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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Phelps finds solace on tough night

By Andrew Marchand



ST. LOUIS -- As David Phelps walked out to pitch at Busch Stadium, 15 minutes from his childhood home, he heard his eighth grade Advance Algebra teacher and high school Calculus teacher call out his name.

It was a special personal night for him that ended up being bittersweet, because he and the Yankees lost thanks to a simple equation: Bad defense + bad hitting + not enough pitching = a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

While Phelps left 26 tickets for friends and family, there were random encounters as well. Four or five guys from his high school baseball team wore Yankees gear, and one of his elementary school coaches were among the ones he noticed.

"The support that I got tonight was really cool," said Phelps, who was psyched to face the team he rooted for as a kid. "It is a frustrating night overall, but just coming back home and seeing people really care -- it means a lot."

Phelps needed 28 pitches to escape the first. The Cardinals didn't score in the inning, but they got a read on Phelps.

"I'm not doing a very good job at getting out of the gate the first time through the lineup," Phelps said. "That's on me. They are seeing a lot of my pitches their first time through, which makes my next at-bats that much more comfortable for them. I have to do a better job getting out of the gate."

With the Yankees offense being dominated by Lance Lynn, Phelps needed to be perfect. Neither he nor his teammates were perfect in the third. They gave up four runs on three hits and two errors.

The first run was on Phelps, as it included a scorched RBI double from Matt Adams.

David Phelps
The Cardinals took it to David Phelps in his return home.
Later Derek Jeter threw wildly to first. Kelly Johnson, playing for Mark Teixeira, decided to leave the base to leap for the catch and then tag Allen Craig. He made the tag, but lost the ball.

"There was an error on someone," said Johnson, then stopped himself short. "Whether or not [I deserved it,] I honestly can't say unless I looked at a replay."

Joe Girardi gave his inexperienced backup first baseman an alibi.

"It looked like the runner hit at about the same time so that's a tough play," Girardi said.

Next, on Jhonny Peralta's grounder to Brian Roberts, Phelps looked as if he might escape with just two runs allowed.

Instead, Roberts -- like a receiver in football trying to run before the catch -- was thinking about tagging Craig prior to fielding the ball.

"It almost looked like he peeked at the runner," Girardi said.

Roberts said he did look at Craig. While Roberts did that, the ball scooted under his glove. So a total of four runs scored in the inning. Game over.

"We certainly take blame for that one as a defense," Roberts said.

The offense bears responsibility, too, of course. The Yankees only had two extra-base hits (doubles by Roberts and Brian McCann) and three singles. So it was a night to forget for everyone except the appreciative Phelps.

"He probably should have given up three runs in six innings, which is not a bad outing," Girardi said.