Friday, June 5, 2009: (At Home)
Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays was rained out. A makeup date has not been set yet.
AJ Burnett was suspended six games Thursday for throwing high-and-tight to Texas’ Nelson Cruz earlier this week, but the right-hander appealed the penalty and can continue to pitch until a hearing is held.
Saturday, June 6, 2009: (At Home)
B.J. Upton added an RBI single off the star closer, part of a four-run rally that carried the AL champions to their fourth straight victory and sixth in seven games.
David Price left with a chance to beat CC Sabathia in a much-anticipated matchup pitting a potential ace against an established one. But the Yankees scored twice in the eighth against Tampa Bay’s bullpen, tying it 5-all.
Tampa Bay is 3-0 at the new Yankee Stadium, including an 8-6 victory May 7 when Rivera served up back-to-back homers for the first time in his career. Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria connected for ninth-inning solo shots in that one.
This time, injury fill-ins Dillon and Ben Zobrist sparked the burst against Rivera.
“I think anytime you do something against a closer and you do it in recent memory, it gives you a little bit of confidence,” said Zobrist, who opened the inning with a triple.
Zobrist tripled to left-center and scored on a single by Dillon, a journeyman who was acquired from Oakland on May 9. Dillon has three hits in each of the past two games, matching his career-high each time.
Upton added a two-out RBI single off Rivera (0-2), who was then lifted from the game — a rare sight. Crawford hit a run-scoring single off Phil Coke and another run scored on Rodriguez’s error at third.
“After the team ties the game, it was tough to go out and do that,” Rivera said. “Especially when you know that you have the top of your lineup coming up. You just want to get three outs and then you look up and it’s four runs.”
Ex-Yankee Randy Choate got Robinson Cano on a long fly to center for his third save in eight days — the first three of his major league career, which began in 2000. Upton made a lunging grab to end it.
Rivera hadn’t allowed four runs in a game since April 27, 2007, against Boston.
Sabathia went eight innings, giving up five runs (four earned) and five hits. He entered 7-1 with a 2.44 ERA in 11 career starts against Tampa Bay.
Sunday, June 7, 2009: (At Home)
A day after one of his worst relief outings, Mariano Rivera was right where he wanted to be: back on the mound.
Unlike Saturday, when his manager ordered him to walk Evan Longoria, Rivera got his chance to face Tampa Bay’s slugger, this time with two outs in the ninth inning and a one-run lead to protect.
And the outcome was more familiar. Rivera got Longoria to ground meekly to second, closing out the Yankees‘ 4-3, come-from-behind victory over the Rays for his 495th career save.
“I guess Mo was right,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Nick Swisher hit the 100th home run at the new Yankee Stadium, helping Girardi earn his 200th win as a manager. Alfredo Aceves (4-1) pitched two scoreless innings in the Yankees’ major league-leading 20th comeback victory this season.
Hideki Matsui beat out a potential double-play grounder to drive in the go-ahead run during a three-run eighth inning, setting the stage for Rivera’s 13th save of the season.
Rivera was upset after being forced to intentionally walk an ailing Longoria to face B.J. Upton in the Rays’ four-run ninth inning of a 9-7 victory Saturday. On Sunday, however, he said he didn’t second-guess his manager and had forgotten the outing before the game.
With the Yankees trailing 3-1 with one out in the eighth, Johnny Damon lined a single off Grant Balfour (2-1), and Mark Teixeira followed with a single to put runners at the corners. Alex Rodriguez walked to load the bases.
J.P. Howell relieved and walked Robinson Cano, making it 3-2. Jorge Posada then hit a bouncer to third that Willy Aybar, subbing for Longoria (hamstring), couldn’t handle. Teixeira scored the tying run, Posada was given an RBI and Aybar was charged with an error.
Matsui then chopped a soft grounder to second and beat the throw to first, preventing an inning-ending double play and giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead, which Rivera preserved.
Swisher’s 11th homer in the third made it 28 games in a row with a homer at the new Yankee Stadium.
Monday, June 8, 2009: (At Home)
Teixeira’s solo homer in the first and Swisher’s two-run drive in the second built a 3-0 lead, but the Rays tied the score in the fourth after Alex Rodriguez bobbled Ben Zobrist‘s leadoff grounder to third for an error. Michel Hernandez had an RBI single and Gabe Kapler followed with a two-run homer to left, Kapler’s first home run since Sept. 7 for Milwaukee off San Diego’s Chris Young.
Solo homers by Damon in the sixth and Jeter in the eighth finished Andy Sonnanstine (4-6), who gave up four homers for the first time in his big league career and dropped to 1-6 on the road.
There have been 105 homers in 29 games at the new ballpark, a sharp increase from the 160 last season at the original Yankee Stadium, and 63 have been hit to right and right-center. The Yankees won despite finishing with just six hits — and no plate appearances with runners in scoring position — for the first time since May 14, 2006.
Pettitte (6-2) allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in six innings, striking out a season-high seven. After walking 11 in his previous two starts, he cut his bases on balls to three.
The Yankees improved the AL’s best record to 34-23, opened a one-game AL East lead over second-place Boston, and improved to 21-0 when allowing three runs or fewer.
The Yankees have made at least one error in six straight games since the end of their record 18-game errorless streak.
The Yankees head to Boston after the game for a three-game series against the Red Sox, who are 5-0 against them this year. Then they return home for a weekend 3-game Subway Series against the Mets.