More A-Rod steroid drama
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 10- Days before the all-star break and a few weeks before the trading deadline, perhaps the New York Yankees need to look at their last three games, including a 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night in the Bronx.
CC Sabathia tossed his 37th career complete game but it went as a loss. The simple reason, again the Yankees failure to produce hits and runs, which has raised some questions about bringing some help before the deadline.
Though manager Joe Girardi has that concerned look on his face, as does a quiet Yankees clubhouse, there is no word if there will be any movement. For the moment, this is a team that will have to find some answers with or without a return of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez from the injured list.
And there are reports that Rodriguez, currently on a rehab assignment, may not return anytime soon. Reports Tuesday are stating that Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is close to leveling 100-game suspensions to the Yankees third baseman and other players in the latest steroid crisis to hit the game.
“They’re going out throwing pretty good ballgames, we’re just not scoring runs for them,” commented Yankees manager Joe Girardi about his pitching staff that has seen a lack of run support. During the last three ballgames the Yankees offense in losses to Baltimore and Kansas City has produced three runs.
That of course does not win ballgames, though Girardi said he expected out of spring training for this team to be playing tight ballgames and remains confident runs will be a matter of time.
“Feel these guys can get it done,” he said. “We’re going to score more runs. I believe they can do it. Any time you get four hits in an inning, you think you;ll get more than one run.”
Royals’ starter James Shield (4-6) got the win. And the only time Yankees fans could cheer was the first inning when they produced a run on four hits on singles from Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano and Zoilo Almonte.
Shields had 13 previous career starts at Yankee Stadium, 2-9 with a 5.31 ERA. The former Tampa Bay Ray right hander, in his first start against New York as a Royal, lost 3-2, May 11th at Kaufman Stadium allowing two earned runs and six hits over eight innings.
Prior to his start Tuesday night, his last win against the Yankees came as a Ray, 4-3 on September 3 of last season at Tropicana Field in Tampa.
Except for the first inning, Shields was sharp. He tossed 7.0 innings and shut down the Yankees after the first inning run and retired 17 consecutive batters after a Chris Stewart single in the second. In that inning he also recorded two of his five strikeouts.
“I had some good games here too,” he said about tough luck in the Bronx over the last few years. “It’s good to come to Yankee Stadium and get the win. We just want to win series, that’s all we want to do.”
Kansas City has won the first two of the four games in the Bronx with game three tomorrow night and the series finale Thursday afternoon.
On that first inning, Royals manager Ned Yost said about Shields, “James Shields after the first inning really settled in and did a great job. Holding the fort in the first inning was huge.”
The Yankees left three on in that first as Shields also got help from his defense. Lorenzo Cain ran down a drive in center and also made three other outstanding catches in the outfield.
Kansas City won their second in a row, and fifth in their last seven. New York on the other hand dropped their third straight after a season high six-game winning streak.
The Royals got to Sabathia (9-7) in the sixth inning for a run that tied the game at 1-1. David Lough hit a home run, a 1-1 pitch off a fastball in the sixth to the second deck in right field. Sabathia was reached for two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Billy Butler hit a 0-1 fastball for his 8th home run off leading off the 7th to the lower right bleachers, a fastball in, breaking the 1-1 tie. It was his second home run in two games.
“CC threw a good game,” said Butler. “We hit his spots.”
With one out in the eighth the Royals produced another run off Sabathia. Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer hit back- to- back doubles that produced their final run.
Tim Collins relieved Shields and the Yankees got their first runner on since the Stewart hit with a Bret Gardner single to left. Greg Holland converted his 15th consecutive save opportunity retiring the Yankees in order, his 22nd of the season.
“Two big mistakes,” said Sabathia about the fastball home run balls to Lough and Butler. “It’s frustrating, a loss is a loss,” he said.
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