Tagged: David Robertson

Brian McCann’s pinch-hit homer in the 10th gave the Yankees their fourth win in a row

Derek Jeter mural that I saw at Stan's.

Derek Jeter mural that I saw at Stan’s.

The Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox, 7-5, on Sunday afternoon for their fourth in a row. The crowd came alive in the 10th inning after Brian McCann hit a walk-off three-run homer to drive in Carlos Beltran and Chase Headley. His pinch hit homer landed about five rows deep near the foul pole in right.

Joe Girardi was impressed with how McCann was able to come in off of the bench and win the game. “It just shows that he had stayed ready all day,” Girardi said. “And mentally he was ready. He came in and got a huge hit for us. He worked the count, saw a lot of pitches and that is a huge hit.  

Every win is important the rest of the season as there are only 34 more games left. The Yankees are 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card. The Bronx Bombers have only gained a game on the Mariners during their winning streak since Seattle is on a three-game winning streak.

Chris Capuano recorded his third quality start in his six starts since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox. He allowed three runs in six innings and had five strikeouts. It did not seem promising that Alexei Ramirez led off the game with a homer, but Capuano was able to get seven of the next nine batters out that he faced. The White Sox scored their second and third runs off of Capuano in the sixth inning when Conor Gillaspie hit a two-run homer to right.

The home crowd got really into the game for the first time in the bottom of the sixth inning because the Yankees were able to put four runs on the scoreboard. They did so on only two hits. Martin Prado was able to reach second on Dayan Viciedo’s error and then was driven in on a double by Mark Teixeira. Beltran and Francisco Cervelli both walked and then Zelous Wheeler’s hit by pitch sent Teixeira home for the team’s second run. The standing ovation from the crowd got even louder when Ichiro Suzuki’s single to deep right center scored Beltran and Cervelli.

The Yankees impressively scored four runs off of White Sox starter Chris Sale, whose 2.03 ERA is first in the American League. However, all of those runs were unearned as a result of Viciedo’s error. 

David Robertson, who had previously only blown two saves all season, gave up a home run to Avisail Garcia in the ninth inning to tie the score at four. He had previously converted 22 straight saves before his last blown save. His ERA is now 3.06, and he was relieved after the game that the team got the win in extra innings.

I think the whole team was happy,” Robertson said. “It’s obviously a pitch I want back. I tried to throw a curve ball for a strike. I didn’t mean to hang it as bad as I did. I didn’t see that outcome coming. It is easier to shake that one off when the team wins the ballgame, that is for sure.”  

McCann’s homer with two outs in the 10th was his 15th of the season. The Yankees won their fifth walk-off game of the season and their fourth in the Bronx. This was also their sixth series sweep of the season. Their offensive has also recently improved since they have scored more than four runs in their last two games after scoring four or fewer in their previous 11 games. 

The Yankees will look to extend their winning streak to five games when they play a game in Kansas City against the surging Royals on Monday night. This game was previously rained out earlier in the season. Michael Pineda will pitch for the Yankees and James Shields will pitch for the Royals. Both starters allowed two runs in their previous start. 

Yankee Stadium right after the win and McCann's Gatorade shower.

Yankee Stadium right after the win and McCann’s Gatorade shower.

Martin Prado and Hiroki Kuroda led the Yankees to their second win in a row against the White Sox

Martin Prado.

Martin Prado.

The Yankees defeated the Chicago White Sox, 5-3, on Saturday afternoon for their third consecutive win. The Yankees scored more than four runs for the first time in their last 11 games

Martin Prado, who had a walk-off hit on Friday, led the Yankees with three hits and also had two RBIs and a run scored. In the fourth inning, for the team’s second and third runs, Prado hit a double to left that scored Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. In the sixth inning, a challenge was ruled in the Yankees favor giving Prado another double, and his hustle would help him score on Chase Headley’s shallow sacrifice fly. His other hit was a bunt single in the second.

In his last three games, Prado has six hits in 12 at-bats, five RBIs and three runs scored. His offense, defense and energy has greatly improved the team. Joe Girardi has been impressed with Prado in his three weeks with the Yankees. “He is a guy that grinds it out everyday,” Girardi said. “I knew how good of a player he was and he has been a good acquisition.” 

Prado, who had four productive seasons with the Atlanta Braves before moving on to the Arizona Diamondbacks, is a true team player. “I am trying to do whatever I can to help the team,” Prado said. “We are not looking at stats right now.” 

In the second-inning, Mark Teixeira scored on Chase Headley’s double play. Beltran, who was 2-4 in his first game since Tuesday due to his elbow injury, hit his 15th homer of the season in the sixth inning. Prado scored the team’s fifth run later in the sixth inning on a Stephen Drew sacrifice fly. 

Right now, I am just thinking about winning ballgames,” Beltran said. “That is all we are thinking about as a team. It is good to always contribute to the team. Most importantly, we need to go out there and try to get Ws.” He made a point of saying that he didn’t want to answer another question about his injury. 

Hiroki Kuroda was also key in helping the Yankees bring their winning streak to three. He pitched six solid innings while only allowing two runs. He had six strikeouts and retired the last three batters that he faced before Shawn Kelley came in for the seventh. Jose Abreu hit a single that scored Alexandro De Aza in the fifth, but Kuroda was then able to get Adam Dunn to hit into an inning ending double play.

Kuroda was pitching on a day of extra rest, and he has proven to pitch with much more effectiveness when this happens. In the last six starts that he has had one or more days of extra rest he is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA. His second consecutive dominating start lowered his ERA to 3.94 and gave him his ninth win of the season. 

David Robertson pitched the ninth and saved his 34th game in 36 chances this season. It was the 22nd consecutive save chance that he has converted.  

The Yankees are now 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card as a result of Seattle’s win on Saturday. The Yankees gained ground on the Detroit Tigers, who have lost three in a row, and are now only two games behind them.

On Sunday, the Yankees will face the White Sox ace, Chris Sale, as they try to sweep the White Sox. 

Brett Gardner and Stephen Drew helped the Yankees edge the Red Sox in the series finale

Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner

The Yankees edged the Boston Red Sox 8-7 on Sunday Night Baseball. They won the second and third games of the series after losing the first against their rivals at Fenway Park, and ended their road trip to Arlington and Boston with a 3-3 record.

David Phelps got the start for the Yankees and was not able to give the Yankees the quality innings that he had in his previous starts. Phelps had a 3.29 ERA in his last nine starts, but he allowed five runs in two innings Sunday night. The Yankees were able to get their second win in a row because of a great offensive output, but Phelps might have to miss his next start because of right elbow inflammation.

“We will see how he is tomorrow,” Girardi said. “He was pitching well. He had an MRI (a few weeks ago) and the tests came back negative. I think he will pitch again, but it might not be his next start.” The inflammation is a little worse now, but Girardi didn’t seem too concerned.

Going back to the win against the Rangers on July 29, the Yankees have scored a combined 26 runs in their last three wins and 14 runs in their last two wins. Brett Gardner and Stephen Drew, who was acquired just before the trade deadline from the Red Sox, drove in a combined seven of the eight runs. Gardner drove in three including his homer off of Craig Breslow, and Drew had four RBIs from a fielder’s choice, a double and a single.

Gardner was only a triple away from the cycle. He hit .478 with five homers on the six-game road trip. His homer in the sixth, which ended up being the game winner, was his 15th of the season after hitting a career-high of eight in the 2013 season. Gardner’s double to deep right scored Carlos Beltran and Drew to tie the score at three. He has been an offensive catalyst and has given the team many more homers than Girardi expected.

“Hopefully we can take this game home with us, get on a roll against the Tigers and maybe get a little winning streak going,” Gardner said.

Drew has made a seamless transition to second base after not playing the position in his previous eight seasons in the majors. To end the second inning, Drew made an outstanding play where he caught a grounder near second base and was able to throw across his body to Mark Teixeira at first for the out. His single in the fifth that scored Brian McCann and Chase Headley tied the score at seven.

Girardi thought Drew would be able to play second and he has not disappointed. “It looks like he has done it before,” Girardi said. “We thought he would be able to do it, and it looks like he can.”

Drew has a .272 average in his three games with the Yankees, and in 16 games since 7/11 he has hit .268, which is a great improvement from his first 25 games. Drew has a career average of .261 and a .183 average right now, which proves that he should continue hitting the way he has recently and not how he hit earlier in the season.

Headley drove in the run that wasn’t one of the seven credited to Gardner or Drew. Headley’s double to left in the fifth sent Beltran home for his second run scored of the game. After Headley’s hit on Sunday, he has one hit or more in 10 of his 12 games since coming to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres. Headley and Drew have both proven to be quality additions by Cashman since they have performed so far and are upgrades at their respective positions.

After Chase Whitley allowed two runs in relief of Phelps, Esmil Rogers, Dellin Betances and David Robertson combined to throw five hitless innings. Rogers was acquired off of waivers from the Blue Jays on July 31, and he was able to win his first game with the Yankees after not allowing a hit in three innings and striking out three. Rogers had a 6.97 ERA before being sent to the minors by the Blue Jays on May 21, but he pitched very well in AAA and could replace Phelps if his inflammation keeps him out.

Betances, after hitting triple digits on Saturday, had two strikeouts and picked up his 17th hold of the season, and Robertson recorded his 29th save in 31 chances. Robertson was helped by Brock Holt lining into a double play as a result of Mookie Betts attempting to steal.

Pineda threw 94 MPH 3.1 innings on Sunday for the AAA Scranton RailRiders. He allowed three hits and no runs in his 58 pitches. This is an encouraging sign and could mean that he will only need one more rehab start. If Phelps only misses one start, Pineda would likely replace Chris Capuano.

The Yankees are now 47-2 when leading after eight innings. This was their eighth straight comeback win.

The Bronx Bombers will start a seven-game homestand with a four-game series against the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers on Monday. It will be Brandon McCarthy, who has a 2.55 ERA in four starts with the Yankees, against Max Scherzer, who is 13-3 and won the Cy Young last season. The Yankees are five games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first in the AL East and only 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays for the second Wild-Card.

Shane Greene’s gem led to a Yankees win over the Orioles

Shane Greene pitching for the Trenton Thunder.

Shane Greene pitching for the Trenton Thunder.

The 3-0 win by the Yankees over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday afternoon ended their two-game losing streak. Shane Greene has now picked up a win in each of his first two major league starts, and he appears to be able give the team more starts like this because of his dominating stuff.

Greene was aggressive against the dangerous Orioles lineup, which helped him leave his second start with an outstanding 1.32 ERA. He has only allowed two earned runs in his 13.1 innings pitched and hasn’t allowed a hit in his first 4.2 innings in each of his first two starts.

He threw 7.1 shutout innings against the Orioles, had an impressive nine strikeouts while only giving up four hits. In an interview on the field after the game, Greene said that he feels that all of his pitches were working.

“I felt pretty confident in everything today,” Greene said. “More than anything I just trusted Cervelli and threw everything with conviction. It is definitely an opportunity and I’m trying to make the best of it. I like where I am at.”

The Orioles had runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth but Greene got a big strikeout against Nick Hundley. Cervelli said that he was throwing his sinker and slider very well.

In the third inning, the Yankees scored their first run off of a double to deep right that scored Brett Gardner. Teixeira drove in his team-leading 48th run.

In the seventh inning, the Yankees scored their second and third runs off of Orioles starter Chris Tillman. Kelly Johnson advanced to second with one out after a wild pitch by Tillman. Derek Jeter’s single to left drove in Jeter, and Jeter advanced to second on the throw. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a double near the line in right to score Jeter to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. He leads the team with 20 doubles.

The Yankees had nine hits in the win, highlighted by three by Brian McCann and two by Jeter. McCann is improving at the plate as he now has two multi-hit games in a row.

Zelous Wheeler, who came into the game as a defense replacement, made an outstanding leaping catch at third for the first out of the ninth inning. David Robertson struck out Chris David and J.J. Hardy to record his 23rd save in 25 chances. He has a 2.76 ERA, 59 strikeouts and only 10 walks. He has recorded multiple strikeouts in seven of his last 10 appearances.

Joe Girardi was impressed that Greene was able to step up with runners on base. “His innings were pretty short and he got some big outs when he had to,” Girardi said. “He didn’t walk people. He was ahead in the count and didn’t beat himself.”

So far this season, the Yankees are in impressive 32 and 12 when they score first. They are also 6-4 on their current road trip, which ends tomorrow, and after going 4-11 in Saturday’s game, have hit an impressive .304 with runners in scoring position.

They are now four games behind the first place Orioles, and Chase Whitley will look to help them decrease the deficit on Sunday, which will be the last game before the All-Star break. It is important that they go into the break with momentum, and being three games out with all of the injuries to the rotation and offensive underperformance would be impressive.

The Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays for their fourth loss in a row

Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda

The Yankees lost the the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Tuesday night for their fourth loss in a row. It was also their eighth loss in their past 10 games. Three out of their last four losses have been by one run.

There were only two highlights offensively for the Yankees. Derek Jeter’s double in the fourth (534) tied him with Lou Gehrig for most doubles in franchise history. Jeter is also currently second in runs scored, first in hits and first in steals in the 101-year history of the franchise being known as the Yankees.

Also in the fourth inning, with Jeter on third after Jacoby Ellsbury’s single, Jeter scored after Ellsbury’s stolen base because of an error by shortstop Ben Zobrist. They were in position to score more runs in the inning but Carlos Beltran flied out and Alfonso Soriano struck out after Ellsbury stole second off of David Price.

Hiroki Kuroda had his best start of the season as he pitched eight innings for the first time after allowing only two earned runs, one walk and striking out seven. Kuroda allowed nine hits, but the damage was limited as a result of only allowing two extra-base hits.

The first run that he allowed came off of a Logan Forsythe single in the fourth. The game-winning run for the Rays came off of a James Loney homer to right center in the sixth. Loney has enjoyed hitting against Yankees pitching this season and in previous seasons as .441 average against the Yankees this season, and he had a .341 average against them from 2011 to 2013.

Kuroda should have been able to get his sixth win of the season, but the offense was only 1-9 with runners in scoring position. Mark Teixeira, Beltran and Soriano were all 0-2 with runners in scoring position. Brian Roberts was 0-4 and is hitting only .125 in his last six games. He is not adding much at all to the offense right now, which means that it would make sense to bring up the impressive Rob Refsnyder from Triple-A Scranton. He could improve the offense in a similar way that Robinson Cano did in 2005.

Soriano, who is now playing part-time, has also not been giving the Yankees any average or power on offense since he has one hit in his last 12 at-bats and has combined for zero homers and three RBIs in the last 10 games that he has appeared in. Brian Cashman needs to add another bat and another starter before the trade deadline.

The Yankees will play the final game of their series against Tampa Bay at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Vidal Nuno will look to repeat the control he showed in his last start when he didn’t allow a run in 5.2 innings pitched. Ending their stretch of 15 consecutive games against the American League East with a win would be a lot better than the alternative. Jake Odorizzi will get the start for the Rays.


David Robertson, who has had a very good season except for his appearance on June 1 where he allowed five runs, is tied for fourth in the AL with 18 saves. He has a 2.93 ERA and an outstanding ratio of 48 strikeouts to only nine walks. He has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances and has recorded multiple strikeouts in six of those games.

On Tuesday’s Off the Bat, which is a baseball show on MTV2, Robertson went to Union Square Park and made many peoples day better by giving Yankee tickets to random people who did and did not know who he was. He even gave free tickets to a Mets fan. Here is the video:


Nuno, Teixeira and Johnson led the Yankees to a 6-0 win over the Red Sox

Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson

The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 6-0 at Yankee Stadium on Friday night for their second win in a row. This is the second time in their last 20 seasons that the Yankees have won six of their first eight games against the Red Sox. The first time was in 2012.

In the past three games, the offense had an impressive .284 average and six homers. Kelly Johnson had a .333 average and one homer in the past three games. The Yankees were led offensively in Friday’s game by Johnson’s two RBIs and Brian McCann’s two RBIs.

Vidal Nuno had his best start of his up and down campaign. He only allowed two hits and struck out five in his 5.2 innings pitched after allowing four and eight runs in his last two starts. He picked up his first win at Yankee Stadium in his 16th start of his career.

Nuno lowered his ERA from 5.88 to 5.42 as a result of getting his pitches to go exactly where he wanted them to and having his fastball average at least 90 MPH for the first time in his short career.

“He located the ball extremely well tonight,” Girardi said. “He bounced back. That is what you need guys to do. He fights. He goes out and competes. You know that he is not going go be intimidated by the situation and he gives you all he had.” Nuno said that he tried to get quick outs and help the team win.

Derek Jeter, who turned 40 on Thursday, had two hits and a run scored by the end of the third inning. He hit his 3,390th hit of his Hall of Fame career in the third inning and scored his 1,903rd run in the first inning after Mark Teixeira hit a sacrifice fly.

It appeared that the Yankees would score at least a run in the third inning, but Red Sox starter Brandon Workman got Teixeira and Carlos Beltran out with the bases loaded. Luckily, the missed opportunity did not end up hurting the Yankees in this game.

In the fourth inning, Kelly Johnson hit his two-run homer to deep right center to drive in McCann to make the score 3-0. Brett Gardner made it back-to-back homers as he hit a homer to right for his seventh of the season. Gardner hit eight homers all of last season. The last time that the Yankees hit back-to-back homers was back on May 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

McCann, who was brought in to drive in runs and hit homers while taking advantage of the short porch in right, is starting to show more of his power. He gave the Yankees two insurance runs in the eighth inning as he hit a long two-run homer into the upper deck in right. Teixeira, who was one of three Yankees to have two hits, scored on McCann’s homer.

Dellin Betances came in after Nuno was taken out of the game, and he threw 1.1 innings while striking out two, allowing one hit and one walk. He is on track to be the first set up man All-Star on the Yankees since David Robertson in 2011. Betances now has a 1.39 ERA and 74 strikeouts in only 45.1 innings. He has remarkably struck out 43.5 percent of the batters he has faced.

Adam Warren pitched a perfect eighth inning. He was able to strikeout the dangerous David Ortiz with a 95 MPH to end the inning.

The Yankees hit three homers in one game for the first time since May 17. Hitting three homers in a game doesn’t happen all the time, but this could be a sign that the Yankees will start hitting with more power.

Johnson has hit all five of his homers at Yankees Stadium, and he has hit better recently as he has had more playing time with Yangervis Solarte’s struggling. Johnson’s playing more could be beneficial because he definitely has power as a result of slugging 16 homers in each of his past two seasons and a career-high of 26 homers in 2010.

The Yankees are two games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays. In Saturday’s game at 7:15 p.m., Masahiro Tanaka (11-2, 2.11 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees and Jon Lester (8-7, 3.14 ERA) will get the start for Boston. Tanaka, who is coming off his second loss of his career, will look to get his second win against Boston.


Mark Teixeira’s three RBIs helped the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira

The Yankees snapped their four-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday night. Hiroki Kuroda allowed three runs and struck out four in 6.1 effective innings and Mark Teixeira drove in three of the five runs.

Teixeira hit a two-run homer to right to drive in Jacoby Ellsbury in the third to make the score 4-1. Then, in the seventh inning, he hit a sacrifice fly that scored Brett Gardner.

In his last seven games, Teixeira has a .222 average, but an impressive four runs scored, three homers and six RBIs. He has stepped up recently when not many of the other power hitters have. Teixeira leads the team with his 14 homers and 39 RBIs.

“Just trying to do damage,” Teixeira said. “We need runs right now. Any time I get a chance to drive in runs, I will take that opportunity.” In response to the importance of this win Teixeira said: “Hopefully this gives us confidence, enjoy the off day, and go get them on Friday.”

The Yankees are an MLB best 23-12 in games decided by two runs or less. They were able to win by two runs because Kuroda was able to rebound well from allowing a home run to Jose Reyes in the first inning while the bullpen did not allow a run in 2.2 innings.

Helping Kuroda was the outstanding diving catch that Gardner made in foul territory. The Blue Jays scored two in the fifth, but they would have scored more if Reyes’s ground rule double stayed in the park because Munenori Kawasaki would have scored. After this ground rule double, Melky Cabrera, who has a .351 average with four homers this season against his former team, hit a single to right to score Kawasaki and Reyes.

For the first run of the game for the Yankees, in the third inning, Kelly Johnson scored after Francisco Cervelli hit a double off of the wall. Johnson scored as a result of a hit and run play called by Girardi. With two outs in the inning Ellsbury hit a single up the middle that easily scored Cervelli. Including Teixeira’s homer, the Yankees were able to score three of their four runs in the fourth inning with two outs.

The Yankees scored four runs in six innings off of Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison. The Yankees offense has had a lot of success against the 23-year-old righty this season as he has a 9.22 ERA and 19 hits in three starts against the Yankees this season.

Ellsbury was caught stealing in the ninth inning after hitting a single off of Todd Redmond. It was his first time being caught stealing in his last 13 attempts.

“It’s good to leave here with one, it is not what you want, but it sure beats the alternative,” Girardi said.

David Robertson had a very impressive outing while giving the Yankees exactly what they needed. He was economical as he threw 22 pitches in his 1.2 innings. He recorded three strikeouts and no hits after not having pitched since June 18. He actually has a higher strikeout per 9 innings ratio than the impressive possible All-Star Dellin Betances, who was not available after throwing two innings in Tuesday’s loss.

Robertson picked up his 18th save of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.08. He has the fourth most saves in the American League, and Robertson is only four saves behind the Greg Holland’s 22 for most in the AL.

Girardi said that: “I knew I had Robertson for four or five outs and I chose to use him for five.”

With the win in the series finale, the Yankees now have a 40-37 record to move up to 2.5 games behind the Blue Jays. They will start a three-game series against the fourth-place Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Friday.

Tanaka’s dominance and Gardner’s homer led to a win in the series opener against Toronto

Brett Gardner running during spring training last year.

Brett Gardner running during spring training last year.

Masahiro Tanaka won his American League leading 11th game and lowered his ERA to an American League leading 1.99 in the 3-1 series- opening Yankees win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Tanaka allowed only one run and five hits while striking out 10 in six innings.

Tanaka is the 5th pitcher with five 10+ strikeout games in his first 14 starts. The others to do so were Hideo Nomo, Mark Prior, Tom Griffin and Doc Gooden. He has also thrown a quality start, which is throwing six or more innings while allowing three or fewer runs, in all of his 14 starts this season. The only other pitcher that had that streak of quality starts was Steve Rogers in 1973.

The win over the first place Blue Jays was the 14th straight home win by the Yankees over the Blue Jays. Joe Girardi was also able to win his 600th game as the manager of the Yankees, with the help of Tanaka, Brett Gardner and the bullpen. Gardner’s two-run homer (his 6th) to right in the third inning gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead that they would not lose.

Gardner was asked his thoughts on Girardi’s milestone after the game. “He has been great,” Gardner said. “He knows what it takes to get us ready for the game. He is fun to play for.”

The Yankees scored their first two runs off of Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who was making only his fourth start in the big leagues. He grew up in Medford on Long Island, which is about an hour from Yankee Stadium, so he was definitely nervous pitching for the first time at Yankee Stadium. In only 3.2 innings, he allowed four hits, including Gardner’s homer, and three walks to raise his pitch count all the way up to 98.

Later in the game, the Yankees scored an insurance run off of reliever Aaron Loup. Mark Teixeira’s liner up the middle easily scored Derek Jeter from third to make the score 3-1. That was Jeter’s 1,900th career run scored, which puts him in 10th place on the all-time list. Alex Rodriguez has scored 1,919 runs, which means that Jeter should be in ninth place by the end of the season.

Kelly Johnson, who is on a four-game hitting streak, had two hits in the game. Jeter was the other Yankee who had two hits. Gardner now has only two fewer homers than he hit all of last season.

Tanaka was able to strikeout the side swinging in the fifth inning, as he was able to rebound very well from allowing a homer by Jose Reyes to leadoff the game. Dellin Betances, who pitched a perfect seventh and eighth, had an impressive sequence where he froze the dangerous Jose Bautista with a curve for a strikeout and then his next pitch was a 99 MPH fastball to the cleanup hitter, Edwin Encarnacion. Even though he has been a reliever the whole season, Betances’s 68 strikeouts are second on the team and 27th in the AL.

David Robertson was able record his 17th save of the season after allowing one hit and two strikeouts. He is tied for third in the AL in saves, and Robertson has struck out 42 of the 87 batters he has faced since coming off of the disabled list.

“I don’t think it’s fair to expect that from anyone,” Girardi said. “Tanaka has been remarkable and he has been a huge part of our success. He continues to grind out starts and give us distance. He fielded his position well, which helped him too.”

With the win the Yankees are now 3.5 games behind the Blue Jays, and Chase Whitley will try to get their deficit to 2.5 games as he will get the start in the second game of the series that starts at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Whitley is coming off his best outing of the season as he allowed two runs, didn’t allow a walk for his fourth consecutive start and pitched 7.2 innings for the first time. He has 24 strikeouts and only three walks in 33.2 innings since replacing the injured CC Sabathia.

Chase Whitley’s 7.2 solid innings led to the first three-game sweep of the season for the Yankees

Chase Whitley during spring training

Chase Whitley during spring training

The Yankees just finished a much needed three-game sweep against the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees improved their record to 34-31 and are 3.5 games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays. The Baltimore Orioles have won two in a row and are tied with the Yankees for second place in the American League East.

On Thursday, the Yankees beat Robinson Cano and the Mariners 6-3 after yet another impressive pitching performance from rookie Chase Whitley. He only allowed two runs in 7.2 innings while not allowing a walk, striking out six batters and throwing 62 of his 82 pitches for strikes. Whitley, who has an excellent change-up, picked up his second consecutive win after four consecutive no decisions after joining the rotation after CC Sabathia’s injury.

Whitley credited outstanding defensive plays in the outfield for part of his success. “They (Mariners) were aggressive,” Whitely said. “They started being aggressive especially later on. What else helped was (Jacoby) Ellsbury making a heck of a catch and Gardy (Brett Gardner) making a heck of a catch.” He said his strikeout in the third was “huge because that was a shutdown inning and my goal is to always make sure that we always shutdown innings. To be able to do that especially in that situation, first and third, to get through that, that was big.”

The Yankees are now 5-1 in games that Whitley has started. Whitley has always put the team in position to win partly because of only allowing three walks in his 33.2 innings pitched. He has not allowed a walk in his past four starts, which usually means that a pitcher will have success. Seattle scored their first run off of Whitley via a homer by Logan Morrison in the 2nd inning and their second off of a James Jones single to center that scored Brad Miller.

Whitley was able to get the win because the Yankees had a 6-2 lead when he left the game. Ellsbury hit a 408-foot homer to right center in the first to drive in Derek Jeter and extend his hitting streak to 16 games. He is now living up to the hefty contract that the Yankees gave him. In the third, Alfonso Soriano’s double to left scored Ellsbury and Jeter, and Jeter’s single in the fourth sent Brian Roberts and John Ryan Murphy home. Jeter, who had three hits, and Murphy, who had two hits, were the two Yankees who had multiple hits, but every player except Roberts, Yangervis Solarte and Gardner had a hit.

Shawn Kelley, who was pitching in his first game since May 6 as a result of a lower-back strain, allowed a run off of two hits in the ninth inning. This led to David Robertson striking out the last two batters of the game for his 16th save of the season.

The Bronx Bombers, who scored more than four runs on Thursday for the first time since May 28, will now play three games in Oakland against the Athletics. The Athletics, who have scored the second most runs in baseball and have a very good pitching staff, currently have the best record in the American League and trail only the San Francisco Giants for the best record in all of baseball.

Here are the pitching match-ups for the series in Oakland:

Friday at 10:05 p.m. EST – David Phelps, (1-4, 4.88 ERA) who allowed seven runs in his last start, will start for the Yanks. The 24-year-old righty Sonny Gray (6-2, 2.83 ERA) will pitch for the Athletics.

Saturday at 10:05 p.m. EST – Two pitchers who have recently been pitching well will face off. It will be Hiroki Kuroda (4-4, 4.12 ERA) vs. Scott Kazmir (7-2, 2.20 ERA).

Sunday at 4:05 p.m. EST – In the series finale it will be Vidal Nuno (1-2, 4.97 ERA, who is from California, pitching against righty Jesse Chavez (5-5, 3.04 ERA).

The Yankees lost the series against the Twins after only scoring six runs

David Robertson

David Robertson

In Sunday’s series finale, in which the Yankees had to win in order to win the series, the Yankees lost 7-2 as Phil Hughes limited them to only two runs and three hits while striking out six in his eight innings pitched. Hughes, who played for the Yankees for his first seven seasons of his career and had a horrible 5.19 ERA in 2013, allowed all of his runs in the fourth inning.

The Yankees were in position to win the game in the ninth inning, but the usually reliable David Robertson blew his second save of the season. Joe Girardi had him attempt to get the save after throwing 27 pitches in the ninth in Saturday’s win, when he could have left Adam Warren in the game. However, it’s not like he hasn’t been able to pitch on consecutive days this season since on the two previous times he threw for a second consecutive day he did not allow any runs.

If it was because of pitching on consecutive days or not, he had by far his worst appearance since taking over for Mariano Rivera. His ERA rose from 2.08 to 4.50 after allowing a lead off homer to Josh Willingham with the Yankees winning 2-1, a walk to Kurt Suzuki, a walk to Aaron Hicks to put runners on first and second and then Brian Dozier’s double scored Suzuki. Joe Mauer was then intentionally walked to load the bases. He was then taken out of the game for Matt Daley, but all of those runners would score and be charged to him.

Hughes found a lot of success in 2009 out of the bullpen in helping them win the World Series, and was an All-Star in 2010 when he picked up 18 wins after a dominating first half of the season, but he was much better on the road in his last few seasons and it was obvious that he would not be back after the 2013 campaign.

Hughes was emotional upon pitching at Yankee Stadium for the first time as a visitor, but he knew that making his pitches would help. “A little bit more nerves than usual, but thankfully I was throwing strikes early and was able to make some pitches,” Hughes explained.

The only Yankees who drove in runs were Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki. They would have scored more runs in the fourth inning but they were not able to record any extra base hits after Brett Gardner led off the inning with a triple. Jeter’s single drove Gardner home for their first run and then Jacoby Ellsbury’s single advanced him to second.

Then, Brian McCann walked to load the bases, Yangervis Solarte popped out to the shortstop, Ichiro Suzuki hit a sac fly to center that scored Jeter for the second run and Brian Roberts struck out with runners on first and second. The Yankees could have had a big inning if Ichiro and/or Roberts would have had extra base hits.

The Yankees, who are 3.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East with a 29-26 record, have a negative 15 run differential and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. In a stadium that is built for runs and power hitting, the Yankees are struggling to win at home. They are 12-13 at home, which is mostly due to a struggling offense. The Yankees have scored more than four runs in only two of their past seven home games.

The Yankees are also without Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira right now, which is hurting their chances of hitting home runs. The Yankees are currently in “wait and see” mode with Teixeira after he received a cortisone shot for inflammation on his right wrist. They have some promising news regarding Beltran as he went to Florida on Sunday for extended spring training games, and could return to the team by the end of the week if he doesn’t have a setback.

The Yankees face the Seattle Mariners and their ace, Felix Hernandez, at home Monday night in a make-up game, and then continue their home-stand with a three-game series against the first-place Oakland Athletics. The Yankees bats will not to rebound from not producing against the two worst starters in the AL on Friday and Saturday and find a way to drive in runs against the quality pitching that they will face this week.