Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Yankees entered Wednesday night's game at Yankee Stadium struggling mightily at the plate to the tune of just four runs in 23 innings over the past two games against the Rangers.

With Yu Darvish on the mound, one might think the Yankees were in real trouble. Of course, conventional wisdom doesn't apply to the 2014 Yankees.  New York defeated Darvish and the Rangers, 2-1, in a rain-shortened 4 1/2 innings Wednesday night.

The Yankees sent David Phelps to the mound and he was outstanding once again, as he picked up his fifth win of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.77. Phelps allowed just one run in five innings, while striking out three on 72 pitches -- 44 strikes. Darvish recorded one out in the fifth inning before the torrential rainfall began.

The Rangers ace surrendered four hits, two runs and five strikeouts on 72 pitches -- 48 strikes. Phelps and Darvish both put up two scoreless innings to start the game, as both offenses’ looked rusty after Tuesday night's 14-inning marathon.

 Leonys Martin and Chris Gimenez opened the third inning with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners, Rougned Odor followed by grounding into a double play to score Martin to give Texas a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Francisco Cervelli led off with double down the left field line for the Yankees first hit of the night. Brendan Ryan grounded out to second to move Cervelli to third and the Yankee catcher was able to tie the game on a Darvish balk.

The next batter, Brett Gardner homered off Darvish to right field to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. The solo blast was Gardner's career-high 10th home run of the season, which tied the Yankee outfielder for second on the team in home runs with Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann.

The Yankees will look to finish off a series win in Thursday's afternoon start at 1:05 p.m. Brandon McCarthy will be on the mound for New York, while Colby Lewis will take the hill for Texas.

The Yankees went 18 innings between scoring runs before Jacoby Ellsbury tied the game in the 13th inning last night with an RBI single after the Yanks had fallen behind, 1-0, in the top of the 13th -- ironically, Ellsbury drove in the last Yankees run on Monday night with solo homerun.

Neither team really deserved to win last night's game on a count of how bad the Rangers played and how bad the Yankees' lineup struggled. But in the end, the team with the most runs win, and that just happened to be the Yankees, even if it took nearly five hours.

Let's just hope somebody can score in the first nine innings tonight.

Tonight's lineup against Texas:

LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
DH Carlos Beltran
1B Brian McCann
3B Chase Headley
RF Ichiro Suzuki
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Brendan Ryan

* Michael Pineda will throw a simulated game tomorrow. The plan is for him to toss two innings or 30 pitches -- which ever comes first.

* McCann is going to play first base while Mark Teixeira is out, day-to-day, with a light lat strain.

Pitching matchup preview:

David Phelps has been pitching pretty well since rejoining the Yankees' rotation this season, and he hopes to continue his success tonight when he faces the Rangers in the third of four games against the Texas club at Yankee Stadium this week.

Phelps is seeking just his 5th win of the season, but he has worked six innings or more in each of his three July outings, and he's 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA in that span.

Phelps kicked off the second half of the season with a win over the Cincinnati Reds last Friday, giving up two runs on six hits in 6.1 innings.

The Yankees have had a tough time hitting pitchers that you've never heard of the past two games, so it's probably not a good thing that they're facing Yu Darvish tonight, as he goes for his 10th win of the season for the third year in a row.

Darvish is coming off of a win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, where he struck out 12 and gave up one run in 6.2 innings. This'll be fun to watch.

A day after acquiring one third baseman, another has gone down with an injury.

The Yankees announced on Wednesday that infielder Kelly Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain, which he suffered in last night's 1-0 win over the Texas Rangers. Having used all of their bullpen, the Yankees called up RHP Chris Leroux from Triple-A Scranton, while designating RHP Bruce Billings for assignment.

Johnson started in right field for the Yankees last night with Chase Headley no becoming the everyday third base. It was likely that Johnson would play more in the outfield with Ichiro Suzuki struggling at the play.

Johnson was batting .219 with six homeruns and 22 RBI in 77 games for the Yankees this season.

They'll be getting a boost in the bullpen with Leroux joining then. Signed by the Yankees over the winter, he appeared in two big league games earlier in the season, and has spent most of his year in Triple-A as a starter.

Brian Cashman made another needed move to improve the team on Tuesday, acquiring third baseman Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres along with about a $1 million in exchange for Yangervis Solarte and minor league pitcher Rafael De Paula.

Headley is a player that the Yankees have had an eye on for a long time, and needing another productive bat in the lineup, Cashman made a deal to get him, even if he's only here through the rest of the season.

Some thoughts on the deal.....

  1. Say what you will about Cashman, but he's made two potentially impact deals this month that included the second team paying the Yankees to take a player off their hands. He managed to get Brandon McCarthy and cash from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Vidal Nuno, and now he got Headley and cash for Solarte, a rookie that hasn't been productive since mid-May, and De Paula, 23, who hasn't made it past High-A Tampa yet and has struggled with control issues over the past couple of seasons. De Paula still has big league potential, but Cashman didn't have to give up one of the system's more prominent arms, and that's important.
  2. Hitting .229/.296/.355 (88 wRC+) with seven homers and 12 doubles through 77 games this season with the Padres, there is to suspect that Headley, 30, will be able to start hitting a little bit more with the help of the small, hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, rather than the big and spacious Petco Park -- that's what you have to hope for when a player moves away from a bigger ballpark. Also, he was batting .298/.330/.405 in 21 games since receiving an epidural a couple weeks ago to deal with a back issue that the Yankees believe won't be an issue, so he's coming over to the Yankees swinging a nice bat already.
  3. Headley has never been considered a Gold Glove fielder at third base, and even Cashman acknowledged that yesterday, but he's clearly an upgrade over what Kelly Johnson and Solarte player there everyday, with even Zelous Wheeler platooning in and out.
  4. Cashman only called Headley a rental yesterday, but you really have to think that if he performs well for the remainder of the season and really likes playing in New York that the Yankees will considering signing him to a multi-year deal with Alex Rodriguez lined up to rejoin the team next spring after sitting out an entire season, adding onto the second hip surgery that he had last season. I've been right along side all of the people that believe A-Rod has played not only his last game for the Yankees, but his last game in professional baseball. Reports from earlier in the year have said that the Yankees would be willing to bring A-Rod back next season if he's able to give them anything productive with the bat. I still don't believe that he'll be back in pinstripes next season, and they could be much better off filling the clear need at third base long-term.
  5. Back to talking about the Yankees gave up: De Paula isn't considered a major loss for the farm system. Sign for $500k out of Dominican Republic in 2010, he did not make his pro debut until 2012 due to visa issues and was also suspended one year before signing for lying about his age. He impressed in the first half of 2013, with a 2.94 ERA, 13.43 K/9 and 3.22 BB/9 in Low-A Charleston, but never seemed to adjust once he got to High-A Tampa, with control issues being his biggest problem. Hopefully he finds s good groove in San Diego. But yeah, the Yankees have taken a pair of players that weren't even considered locks to made the team out of spring training -- Nuno and Solarte -- and turned them into half seasons of McCarthy and Headley. In the end, if this fails, the Yankees didn't give up much in the first place.

Triple-A Scranton: 7-0 win vs Gwinnett Braves

SS Jose Pirela: 0-for-4, BB
2B Rob Refsnyder: 3-for-5, 2B, K
LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-for-5, 3 K
RF Adonis Garcia: 1-for-5, R, 2B, 3 K
DH Kyle Roller: 0-for-2, 2 R, 3 BB, K
C John Ryan Murphy: 1-for-2, 2 R, 3 BB
1B Austin Romine: 1-for-5, R, 2 RBI, K
3B Rob Segedin: 2-for-4, R, HR, 5 RBI, K -- grand slam in the 6th, his 1st homerun of the year in AAA

Bryan Mitchell: 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER 1 BB, 3 K
Rich Hill: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Danny Burawa: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Double-A Trenton: 3-0 loss vs New Hampshire Fisher Cats

CF Jake Cave: 0-for-4, K
LF Ben Gamel: 1-for-4, K
C Gary Sanchez: 1-for-3, BB
1B Peter O'Brien: 0-for-4, K
RF Tyler Austin: 0-for-3, K
DH Mason Williams: 0-for-3, K

Manny Banuelos: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K -- first time pitching four innings this season, let alone five

High-A Tampa: 3-2 win vs St. Lucie Mets

LF Jose Rosario: 2-for-4, R, K
SS Cito Culver: 0-for-4, RBI
1B Gregory Bird: 1-for-4, R, HR, RBI -- 6th homerun of the year
3B Dante Bichette Jr: 1-for-4
RF Aaron Judge: 0-for-2, BB, K
2B Angelo Gumbs: 0-for-3, K

Conner Kendrick: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Taylor Garrison: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

Short Season Staten Island: 11-5 loss vs Hudson Valley Renegades

DH Ty McFarland: 1-for-3, R, 2B
LF Chris Breen: 1-for-5, RBI
RF Austin Aune: 1-for-5, 2B, 2 K
1B Connor Spencer: 3-for-5, RBI -- 11 for his last 36

Jonathan Holder: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Jordan Foley: 3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

I never thought baseball could be this bad.

As the clock struck midnight, Chase Headley, who was not even at the stadium for the first pitch of the game, smacked a walk-off single into left-center field to send the Yankees and their fans home with a 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers nearly five after later in 14 innings.

Jeff Francis made his long-awaited Yankees debut after being acquired by the team about two weeks ago, and took home the win after pitching a scoreless 14th inning.

It was pretty amazing that this game lasted as long as it did, because the Rangers are terrible at baseball and in no way deserved to win this game. With that said, the Yankees hadn't scored a run in 18 innings before tying the game on an RBI single in the 13th, so it's not like they should have won either. But in the end, the team with the most runs wins, and it was the Yankees in this one.

Another Chase, Chase Whitley, started for the Bombers and delivered a decent quality start. He pitched six shutout innings, giving up seven hits while striking out six and walking none. The Rangers never actually put a serious scoring threat together against Whitley; Robinson Chirinos doubled in the 5th, and that was really as close as they got.

Whitley opened the 7th inning on the mound, but Adrian Beltre singled off of him, and that's where Joe Girardi went to the bullpen. He brought in Matt Thornton for a second straight night to face Leonys Martin, who was out after a two-strike bunt foul. Adam Warren then came in, also for the second straight night, and recorded the final two out of the inning.

Dellin Betances worked a scoreless 8th, striking out a pair of hitters. Then David Robertson retired all six batters he faced in the 9th and 10th innings to keep the game scoreless.

The Yankees had a great chance to win the game in the bottom of the 9th inning after Derek Jeter hit a one-out double then the Rangers intentionally walked Jacoby Ellsbury to get to Carlos Beltran, who, naturally, hit into a double play to send the game to extra innings. The Yankees, again, had a pair of runners on in the 11th after Brett Gardner and Jeter walked ahead of Ellsbury with two outs, and he grounded out to end the frame.

The Yankees' best wasted chance of the game came in the 12th, when Beltran opened with a single then moved to second on a wild pitch. Brian McCann "singled on a shallow fly-ball to left field" when it was actually another dropped fly ball on a McCann popup. Ichiro Suzuki sacrificed both runners over, then the Rangers walked Brian Roberts to face Francisco Cervelli with one out and the bases loaded. Cervy ripped a ball to third base, as Beltre snagged it for the out, then Headley grounded out to end the inning.

Texas broke the scoreless tie in the 13th inning when JP Arencibia kicked off the inning with a solo homerun off of David Huff, who pitched two innings. It pretty much seemed like the game was over at that point.

The Yankees, though, tied the game in the bottom half of the inning. Gardner opened with a double, Jeter moved him to third with a bunt, then Ellsbury singled home Ellsbury to make it a 1-1 game. The Yanks were then forced to bring in Francis, the last pitcher in their bullpen. So you know this game had to end quickly, or else Ichiro was going to pitch.

Roberts hit a one-out ground-rule double in the bottom of the 14th, followed by a single from Cervelli, setting up runners on the corners for Headley, who ended the game with his first hit has a Yankee.

The Yankees and Rangers will continue this four-game series on Wednesday night with David Phelps facing Yu Darvish at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It had a little bit of everything -- some bad pitching, some poor defense, and a lack of production from the expensive lineup.

Coming into the game having just swept the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend in a convincing fashion, the Yankees' loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday night featured the real Yankees squad that we've been watching this season, and not the one that played really well against the Reds -- one not quite built for the playoffs.

The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the 4th, but couldn't hold on when Shane Greene and Matt Thronton gave up three runs in the 6th to fall behind 4-2. And in the end, fives hits from the Yanks' lineup were not enough to overcome five errors -- three by Greene.

Just when you thought that the Yankees had found new life over the weekend, they went back to playing like the team they really are. But maybe Chase Headley will help change things.

Tonight's lineup against Texas:

LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
DH Carlos Beltran
1B Brian McCann
RF Kelly Johnson
2B Brian Roberts
C Francisco Cervelli
3B Zelous Wheeler

* Headley is listed on the Yankees' roster, but won't be in New York in time for the game. Brian Cashman told reporters that he's expected to be in around 7:30 p.m., and could pinch-hit if needed.

Pitching matchup preview:

Chase Whitley will be on the mound for the Yankees tonight, and that's not really a good thing if you're the Rangers. Texas is just 2-7 this season when facing a rookie starter, and Whitley will become the 9th rookie to face them. The other eight rookies went a combined 5-1 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts.

In his last start, against the Baltimore Orioles on the Sunday before the All-Star break, Whitley only lasted 3.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits.

Getting the ball for the Rangers is right-hander Nick Martinez, who is making his first start since coming off of the DL after fighting discomfort in his left side. This'll be his first start since July 1, when gave up eight runs (six earned) on seven hits in five innings against the Orioles.

The Yankees are closing in on a deal for San Diego Padres third base Chase Headley, reports the YES Network's Jack Curry. ESPN's Andrew Marchand says that the Yankees will be sending Yangervis Solarte and minor league pitcher Rafael De Paula, who has spent the last couple of seasons in High-A Tampa, to the Padres.

Headley was with the Padres in Chicago, so we'll have to see if he's able to get to New York in time for tonight's game against the Texas Rangers.

Headley hasn't been great since 2012, when he hit .286 with 31 homeruns and 115 RBIs -- he's hitting just .229 with seven homeruns and 32 RBI this season -- but he's still a good switch-hitter that could turn things around in Yankee Stadium, compared to playing in the big, spacious Petco Park.

After turning 30-years-old in May, Headley will be a free-agent after the season, so even if the Yankees aren't able to re-sign him, they never really gave up in the first place. Great move by Brian Cashman for getting a potentially productive hitter for very little.

The Yankees have been interested in Headley for a couple of years, and they have finally gotten their man. It's a start in fixing this team, but there are still more moves to be made.

The Yankees have made it no secrete that they'll be in the market for starting pitchers this summer with four fifths of their Opening Day rotation on the disabled list.

The Yankees don't really have what it takes to land someone like David Price or Cole Hammels, but second of third tier pitchers like Brandon McCarthy and Chicago White Sox left-hander John Danks, who CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says the Yankees have checked in on.

Heyman, though, says that talks are only in the early stages and that no deal is close. But these things can move fast, and anything could happen at any time.

I've spent a lot of time over the past coulpe of weeks looking around the league for decent starting pitching upgrades over what the Yankees have now, and not once did Danks draw my interest with his 4.35 ERA this season. Not to mention, has about $34 million to go on his contract through 2016, including the $14.25 million he's due this year.

With the loss of CC Sabathia and the trade that sent Vidal Nuno to Arizona, the Yankees currently don't have any left-handed pitchers in their rotation, but the only way that I'd bring in Danks is if the White Sox are willing to eat most of his ugly contract. If not, don't bother with him.

Heyman also notes that the White Sox are looking for young players and prospects as they continue their rebuild, and unless the Yankees could give up minimal talent for him, then it would be a little more OK, but not very much.

In the end, it turns out that Carsten Charles Sabathia and New York was a perfect match. Better known as CC Sabathia, the left-hander was unsure if he wanted to become a Yankee in the offseason following the 2008 season. Fortunately for the Yankees he did come to the Bronx, and what followed was a great partnership.

Sabathia won't pitch again this season due to surgery on his troublesome right knee, and with his best days behind him, what Yankee fans are the many memories C.C. racked up while wearing the pinstripes.

He entered free agency in the winter of 2008 after being one of the most prolific hired guns in recent baseball memory. He was traded near the deadline from Cleveland, where he had a 6-8 record with a 3.83 ERA, a season after winning the American League Cy Young. The Indians loss was Milwaukee's gain.

Sabathia was nearly unhittable during his short time in the National League. The big southpaw went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA to lead the Brewers to a surprise playoff berth. Sabathia made four starts in 14 days in the final two weeks of the regular season. In 28.2 innings, Sabathia allowed just six earned runs, while striking out 26 and walked just three.

Sabathia's dominance in the National League and his willingness to take the ball on less than regular rest would become a sign of the next phase of his career in the Bronx.

It was reported that Sabathia wasn't sold on the idea of coming to New York after playing his whole career in Cleveland with a short stint in Milwaukee, but the Yankees' seven-year, $161 million contract offer sealed the deal.

Immediately, Sabathia proved to be well worth the label as the highest paid pitcher in the game. He finished the 2009 regular season with a 19-8 record, 3.37 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 230 innings. Despite his third straight regular season with at least 17 wins, Sabathia still had questions of if he could carry a pitching staff to a championship.

In addition to the excellent postseasons from Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, Sabathia proved his worth, as the Yankees won their 27th championship in a six-game World Series victory over Philadelphia. In the second season,. C.C. was 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA to put any questions to bed once and for all.

New York wasn't able to get back to the World Series in 2010 or 2011, but Sabathia continued to solidify himself as the ace of the Yankees' pitching staff. In the first three years in the Bronx, Sabathia was 59-23 with a 3.18 ERA. Sabathia notched 624 strikeouts in those three seasons, and there wasn't much debate about who was the top left-handed starter in baseball.

The Brian Kenny's of the world might scoff at the mention of Sabathia's win total being mentioned as part of his legacy as a Yankee, but that was only a part of what made C.C. great. If you looked up the term, work horse starting pitcher, Sabathia's photo would be right there.

His ERA was never below three, but he was going to give you his best every fifth day. In an era where six innings of work is considered a quality start, Sabathia went at least seven innings, in 72 percent (71/99) of his starts from 2009-2011.

In 2012, Sabathia reached 197 strikeouts, but injuries began to take a toll. In 200 innings, he allowed just 184 hits with a 15-6 record and a 3.00 ERA. By 2013, Sabathia's velocity had slipped an average of 91.3, which was down nearly a full three miles per hour from 94.1 in 2009.

The news Friday afternoon that Sabathia's season was over wasn't a surprise to anyone that has followed Sabathia's steep decline since the end of beginning of 2013 and when you hear his right knee described as degenerative, you wonder how many innings his body has left.

Sabathia turned 34 on Monday and it was a reminder that he isn't the pitcher he once was. He signed with the Yankees in the prime of his career at age 28. Over the past two seasons, he hasn't looked like the guy who at one time had a legitimate shot at 300 victories. 

He won't get to 300, but baseball fans -- especially those in New York -- will remember a pitcher who never gave in and gave everything he had for five years before his body gave in and lost the battle to Father Time.

Triple-A Scranton: 2-1 win vs Gwinnett Braves

2B-1B Jose Pirela: 1-for-4, K
RF-2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, K
CF-RF Zoilo Almonte: 1-for-4, K
DH Adonis Garcia: 2-for-4, R
1B Kyle Roller: 1-for-4, K
C John Ryan Murphy: 2-for-3, K

Bruce Billings: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR

Double-A Trenton: Game One, 4-1 win (F/7) vs New Hampshire Fisher Cats

CF Jake Cave: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, 2 K
LF Ben Gamel: 2-for-4, R
C Gary Sanchez: 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI -- 10th homerun of the season
1B Peter O'Brien: 2-for-3, R, 2B
DH Tyler Austin: 1-for-3, K
RF Mason Williams: 0-for-3, K

Jaron Long: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

Game Two, 8-5 win (F/7) vs New Hampshire

CF Mason Williams: 3-for-4, R, 3B, RBI, K -- raised the average to .209 on the season
RF Tyler Austin: 1-for-3, R, RBI
DH Peter O'Brien: 3-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, K -- 30th homerun of the year, 20th in Double-A
1B Tyson Blaser: 3-for-3, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB
C Francisco Arcia: 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K -- his first homerun of the year

Jairo Heredia: 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Mark Montgomery: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

High-A Tampa: 5-2 win vs St. Lucie Mets

CF Danny Oh: 1-for-4, R, 3B, 3 RBI
SS Cito Culver: 0-for-4, RBI, K
1B Gregory Bird: 1-for-2, RBI, 2 BB
3B Dante Bichette Jr: 1-for-4, K
DH Eric Jagielo: 0-for-4, 2 K
RF Aaron Judge: 1-for-4, R, K

Rafael De Paula: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K

Low-A Charleston: 8-5 win vs Augusta GreenJackets

CF Mark Payton: 2-for-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, K -- hitting .349 in Charleston
SS Tyler Wade: 3-for-5, R, RBI, K
RF Dustin Fowler: 2-for-5, R, RBI
3B Miguel Andujar: 0-for-4, K
DH Eduardo de Oleo: 2-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, 2 K
Gosuke Katoh: 2-for-3
LF Brandon Thomas: 4-for-4, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI

Gabe Encinas: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Ian Clarkin: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Short Season Staten Island: 2-1 win vs Jamestown Jammers

C Luis Torrens: 1-for-4, RBI, 3 K -- extended his hitting streak to 17 games
1B Chris Breen: 0-for-4, 3 K
CF Austin Aune: 0-for-4, 3 K
RF Nathan Mikolas: 1-for-2, RBI, K

Justin Kamplain: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

Monday, July 21, 2014

Just another one of those games where the Yankees make a starter that you have never heard of coming into the game look like an All-Star. This time it was Miles Mikolas, who was making just his fourth start of the season. The right hander had no problem tossing 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball, as the Texas Rangers beat the Yankees, 4-2, in the opener of a four game series this week at Yankee Stadium.

It wasn't just the offense, as the Yankees committed five errors in a game for the first time since July 7, 2007, three of which were by starter Shane Greene, who suffered his first loss since joining the Yankees' rotation. The five errors were also the same amount of hits that the Yankees managed to collect.

The Yankees jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning. Derek Jeter worked a one-out walk against Mikolas, moved to second base on a balk, then reached third base on an infield single by the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury. Carlos Beltran followed up Ellsbury with a sac-fly to center, scoring Jeter for the game's first run.

Texas evened the score in the 3rd inning on a fielder's choice off the bat of Adrian Beltre. Shin-Soo Choo hit a out-out double to right field off of Greene, then moved to third base on an infield single by Elvus Andrus. A batter later, Beltre hit a ball to Derek Jeter, who tossed ball over to second to start the double play, but the throw was dropped by Brian Roberts at the bag; everybody was safe and the run scored.

An inning later, in the 4th, Ellsbury lead off the inning by hitting his 8th homerun of the season, a solo shot to right field to put the Yankees back up by a score of 2-1 -- just his 4th at Yankee Stadium this year.

Greene was chased from the game during the Rangers' three-run 6th inning, in which Greene retired the first two hitters before giving up a single to Jake Smolinski, walking Jim Adduci, and giving up an game-tying single to Geovany Soto, who drove in Smolinski to tie game.

That was the end of Greene's night. He made a pair of errors in the 2nd inning, but somehow managed to get out unharmed. His first two big league starts were very good, this one wasn't terrible, but it obviously could have been better. He only gave up five hits and four runs, while walking just one batter and striking out five.

Matt Thornton took over on the mound with a pair of left-handed hitters coming up to face him. To no surprise, his outing was not a success. Both hitters, Rounged Odor and Choo, smacked back-to-back RBI singles to put the Rangers up 4-2, knocking Thornton out of the game. Adam Warren came on to record the final out of the 6th, then worked a scoreless 7th inning.

David Huff pitched the final two innings for the Yankees, giving up a pair of hits with a walk. He also struck out three, helping keep the Yankees in the game for a chance to tie or take the lead in the final innings.

Mikolas was a rock on the mound for the Rangers, working to two outs in the 8th inning. He only gave up two runs on four hits, with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. He came into the game with an ERA over 10, and the Yankees did what they do best in making him look really good.

The Yankees tired to make things interesting in the bottom of the 9th. Kelly Johnson ripped a one-out single into right-center field, then after Roberts wasted no time popping out to Beltre on the first pitch he saw against Joakim Soria, Brian McCann, who pinch-hit for Ichiro Suzuki, was hit by a pitch to put the tying run on with two outs. Yangervis Solarte hit for Francisco Cervelli, but flew out to left field to end the game.

The Yankees and Rangers will continue this four game series on Tuesday night when Chase Whitley and Nick Martinez take the mound for their teams. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm ET.

Three games, three wins in the books for the Yankees to open up the second half of the season. After all they have been through this season, the Yanks are amazingly just three games back of the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles, who just lost two of their three games in Oakland over the weekend.

The second half of the Yankees' season could not have gotten off to a much better start, with all three starters so far having delivered quality starts of at least six innings. And even better, Jacoby Ellsbury (6-for-12), Carlos Beltran (4-for-11) and Brian McCann (4-for-13) all had a good weekend against Cincinnati, sparking hope that is life after all in the lineup that produced very little during the first half.

The Yankees will now hope to continue this hot start to the second half against the Texas Rangers, who dropped two of three to the Blue Jays in Toronto over the weekend, and lost eight straight and 22 of 25 heading into the All-Star break.

Tonight's lineup against Texas:

LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
DH Carlos Beltran
1B Kelly Johnson
2B Brian Roberts
RF Ichiro Suzuki
C Francisco Cervelli
3B Zelous Wheeler

* Mark Teixeira will be out of the lineup for the next 3-4 days with a mild lower lat strain, Joe Girardi told reporters. As of now, Teixeira will not be headed to the disabled list. He went 0-for-12 over the weekend against the Reds.

Pitching matchup preview:

Shane Greene will look to continue his perfect run in the Yankees' rotation tonight when he takes the mound against an injury-riddled Rangers lineup. Greene, who has combined to allow just two runs over 13 1/3 innings while carrying a no-hitter through 4 2/3 innings in each of his first two starts, enters the game 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA.

In his last start, against the Baltimore Orioles on the Saturday before the All-Star break, Greene tossed 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball, while striking out nine.

Greene and the Yankees will be going up against Rangers right-hander Miles Mikolas (0-2, 10.05 ERA), who will make his fourth start of the season on Monday night. Mikolas gave up five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings against the Angels.

Triple-A Scranton: 16-5 win vs Charlotte Knights

2B Jose Pirela: 2-for-6, R, 3B, 3 RBI
RF Rob Refsnyder: 1-for-6, R, K -- average really took a hit today, dropping to .291 in AAA
LF Zoilo Almonte: 3-for-6, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 K
3B Adonis Garcia: 3-for-6, 3 R, HR, RBI, K -- his 8th homerun of the year
DH Kyle Roller: 2-for-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K -- his 10th homerun in AAA
1B Austin Romine: 1-for-4, 2 R, 2B, K
C John Ryan Murphy: 2-for-3, R, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, K

Matt Tracy: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR
Jim Miller: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Danny Burawa: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Matt Daley: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Double-A Trenton: 5-2 loss vs Binghamton Mets

CF Jake Cave: 1-for-4
LF Ben Gamel: 1-for-4, RBI
C Gary Sanchez: 1-for-4
DH Peter O'Brien: 0-for-4, 4 K
RF Tyler Austin: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 K

Dan Camarena: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 3 HR
Nick Rumbelow: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

High-A Tampa: 4-1 win vs St. Lucie Mets

SS Cito Culver: 1-for-4, R, K
1B Gregory Bird: 1-for-3, BB, K
DH Dante Bichette Jr: 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K -- 9th homerun of the season
3B Eric Jagielo: 2-for-4, R, HR, RBI, K -- his 11th homerun of the year
RF Aaron Judge: 2-for-4
2B Angelo Gumbs: 0-for-4, 2 K

Miguel Sulbaran: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
Jacob Lindgren: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K -- 19/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 8.2 innings this season

Low-A Charleston: 14-3 loss vs Augusta GreenJackets

LF Michael O'Neill: 1-for-4, R, 2B, 3 K
SS Tyler Wade: 0-for-3, R, RBI, BB
CF Dustin Fowler: 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI -- 9th homerun of the season
3B Miguel Andujar: 0-for-4, K
2B Gosuke Katoh: 0-for-1, 2 BB

Omar Luis: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
Evan Rutckyj: 1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
Stefan Lopez: 3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Short Season Staten Island: 7-4 win vs JamesTown Jammers

CF Devyn Bolasky: 2-for-5, 2 R
C Luis Torrens: 2-for-4, R, 3B, RBI, K -- extended his hitting streak to 19 games
2B Ty McFarland: 1-for-5, R, RBI -- 10th error (throwing)
RF Nathan Mikolas: 2-for-3, R, BB
3B Renzo Martini: 2-for-3, RBI, BB

Matt Borens: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
Jordan Cote: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K