Nathan Eovaldi’s dominant 6.2 innings helped the Yankees win the series against the Giants

 

The Yankees beat the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon , 5-2, and were able to win the series against the  NL West leaders two games to one. After losing the first two games of their series to the Red Sox, the Yankees were impressively able to end the home stand with six wins in their last eight games against the Baltimore Orioles and Giants.

Pitching has been a key factor in the Yankees playing well against Orioles and Giants, as they have posted an outstanding 1.56 team ERA in the last eight games.     Nathan Eovaldi pitched well once again as he only allowed two runs in 6.2 innings while allowing seven hits and striking out six.

He threw 79 of his season-high 118 pitches for strikes and since being demoted to the bullpen for three appearances he has allowed only three runs in his last 12 innings (two starts). After dominating in his last two starts with an improved cutter, Eovaldi has lowered his ERA from 5.11 to 4.80.

Eovaldi really pitched well in the clutch as he held the Giants to 0-5 with runners in scoring position in the first six innings. Eovaldi left the game to a standing ovation after Angel Pagan’s double put runners on second and third with two outs.

Buster Posey hit a single to right off of Chad Green, who came into pitch after Chasen Shreve allowed a walk, that scored former Yankee Ramiro Pena and Angel Pagan. Those two runs were charged to Eovaldi because they were on base when Green came into the game.

Green really stepped up for the Yankees with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman not available due to the amount that they had pitched recently. Green, who is normally a starting pitcher, picked up his first career save. He allowed three hits and one strikeout in 2.1 innings pitched and threw 28 of his 40 pitches for strikes.

Green is performing well in his new bullpen role since he hasn’t allowed a run in his last two appearances as a relief pitcher (4.2 innings). He could serve an important role in the new look bullpen because the flame-throwing Chapman is close to getting traded to the Chicago Cubs.

On offense, the crowd came alive for the two early solo homers that the Yankees hit. Carlos Beltran hit his 413th homer of his career in the first inning. The likely future Hall of Famer is now one homer away from tying Darrell Evans for 51st place on the all-time list. In the second inning, Mark Teixeira, who has a low .188 average but has hit four of his nine homers in July, hit a deep 425 foot homer to right center. Beltran is only 10 homers ahead of Teixeira as the first baseman hit his 403rd homer of his career.

The Yankees will tack on three more runs in the sixth inning to seal the win. Aaron Hicks scored on a double play and then the Yankees went on a two out rally. Starlin Castro’s single scored Beltran and then Didi Gregorius, who has really improved on offense this season, smashed a ground rule double that bounced off the warning track in center to score Brian McCann.

After Sunday afternoon’s win, the Yankees are now 7.5 games behind the Orioles for first place in the AL East and a little more manageable 4.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays fore the second wild card spot. It appears that the Yankees will see how they perform in the next week or so before deciding if they will trade other players besides Chapman.

 

 

 

 

 

The Yankees won the first game in the series against the Giants as Chapman had a strikeout on a 103 mph fastball to end the game

The Yankees edged the San Francisco Giants, 2-1, on Friday night. They have now won seven of their last 10 games and are 4.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second wild card spot.

Chapman threw a few 104 mph fastballs in the ninth and then threw a 93 mph slider Brandon Belt and then struck out Belt on a a 103 mph fastball to end the game. He recorded his 20th save of the season. Gregor Blanco doubled to left to leadoff the inning but Chapman was able to come through in the clutch by getting three outs in a row.

Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller struggled more than normal but the Yankees still escaped with a win over the Giants, who are in first place in the NL West. The impressive 31-inning scoreless streak by the bullpen ended when Betances allowed a run in the seventh on a wild pitch. Andrew Miller, who picked up his sixth win, allowed three hits and one run in the 8th to tie the score at two.

The Yankees scored the winning run in the bottom of the 8th as Austin Romine grounded into a fielder’s choice and Chase Headley scored on a throwing error by Brandon Crawford. That was the normally very reliable shortstop’s third error of the game.

Carlos Beltran drove in the team’s second run of the game as his double in the second scored Ronald Torreyes. That was his team-leading 61st RBI of the season and he could definitely be traded before the trade deadline because the 39-year-old will be able to get back quality prospect and the Yankees likely would not resign him after the season.

Masahiro Tanaka pitched very well on regular rest after struggling in some of his starts that were not on extra rest earlier in the season. He gave up one run in his previous start so he was able to continue his momentum and he has been by far the team’s best starting pitcher since 3.00 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Against the Giants, he didn’t allow a run, recorded four strikeouts and only gave up four hits.

Beltran made a perfect throw in the third to get Blanco out at home to prevent a run from scoring and complete a double play. Blanco missed home and Romine was able to tag him out. In the sixth inning, Beltran, who has lost much of his speed, was also able to make a running catch near the warning track to prevent a double from happening.

“It helped me a lot,” Tanaka said in reference to Beltran’s throw home. “That double play made it really easy for me.”

Didi Gregorius, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann were all not in the lineup to start the game because Madison Bumgarner was pitching but the offense was still able to do enough off of them. The Yankees will have a good chance at winning the next two games because Saturday and Sunday’s starters for the Giants are not nearly as good as Bumgarner, who is one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.

Pineda pitched six dominant innings against the Orioles and the Yankees extended their winning streak

The Yankees shutout the Orioles, 5-0, on Wednesday night behind six dominant innings from Michael Pineda. This was their fourth win in a row (three against the Orioles) and they are doing what is needed right now to not be sellers before the trade deadline.

In their last 10 games, the Yankees have done 7-3 and those games have all been against the Indians, Red Sox and Orioles, who would all be in the playoffs if the season ended today. They have been able to get three games closer in the division and are now six games behind the Red Sox after knocking the Orioles out of first place. They are five games out of the second wild card spot, but only two teams are now between them and the Blue Jays.

First time since 2003 that the Yankees have held the opposition to one run or less for four games in a row. The Yankees are 48-46 and are two games above .500 for the first time since they were 4-2 in the beginning of the season.

Pineda only allowed five hits in his six innings pitched and was able to rebound well after giving up five runs in each of his previous two starts. He had an impressive eight strikeouts and only two walks and 70 of his 113 pitches were strikes.

He showed great poise and heart in the sixth inning as he was able to prevent Mark Trumbo from scoring after he doubled to leadoff the inning. Pedro Alvarez hit a sacrifice fly to advance Trumbo to third and then Pineda struck out the next two batters. That run likely would have scored in some of Pineda’s other starts this season.

When you can get outs with runners in scoring position those are the most crucial outs of the game,” Joe Girardi said in reference to Pineda’s sixth inning. The Yankees still only had a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning.

Pineda’s slider and fastball were on point so he didn’t need to go to his change very much. Pineda stayed focused and didn’t hang any of his sliders. Pineda is third in the American League in most games with 8 or more strikeouts with 8.

After Pineda came out of the game in the sixth inning, the Yankees bullpen held the Orioles scoreless in the last three innings while not allowing a hit. Dellin Betances had one strikeout and Chasen Shreve recorded two strikeouts. A catalyst for the Yankees recently has been that they have 28.2 consecutive scoreless innings from their bullpen.

Carlos Beltran had two RBIs including a 399 foot homer to right in the 8th inning. In the sixth inning, Beltran did something that’s rarely seen from a power hitter. He had a push bunt on a shift off of Gallardo for a single to help give the Yankees an extra run since Mark Teixeira walked with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. The game was still close as Jacoby Ellsbury’s run on Teixeria’s walk made the score 3-0.

Brett Gardner hit the team’s second RBI sacrifice fly of the game in the seventh inning. His sac fly scored Ronald Torreyes, who had hit a triple to the wall.

Mark Teixeria, who was playing in his first game since July 16 after being hit by a ball, hit a homer in the fourth inning on a slider to go with his two walks. He really adds a lot to the offense if he can produce in the middle of the order as opposed to the lack of production that he gave the team earlier in the season.

Teixeira, who still has a low .189 average, now has five homers in his last 16 games after having only  three in his first 48 games. Homers in the middle of the lineup is what the team is counting on from Teixeira.

Beltran, who is 39, leads the team in average (.304, homers (20), RBI (60) and hits (97). He is on track to have much better numbers than last season and in turn if the Yankees decide to sell they will be able to get talent back that will be able to really help the team next year and down the line.

Girardi said it was good to only use of one his big three in his game. “Tomorrow (Thursday) is an important game for us,” Girardi said. “You have to keep pushing. It starts with starting pitching. Michael did a good job and it starts with CC tomorrow.”

If the Yankees can get the win on Thursday they will have swept the Orioles and it will be their third four-game sweep of the season but first against a team as good as the Orioles.

 

 

 

 

The Yankees had a season-high 20 hits in their 9-0 win over the White Sox

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Masahiro Tanaka – ESPN

The Yankees played well in all phases of the game on Tuesday night in Chicago in beating the White Sox 9-0. Masahiro Tanaka had a bounce back performance as he did not allow a run in 7.2 innings pitched after giving up six runs in six innings in his previous start.

Tanaka allowed six hits, one walk and struck out six batters. He recorded nine ground ball outs, 13 fly ball outs and was taken out of the game after throwing 103 pitches. He pitched like an ace against the White Sox and was taken out after recording two outs in the 8th because Joe Girardi said that about 100 pitches was his limit. His ERA is now down to a solid 3.12 and he probably needed a few more one or two run games to be an All-Star like 2014.

The Yankees offense did most of their damage off of White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, who saw his ERA rise from 4.24 to 4.50 after allowing six runs (five earned) on 12 hits and two walks. Carlos Beltran, who is 39 years old and was selected to his ninth All-Star team on Tuesday night, hit a single to right to drive in Rob Refsnyder in the second for the team’s first run. Later in the second inning Brett Gardner scored on an error by White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.

It is a great accomplishment for Beltran to be selected to another All-Star team especially after the way he started last season. Beltran has been the team’s best offensive player in the first half, and the Yankees would not nearly have the 41-42 record without his .302 average, 17 doubles, 19 homers, 54 RBIs and .571 slugging percentage.

He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame after he retires based on his postseason success and the fact that he has more than 400 homers (411), almost 1,500 RBIs (1,497), 2,537 hits and 311 steals. Also, when he hit his 400th homer earlier this season he became only the fourth switch-hitter to hit that many homers. (Mark Teixeira recently became the 5th  switch-hitter to hit 400 homers.)

In the third inning, Chase Headley hit a homer to drive in Starlin Castro for his seventh round-tripper of the season. He has really turned it around at the plate in the 1.5 months. In the fourth inning, Teixeira’s double scored Beltran, and in the fifth, the Yankees hit their second homer of the game. Austin Romine’s blast to left center made the score 6-0 and was what led to a relief pitcher coming in for Rodon.

The Yankees added two insurance runs in the eighth as Refsnyder’s double scored Headley and Aaron Hicks‘s double to deep center scored Refsnyder. Refsnyder continued his impressive season at the plate as his two hits increased his average to .288 and he now has nine RBIs and a .354 on-base percentage in 73 at-bats.

Hicks went 1-4 and has improved in the last three games after struggling before that. He has four hits in his last 11 at-bats after previously not having a hit in 19 at-bats. Hicks’s defense is much better than his offense but this recent stretch could be a sign of him being more consistent and showing his ability.

The Bronx Bombers recorded a season-high 20 hits, which helped them move to within one-game of .500. According to James Smyth, the only two other times since 1940 that the Yankees have had 20 hits and pitched a shutout were in 1977 against Toronto Blue Jays and in 1997 against the Minnesota Twins.

Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller were the two other All-Star selections for the Yankees. This will be Betances’s third consecutive season going to the All-Star Game, and it is Miller’s first time being named an All-Star.

Betances said after yesterday’s game that he thought that Miller deserved to be an All-Star last season when he had a 100 strikeouts, only 20 walks and an impressive 2.04 ERA. Miller added after the game that he is looking forward to having Betances with him so that they can soak it in together and so that he will be able to ask him questions about the experience.

They both deserved to be selected after their outstanding first three months, and Betances has the most strikeouts among relievers and Miller is in second place. Miller has a 1.47 ERA with 66 strikeouts and only six walks in 36.2 innings while Betances has a 2.63 ERA with 74 strikeouts and only nine walks in 41 innings.

Chicago is currently 1.5 games ahead of the Yankees in the race for the second wild card spot. With a win tonight the Yankees will get back to .500 again and win the series against the White Sox before closing out the first half in Cleveland against the Indians. The Yankees will have to hit well and pitch well if they are going to win the series against the red-hot Indians.

CC Sabathia struggled once again as the Yankees lost to the White Sox on July 4th

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CC Sabathia -ESPN

The Yankees (40-42) did not have a memorable 4th of July since they lost 8-2 to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field to begin their series against the 4th place team in the AL Central. The Yankees have continued their trend of struggling once getting to .500 since they got to .500 on Thursday at 39-39 but have gone 1-3 since then.

CC Sabathia, who was on track to possibly be in the All-Star Game as of the middle of June, has really struggled in his last three starts. Against the White Sox on July 4th, he allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks, and this was his third consecutive start where he gave up five or more runs.

Sabathia has allowed 11 runs in his last three starts after limiting the opposition to 13 runs in his previous 10 starts. Also, in his last three starts, Sabathia’s ERA has increased from 2.20 to 3.48. All pitchers have stretches in the season where they struggle and Joe Girardi said he believed that these three starts are not really cause for concern. However, it is important that he shows signs of improvement in his last start before the All-Star break so that he can pitch the Yankees to a win and prove that he can still have his previous effectiveness.

A player who was a borderline All-Star before this game was Didi Gregorius. He is still a small possibility but his chance has likely gone away as a result of going 0-4 (0-3 with runners in scoring position) and committing three errors (one throwing and two on ground balls). His 11 errors are only two fewer than his high for an entire season. He is usually very reliable on defense but sometimes doesn’t make the routine play.

Gregorius’s offensive numbers are much better than last season and he still ranks near the top among shortstops in the American League. His .287 average is fifth best among shortstops, his 38 RBIs are sixth best among shortstops, his nine homers are tied for 8th best and his 13 doubles are tied for 8th most among shortstops. However, a stat that will likely keep him out of the ASG is that his 11 errors are ninth most in the league among shortstops.

The offensive stars in this game for the Yankees were Starlin Castro and Chase Headley but they did not nearly have enough help. Castro was 4-4 with a run scored to raise his average from .246 to .256. He was 0-12 in his previous four games, so this could be a sign of him starting to hit like he did earlier in the season. He only has three RBIs in his last 10 games, and it is important for him to drive in runs since he has been the No. 5 or 6 batter in the lineup.

Headley was 1-2 and drove in both runs that the Yankees scored in the game on his 364 foot homer to right in the second inning. Headley had a .150 average at the end of his inept April, a much improved .208 average on May 25 and his average now is all the way up to .247. He and Carlos Beltran have been the team’s best hitters the last two months, but in Monday’s game he and Castro did not have enough help.

Castro and Headley combined to have five hits but the rest of the lineup combined for only three hits. Those three hits were all singles and the Yankees combined to go a pathetic 0-13 with runners in scoring position.

Tim Anderson, Brett Lawrie and Dioner Navarro all drove in two runs for the White Sox, which gave them all the runs they would need to win the opening game of the series. Toms River, NJ, native Todd Frazier drove in one run for Chicago and is having a Dave Kingman like season since he has a .212 average with 23 homers.

It is looking more and more like the Yankees should at least be partial sellers at the trade deadline for the first in about 26 years. They lost two out of three games to the San Diego Padres from Friday to Sunday. The Padres have the worst record in the NL West at 36-47 and have already started trading some of their best players in James Shields and Fernando Rodney.

The Yankees are seven games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East and are now 4.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot. It will be tough to make up that deficit since the Yankees would have to play much better than they have been and there are five teams between them and the Blue Jays.

If the Yankees trade Beltran and Aroldis Chapman to a team that is on track to make the playoffs they will be able to get back players who will help them be a much better team next season and improve their depth. The Yankees play two more games against the White Sox and then travel to Cleveland to play four games against the red-hot Indians before the All-Star break. The Indians have won 15 of their last 17 games.

 

Headley’s slide into home after Chirinos’s passed ball led to the second walk-off win in a row for the Yankees

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Didi Gregorius – ESPN

Chase Headley scoring on a passed ball by Robinson Chirinos in the ninth inning with Carlos Beltran at the plate led to the Yankees winning their second walk-off win in a row over the Texas Rangers. They won 2-1 in a matinee game and closer Aroldis Chapman got his second win of the season.

The star of today’s game was Michael “Big Mike” Pineda. He pitched six dominant innings while allowing only one run, two hits, three walks and a season-high 12 strikeouts. According to Katie Sharp, all 12 of his strikeouts were swinging strikeouts, which doesn’t happen very much. He allowed a homer to Shin-Soo Choo to leadoff the game and then was impressively able to rebound from there and keep the Rangers offense off of the scoreboard.

“I feel really good,” Pineda said. “It’s what I am looking for, just pitching good and I am trying to help the team. I want to finish strong.”

This is what Pineda said in reference to how he rebounded from allowing Choo’s homer: “It’s the first batter, so I tried to be aggressive with my fastball and he got it. Then, I was walking on the mound, and said ‘OK, Big Mike, keep your head up, be focused right now and give my team the opportunity to win the game.”

This was impressive because in earlier starts Pineda has gotten frustrated at himself and has allowed one early run to turn into a few runs. It seems like he is figuring out how to motivate himself on the mound.

He has a lot of talent and when his cutter, slider and change are located he is tough to hit. Pineda was much better in June than he was in May. In 37 innings (six starts) he allowed 11 runs, did not allow more than three earned runs in any start and allowed one run three times while striking out 49 and only walking eight batters.

Big Mike has really improved as he has lowered his ERA from 6.92, when the Yankees considered dropping him from the rotation, to the much more respectable 5.24 ERA that it is now. He now seems like a starter that the Yankees will want to give an extension.

The Yankees scored their first run of the game on a homer to right by Didi Gregorius off of Rangers starter A.J. Griffin in the 5th. This was his second homer in two days and yesterday’s blast was the walk-off 3-run homer in the 9th. He has really improved on offense from last season, and he should get strong consideration for a spot on the All-Star team since he ranks near the top in homers, RBI and average among shortstops in the American League.

In 27 games in June, Gregorius had a .337 average with 11 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs, 15 runs scored and a .906 OPS. His extra-base hits included one triple, four homers and six doubles. The Yankees would not have won these last two games against the best team in the American League without Gregorius and it is a positive sign that he is coming into his own and showing real improvement at the age of 26.

“We never give up,” Gregorius said. “Hopefully we go on our best foot forward from now on and end the first half on a good note. We are doing stuff the right way lately and we just have to keep it up. I am trying to put the barrel on the ball, that’s all I’m trying to do. For me, I am just trying to get good at-bats and get something to show for it.”

The Big Three in the bullpen of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman were dominant like normal. They combined to pitch the last three innings, allow only two hits and strike out four Rangers. Betances has only allowed one run in his last 10 appearances (9 innings), Miller has only allowed two runs in his last 10 appearances (10 innings) and Chapman has allowed four runs in his last 10 appearances, but two of those came in one game (9 innings). There is a good chance that the Yankees will win if all three pitch in the same game.

With today’s win, the Yankees earned a split against the Rangers who have the best record in baseball, and it was close to being three out of four since the second game was delayed a few hours due to rain with the Yankees having the lead in the 9th. The Yankees are back to .500 once again and will look to keep the winning streak going in San Diego.

The Bronx Bombers will play a 3-game series at Petco Park against the Padres, who are 13 games below .500 (33-46). They have the worst record in the NL West and just traded away their best reliever, Fernando Rodney, to the Marlins. He has a 0.31 ERA and 17 saves.

The Yankees struggled to maintain momentum the last few times they reached .500, so they will try to reverse that trend against the Padres. If they can win the first two games against San Diego they will be two games above .500 for the first time since they were 4-2. If they sweep the lowly Padres they will be three games above .500 for the first time all season.

Alex Rodriguez will not play in the series against the Padres unless he comes into the game as a pinch hitter. He is strictly a designated hitter now and there is no DH in National League stadiums. If the Yankees sweep the Padres that could prove that the team is turning the corner since they were not able to do so against the Twins.

 

 

Homers by McCann and Gregorius in the 9th gave the Yankees a comeback win over the Rangers

The Yankees did not play well for the first eight innings but they miraculously scored six runs in the ninth inning to beat the Rangers, 9-7, on Wednesday night. The Yankees had been 0-36 when trailing after eight innings this season, but thanks to Didi Gregorius they are now 1-37.

The bats truly came alive for the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th to end their 3-game losing streak. Brett Gardner hit a single to center field that ended up scoring Rob Refsnyder on an error by Ian Desmond. Two batters later, Brian McCann hit a 3-run homer to drive in Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury to tie the game at seven.

After Starlin Castro walked, Didi Gregorius hit a 2-run homer that landed over the Lays sign in right field to give the Yankees a stunning walk-off win. Gregorius should be an All-Star this season based on how he has performed in the first half. Among shortstops in the American League, his .290 average is third highest, his seven homers are seventh highest, his 35 RBIs are fifth highest and he has played very good defense.

This was a big win for the Yankees because the offense, which has struggled for much of the season, was able to lead the team to a win against the best team in the American League.

Besides Gregorius, McCann was the offensive star of the game since he also hit a homer to right in the eighth inning. He hit his 11th and 12th homers of the season and he drove in four of the team’s nine runs.

McCann grabbed his knee after his first homer because he has some patella tendinitis, but he said that it wasn’t a big deal and he was obviously able to remain in the game.

“We got to show up everyday and put W’s on the board,” McCann said. “We have three months to get this done. I thought Cessa did a great job going three innings.”

Masahiro Tanaka, who has been the most consistent starter for the Yankees along with CC Sabathia, had a subpar performance as he allowed six runs in six innings pitched.

Tanaka tied his career worst in allowing six runs but after allowing five runs in the first three innings he was able able to pitch much more effectively the next three innings. “I gave up two easy hits, a walk and a double,” Tanaka said. “The damage was pretty much done there. I wish I had done better.”

Luis Cessa, who is a rookie from Mexico, got his first major league win as he pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth innings while only allowing one run on a homer to likely future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre. He said he was a little nervous but he felt back to normal after his first pitch. He also said it was the best feeling ever after realizing he got the win. He was trying to put zeros on the board and that’s exactly what he did except for the solo homer.

When asked about his mindset when the Yankees were down by four runs Girardi said that as a manager he tries to stay even keeled because things can change quickly. That’s is exactly what happened in the ninth inning.

Girardi said that hopefully this win will give us some momentum going forward since the team needs to win games

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only Yankees shortstops to hit a walk-off home run in the last 70 years were Mickey Mantle (1954 against the White Sox in a game he started in center field), Gene “Stick” Michael (1971 vs. Detroit) and Derek Jeter (2005 vs. Boston).

The Yankees play at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday in the series finale against the Rangers and they will look for their second win in a row against the team with the best record in the AL. A win will also give the Yankees a .500 record once again.

Betances, Miller and Chapman pitched three perfect innings as the Yankees beat the Twins

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Masahiro Tanaka – ESPN

The Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 5-3, at Yankee Stadium on Friday night to get back to .500 (36-36). They have gone 2-2 in their last four games but the previous time that they were .500 before they were 34-34 the Yankees went on to lose four out of five games.

The Yankees will look to win the next two games against the Twins to extend the winning streak to four games and give them momentum heading into the series against the Texas Rangers. Minnesota has the worst record in all of baseball so it is important that the Bronx Bombers take advantage of playing an opponent that they are better than.

Joe Girardi’s ideal scenario happened in this game as Masahiro Tanaka pitched six innings and kept the Yankees in the game, which led to the Big Three of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman closing out the game while not allowing a hit.

Minnesota committed three errors, which helped Tanaka leave the game with a 4-3 lead. Carlos Beltran hit a double to left to score Brett Gardner and then Alex Rodriguez singled to left to score Beltran to tie the score at two. The Yankees scored two more runs in the fourth off of a sacrifice fly by Austin Romine and a RBI single to left by Rob Refsnyder.

Refsnyder, who will likely not be playing first as much with Mark Teixeira coming off the disabled list on Saturday, is hitting 6 for 17 (.353 with four runs scored, two doubles and two RBIs in his last five games. His average is an impressive .286 in 56 at-bats this season, which proves that he really knows how to produce offensively when given the opportunity.

Tanaka ended his start with his sixth quality start in his past seven. He allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. He also had a higher swing and miss percentage than most starting pitchers. Tanaka had allowed two runs or less in five of his previous six starts, but he was able to make pitches when he needed to in this one.

“Tanaka has the ability to pitch and get big outs when he needs them,” Joe Girardi said.

Aaron Hicks, who was playing against his former team, hit a solo home run with one out in the 8th to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. His homer landed in about the second row in left field. That was his first right-handed homer of the year and third homer overall. He now has a .310 average with two RBIs in his last 11 games.

“I am feeling good on both sides,” Hicks said. “I feel like as the season goes on my at-bats are getting better.” He was hitting .205 on June 12 and his average is now up to .217 and he has at least one hit in six of the last seven games he has started.

Tanaka got Kurt Suzuki to ground into a double play to end the sixth inning in what ended up being his last batter because Betances was ready to come into the came with the Yankees leading. Betances had a 10-pitch inning in the seventh, and he got Robbie Grossman to strike out on a nasty curve that bounced before getting to the plate.

Miller pitched the 8th inning and came into the game having struck out 50 percent of the batters he had faced. That is an outstanding ratio and only two relief pitchers have done that before. His fastball and slider combo worked to perfection in the eighth as he retired the side in order and struck out the dangerous Brian Dozier to lower his ERA to 1.14.

Aroldis Chapman struck out the first two batters on six pitches and all of the pitches were above 100 mph. He would strikeout out the side on a 90 mph off speed pitch. He threw a circle change that completely froze Suzuki to end the game.

In the ninth inning, Chapman threw 10 pitches that were 101 mph or faster and then his 11th pitch was 90 mph. There is basically not another relief pitcher in baseball who could have 11 consecutive pitches like the ones that Chapman had.

“They are going to have their lumps but I feel pretty good about them,” Girardi said about the Big Three.

In 10 games Betances, Miller and Chapman have appeared in together before this game they had a combined 1.48 ERA and 52 strikeouts. Those numbers are even more impressive after Friday’s game.

The Yankees play their next 16 games until the All-Star break against teams outside of the AL East, which is a positive for the Yankees since they are 10-17 against AL East opponents this season. Saturday’s game will be at 1:05 p.m., and Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees. He will look to rebound from allowing three runs on one homer and six hits in 5.1 innings in his last start.

Gregorius’s 3-run homer and Sabathia’s dominant start led the Yankees to a win over the Twins

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CC Sabathia – ESPN

After losing their two games in Denver at Coors Field against the Rockies, the Yankees started their series at Target Field against the Twins (20-46) with a win. CC Sabathia got his fifth win of the season after only allowing one run in six innings. He gave up six hits, three walks and struck out seven Twins.

Sabathia is not the power pitcher that he used to be, and has figured out how to reinvent himself at 35 after a subpar 2015 season (4.73 ERA), but he has been just as effective this season as he was in the prime of his career. He deserves to be an All-Star since in his 11 starts this season he has an outstanding 2.20 ERA, 56 strikeouts and has only allowed two homers. In 2014, when he only made eight starts due to injury, he had a 5.28 ERA and allowed 10 homers.

Proving how dominant Sabathia has been since the beginning of May is that in his past seven starts he has a 4-2 record, a remarkable 0.82 ERA (four runs combined), 41 strikeouts and a 1.02 WHIP. His 0.82 ERA since the beginning of May is the lowest in all of baseball.

In his last three starts, Sabathia has allowed a total of only one run while not allowing a homer and striking out 16 batters. Sabathia has allowed three runs or less in all of his starts this season and he was not able to get a win in three starts this season when he allowed two runs or less because the Yankees didn’t score enough runs.

However, he got the win on Thursday, his 219th of his career, since Didi Gregorius smashed a 3-run homer to right in the top of the seventh that drove in Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann. Gregorius’s homer off of Fernando Abad, who had just come into the game, broke a 1-1 tie. The Yankees would not have won the game without Gregorius because he scored the team’s first run of the game on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single to center.

Gregorius, who struggled against lefties in 2015 hitting only .247 against them last season, is hitting .368 in 57 at-bats against lefties this season. He was able to make an adjustment in the offseason that has really improved his production.

Gregorius, who is more known for his offense, has improved overall offensively compared to last season and is on track to improve his numbers in many categories. He finished last season with a .265 average, 24 doubles, nine homers, 56 RBIs and five steals. As of Thursday night’s game, he has a .280 average, 10 doubles, six homers, 28 RBIs and two steals.

The backend of the bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman dominated like usual to closeout the game. They combined to pitch three innings, allow only one hit and strike out four.

Sabathia is doing all he can do get the Yankees into the postseason race but they might not have enough on their roster to do so. The Yankees, who are currently 32-34 and 4.5 games out of a playoff spot, have their next eight games against the Twins and Rockies, who are both under .500.

These next eight games will go a long way towards determining if they will get back into the playoff race. Even if they do as a result of these games, the Yankees haven’t shown the ability to win on the road or beat teams above .500. It will likely be best if they trade Chapman before the trade deadline to get a few players who will be able to help the team next season.

Pineda, Beltran and Castro led the Yankees to a win over the Angels

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Michael Pineda – ESPN

For their second win in a row, and third win in their last four games, the Yankees (28-30) beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 6-3, at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. Michael Pineda also had his second consecutive solid start after allowing one run in 5.2 while striking out eight and walking none against the Tigers last week.

The Yankees are now 6.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East, two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for third place in the division and four games out of the second wild card spot. They could be in worse shape in the division and the wild card based on the start they have had to their season.

In Tuesday’s start against the Angels he allowed three runs in seven innings on one homer, two walks and four hits. Pineda, whose ERA was 6.92 on May 28, has lowered his ERA to 6.14 after his two consecutive solid starts where he has showed many signs of improvement.

One positive sign is that Pineda had better velocity on Tuesday since he was able to throw 97mph. He did a good job rebounding from allowing three runs in the fifth – on an RBI single and then a two-run homer by Kole Calhoun – to not allow a run in the sixth or seventh. That’s progress for him because he has often not been able to pitch well again after allowing runs to score.

Pineda said that working with Larry Rothschild has led to him lowering his arm angle to give him better movement on his slider. He has also been able to improve the movement on his cutter. The lower arm angle has led to more side-to-side movement on his slider.

Pineda said that he made this adjustment before his start last week against the Tigers. This arm angle adjustment could help him stay consistent the rest of the season and not have many more starts where he allows five or more runs, which he has done five times this season.

Offensively, the Yankees had 10 hits during the win over the Angels and Alex Rodriguez, Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks all had two hits.

Carlos Beltran got the scoring started in the first inning with his homer to left center that drove in Rob Refsnyder. He is in fifth place in the American League with his 15 homers and in 14th place in the league with his 38 RBIs, which are great stats for a 39-year-old. According the Rodriguez, he has been a lifesaver for the team and A-Rod didn’t want to think of where the team would be without the contributions of Beltran.

Later in the first inning, Austin Romine, who has really improved at the plate this season, hit a single that scored Castro to make the score 3-0. He has a .290 average in 69 at-bats.

In the second inning, Refsnyder hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Hicks to give the Yankees all the runs that they would need to beat the Angels. Refsnyder, who has been the starting first baseman the past few games with Mark Teixeira on the DL, only has three hits in his last 16 at-bats, but those three hits were all doubles and he has scored four runs and driven in three in that span.

Then, in the third inning, Castro hit a solo homer off of the foul pole in right. That was Castro’s ninth homer of the season, which is the second most on the team. He has been one of the better performers on the team this season and the Yankees need him to continue to play well on offense and defense.

“This stadium is tailor made for Castro,” Rodriguez said. “He is a guy who can hit .300 and hit 25 homers.”

Rodriguez’s single in the seventh scored the team’s seventh and final run. The 40-year-old designated hitter has 10 hits in 29 at-bats in June (.345), which is a significant improvement than how he was hitting earlier in the season.

He has performed much better at the plate after being on the disabled list from May 4 until May 25. His average was .170 on May 31 and it is now all the way up to .214. It seems like his two weeks off and then his rehab assignment has helped him, and the offense is better with A-Rod hitting like he is right now.

“I feel pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like I am getting shorter to the baseball and not trying to do too much.”

Beltran’s homer on Tuesday was his 1,000th extra-base hit of his likely Hall of Fame career. He is now the fourth switch hitter to reach that milestone, joining Eddie Murray, Chipper Jones and Pete Rose.

The Yankees have two more games against the Angels before continuing their homestand against the Detroit Tigers. Nathan Eovaldi, who had pitched very well in his previous three starts, will look to bounce back from allowing five runs on June 3 against the Orioles.

 

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The official news blog of NBA.com with commentary and analysis from NBA.com's staff of writers.

Alysha Tsuji

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