The Yankees lost to the Phillies as Michael Pineda struggled for the second time in his last three starts

Brett Gardner poses for a photo during photo day on February 22, 2014.

Brett Gardner poses for a photo during photo day on February 22, 2014.

The Yankees lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the worst record in baseball, 11-8, in the first game of their series at Yankee Stadium on Monday night. Michael Pineda (8-4, 4.25 ERA) did not have his location or command of his pitches as he allowed eight earned runs on 11 hits in only 3.1 innings.

Pineda has now struggled in two out of his last three starts as he allowed five earned runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings in his start on 6/12. Masahiro Tanaka and Pineda, who are the No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers in the rotation, have now had back-to-back sub-par performances. Pineda is capable of dominating the opposition when he is on since he has allowed two runs or less in eight of his 14 starts this season, but he just needs to reduce the starts when he allows five runs or more.

“We saw two good ones (sliders) in that fourth inning,” Joe Girardi said. “He threw too many flat ones. He didn’t have his good slider. The location of his fastball was spotty. He struggled tonight. We are surprised when it happens, and in a sense that is a good thing.”

In his previous start, against the Marlins on 6/17 he only allowed one run in 6.2 innings. He felt like he could have similar results going into this start. “Everything is good,” Pineda said. “I feel very strong. Sometimes you have a really bad game like that. You continue working and be ready for next time.”

Maikel Franco, who is one of the best rookies in the National League, was 4-5 with three runs scored and five RBIs. He has an outstanding .405 average since June 2. Franco hit a homer on a 1-2 pitch in the first inning and then would hit a deep two-run homer to the second level of the bleachers in left on a 3-0 count in the 6th to make the score 10-5.

The Phillies had an 8-2 lead after Franco’s two-run single in the fourth inning and then they had a 10-5 lead after Franco’s homer in the sixth inning. The Yankees decreased their deficit by scoring three runs in the fourth on Brett Gardner‘s three-run homer that scored Chris Young and Stephen Drew, and then they scored a run in the seventh on Brian McCann’s homer to right.

The Yankees scored two runs in the ninth on a Garrett Jones double to deep right center that scored Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran to make the score a more respectable 11-8. Beltran, who was 3-5 with an RBI, is hitting .429 (9-21) in the last seven days with three homers and seven RBIs. Since the game against the Marlins on 6/15, Beltran has increased his average from .242 to .260.

Gardner continued his hot streak as he was 4-4 at the plate with two bunt singles and a homer. He is the first Yankee since Pat Kelly in 1992 to have two bunt singles in one game. Gardner is hitting .467 (14-30) in the past seven days with three homers, eight RBIs and eight runs scored. He has been very productive as the leadoff hitter with Jacoby Ellsbury out of the lineup.

“He is getting his pitches and he is hitting them,” Girardi said. “Gardner is a talented hitter. He is swinging the bat great. He is a complete player and he can beat you in a lot of different ways.”

The Phillies had not scored double digit runs the whole season. They had also lost their previous 11 road games and had averaged only 2.74 runs away from Citizens Bank Park this season.

Pineda didn’t have the put away pitch that he normally has. Many of the hits that Pineda allowed came when the batter had two strikes.

This was only the second time in his career that Pineda did not record any strikeouts. Also, working against Pineda was that he only had six swings and misses out of the 76 pitches that he made. It is hard to win a game when the starting pitcher doesn’t make pitches or get swings and misses.

The Yankees will look to even the series when CC Sabathia gets the start on Tuesday night. During his previous start, Sabathia allowed three runs in six innings in a game that the Yankees went on to win 9-4 over the Marlins. During his previous start he passed Christy Mathewson and moved into 30th place on the all-time strikeouts list.

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