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5 Losses in a row

From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez winced as he paced near third base, staring into his glove with an expression of disbelief, as though he might suddenly find a huge hole about the size of a baseball.

In a week filled with team lowlights, an easy ground ball shooting between Rodriguez’s legs was the capper. The Yankees wrapped up an awful homestand with a 7-5 loss to the Red Sox, their season-high fifth straight.

“Not good,” Rodriguez said. “We can talk about it over and over again; the bottom line is, we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to play winning baseball.”

Rodriguez evoked memories of Bill Buckner’s iconic miscue in the 1986 World Series with his misplay of a Kevin Youkilis grounder that gave the Red Sox an all-important seventh-inning insurance run.

“It seems like when things are going bad, they’re going bad,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s going to turn around.”

Boston rolled to a three-game sweep of the Bombers, powered by David Ortiz’s fifth-inning broken-bat homer off Freddy Garcia, a low line drive that just cleared the right-field wall.

Yankee Stadium has been good to the home team since opening its doors in 2009, but Garcia wasn’t writing a love letter tonight. It was the first time the Yankees were swept at home in a series of at least three games.

“This ballpark, that’s the way it plays,” Garcia said. “Nothing you can do about it — 314 [feet]. What can you do?”

The Yankees were doing plenty of shrugging, especially during a weekend that saw Jorge Posada revive memories of the George Steinbrenner era, removing himself from Saturday’s lineup and engaging management in a dispute.

Posada apologized to Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman before Sunday’s game, and the Yankees — taking cues from Hal and Hank Steinbrenner — announced they would consider the matter closed.

The right-field Bleacher Creatures included Posada in their roll call, even though he was not in the lineup, and there was a standing ovation when Posada pinch-hit in the eighth inning against Daniel Bard.

Posada worked a full-count walk but would be stranded, and that wasn’t uncommon on this lost weekend. Left-hander Jon Lester limited the Yankees to four runs and entrusted his bullpen to hang onto the lead.

“That’s what people expect us to do,” Ortiz said of the sweep. “When you combine good hitting with good pitching, that’s what you’re supposed to get, right?”

One of the five runs charged to Garcia was of the unearned variety, as Youkilis reached on a second-inning Russell Martin passed ball and scored on a Jed Lowrie sacrifice fly.

“I think we’re much better than what we’ve played defensively,” Girardi said.

Youkilis tied the game in more traditional fashion in the third, connecting with a full-count offering for a three-run homer, his seventh.

“That inning, I’m really disappointed,” said Garcia, who has lost three of four starts. “I gave up the lead. [It’s] 4-1, and I can’t hold them. … This week has been bad for us.”

Andruw Jones and Curtis Granderson homered to lead the attack against Lester, who scattered five hits in six innings.

Mark Teixeira lined a run-scoring single in the first inning and Jones led off the second by turning on an offering and powering it into the left-field seats.

With Martin aboard, Granderson slugged a two-run blast, his 13th.

It was also Granderson’s sixth home run off a left-handed pitcher this season, pushing the center fielder past his previous career high of five homers off southpaws, set in 2008.

“Lester’s one of the top pitchers in the game,” Granderson said. “Any runs you can score against him is always a good thing. But it’s definitely not over.”

Lester settled in and kept the Yankees off the board for the next four innings, including ending the fourth by picking Brett Gardner off first base.

“Any time you don’t play well against a rival or a team in your division, it’s a missed opportunity,” said Gardner, who was going first-move on Lester.

New York closed the gap to a run in the seventh off Alfredo Aceves, as Rodriguez ripped a double down the left-field line that was misplayed by Carl Crawford, allowing Granderson to score on the error.

But Bard came on and — after intentionally walking Robinson Cano — struck out Nick Swisher swinging, stranding the potential tying and go-ahead runs aboard.

“It’s kind of been a situation where all of us have been going through [a slump] together,” Swisher said. “I’ve just got to keep fighting, keep battling. When it does turn, it’s going to get good. Really, really good.”

Jarrod Saltalamacchia padded Boston’s lead by taking Joba Chamberlain deep for a solo homer in the eighth, his first with the Red Sox.

A-Rod bounced out for the final out, ending a homestand that saw the Yankees notch just seven hits in 44 at-bats with runners in scoring position over their last five games.

“It seemed like Boston came in here and did exactly what we do to other teams — keep at-bats alive, fouling off pitches, battling and getting big hits,” Rodriguez said. “And we’re not doing it.”

NY Yankees AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Jeter, SS 4 1 0 0 0 0 2 .260
Granderson, CF 4 2 1 2 1 2 1 .281
Teixeira, 1B 5 0 2 1 0 1 1 .259
Rodriguez, A, 3B 5 0 1 0 0 2 2 .250
Cano, 2B 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 .280
Swisher, RF 3 0 0 0 1 2 4 .217
Jones, An, DH 3 1 1 1 0 1 1 .237
a-Posada, PH-DH 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .165
Martin, C 1 1 0 0 3 0 1 .243
Gardner, LF 4 0 0 0 0 0 5 .250
Totals 32 5 6 4 7 9 17 .249
NY Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Garcia, F(L, 2-3) 5.1 6 5 4 2 4 2 3.22
Logan 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.35
Robertson, D 1.0 0 1 0 3 3 0 1.76
Chamberlain 1.0 1 1 1 0 1 1 4.26
Rivera, Ma 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1.45
Totals 9.0 8 7 5 6 9 3 3.81

NYY vs. BOS – 5/15/11

Lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones DH
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF

As you can see, Posada is not in the lineup. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering how badly Posada is faring against left-handers. Even less surprising, considering Lester is one of the elite left-handers in the game.

Pitchers:

Freddy Garcia (2-2, 2.61) vs. Jon Lester (4-1, 2.96)

From MLB.com’s Gameday:

Lester’s streak of four straight wins was snapped last time out in a 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays, in which he gave up five runs. He’s done well against the Yankees lifetime, going 6-1 in 12 starts.

Garcia will try his array of offspeed pitches against Boston, having defeated the Royals by allowing only a solo homer in six-plus innings on May 11. Garcia pitched an inning of one-run relief at Fenway Park in a 4-0 loss on April 10.

The Yanks desperately need a win here, so hopefully they get it. Enjoy the game.

Beckett Dominates Yanks in 6-0 Loss

From MLB.com’s Thomas Boorstein:

NEW YORK — On a night when the biggest story concerned off-field developments, the Yankees turned in another meek performance in a 6-0 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday night.

Josh Beckett, who has been a Yankees whipping boy for most of his Red Sox career, shut his rivals down for the second time this season. He pitched six scoreless innings to best CC Sabathia and help position Boston for a three-game sweep of the weekend series.

But more attention was paid to Jorge Posada, who was dropped to ninth in the lineup by manager Joe Girardi before asking out of the game entirely.

General manager Brian Cashman, speaking in an impromptu news conference during the third inning, said that no injury precluded Posada from playing. The Yankees replaced Posada with Andruw Jones approximately 40 minutes before the game’s first pitch.

After the game, Posada said he had a stiff back and needed time to clear his head. Girardi said he knew nothing of the back injury until after a seventh-inning ejection ended his participation in Saturday’s game.

Sabathia started with a wobble in the first, when he hit Jacoby Ellsbury on an 0-2 pitch and surrendered a single to Dustin Pedroia that moved Ellsbury to third. But the left-hander steadied himself with three strikeouts against Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz. Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz. Those K’s began a string of 12 straight Red Sox batters retired by Sabathia.

That string came to an end when Jed Lowrie started the fifth with a single. After a Mike Cameron flyout, Carl Crawford singled. Then Sabathia made his biggest mistake by walking Jason Varitek, who entered the game hitting .154 with a .241 on-base percentage, on four pitches. Ellsbury followed with a two-run double over the head of left fielder Brett Gardner. Sabathia escaped further trouble by intentionally walking Pedroia and inducing a double-play grounder from Gonzalez.

“It was just one of those things,” Sabathia said of his walk to Varitek. “I couldn’t find the strike zone and ended up with a walk.”

The wheels came off Sabathia (3-3) in the seventh inning, which he began having thrown 88 pitches. A leadoff walk to Cameron portended trouble, and after a wild pitch, Varitek burned the lefty again with an RBI single. After a lineout and a Pedroia single, Gonzalez blew the game open with a three-run homer into the right-field seats.

“I felt a lot better than the last start,” Sabathia said, referring to a seven-inning, 10-hit and four-run performance in Texas. “Everything was working the way I wanted it to. Just got into a spot there in the seventh and didn’t make the pitches I had to.”

After pulling Sabathia, who allowed six runs, struck out six and walked three, from the game, Girardi, took exception to the strike zone during Varitek’s seventh-inning at-bat and earned an ejection from home-plate umpire Mike Winters for arguing balls and strikes.

Sabathia said Posada’s situation did not affect him.

“I had no idea,” he said. “I was pitching today.”

The Yankees (20-17) made Beckett work, but they could not score against him for the second time in as many games this season. After going eight innings without a run against Beckett at Fenway Park on April 10, they came up empty again Saturday. Beckett struck out nine and walked two, stranding two runners each in the first, third and fifth innings. His other three frames were perfect.

“He was really good,” said Mark Teixeira, who snapped an 0-for-30 slide against the Red Sox with a single off Matt Albers in the eighth. “Three at-bats against him, I don’t think I got one good pitch to hit.”

The Yankees, who played in front of a season-high 48,790 fans, have averaged 3.9 runs in their past 15 games after averaging 5.7 in their first 22. Saturday’s game marked their fourth shutout this season.

“We’re just in a rut,” Teixeira said. “There’s really no reason to overanalyze it or hang our heads too much. We’re just in a rut. When you slump as a team, you’re going to lose games. The great thing about baseball is if I’m in a slump and the guy behind me is hitting well, we’re fine. But when everyone’s kind of in a little bit of a rut, it doesn’t lead to a lot of wins.”

During his first five seasons with the Red Sox, Beckett posted a 6.26 ERA against the Yankees. In 2011, he has recorded 14 scoreless innings, with 19 strikeouts against three walks.

“There are days when you really should be scoring a lot of runs, but he was pretty on tonight,” Teixeira said. “It was going to be tough to scratch anything across the board tonight.”

Boxscore:

NY Yankees AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Jeter, SS 4 0 1 0 1 1 2 .267
Granderson, CF 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 .281
Teixeira, 1B 3 0 1 0 1 2 4 .254
Rodriguez, A, 3B 4 0 0 0 0 2 5 .252
Cano, 2B 3 0 0 0 1 2 2 .279
Martin, C 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 .245
Gardner, LF 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 .259
Swisher, RF 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 .222
Jones, An, DH 4 0 1 0 0 3 2 .229
Totals 34 0 7 0 3 13 20 .250
NY Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Sabathia(L, 3-3) 6.2 7 6 6 3 6 1 3.47
Robertson, D 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.88
Ayala 2.0 3 0 0 0 2 0 2.25
Totals 9.0 11 6 6 3 8 1 3.78

NYY vs. BOS – 5/14/11

Lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH

Pitchers:

C.C. Sabathia (3-2, 2.89) vs. Josh Beckett (2-1, 1.99)

From MLB.com’s Gameday:

Beckett continues to have a stellar season, despite just two wins. In his last start, a no decision, he fired seven shutout innings. Opponents are hitting .174 against Beckett. He is 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA on the road.

Sabathia will make his second start against the Red Sox this year, having taken a hard-luck loss on April 10 in Boston after allowing a run on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He won without his best stuff on May 8 in Texas.

Great matchup – should be a very good game. Enjoy.

Yanks’ Unable to Rally Back Late

From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

NEW YORK — The electronic prompts to make noise had been silenced for the night by malfunction, and yet the largest crowd on hand at Yankee Stadium this season was making those reminders completely unnecessary.

The building in the South Bronx rocked with life in the eighth inning on Friday as the tying runs appeared on base. But just like the public address system, the offense shorted out, leaving the Yankees to ponder a 5-4 loss to the Red Sox.

“We’re putting ourselves in good situations — we’re just not coming up with that big hit,” said Jorge Posada, who hit a weak ground ball to end the eighth. “That’s not us. We know we can come up with a big hit.”

It has proven more elusive than they’d like. Trailing by three runs after Joba Chamberlain allowed an Adrian Gonzalez sacrifice fly and a two-run Kevin Youkilis homer in the seventh, the Yankees still had some fight.

Curtis Granderson opened the eighth with a triple to deep left-center field and scored on a Josh Bard wild pitch, and Bard created a mess with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, which led to a daring double steal by Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

The crowd of 48,254 cheered the Yankees forward without artificial help, but Nick Swisher chased a high fastball for strike three and Bard battled back from a 3-0 count to get Posada to bounce out harmlessly.

“I think there’s no question we need to do better,” Rodriguez said. “One through nine, we need to step up and have more quality at-bats and come up with big hits. We haven’t done that over the last week — or much longer.”

New York would even add a run off closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had the Yankees down to their final strike before allowing back-to-back hits to Derek Jeter and Granderson, but the Boston closer got Mark Teixeira to pop up for the final out.

“It goes in waves,” said Teixeira, who went hitless in five at-bats. “You go in waves where you score a lot of runs and you go in waves where you don’t. Right now, we’re just not scoring a ton of runs like we’re capable of.”

Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs for the Red Sox, who squeezed a seven-inning start out of Clay Buchholz that had the Yankees offering rave reviews.

“I thought Buchholz’s movement on his fastball was as good as I’ve ever seen it tonight,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He had as much sink as I’ve seen him have.”

Buchholz limited the Yankees to five hits, walking one and striking out seven in 110 pitches, before entrusting Bard and Papelbon to help lock up the starter’s third straight victory.

Buchholz’s only blemish came on Russell Martin’s two-run homer in the fourth, Martin’s seventh of the season and his first since April 23. But Buchholz said he wasn’t looking at the Yankees as a soft opponent.

“They always seem to come out of their struggles whenever we come here or they come to Fenway,” Buchholz said. “This is the toughest place mentally to pitch, I think, just because you have all of the fans out there. They all hate us.”

Some of that home-field advantage would spill onto the Major Deegan Expressway after honoring Bartolo Colon with a standing ovation, as he exited a tied game after facing one batter in the seventh.

Colon had allowed just two runs, both in the fourth inning, and one of those was unearned. After Gonzalez’s homer, Martin permitted Youkilis to reach on a passed-ball strikeout.

The righty issued a walk to David Ortiz before recording a slick fielder’s choice himself on an infield tapper. After another walk, Carl Crawford brought in Boston’s second run with a groundout.

“Everything was right there where I wanted it,” Colon said through an interpreter. “The only thing was the location on the home run. That’s the only mistake I made.”

In the seventh, Girardi said 103 pitches was enough from Colon, noting that Jacoby Ellsbury had given Colon tough at-bats all night.

Chamberlain induced a fielder’s choice for the first out but then allowed a Dustin Pedroia single, and Gonzalez — playing his first game in Yankee Stadium — belted a ball to deep left field that got the run in.

Youkilis then exacted some measure of revenge from his repeated run-ins with Chamberlain over the years, clearing the right-field wall to put Boston up by three runs.

“I knew it wasn’t a good pitch as soon as I let it go,” Chamberlain said. “Obviously, Youk is a great hitter, and with his approach and what we’d done early, I thought it was something we could do. As soon as it left my hand, I knew he’d put a good swing on it.”

The inning might have turned out differently if Cano had been able to turn a double play on a grounder hit by Ellsbury off Chamberlain. Instead, the ball only erased Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the first out.

“I don’t think he got a grip on it,” Girardi said.

In the quiet aftermath of another tough loss, Chamberlain said that it was far too early to begin wondering if the Yankees would be able to get all facets of their game clicking on full power.

“You can ask us that question at the end of September, and we’ll have those answers for you then,” Chamberlain said. “We’ve just got to continue to grind it out.”

Boxscore:

NY Yankees AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Jeter, SS 5 1 1 0 0 1 1 .268
Granderson, CF 5 1 2 1 0 2 2 .275
Teixeira, 1B 5 0 0 0 0 1 3 .252
Rodriguez, A, 3B 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 .261
Cano, 2B 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .285
Swisher, RF 3 0 1 0 1 2 3 .221
Posada, DH 4 1 1 0 0 0 4 .165
Martin, C 4 1 1 2 0 2 0 .255
Gardner, LF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 .260
Totals 36 4 8 3 2 9 14 .252
NY Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Colon, B(L, 2-2) 6.0 5 3 2 3 4 1 3.74
Chamberlain 1.0 3 2 2 0 0 1 4.00
Logan 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 4.66
Soriano, R 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 0 5.40
Totals 9.0 9 5 4 5 6 2 3.71

NYY vs. BOS – 5/13/11

 

Lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF

Pitchers:

Bartolo Colon (2-1, 3.86) vs. Clay Buchholz (3-3, 4.19)

From MLB.com’s Gameday:

Colon prepares for his fifth start of the year after throwing a 4 1/3-inning, five-run clunker in Texas his last time out. Colon pitched 4 1/3 innings of long relief at Boston on April 8, allowing two runs (one earned) and two hits.

The righty is coming off perhaps his best start of the year, albeit one that was shortened to five innings because of a long rain delay. In that win over the Twins, Buchholz allowed two hits while notching a season-high of six strikeouts.

Enjoy the game.

UPDATE 5:28 PM:::

Some quick pregame notes-

  • Rafael Soriano is available to pitch tonight. Whether Girardi uses him or not, we don’t know.
  • Hector Noesi has been brought up from Scranton, and Buddy Carlyle is being sent down.