Yankees waste ninth inning comeback, fall to D’Backs in extra innings

Murphy goes deep three times in Trenton loss
Mailbag: Wang, Outfield, Pastornicky, Pitching

For a while there, it looked like the Yankees were in for their third straight come-from-behind win over the Diamondbacks. Instead, they only delayed the inevitable. New York dropped its first extra-innings game of the year 6-2 in 12 innings on Thursday.


Philthy Phil Philanthropist
After two straight dud starts to open the season, Phil Hughes held Arizona to two runs in seven innings in the series finale. Both runs came on solo homers of course, it wouldn’t be a Hughes start without some dingers, but that was it. He allowed six hits but he didn’t walk anyone, and he struck out six. A whopping 75 of 109 pitches were strikes (69%), and outside of the homers, he only allowed one runner to make it as far as second base.

Two runs in seven innings is plenty good enough to win, but instead Phil exited the game in line for the loss. That part really isn’t his fault though. I’ll take this kind of outing another 28 times or so between now and October, it was pretty much the Hughes we saw after April last year. The homers are maddening as hell — both leadoff an inning — but they’re just part of who he is at this point. As long as he continues to limit base-runners in front of the dingers, he’ll be just fine. Good job in this one.

Can’t Touch The Lefty
Left-hander Patrick Corbin looked like he was trying to finish what Wade Miley could not on Wednesday. The New York native wears #46 because he grew up idolizing Andy Pettitte, and he held Pettitte’s team to two measly hits in seven innings of one-run ball. His seven strikeouts were one short of a career-high.

Outside of a sixth inning solo homer by Robinson Cano, the Yankees had no answer for the D’Backs left-hander. That has become a theme on the young season, getting shutdown by southpaws, but it’s not terribly surprising when guys like Ben Francisco and Frankie Cervelli are hitting fifth and sixth. They just aren’t middle of the order hitters at the big league level, yet there they were in prime spots for the New York freaking Yankees. To call the team’s lineup against lefties feeble is an insult to feeble lineups everywhere. They’re borderline non-competitive against southpaws until some of the injured guys, specifically Mark Teixeira, return.


Cervelli Ties It
Can’t say I was expecting Cervelli to hit a solo homer off J.J. Putz to tie the game with two strikes and one out in the ninth, but that’s exactly what happened. The Arizona closer hung a cement-mix splitter and Frankie hit it right into the first row of the left field stands. If there is such a thing as a Yankee Stadium cheapie to left field, that was it. I’m not going to go as far as saying it was reminiscent of the 2001 World Series, but we’ve certainly seen the Yankees stage late-inning comebacks against the D’Backs before.

Can’t Hold Out Any Longer
The Yankees bullpen had been on a pretty great streak coming into this game, having allowed zero runs in their previous 15 innings. That dates back to the first game of the Indians series. That can’t last forever though, and the scoreless streak came to an end at 19 innings when David Phelps let things get out of hand in the 12th.

Phelps allowed a leadoff double in each of his two innings, but he was unable to escape the second jam like he did the first. Arizona loaded the bases with one out, then took the lead on Cody Ross’ single before former Yankee Eric Chavez broke things open with a bases-clearing double. Phelps seems to have a knack for either pitching very well or very poorly. There’s not much of a middle ground. This was one of the poor outings.


The Yankees had two prime opportunities to put runs on the board but were unable to capitalize both times. Uber-setup man David Hernandez loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but both Cano and Kevin Youkilis struck out to end the jam. Cano actually swung at a pitch that hit him for strike three. Later on, the Yankees put the leadoff man on base against Heath Bell but were unable to score. Bell is awful and failing to score against him (in a small ballpark, no less), makes the loss well-earned in my book.

Cervelli had an interesting night aside from the game-tying homer — he committed not one but two errors on catcher’s interference. He simply jumped the gun with his mitt and put it in the path of the hitter’s swing. Frankie appeared to be in some pain after the first one, which came a half-inning before the homer. I guess his finger didn’t hurt too much.

The 9-1-2 wrap-around portion of the lineup went a combined 1-for-14 with three walks, and nearly all of that came during the bases loaded failed rally in the eighth. Hey, the Yankees had the right guys up at the plate in that situation and just didn’t score. No one to blame but themselves there.

No Yankee had more than one hit, and only Vernon Wells (two walks), Cano (homer and walk), and Francisco (single and walk) reached base twice. At one point Corbin retired 14 of 15 batters faced.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are off to Toronto for a three-game set with the new-look Blue Jays starting Friday night. Pettitte is scheduled to start the game after missing some time with back spasms, and he’ll be opposed by Brandon Morrow.

Murphy goes deep three times in Trenton loss
Mailbag: Wang, Outfield, Pastornicky, Pitching
  • BigBlueAL

    The Yankees have scored 31 runs in 9 games at home.

    • forensic

      45 in 12 games against non-Indians teams.

  • Winter

    My nominee for comment of the day:

    “I’m not worried here. We’ve got a big game pitcher in a big game situation. Joba got out of it and so will Phelpsy.”

  • Bennett

    While a disappointing loss, I’m not all that bothered (or at least as not as I could be). Hughes pitched a pretty good game. Hopefully, as with last year, this will be the start of him starting a run of decent to good starts after a horrid beginning.

    Phelps lost the game, but considering the overall (solid) job he’s done thus far this season, I can accept a bad game from him. Aside from that, the bullpen did its job.

    The offense though…

    • trr

      c’mon, we knew we were going to go thru stretches like this

      • Robinson Tilapia


      • Crespo

        Especially facing a lefty they’ve never seen before.

      • Bennett

        I know, but it’s still painful to watch. Like having a wisdom tooth pulled out. You know it’s going to hurt, but the problem with pain is that it really freaking hurts when it actually occurs.

  • forensic

    I still have to look at Cano’s AB in the 8th for the main losing part. Swinging at a pitch that hit you and that never even started as a strike is absolutely pitiful.

    12 strikeouts tonight after they came into the night with the second fewest K’s in the league.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Certainly one way of looking at it. I always tend to place the “blame” on the last guy who didn’t pick up his teammates. To me, that would be Phelps and Cervelli.

      Still, though, “blaming” individual players isn’t my favorite thing to do. Nor so I think the team sees it that way. The Yankees lost.

      Good night.

      • Preston

        I was just more disappointed in the approach by Cano and Youkilis. He’d walked Wells on 4 straight pitches. Cano swung at some questionable pitches (especially the one that hit him). Bases loaded down one run, and Cano is usually a good two strike hitter, make the guy throw strikes. And then Youk after watching him Hit Cano comes up and was unusually aggressive. I wish they would have not tried to be heroes and tried to at least worked a favorable count, if not a walk. Obviously it’s easy to say form my couch.

      • Commerce

        Mr. Fish, trailing 2-1 in the bottom of 9th w/ 2-strikes, Cervelli tied it w/ a home run–nice to get tagged w/ the label you pasted on him! That may be the dumbest post I’ve read in my entire life. C’mon, pick us up w’ a tiny shred of intelligence!

    • I’m not the droids you’re looking for…

      To me that swing looked like Cano decided prior to the pitch that he was swinging no matter what. The kind of shit you do in hi arc softball leagues.

  • hornblower

    Hughes will be let go at the end of the year. How do I know? Francesa said so. Hughes is 26 and has good stuff. He is getting better and smarter with his pitch selection. Hard throwers who do not walk people give up homers. As long as they are solo that’s fine. Phelps is ok but just that. He always seems to let the lead-off hitter get on base. Hughes will be fine. He’s a keeper.

    • Bob Buttons

      He has more value to other teams in spacier parks than he does with the Yanks, so it would not be surprising if other teams paid him to be a #3 starter and Yanks stop there.

  • Barry

    Mike, can you stop defending Hughes now? Seriously he sucks so bad.

    I kid, I kid.

    • Bob Buttons

      Longer names often beat shorter names. Hughes have not had brilliance as starter (he was good, but not great in the 18 win season) ever since he shortened Philip to Phil.

      Robertson got better when he went from Dave to David.
      Montanez was actually okay in the short time he was known as Luis, not Lou.

      I’m not gonna mention Sabathia since, well, he was in the twilight of his prime when he went from C.C. to CC.

      One exception may be how Gonzalez sucked ever since he went from Mike to Michael. Maybe it’s just flipped for lefty relievers.

      • Mattchu12

        Mariano Rivera to simply Mo. #ExceptionToTheRule

        • Bob Buttons

          I don’t think nicknames count…

      • Winter

        Just look what happened when Mike Stanton became Giancarlo.

  • Mike HC

    Encouraged by Hughes start and discouraged by our offense against leftiies.

  • http:/www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew)

    Just got home from the game…

    Was really encouraged about Hughes tonight. Hopefully he shook off the ST rust and is ready to go here on out.

    What the hell happened with Cervelli that there was catchers interference twice? I was sitting in 419 behind the plate and didn’t understand either call. Both balls were hit well out of play but somehow he still interfered? The umps looked like they wanted to get out of there.

    Also with the Cervelli HR it looked from my angle that someone might have reached over the wall. Can anyone confirm that?

    • Bob Buttons

      The replays on MLB.com seem like the guy (DBacks fan, btw) didn’t catch it too well but it was right on the edge of the wall. Either way, doubt there’s enough evidence to overturn the HR.

    • forensic

      What happens to the ball is irrelevant once his glove hits the bat.

      I thought so too with Cervelli’s HR, but I just had the D-Backs broadcast and they never really replayed it. Not sure if YES looked at it.

    • dkidd

      amazingly, the same guy who caught the gregorius hr in right field caught the cervelli hr in left

      google zack hample

  • forensic

    For a while there, it looked like the Yankees were in for their second straight come-from-behind win over the Diamondbacks.

    They already had two straight come-from-behind wins over them. This would’ve been three.

    • forensic

      Sorry, but this is cool too:

      He allowed six walks but he didn’t walk anyone

      Sucks when your brain moves faster than your fingers. We’ve all been there.

  • forensic

    Some of the guys in there against lefties are certainly making the lineup weak against them, but two of the biggest culprits are guys we thought would hit lefties very well:

    Cano: 2-19 now with the 1 HR and 9 K’s
    Youkilis: 1-15 now with a double

    Youkilis is obviously a surprise, but Cano is worrisome considering it’s a continuation of last season.

    Hopefully these two guys figure it out soon.

  • Tom

    Lyle Overbay – take a damn strike when you have a bases stealer on 1st.

    I can deal with a scrap heap guy hitting or playing like crap, but if he’s a vet you’d think he’d at least do the little things right. With 2 out you give Nunez a chance to steal where a single then wins the game. If Overbay was a power hitter capable of hitting one out, or hitting one deep into the gap where it might score Nunez fine, but Overbay is not that guy (also the defense is playing deep so it’s not a given a double scores Nunez from first)

    And it’s time for Girardi to realize he has a choice to platoon Francisco with either Hafner or Ichiro. I’m all for giving Hafner rest to keep him healthy but this seems more like Girardi being stubborn and thinking Hafner is a platoon DH and thus he sits while Ichiro is a full time OF, so he doesn’t. They should at least be splitting time off against lefties, especially given the start Hafner’s been off to.

    • forensic

      If Overbay was a power hitter capable of hitting one out, or hitting one deep into the gap where it might score Nunez fine, but Overbay is not that guy

      This actually reminds me, Steve Berthiaume actually did call Overbay another big lefty, power hitter for the Yankees at the start of that AB. I almost choked on the food I was eating it was so funny.

  • PBFog

    Even when Cervelli does well he’s nagged on. Perhaps he’s better than what your jaded opinion may exude.

  • Get Phelps Up

    It sucks to lose after coming back like that but I won’t complain about 2/3. It would be really great to do the same in Toronto behind Andy and Hirok.

    • forensic

      I’m optimistic about the Kuroda start, they typically hit Buehrle pretty well and hopefully that’ll continue there, despite the struggles against lefties.

      The Pettitte and Nova games concern me though. Pettitte first start in awhile, and on turf, and I’m not quite positive how he’s going to come out. Plus, Morrow has this nasty habit of pretty really well, or straight up dominating, the Yankees. He’s working on 16 straight scoreless innings against them currently.

      Sunday could really go either way depending on which Nova and Johnson show up.

      • forensic

        *pitching really well, not pretty really well

        • Travis L.

          Sucks when your brain moves faster than your fingers. We’ve all been there.

          Sorry…had to. Too funny!!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Confident about the Pettitte start. Not confident about Nova.

  • forensic

    Sterling and the radio broadcast said it was the first time in Yankees history that they had two catcher’s interference calls against them in one game. Just the 17th time in MLB history with two against one team in the same game.

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    “Can’t say I was expecting Cervelli to hit a solo homer off J.J. Putz to tie the game with two strikes and one out in the ninth, but that’s exactly what happened.”

    Same here, Mike…I was expecting him to do it wwith 1 strike and two outs in the 8th.

  • LarryM Fl

    It was a perfect storm of evets that caused the Yanke loss last night. I watched the Yes feed. Over and over again Hughes missed his spots. I think he was fortunate to get away with 2 runs. But he was strong reaching 93 at times toward the end. If Hughes had the control of CC or Hidecki and or Pettitte. He would be some kind of a pitcher.

    Offensively the Yankees were inept against the Corbin but give the D-Backs their due they made some defensive plays on hot shots especially toward third base.

    The Yankees are going to be a work in progress. The Front office will hang with the makeup of the team until the team shows that it can hang in the race or falter. If it hangs then maybe a trade if it falters the young guys will get their shots at showing their worth. But I like the way the team hangs in games, 8-6 not bad.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Hughes may have missed spots, but I can’t say it really matters. He did what he had to do to give his team a chance to win, and they were able to tie it in the later innings.

      Cano and Youk missed key spots but, again, when your teammates falter, it’s up to the rest of the team to pick them up. At the end of the day, Phelps didn’t get the job done and Cervelli didn’t help matters in the 12th. Even with that, it’s a team sport and I’m not one to single out individuals. I think that’s the last thing actual players would do.

      That being said, though, there’s still a lot to come away happy with from this game. Hughes really looked like he’s getting further away from his rehab-on-the-job assignment. For Cervelli’s faults, he really does look like a very different player than what we’re used to. Nunez is actually not looking bad defensively, a couple of throws notwithstanding (and it’s a good thing we like our first basemen to be solid defensively.) More guys are contributing. You can’t win them all.

  • Monerowasdinero

    Overbay has made several poor decisions at the plate this year in not taking pitches against guys with control problems during an inning.
    Frustrating when vets don’t play “smart” baseball.

  • mt

    Games against Lester, Chen (for most of game), Miley and Corbin are not encouraging = also remember there have been wipeout relief appearances by lefties Drew Smyly and T.J. McFarland of the Orioles.

    I agree the Cano and Youklis weaknesses against lefties are the most troubling. Cano is really hot overall so what is going to happen against lefties when he cools down? Youkilis has historically crushed them so I hope he rebounds.

    If I were a team facing Yanks I’d rearrange rotation (within reason) to pitch lefties – Yanks look extremely feeble. Maybe on reverse lock we crush Moore and/or Price next week. Buehrle should be interesting -Yanks normally crush him but with so many injuries is the team facing him this weekend the “Yanks” anymore?

    Liked the comeback though last night – gave some hope.

    It would be interesting to look at Phelps starts – I agree that anecdotally he seems to either be lock-down or give up multiple runs -not much in between.

  • Eddard

    This team is still 2 games above .500 , 2 games above the standard we set for them before the season. And they have Andy back now. We won the series in which Nova and Hughes were pitching. Nobody gave this team a chance. They’ve exceeded expectations and now people are getting greedy. I’m not worried one bit.

  • Pat D

    I still say someone from Toronto has to get plunked.

    • Bob Buttons

      At this point it might be more fun to plunk one of their shortstops.

  • Mick taylor

    I will say it again, girardi is an idiot. Why is Travis hafner not playing 2 games in a row. So his boy nix is a better option . In Yankee stadium hafner is a threat at anytime to hit it out. Not playing him 2 games in a row ISA good part of the reason they only scored. 6 runs

    • Bob Buttons

      1) There’s a lefty starting. Hafner was never great at hitting them.

      2) Hafner is not exactly a model of health.

  • JRod

    Did not like Girardi’s decision to leave Phelps out there as cannon fodder. Phelps barely escaped in the 11th, it was completely obvious he had nothing. It was a very winnable game, and sending Phelps back out for the 12th was basically a surrender on Girardi’s part. I would have send Mariano out for an inning, but failing that he should have gone to Warren or Kelley and tried to win the damn game. Was he worried it was going to go 17 innings and we don’t have Swish anymore?

  • Cervelli is the Man

    I still think Phelps is a starter. He should start instead of Nova. Putting him in the situation he was in last night is very difficult and I think he is more cut out to be a starter.

  • jg233

    Phelps is awful outta the pen…either start him or trade him.