win in extras. They came from behind to beat the Cubs, 4-2, in 13 innings Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

Ellsbury, who had started the ninth-inning rally with a single, came through with the 10th-inning homer off righthander Zach Putnam. Ellsbury looked as if he might be coming out of a prolonged slump with a couple of extra-inning hits at Wrigley, but he then went 0-for-11 at U.S. Cellular Field before his ninth-inning single. The center fielder was batting .348 as late as May 3 but is now down to .263. Maybe the game-winning homer is just what he needs to get hot again.

It certainly was what the Yankees needed on what was turning into a brutal trip. Now they have a shot at squaring the season Sunday behind Masahiro Tanaka and take some momentum into St. Louis Monday for the start of what will be their last inter-league series of the regular season.

All hands on deck in comeback at Wrigley

For eight innings Wednesday, there was very un-Wrigley Field-like game going on at the venerated National League ballpark on Chicago’s North Side that is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Cubs entered the ninth inning clinging to a 2-0 lead over the Yankees, who had scored merely one run in 17 innings in a place considered a hitters’ paradise.

Wrigley is also one of those places where no lead is ever safe, let alone one as narrow as the one the Cubs had. Just like that, the Yankees got to Cubs closer Hector Roncon, who blew his first save opportunity of the season in six tries.

A broken-bat single by Mark Teixeira, a walk to Brian McCann and an infield single by Yangervis Solarte loaded the bases. Ichiro Suzuki hit a ground ball to shortstop. The Cubs conceded a run to try for the double play but got only one out and watched the Yankees tie the score. Second baseman Darwin Barney, just into the game on a double switch, threw wildly past first base in a vain attempt to double-up Ichiro that allowed pinch runner Brendan Ryan to follow Teixiera home with the tying run.

The Yankees’ rally that eventually pushed the game into extra innings was a disastrous but all too familiar situation for Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, who despite pitcing seven shutout innings was stuck with a no-decision that kept his winless streak going to 16 starts since Aug. 30 last year.

Samardzija has the best earned run average in the major leagues at 1.46 over 68 innings, but all he has to show for it is a 0-4 record. Since his last previous victory Aug. 24 last year at San Diego, Samardzija has a 2.99 ERA over 105 1/3 innings with a record of 0-6. The righthander has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his past 13 starts since Sept. 17 last year, a stretch equaling that of former Cubs pitcher Matt Garza from Aug. 3, 2011 through April 12, 2012.

Heading into extras, none of the four runs scored to that point had been by a hit. The Yankees’ two runs were on a fielder’s choice and an error. The Cubs’ two runs were on a sacrifice fly and a sacrifice squeeze bunt.

The Yanks’ rally in the ninth took rookie Chase Whitley off the hook. The righthander had another decent start, allowing one run, six hits and one walk with three strikeout in 4 1/3 innings. And just as he had done last week at Citi Field, Dellin Betances followed Whitley with 1 2/3 brilliant innings by retiring all five batters he faced, three on strikeouts.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi ended up using every available relief pitcher and all but four players on the 25-man roster in the game, which the Yankees won, 4-2, in 13 innings. When Derek Jeter came to bat in the eighth, he received a standing ovation from the crowd of 34,808 for what it perceived to be his last at-bat at Wrigley. Little did the fans realize that DJ would get three more times up in what became a 4-hour, 39-minute marathon.

Preston Claiborne (2-0), the seventh of eight Yankees pitchers, helped himself to the winning decision with a perfect sacrifice in the 13th that advanced Brendan Ryan, who led off with an infield single, to third base and Solarte, who walked, to second. A wild pitch by Jose Veras (0-1) sent Ryan home with the go-ahead run, and John Ryan Murphy added an insurance run with a single to right field. David Robertson earned his ninth save with a shutout 13th.

The Yankees, who had four hits entering the ninth, finished with 13, all singles, and won for the first time this season when trailing after eight innings. Being swept by the team with the worse record in the majors would have been demoralizing. Now they move to Chicago’s South Side for a four-game series against the White Sox with a spring in their step.

Tanaka sustains 1st loss since 2012

Masahiro Tanaka will not have an undefeated season this year. It was sort of a dream to expect Tanaka to repeat the 24-0 season he had last year in Japan, but it sure was fun while it lasted.

He got a quarter of the way through with a 6-0 mark after his brilliant four-hit shutout of the Mets at Citi Field last week. Wrigley Field proved tougher turf for the righthander who left the game after six innings and trailing, 4-1. The Yankees could not get Tanaka off the hook and went down to the Cubs, 6-1.

Tanaka was hardly awful. It is just that he has pitched to so high a level that Yankees fans expect excellence. The Cubs laid off his split-fingered fastballs early in the count, and he was up with his breaking pitches. Tanaka allowed four runs (three earned) and eight hits with only one walk and seven strikeouts. He hurt himself with a wild pitch in the third inning that aided in a Chicago run and was wounded in the sixth by first baseman Mark Teixeira’s throwing error that set up an unearned run.

The Yankees also offered slim support offensively for Tanaka. Their only run came on a two-out, RBI single by Teixeira in the sixth off eventual winning pitcher Jason Hammel and then were held scoreless for 3 1/3 innings by five Cubs relievers. They brought some drama to the ninth inning by loading the bases on a bunt single by Yangervis Solarte against the shift and two walks before Derek Jeter grounded out to shortstop to end the game. Cut the Captain some slack considering ran fell heavily throughout his at-bat. He fouled off a 95-mph fastball from righthander Hector Rondon, which was pretty amazing considering the elements.

Cubs second baseman Luis Valbuena had a huge night against Tanaka with two doubles and a single. Third baseman Mike Olt drove in three runs with a single, a sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk.

Although he did lose a playoff game last year in the Japan Series, this was Tanaka’s first loss during the regular season since Aug. 19, 2012 for the Seibu Lions to the Rakuten Gold Eagles covering 43 starts. He was 34-0 with eight no-decisions before the Cubs reminded him of the pain of defeat.

Wrigley fans friendly to Jeet & Sori

So what happened to those ruffian fans at Wrigley Field? Cubs fans were quite pleasant to the Yankees in the early going Tuesday night in the first game of the inter-league set that began a week in Chicago for the Yanks.

It was not surprising that Yankees manager Joe Girardi heard applause as he entered the visitors dugout before the game. Girardi grew up in East Peoria, Ill., attended Northwestern University and played for the Cubs in two stints in his major-league catching career.

Derek Jeter was also treated very favorably during a pregame ceremony in which he received the number ‘2’ from the scoreboard which still uses hand-placed numbers in the latest stop on his farewell tour.

So maybe Cubs rooters were saving their venom for Alfonso Soriano, who spent seven seasons at Wrigley before he was traded back to the Yankees last July 26 for minor-league pitcher Corey Black. Sori made his return Tuesday night and was greeted warmly when he came to bat leading off the top of the second inning. There was no standing ovation by any means, but there wasn’t much in the way of negativity, either.

Wrigley Field just may be the friendly confines after all.

Jeter plenty rested for Wednesday night game

Do not panic, Yankees fans. Derek Jeter’s absence from the lineup in Wednesday night’s matinee portion of the split-admission doubleheader against the Cubs was not injury-related. Jeter did not play Saturday or Sunday night against the Red Sox while resting a tight right quad. The Captain was not in the lineup for the afternoon game because manager Joe Girardi wanted to limit him to one game and preferred to start him in the night game against a lefthander, Travis Wood.

Girardi has made no secret of being cautious with Jeter, who at 39 and coming off an injury-riddled 2013 season is past the time when he can be expected to play every day. Jeter has not lost his sense of humor. The Yankees had their first off day Monday and with Tuesday’s scheduled game rained out Jeter said he felt that with four straight days off it was like an early All-Star Game break.

The Cubs were playing at Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2005 and became the 25th different opponent to play in the current Stadium. The Yankees are 19-5 in an opponent’s first-ever game at the Stadium since its opening in 2009. They won all three such contests in 2013 — April 16 over the Diamondbacks, 4-2; June 19 over the Dodgers, 6-4, and Sept. 20 over the Giants, 5-1.

The Yankees and Cubs will play each other again at Wrigley Field May 20-22 as a part of a weeklong trip to Chicago that includes a stop at U.S. Cellular Field May 23-25 against the White Sox.

The Yankees played their first doubleheader of the season today. They swept one doubleheader and split two last year. Since 2000, the Yanks have swept 15 doubleheaders, split 18 and were swept once (Sept. 17, 2006 by the Red Sox at the Stadium.

Yankees keep their manager for four more years

Well, that was quick. All things considered, the Yankees were fortunate to keep their manager in place in a relatively quick period of time during an off-season that promises to be busy. Surely a fourth year on the contract extension was a deal doer. Other clubs – notably the Cubs, Nationals and Reds – as well as a television network or two may have had designs on Girardi, but four-year contracts at seven figures per annum are hard to come by, so the Yankees were able to retain the guy they wanted to continue running the club before his current pact was to expire Oct. 31.

Girardi was deserving of the extension. Even with the World Series championship of 2009 at the top of his accomplishments, Joe’s effort with the 2013 Yankees may have been his best work. It certainly was his most arduous. With the abundance of injuries the Yankees had to deal with, just running out a healthy lineup every day was an ordeal for the manager.

Much was made in the media of Girardi’s Illinois background and ties to the Cubs as a fan while growing up and as a catcher as a player being a temptation for him to go off to Wrigley Field. On a conference phone hookup Wednesday, Girardi emphasized it was a family decision. Mom and the kids were A-OK with the Yankees and New York. The Girardi’s have made solid roots in Westchester County.

And let us not forget that Joe Girardi despite all the Cubs history has become a part of Yankees history as well. He fits in very well come Old Timers’ Day as a player who was part of three World Series championship clubs as a player (1996, ’98-99) as well as his one as a manager. He pointed out that in his conversation with the family that getting to manage in the same place for 10 years, which would be the case if Girardi fulfills the whole contract, is pretty special.

Over his first six years as Yankees manager the club has led the major leagues in home runs (1,236), ranked second in runs (4,884) and seventh in hits (8,836) and batting average (.265). The Yankees have also committed the fewest errors (484) over the span with a majors-best .986 team fielding percentage.

In 2013, Girardi did a good job getting the beaten-up Yankees to an 85-77 finish and third-place tie in the American League East with the Orioles. He got his 500th win as Yankees manager May 10 at Kansas City. The club made just 69 errors in 2013, the third-lowest total in the majors and tying the franchise record for fewest in a season (also 2010). Their .988 fielding percentage set a franchise record, fractionally better than their .988 mark in 2010.

In 2009, Girardi became the ninth Yankees manager to win a World Series, and just the fourth to do so in his postseason managerial debut, joining Casey Stengel (1949), Ralph Houk (1961) and Bob Lemon (1978). Girardi also joined Houk and Billy Martin as the only men to win World Series for the club as players and managers.

Girardi was named the 32nd manager of the Yankees Oct. 30, 2007, becoming the 17th Yankees manager to have played for the club and the fourth former Yankees catcher to skipper the team, joining Bill Dickey, Houk and Yogi Berra.

In 2006, Girardi was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America after guiding the Marlins to a 78-84 record in his first season as a big league manager. With the award, he matched the Astros’ Hal Lanier (1986) and the Giants’ Dusty Baker (1993) as the only managers to win the honor in their managerial debuts.

In 15 major-league seasons as a catcher, Girardi played for the Cubs (1989-92 and 2000-02), Rockies (1993-95), Yankees (1996-99) and Cardinals (2003) and batted .267 with 454 runs, 186 doubles, 36 home runs and 422 RBI in 4,127 at-bats over 1,277 games. He had a .991 career fielding percentage and threw out 27.6 percent of potential base stealers. Girardi was named to the National League All-Star team in 2000 with the Cubs.

With the Yankees, Girardi was behind the plate for Dwight Gooden’s hitter May 14, 1996 against the Mariners and David Cone’s perfect game July 18, 1999 against the Expos. In World Series Game 6 against the Braves in 1996, Girardi tripled in the game’s first run in a three-run third inning off Greg Maddux as the Yankees clinched their first championship since 1978 with a 3-2 victory. He has a .566 winning percentage with a 642-492 record as a manager and is 21-17 in postseason play.

Nova maturing with each start

Ivan Nova has gone from the Yankees’ No. 5 starter coming out of spring training to the point where now he is the rotation’s No. 2 starter. His 5-3 victory Monday night at Cincinnati improved Nova’s record to 7-4. Only ace CC Sabathia (9-4) has won more games than Nova.

Armed with a 4-0 lead before he took the mound, Nova overcame a shaky beginning when he gave up singles to the first two Reds batters to fashion his best outing of the season. Nova was quite willing to trade a run for two outs by getting 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Joey Votto to ground into a double play. Those were the first two of 15 consecutive outs Nova recorded before Paul Janish ended the string with a two-out single in the fifth. Nova retired nine of the last 10 batters before calling it a game after the eighth for the longest outing of his career.

Nova got 16 outs in the infield and struck out seven batters. Only two outs were to the outfield. Nova recorded 25 outs in eight innings, one more than necessary because Drew Stubbs reached on a third-strike wild pitch in the third. Nova had outstanding control. He did not walk a batter.

With Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon on the disabled list, Nova has been relied on to take up the slack in the rotation and for the most part has come through. He has won three straight starts and lowered his ERA to 4.13. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Nova has a 7-1 career record in games when he has a lead of more than one run, and the Yankees are 11-1 in those games.

Nova’s blending in a changeup to go with his fastball, curve and slider has been a major factor in his current three-start winning streak. Yankees fans are getting to watch a young pitcher mature with each start.

With victories in nine of the past 11 games, the Yankees are 13 games above .500, their high mark of the season, and stayed within 1 ½ games of the first-place Red Sox in the American League East.

The Yankees got clicking in the first inning against Travis Wood, a last-minute replacement for scheduled Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who had a stiff neck and may start Tuesday night against Yankees rookie Brian Gordon.

Great American Ball Park is known as a bandbox, but the Yankees stayed in the yard and used four singles and a double to produce four runs in the top of the first. Their other run came in the eighth without a hit as Curtis Granderson walked, stole second, continued to third on an error by Janish at shortstop and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Jose Arredondo.

Things got a bit hairy in the ninth when Luis Ayala gave up a hit and Boone Logan hit a batter. Both runners scored, but Mariano Rivera restored order for his 18th save. After setting a three-game series attendance record over the weekend at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the Yankees played to another full house Monday night at Cincinnati. The prime attractions of inter-league play are giving NL audiences their money’s worth.

Yanks have proper erasers for mistakes

The sixth inning Saturday was filled with mistakes by the Yankees until Brett Gardner, who had committed one of them, erased the miscues with a splendid play. And did the Yankees ever need it in what turned out to be another close game at Wrigley Field with them prevailing this time, 4-3.

The game was getting out of their hands even after they regained the lead on a sacrifice fly by Curtis Granderson in the top of the sixth. Gardner made the third out of the inning when he was caught off first base and thrown out in a rundown.

The Yankee had failed to make Cubs starter Ryan Dempster pay for walking six batters, none of whom scored (which is really strange; the odds are usually pretty good that at least of couple of the runners would have made it all the way home) but had taken a 3-2 lead behind A.J. Burnett.

Then just as quickly, the Yankees nearly gave it away. Burnett had good stuff, an above-average fastball and an effective curve, but as usual he was all over the place. He struck out eight batters but also walked three, threw a wild pitch (increasing his league lead to 11) and hit a batter.

The plunked batter came with one down in the sixth. Shortstop Eduardo Nunez then booted a ground ball (his eighth error in 37 games) and Robinson Cano dropped a throw for a potential force play (his sixth error, twice as many as he had all of last season), which loaded the bases for the Cubs.

Between the errors, Burnett was replaced by Corey Wade, who was able to get out of the jam in large part because of Gardner. Geovanny Soto hit a fly ball to left field. Gardner timed his catch perfectly and had his momentum taking him toward the infield when he unleashed his throw to the plate. It was straight and reached catcher Russell Martin on one bounce in plenty of time to get Carlos Pena trying to score to complete a double play. Pena tried a Pete Rose/All-Star Game move on Martin by running into him, but the catcher took the hit and held on to the ball.

Wade was the first of four relievers for the Yankees, and it isn’t every day that the least effective of them is Mariano Rivera. That is how strong the ensemble work of the Yanks’ bullpen has been these days. Hector Noesi and David Robertson followed Wade with a scoreless inning apiece to raise the pen’s steak of shutout work to 22 1/3 innings dating to June 10.

Cano and Nunez made up for their boots with ninth-inning doubles for an insurance run that proved necessary when Mo gave up a leadoff homer to Reed Johnson in the bottom half. This Johnson has been a ninth-inning Yankees killer in the series. Friday, he made a sliding, tumbling catch down the left field line to rob Cano of a potential extra-base hit.

Alfonso Soriano followed Johnson’s bomb with a single off his old teammate. Soto then did the Yankees another favor. Inter-league play is supposed to show the difference in the how the game is played in each league, right?

Okay, so with a National League team at home in the bottom of the ninth, and the potential tying run on first base and no outs, where was the sacrifice? Heck, Soto didn’t even make an attempt to push the runner into scoring position. He swung away on the first pitch and hit a ground ball near second that Cano gloved to start a rally-killing double play. That was the biggest mistake of all, and the Yankees took advantage of it.

Dark day for Yanks at Wrigley Field

Let’s face it; the Yankees-Cubs matchup at Wrigley Field has a lot less juice than it did eight years ago when the two legendary teams met for the first time in 65 years. Back then, you had the Yankees in the Friendly Confines for the first visit since Lou Gehrig’s final World Series in 1938, Derek Jeter patrolling shortstop and Roger Clemens going for his 300th career victory.

In addition, there was the idea that the pairing might have been a preview of the 2003 World Series, which was quite nearly the case before a Cubs fan named Steve Bartman unwittingly aided the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series and ruined the Cubs’ chances for a trip to the Fall Classic. The Yankees don’t have fond memories of that World Series, either, because they also lost to the Fish.

Granted, there are still some story lines. Yankees manager Joe Girardi grew up in Illinois and began his major-league career with the Cubs. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild had the same post at Wrigley for 10 years. Nick Swisher’s father, Steve, was a catcher for the Cubs. And the guys in the Cubs’ front office had to love the sight of 42,219 people going through the turnstiles. The latter situation, however, is one element that hurts this series. The Cubs are on the downside and trying to keep their heads above water in the post-Lou Piniella era.

Jeter’s stint on the disabled list also hurts the series. He might have gotten his 3,000th career hit here. Then again, he may have suffered the same fate as Clemens in ’03 and been turned away in his shot at the milestone.

So it is what it is, and Friday it wasn’t much of anything for the Yankees, who looked awfully flat in a 3-1 loss. Lefthander Doug Davis kept them off-balance for seven-plus innings with an assortment of off-speed junk, aided by the wind blowing in which derailed the Yankees’ power strokes. Davis was a winner for the first time in more than a year and in six decisions this season.

The Cubs struck for three runs in the first two innings against Freddy Garcia, who then got quite stingy and retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced through the seventh. It might have been 15 in a row had second baseman Robinson Cano covered first base on a bunt by Tony Campana that was fielded by Garcia, who had to eat the ball because there was no one to throw it to on the bag.

Swisher doubled in the eighth and scored the Yanks’ run on a two-out single by Mark Teixeira, but flame-throwing closer Carlos Marmol came in to strike out Alex Rodriguez. Reed Johnson, a defensive replacement in left field, made a sprawling catch on the line to rob Cano of a possible extra-base hit leading off the ninth and deserved as much of the save as Marmol. No one could imagine regular left fielder Alfonso Soriano, whom Johnson replaced, being able to make such a play.

Cano had already gotten a hit earlier to keep alive his streak of having hit in all 22 of the day games the Yankees have played this year. Friday was only the fourth time they lost without the lights on, ironically, in the last ballpark in the majors to accept night baseball.