Tag:Robinson Cano
Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:32 pm

No need to argue; Yankees have the edge

NEW YORK -- Argue all you want about whether Friday night's rain helped the Yankees or the Tigers.

Saturday night, there was no need to argue.

Could this night have gone any better for the Yankees?

Ivan Nova looked like a real postseason starter -- even though he was technically pitching in relief. Robinson Cano looked like an MVP -- even though the fans were chanting "M-V-P" for Curtis Granderson.

In a series where Justin Verlander can likely now affect only one game, the Yankees are already ahead, one game to none, after Saturday's 9-3 rout (in a continuation of the game that began in  Friday's rain).

And in a series where there could now be four games in four days, Nova pitched so well (and the Yankees eventually scored so much) that manager Joe Girardi could avoid using almost all his top relievers. He shouldn't have had to use any of them, but after Nova got the Yankees to the ninth inning, Luis Ayala was so bad that Mariano Rivera had to get the final out.

Nova took over for Sabathia, who pitched two innings before the rain. Doug Fister took over for Verlander, who pitched one inning before the suspension. On this night, it was advantage Nova, and advantage Yankees.

No one is saying, one game into a long postseason, that the Yankees look unbeatable. No one is saying, one game into a short series, that the Tigers can't come back.

But in one game over two days, the Yankees grabbed a clear edge.

They reminded us how strong their lineup can be. They showed us that they have a starter other than CC Sabathia capable of throwing some shutout innings.

And they can win the series even if they never beat Verlander -- and if they lose another game, as well.

As for the Tigers, they'll look back on the moments when Game 1 turned against them.

Specifically, they'll wonder about third-base coach Gene Lamont's decision to send Alex Avila home on a one-out Jhonny Peralta single in the fifth inning. It was a 1-1 game at the time, Nova had begun looking a little vulnerable, and the Tigers could have had the bases loaded with one out.

Instead, the Yankees got a perfect relay from Curtis Granderson to Derek Jeter to Russell Martin, Avila was out at the plate, and the inning ended with the game still tied. The Yankees then took the lead in the bottom of the fifth on Cano's double off the wall.

The next decision came an inning later, when Fister was beginning to falter. Tigers manager Jim Leyland allowed him to face Granderson (who walked to load the bases), then brought in right-hander Al Alburquerque to face the left-handed hitting Cano.

Cano is basically immune to lefties (during the season, his OPS against right-handers was .884, vs. lefties .879), and Alburquerque was very, very good against left-handed hitters (.176).

Alburquerque hung a slider, Cano sent it soaring to the right-field seats for the Yankees' first postseason grand slam in 12 years (Ricky Ledee hit the last one), and rest of the game didn't matter.

Cano ended up with six RBI, tying a Yankee postseason record set in 1960 by Bobby Richardson and tied by Bernie Williams (1999) and Hideki Matsui (2009).

The Tigers ended up with a one game to none deficit.

And no one was talking about the rain.
Posted on: September 26, 2011 6:07 pm

Francona: Yankees 'can do what they want'

BALTIMORE -- Yes, the Yankees rested regulars Sunday, not playing any of them in both ends of a day-night doubleheader against the Red Sox. But no one who watched the weekend series in the Bronx could say that the Yankees didn't try to win.

Will they do the same the next three nights against the Rays, who enter the final series of the season one game behind Boston in the American League wild-card race?

Yankee manager Joe Girardi's Monday night lineup would suggest that the answer is yes, as Girardi included most of his regulars for the opener of the series.

But no matter how Girardi approaches the series, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Monday he'll have no complaints.

"They're a professional team," Francona said. "Saying that, they can do what they want. They've played themselves into that position. I wish we were in that position. If they want to rest guys, they can."

Because the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the second game Sunday, Boston can win the wild card without any help from their rivals. But obviously a Yankee win or two against the Rays would make the Red Sox' task a whole lot easier.

"Our goal is to win the three games [against the Orioles]," David Ortiz said.

Ortiz said he talked to Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano on Sunday, and he took heart from what Cano told him.

"He said, 'I don't like days off,' " Ortiz said.

Does Ortiz think the Yankees will play as hard against the Rays as they did against the Red Sox?

"Hopefully," he said. "That's the way it's supposed to be."
Posted on: August 25, 2011 8:27 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 10:20 am

Everything's happened before -- but not this

NEW YORK -- Never happened.

It's the last thing you expect to hear.

Baseball has been played for more than 100 years. By this time next month, there will have been 200,000 major-league games.

In fact, if you believe the folks at baseball-reference.com (and I see no reason why you shouldn't), the actual number of games through Wednesday will be 199,589.

"Everything's happened," Russell Martin was saying Thursday.

Well, maybe now.

I have to admit, I never would have thought three grand slams in a game was a record. I guess I would have guessed that it tied a record, since it's hard to imagine a team hitting four.

But three? Yeah, that had to have happened, once in those 199,580 games.

Turns out it hadn't.

"Pretty amazing," Martin said. "This game has been played for a long time. Pretty much everything has happened."

It was easier to believe that no Yankee had 3,000 hits, until Derek Jeter did it earlier this year, than it was to believe that no big-league team had hit three grand slams, before the Yankees did it Thursday against the A's.

Robinson Cano hit one. Martin hit one the very next inning. And then Curtis Granderson hit one.

And when he did, the crowd went nuts . . . but not because anyone knew it was a record.

It wasn't until a few minutes later, when Granderson was already back in the dugout and the news appeared on the scoreboard, that the Yankees knew what they had just done.

"I was like, 'Oh, wow,'" Granderson said. "I was surprised it hadn't been done before."

It does seem crazy, but maybe it's not.

After all, the Yankees had only had three games in all their history in which they'd hit even two grand slams. They hadn't done it at all in 12 years, hadn't done it in this country in 75 years, hadn't ever done it at home.

Some teams go all season and don't hit even one grand slam.

Yes, Fernando Tatis once hit two in one inning, but some players go careers without hitting a grand slam.

Still, if I'd asked you Thursday morning whether any team had hit three grand slams -- in any of those nearly 200,000 games -- you'd have said yes. If you'd asked me, I'd have said yes.

"It's a pretty crazy accomplishment, if you think about it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

I'm trying to think about it, trying to think about how memorable it makes an otherwise forgettable 22-9 Yankee win over the A's.

But I keep going back to those two words at the top.

Never happened.

"Definitely cool," Martin said.

He's right. It's pretty amazing . . . and definitely cool.

Posted on: August 25, 2011 6:54 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 7:06 pm

Yankees set slam record

The Yankees became the first team in major-league history to hit three grand slams in one game, when Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson all hit slams Thursday afternoon against the A's.

Cano's slam, off A's starter Rich Harden, came in the fifth inning, when the Yankees trailed the A's, 7-2. Martin's slam, an inning later off reliever Fautino De Los Santos, gave the Yankees a 10-6 lead. Granderson's slam, off Bruce Billings, made it 21-8 in the eighth.

It had been 12 years since the Yankees last hit even two grand slams in the same game, and 75 years since they did it a game at home.
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