New York Yankees: Rapid Reaciton

OAKLAND -- There might be some hope for this Yankees team after all.

First, they go to Seattle and sweep three games from the improving -- and maybe even good -- Mariners. Then they go to Oakland and blow out the best-in-the-AL Athletics in the first game of a three-game weekend series. And the Coliseum is usually a house of horrors for them; the Yanks had lost their previous seven games there.

They did it with pitching (David Phelps) and timely hitting (you read that right) and without the benefit of a single home run. In fact, they did it with 12 singles, often strung together, and took advantage of some raggedy playing by the A's.

Now, suddenly, they have won four in a row and are once again four games above .500, after having dipped to the mediocrity line on Sunday. Maybe there will be something to watch this summer after all, now that the Rangers are finished.

Unhittable: Phelps took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Derek Norris muscled one off the handle into left field for the Athletics' first hit of the game. Phelps had previously walked two hitters, including Jed Lowrie just before Norris' hit, but got the next two batters to keep Oakland off the board. Phelps wound up going 6 2/3 and allowing just two hits. The second was a long double by Lowrie, which then ended his night with two out in the seventh. It was Phelps' second-longest -- and best -- outing of the season.

Son down: The Yankees jumped all over A's starter Sonny Gray in the first two innings and opened the game with three singles (Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury), an RBI and a run off him, and they got a second run on Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly. They added another on three singles and a walk in the second and could have had more if Kelly Johnson had been able to score on Jeter's second hit of the game. Instead, he stopped at third and was forced out at home on Ellsbury's grounder to first. But once again, the Yankees, who had been hard-pressed to score more than two runs a game the previous week, were able to run up an early 3-0 lead.

Son rise: After Jeter's second-inning single, Gray settled down to retire the next 13 Yankees, until Ichiro Suzuki reached on an infield hit with two out in the sixth.

Tack ons: The Yankees added an eighth-inning run on hard singles by Teixeira and Brian McCann and an infield hit by Ichiro that went off the pitcher. Two more scored when Brian Roberts singled home McCann, with Suzuki following after A's catcher Norris mishandled the throw home and the ball scooted far enough away for Suzuki to score from third. Finally, Roberts came home on Johnson's single to center to make it 7-0.

Hitting machine: Jeter singled in his first two at-bats for his fourth straight multi-hit game. Jeter was hitting .258 when this road-trip began a week ago; he is now at .275.

Say what, now?: The Yankees were 6-for-13 with RISP tonight. That is not a typo.

Get used to it: Brendan Ryan got booed, loudly, when he was sent up as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning. Why? He was hitting for Jeter, whom most of the crowd, apparently, came to see. To add injury to insult, Ryan wound up taking a Jim Johnson pitch off his left elbow and, despite being in obvious pain, remained in the game.

Cuckoo for Coco: Here's a first: Dellin Betances apparently hit Coco Crisp on the foot with a pitch -- and got a strikeout out of it when 3B umpire Dan Iassogna ruled that Crisp's flailing bat (he was trying frantically to get out of the way) was actually a swing and miss. The ruling was so bizarre Crisp could only sit at home plate and laugh.

Tomorrow: The middle child of this three-game series matches Hiroki Kuroda (4-4, 4.12) and LHP Scott Kazmir (7-2, 2.20). First pitch is at 10:05 p.m.
MILWAUKEE -- A good start to this weekend in Beer City, and the final three games of this six-game road trip, as the New York Yankees beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 at Miller Park on the basis of one big inning and a not-great-but-good-enough start from Masahiro Tanaka.

Tale of two games: For the first five innings, Tanaka was dominant, allowing just two singles and a walk and striking out five. But he unraveled briefly in the sixth and could not make it through the seventh, giving way to Adam Warren. Tanaka's final line was just so-so -- 6 1/3 innings, seven hits, two earned runs, one walk, seven strikeouts -- but good enough to earn his fifth win and keep intact his record of not losing a regular-season game, on two continents, since 2012.

Fighting Hiro: Tanaka battled through a difficult sixth inning in which he allowed two runs on three straight hits -- a pair of doubles and a single -- but battled back impressively after falling behind 3-0 to Aramis Ramirez. Tanaka's next seven pitches were strikes, the first six fouled off and the last one rapped straight to Derek Jeter for a double play. Tanaka then struck out Mark Reynolds looking at a 3-2 slider to end the inning.

Ta-walk-a: Tanaka had come into the game with an outstanding walks-to-strikeouts ratio, having walked just six batters in 42 2/3 innings while striking out 51. He walked Carlos Gomez, the first batter he faced, in this game. But it did not cost him. Gomez stole second and was sacrificed to third before Tanaka got Jonathan Lucroy to pop out to the infield and struck out Ramirez to end the inning.

Good thing he can pitch: Earlier in the week, Tanaka had expressed trepidation about having to hit, and with good reason -- he can't. Tanaka struck out in each of his three at-bats, and never came close to touching the ball with any of his four swings.

True Yangy: In the 100th at-bat of his big-league career, Yangervis Solarte drove a Yovani Gallardo pitch over the right-field fence with two men on to give the Yankees a 3-0 fourth-inning lead. Solarte, a rookie, leads all of his much more experienced -- and highly-paid teammates -- in RBIs (18), and all but Ichiro Suzuki in OBP (.391). The glass slipper still fits.

Captain Cool: A fan ran onto the field in the bottom of the sixth and headed straight for Jeter, who stood motionless as the imposter approached and appeared to be speaking to him. Security guards steamrolled the man from behind. Can't wait to hear what Jeter said to the guy, or what he was thinking as the man approached.

McClutch: The Yankees escaped a first-and-third, one-out seventh-inning jam when Brian McCann threw out Logan Schafer trying to steal second to complete a strikeout, throw-out double play. Warren, in relief of Tanaka, struck out pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay, but had Schafer been safe, Jean Segura would likely have scored from third to cut the Yankees' lead to 4-3.

Crucial sequence: The Yankees holding the Brewers scoreless in the seventh, and then tacking on a run in the top of the eighth, was perhaps the most important stretch of the game. Instead of leading 4-3, or worse, heading into the bottom of the eighth, it was 5-2 -- huge difference.

GoGo Gomez: Gomez, McCann's nemesis from last year, was nearly the Yankees' nemesis in this game, with two hits (single, double), a walk, a stolen base, a run, and a near homer when his eighth-inning drive forced Jacoby Ellsbury to the wall in center field.

Leaving a Mark: Reynolds, the former Yankee, belted a solo homer off David Robertson in the ninth to account for the Brewers' final run.

What's next: CC Sabathia's favorite day of the season -- the day he gets to hit. He also has to pitch, and hopefully better than he did in his last outing, when he allowed five runs on 10 hits to the Angels in 3 2/3 innings. Sabathia (3-4, 5.75) will be opposed by righty Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.72), first pitch at 7:10 p.m.

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 2, Astros 1

September, 28, 2013
HOUSTON -- Andy Pettitte goes out in style, pitching a complete game, 20 minutes from his home in Deer Park, Texas.

WHAT IT MEANS: No. 46 will never pitch again in the majors.

PETTITTE'S LAST CALL: For a full report on Pettite's final outing, click on my news story.

NUNEZ BEING NUNEZ: In the sixth, the always entertaining Eduardo Nunez was nearly hit by a pitch and in his haste to get out of the way he nearly did a complete handstand. Nunez then almost rapped a home run around the left-field foul poll, but it hooked too much. Finally, Nunez hit a sharp single.

CANO COMES THROUGH: With runners on the corners, Robinson Cano nailed a hard single to right to tie the game at 1-1 in the sixth.

STOPPING THE CLOCK: Still in the sixth, with the bases loaded, Astros catcher Matt Pagnozzi started to try to pick off Cano at second. But he stopped midway and he threw the ball straight into the ground. He looked like a quarterback aggressively spiking the ball into the turf. The ball drifted away and off the wall. Pagnozzi tried to recover and flip to reliever Chia-Jen Lo. Nunez -- who, of course was involved, was ruled safe at home, just beating the flip to Lo. The run gave Pettitte the lead.

ON DECK: Pettitte reaction, plus a column from Ian O'Connor.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Here is our Mariano Rivera news story and our Alex Rodriguez newser.



Jacoby Ellsbury
.293 8 47 47
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 59
OPSJ. Ellsbury .778
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135