Yanks win in Tex’s return

Pen has been dominant.
New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (25) went hitless but got on base twice in his return Saturday from the disabled list.
New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (25) went hitless but got on base twice in his return Saturday from the disabled list.

With one of only two payrolls in baseball exceeding $200 million, “patience” is nearly a pejorative term to the New York Yankees.

On Saturday though, it was the central virtue in their 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium, where Michael Pineda had one of his best starts of the season, giving up only two hits over six innings, striking out eight.

In the second inning, Pineda allowed a solo home run to Brian Dozier. Instead of aiming for the fences themselves for a quick strike, the Yankees pieced together 10 hits, all singles, to overtake the Twins in the eighth inning, setting up Aroldis Chapman for his 15th save.

Chapman combined with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller to throw three scoreless innings for the third straight game.

Over that span, they have allowed one hit and one ball out of the infield. The Yankees now have the dominant bullpen they were anticipating once Chapman joined the team after serving a 30-game suspension for domestic violence earlier this year.

“We have so much confidence in all those three guys out there,” said right fielder Carlos Beltran, who drove in the Yankees’ first run in the fifth inning. “It’s crazy. Every time they come, we expect them to be perfect.”

The Yankees waited longer than expected for Pineda to round into form, but the team’s manager, Joe Girardi, said he had seen marked improvement in Pineda’s last five starts, during which Pineda’s ERA dropped from 6.92 to 5.51.

The lone hiccup during that stretch came June 18 at Minnesota, when Pineda allowed four runs, three earned, in 5 1/3 innings.

Pineda mixed in a changeup Saturday, which threw the Twins off-balance, leading to a more effective fastball and slider.

“The key for him, when he puts that slider in the dirt, he gets a lot of punch outs,” catcher Brian McCann said. “When he’s getting on top of it and he’s getting those swings, the hitter becomes passive and everything else plays up.”

Pineda patiently finding his way could serve as a model for Mark Teixeira, who returned from the disabled list Saturday, after tearing cartilage in his right knee earlier this month.

Before the game, Girardi was asked how often he might hold his breath when Teixeira’s on the field, given his litany of neck and knee injuries this season.

“More than I would like,” Girardi said. “At any point, you worry that they could come back. We’ll just have to watch him carefully.”

Teixeira reached base twice, on an error and a walk, but could not convert in a key spot in the eighth inning.

With runners on the corners and no outs, Teixeira struck out during a 10-pitch at-bat. On the next pitch from Twins reliever Ryan Pressly, Starlin Castro drove in pinch-runner Aaron Hicks for the deciding run on a fielder’s choice and an error by Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who muffed the ground ball, committing his second error of the game.

“He’s one of the best defenders at first base, and hopefully he’s capable of getting into the rhythm and getting the timing and starting putting good at-bats,” Beltran said of Teixeira.

Girardi will take a moderate approach with Teixeira, saying he did not envision playing him four or five consecutive days immediately, which lessens the need for a capable backup. Although Ike Davis has played almost 600 games at first base, the Yankees decided to keep Rob Refsnyder with the club.

Davis was designated for assignment before Saturday’s game.

Girardi cited Refsnyder’s ability to play multiple positions as a factor.

“We really liked what Ref has done, and he provides flexibility,” Girardi said. “He can play right field and second base, and his at-bats have been really good.”

Before his latest trip to the disabled list, Teixeira was hitting .180 with three home runs, the last on April 13. Since driving in his 10th run of the year on April 26, Teixeira has two RBIs.

“It’s been a tough couple of first months, not playing as many games as I’d like and not being as healthy as I’d like, but hopefully, like I said, the second half is going to be different,” Teixeira said.


ab r h bi  ab r h bi

Nunez 3b  4 0 0 0  Ellsbry cf  3 1 1 0

Grossmn lf  4 0 0 0  Gardner lf  4 0 3 0

Mauer dh  4 0 1 0  Beltran rf  4 0 2 1

Santana pr  0 0 0 0  Chapman rp  0 0 0 0

Dozier 2b  4 1 1 1  Rodrguz dh  4 0 1 0

Kepler rf  2 0 0 0  Hicks pr  0 1 0 0

Escobar ss  3 0 0 0  McCann c  4 0 2 0

Park 1b  3 0 0 0  Tixira 1b  3 0 0 0

Suzuki c  3 0 1 0  Castro 2b  4 0 0 1

Buxton cf  3 0 0 0  Grgorus ss  4 0 1 0

Headley 3b  4 0 0 0

Totals  30 1 3 1  Totals  34 2 10 2

Minnesota 010 000 000 — 1

NY Yankees 000 010 01x — 2

E—E.Escobar 1. LOB—New York 10, Minnesota 3. HR—Dozier (9).



E.Santana 5 6 1 1 2 2

Rogers 2 1 0 0 0 2

Pressly L, 2-4 1 3 1 1 0 1

NY Yankees

Pineda 6 2 1 1 1 8

Betances 1 0 0 0 0 1

A.Miller W, 5-0 1 0 0 0 0 2

Chapman S,15 1 1 0 0 0 1

Inherited runners-scored—Rogers 1-0.

Umpires—Home, Alfonso Marquez; First, Larry Vanover; Second, David Rackley; Third, Chris Guccione.

T—2:44. A—40,075 (52,325)

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