Sunday, June 14, 2015

Battery Mates Warren, Murphy Spark Yankees To 5-3 Win, Ending Losing Streak

By Barry Millman

What a difference a starting pitcher who doesn't rely on an untradeable contract to keep his job can make.

One day after CC Sabathia, the American League's favorite batting practice pitcher,  torched yet another lead with two two-run gopher balls, Adam Warren took the mound Sunday and gamely fought to lower his pitch count with quick outs after a botched double play in the first inning led to a 29-pitch frame that ultimately sabotaged his streak of five consecutive starts reaching the seventh inning. And though manager Joe Girardi ultimately pulled him one batter shy of earning the decision, he succeeded in keeping the ball in the park and allowing just three runs on six hits -- all bests by a Yankee starter in the series -- before handing a weary bullpen the lead and his team a much-needed 5-3 win; averting a sweep by the Orioles and ending a three-game losing streak.

Chasen Shreve got the last out of the fifth for Warren and went on to combine with Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances to shut down the Orioles the rest of the way; preserving for one more day the team's tenuous hold on first place in a tightening division race.

The big offensive blow of the game came from backup catcher JR Murphy (sorry John Ryan, you've been JR to me far too long to change now) who went 3-for-4 on the day and drilled a bases-loaded double with two outs in the top of the fifth, providing the go-ahead runs after Garrett "GI" Jones walked home the tying run three batters before him. Earlier in the game, Mark Teixeira doubled home Brett Gardner in the first inning and Gardner drove in Didi Gregorius on a sacrifice fly in the second.

Fun thought: Next up is a four-game stand against the Marlins and, looking at the schedule, it dawns on me that if the Yankees decide Ivan Nova doesn't need another rehabilitation start before activating him, he'll be perfectly lined up to take Sabathia's place in the rotation there.  Hey, I can dream, right?

You can email Barry Millman at and follow him Twitter @nyyankeefanfore.