Yankees get to Masterson and Indians despite no-decision for Pettitte
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 4- The last time Justin Masterson of the Cleveland Indians pitched against the New York Yankees he was almost perfect. He threw a complete game shutout in a 1-0 Indians win in the first game of a doubleheader May 13th at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Monday night in the Bronx, with the Yankees Andy Pettitte on the mound, returning from the disabled list, Masterson could not duplicate what he did in Cleveland. Mark Teixeira touched the Indians right hander for a grand slam home run in the third inning and the Yankees never looked back taking the first of a three-game series 7-4.
The game also saw the return of former Yankee Nick Swisher to the Stadium. In three at bats, he walked, scored and drove in a run for the Indians and received a huge ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd.
Teixeira returned from the 60-day disabled list Friday night against the Boston Red Sox and was 1-for-9 including a run and walk prior to hitting his eighth career grand slam. It was also the first grand slam hit by the Yankees this season.
“Tex is an RBI machine,” commented Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Indeed, the Yankees are hoping this is one of many home runs to come as they have missed his offense in the middle of their lineup.
Masterson allowed seven runs in 6.1 innings. Two of his 9-hits went for home runs. Travis Hafner also connected in the seventh inning. He hit a solo home run to right with one out, his 9th of the season that gave New York their 7th and final run.
He had not allowed a home run to the Yankees in his career prior to his start Monday night.
“Three hanging pitches on the home runs,” commented Masterson, “And one up and away to Hafner. I wasn’t able to make one when I needed to,” he said about his pitch selection.
Indians manager Terry Francona said about Masterson, “I actually think he had good stuff the whole night. He made some mistakes when he got ahead of the count to the bottom of the order. Then he made a real good pitch to Cano (Robinson) and we had a chance to get out of it, but he left a first pitch fastball and let Teixeira get his arms extended.”
“First home run of the year is always good,” said Teixeira. He said it was a big home run as Masterson is one of the elite pitchers in the American League. “I know it will take me a few weeks to get back in the rhythm of playing every day and seeing big league pitching but like I said this is a good first step.”
Pettitte making his 500th career start allowed 4-runs and seven hits in 4.2 innings. “It’s disappointing,” he said about leaving the game early and feeling a little tired. “I am not happy with the results but it was a good win for us, we needed that.”
Mariano Rivera tossed a scoreless ninth inning and recorded his 20th save.
NOTES: Before the game, the Yankees made room for Pettitte on the roster and optioned outfielder Brennan Boesch to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The club also released outfielder Ben Francisco from the roster….
Robinson Cano, 1-for-5 has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games….Lyle Overbay, 1-for-3, started in right field, It was his first career Major League appearance at a defensive position other than first base…
Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner before the game met with the media after a press conference to announce the agreement with the Big-10 college football conference and the Pinstripe Bowl that the Yankees host. But the attention and questions centered on injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez who may return sometime in late July or August.
“There have been no doubt been times that we’ve been disappointed in him and we’ve conveyed that to him,” he said. He understands that.” The reference was referring to the huge contract and Rodriguez not living up to expectations with injuries and the constant cloud of steroid allegations around him…
David Phelps (3-3, 4.65 ERA) gets the start for New York Tuesday night opposing left hander Scott Kazmir (3-2.)
Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com