Good afternoon Yankees enthusiasts! Welcome to another Saturday of Bombers baseball!
I'm Chris Mascaro and I'll be bringing you all of this afternoon's live game action, as the Yankees (52-37), the second place team in the AL East (three games behind the Red Sox), take on the AL Central-leading Tigers (48-40) in the middle game of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees, which lead the wild card race by 3.5 games over Texas, are 8-5 this month (with three of those losses coming last weekend in Anaheim).
Last night, the Yankees defeated Detroit for the third time in four tries, 5-3, behind Mark Teixeira's three-run homer in the seventh inning off Joel Zumaya.
Said manager Joe Girardi: "Three-run homers are nice, especially late in the game."
A.J. Burnett allowed three runs in six innings, but he walked five. Phil Hughes (4-2) picked up the win after tossing two scoreless innings with six strikeouts. Mariano Rivera picked up his 24th save with a scoreless ninth. The Tigers, which had won four of five coming into the series, went just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
This afternoon this Yankees will send CC Sabathia (8-6, 3.86), pictured above, to the hill. In his last start, Sunday in Anaheim, he allowed five runs in 6 2/3 innings and the Yankees lost 5-4. Sabathia has struggled in day games this season, going 0-3 with a 5.67 ERA in the sunlight.
Here are the Tigers' career numbers off him, a collective .269 average, led by Magglio Ordonez, who is 15-for-59 (.254) off the big lefty with three homers and 17 RBIs. In his career, Sabathia is 13-10 with a 4.69 ERA against the Tigers in 27 starts.
Meanwhile, the Tigers trot out their ace Justin Verlander (10-4, 3.38), who leads the AL in strikeouts with 149. The two-time All Star can really bring the heat, and he seems to thrive when facing Sabathia. In five starts when the two pitchers have opposed each other, Verlander is 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA, while Sabathia is 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA. That includes the April 27 start in Detroit, when Verlander picked up his first win of the year after pitching seven scoreless innings and striking out nine. In his last start, Verlander recorded eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in a 10-1 win over Cleveland.
Here are the Yankees' career numbers agaisnt Verlander, a collective .246 average. Nick Swisher has three homers off the 26-year old righty, but is just 6-for-35 (.171) off him, while Derek Jeter (4-for-11), Hideki Matsui (4-for-9) and Johnny Damon (4-for-13) all hit Verlander well.
Finally, here are today's lineups...
1. Jeter, SS
2. Damon, LF
3. Teixeira, 1B
4. Rodriguez, 3B
5. Matsui, DH
6. Posada, C
7. Cano, 2B
8. Swisher, RF
9. Cabrera, CF
1. Granderson, CF
2. Polanco, 2B
3. Cabrera, 1B
4. Thames, DH
5. Ordonez, RF
6. Raburn, LF
7. Inge, 3B
8. Laird, C
9. Everett, SS
Okay, that's all for now. But let's get the conversation going in the chat box above! And be sure to vote on the poll questions.
I'll be back after each half-inning with updates.
We're about 15 minutes from baseball on YES!
*Today is the 10th anniversary of David Cone's perfect game against the Expos. They are doing a look back at it on YES.
Top of the 1st: Granderson flew out to right before Polanco doubled to the wall in left-center (his 21st of the season). Cabrera then walked, putting runners on first and second for Thames, who struck out swinging on a changeup. Ordonez flew out to center for the third out.
Sabathia needed 24 pitches to get through the inning.
Bottom of the 1st: Jeter led off the inning with a single to center, but he was thrown out trying to steal second by Laird (his fourth time getting caught this season). Damon lined a 3-and-2 pitch right back to Verlander and Teixeira struck out swinging on a 3-and-2 changeup to end the inning.
Top of the 2nd: Raburn struck out swinging on a fastball (Sabathia's second K), before Inge walked (Sabathia's second BB). Then Laird singled down the left-field line, putting runners on first and second for Everett, who flew out to center. The runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch, but Granderson struck out swinging on a 3-and-2 fastball (Sabathia's third K) for the third out.
Sabathia threw 27 pitches that inning and has tossed 51 for the game.
Bottom of the 2nd: A 1-2-3 inning for Verlander, as A-Rod grounded out to short, Matsui did the same to second and Posada struck out looking (Verlander's third K) on three pitches to end the frame.
Top of the 3rd: Polanco grounded out to second before Cabrera singled to right (the Tigers' third hit). But Thames grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Bottom of the 3rd: Another 1-2-3 inning for Verlander, as Cano grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw, Swisher struck out swinging on a nasty slider (Verlander's fourth K) and Melky popped out to short.
Top of the 4th: Ordonez walked to lead off the inning (Sabathia's third BB) and moved to second on a passed ball. Raburn grounded back to the mound, but Inge was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second for Laird, who grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
Bottom of the 4th: Jeter ripped a single to left (his second hit of the day), but Damon flew out to left. Teixeira walked (Verlander's first BB of the afternoon) to put runners on first and second for A-Rod, who flew out to right. Matsui popped out in foul ground off third for the third out.
Top of the 5th: Sabathia has his first 1-2-3 inning, as Everett struck out swinging on a 3-and-2 changeup (Sabathia's fourth K), Granderson flew out to left and Polanco grounded out to third.
Bottom of the 5th: Verlander tossed his third 1-2-3 inning today, as Posada popped out to short, Cano struck out swinging on a fastball (Verlander's fourth K) and Swisher flew out to left.
Top of the 6th: Cabrera popped out to second before Thames reached on an infield single to short and Ordonez knocked an opposite field double down the right-field line on an 0-and-2 pitch (his 11th of the season) to put runners second and third for Raburn, who flew out to shallow left (the runners had to stay put). Inge popped out to second to end the rally.
Sabathia has thrown 104 pitches.
Bottom of the 6th: Melky grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw and Jeter struck out swinging on three pitches (Verlander's fifth K) before Damon ripped a double to the base of the wall in right (his 21st of the year). But Teixeira struck out looking on a 3-and-2 fastball (Verlander's sixth K) to end the inning.
Top of the 7th: Sabathia has his second 1-2-3 inning of the day, as Laird grounded out to short, Everett lined out to short and Granderson grounded out to second. He's thrown 114 pitches.
Bottom of the 7th: A-Rod hit a 1-and-1 fastball into the first row in the right-field seats for a solo home run to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. It was his 18th homer and 51st RBI of the year.
Then Matsui flew out to left and Posada flew out to center before Cano singled up the middle and Swisher doubled down the left-field line (his 19th of the season) to put runners on second and third for Melky, who reached on an infield single to short to score Cano and give the Yanks a 2-0 lead. It was Melky's 35th RBI of the season.
Jeter lined out to first on the first pitch he saw to end the frame.
Top of the 8th: Righty Alfredo Aceves (5-1, 2.49) came on in relief of Sabathia, who allowed five hits and three walks with four K's in seven innings of work. He threw 114 pitches.
Aceves got Polanco to fly out to right and Cabrera to strike out swinging on a 2-and-2 changeup. But Thames lifted an 0-and-1 fastball to the first row in left field to make it a 2-1 Yankee lead. It was his 10th homer and 23rd RBI of the season.
Ordonez struck out looking on a 3-and-2 pitch to end the inning.
Bottom of the 8th: Lefty Bobby Seay (1-1, 2.89) came on in relief of Verlander, who pitched seven innings, allowing two runs (both in the seventh) on seven hits and a walk with six K's. He threw 109 pitches.
Seay got Damon to fly out to left, Teixeira to strike out swinging on a fastball (Tex's third K today) and A-Rod to strike out looking on a fastball.
Top of the 9th: Mariano Rivera (1-2, 2.37) came on in relief of Aceves, who allowed a run on a hit (the Thames homer) with two K's.
Rivera got Raburn to strike out swinging on a cutter, Inge to ground out to short (great play by Jeter deep in the hole to get him by a step) and Laird to pop out to short.
That's all for today's game, as the Yankees win, 2-1.
Yankees: 53-37 (51-25 against teams other than the Red Sox and Angels)
HR: Yankees 1 (A-Rod, his 18th).
Here are your three stars for today's game:
1. A-Rod: Solo home run in the seventh gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
2. Sabathia: 7 IP, no runs, five hits, three walks, four K's. Today was his first win in a day game and he lowered his ERA from 3.86 to 3.66.
3. Cabrera: RBI infield single in the seventh gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead and proved to be the winning run.
Also, Jeter went 2-for-4 (he and Thames were the only players with multi-hit games), while Rivera pitched a hitless ninth for his 25th save in 26 chances.
Teixeira went 0-for-3 with a walk and three K's.
*Also, the Red Sox lost 6-2 in Toronto this afternoon, meaning the Yankees are now two games back in the AL East.
Okay, that's all for this afternoon's game. Thanks to all for coming out. As always, it was my honor and pleasure to bring everyone all of today's live game action.
We'll see ya'll back here tomorrow, as the Yankees go for the sweep of this three-game set on Old Timer's Day. All Star Edwin Jackson (7-4, 2.52) opposes Joba Chamberlain (4-2, 4.25).
We'll see everyone then. Have a great Saturday night!
(Photo by Kathy Willens, Associated Press / May 24, 2009)