Yankees put Youkilis on disabled list and beat Astros
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, May 1- Earlier in the day, Kevin Youkilis became the latest casualty to be placed on a never ending New York Yankees disabled list. The injury toll grows, but the wins keep coming, the latest Tuesday night in the Bronx as New York defeated the Houston Astros 7-4.
Youkilis, signed to a one-year contract, filling a void at third base for the disabled Alex Rodriguez, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lumbar spine strain. He has been experiencing lower back pain the past week and sat out the weekend four-game Yankees series sweep over Toronto.
After banging out 17-hits against Yankees pitching in their opening series game win Monday night at Yankee Stadium, Houston had opportunities against starter Hiroki Kuroda (4-1). But, the young Astros struck out 12-times and left numerous runners on base.
Despite struggling early, Kuroda won his team-high fourth game of the season. The slider and off speed pitch were on target after throwing 67 pitches and putting a runner on in the first three innings, recording shutout ball for seven innings and eight of the strikeouts.
“You have to be pretty good to stick around to make it through those first three innings and then be good enough to give your team seven innings,” said manager Joe Girardi about his starter
The Yankees, after a 1-4 start, finished the month of April, 16-10. Girardi is more than pleased, especially with the veteran players that have stepped up to the plate.
“The offense has been spread around,” commented Girardi. “I am pleased the way these guys have been playing. They have done a very good job for us. It hasn’t always been pretty but our guys have come up with clutch hits when we needed them,”
One in particular is Travis Hafner. He stepped up big again in the cleanup spot, 3-for-4, and has driven in at least one run in eight of the Yankees’ nine series this season. Hafner drove in the final run in a three-run eighth.
Girardi said about Hafner, “You just see that his approach is good. He’s been great in that four-hole for us. With all the people we have out, he’s done a really good job in our lineup.”
And Lyle Overbay, getting the regular start at first, got the lone Yankees home run of the game. His fourth opened the eighth inning scoring. David Robertson and Shawn Kelley came out of the pen and Houston combined to score four runs in the last two innings. The big blow was a two run homer from Chris Carter off Robertson in the eighth.
The sparse crowd remaining from the 34,301, chanted “We want Mo,” and Mariano Rivera got the final out and recorded his 10th save in as many chances.
The Astros, a young team in their inaugural year in the American League, and with the lowest payroll in the game, saw starter and loser Philip Humber (0-6) allow four runs in six innings. He entered the game having given up 18 hits and 15 runs over his last two starts.
“I’m a little bit frustrated but it’s a part of the game,” said Humber who was removed after trailing 4-0, giving up nine hits and walking two.
However, with the exception of injuries there is no reason for Girardi and his Yankees to be frustrated. They ended April better than expected, second to the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, and hope to begin the month of May taking another series with a win over the Astros Wednesday evening.
E-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com
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