Jacoby Ellsbury ends epic drought with ninth-inning homer

Red Sox manager John Farrell watched Andrew Benintendi launch two home runs in the first five innings of Saturday’s 10-5 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium and expected a barrage of long balls.

“This is a dangerous ballpark, and particularly today the way the ball was flying, we needed every bit of those 10 runs we got today,’’ Farrell said.

Until the home ninth Farrell’s AL East-leading club was cruising and looking for three outs to drop the Yankees 4 ½ games back. Then lefty Robby Scott gave up back-to-back homers to Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury leading off the ninth and suddenly the Yankees were close to getting back in it. But Scott retired the next three batters to close it.

Ellsbury’s fifth homer of the year was his first since May 7 at Wrigley Field and stopped a 147 homerless at-bat stretch. Ellsbury was 2-for-32 (.063) against lefties before the homer.

Headley’s home run was his first off a lefty in almost a year. The switch-hitter’s last homer against a lefty was Aug. 17, 2016, against the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ and ended a 144 at-bat homerless stretch versus lefties.

CC Sabathia is slated to throw a bullpen session Monday to test the right knee that landed him on the disabled list Friday.

In the span of two days Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka (inflamed right shoulder) went on the DL and Jordan Montgomery got hit by a batted ball in the right ear while signing autographs during Red Sox batting practice.

“It’s not what you want at this time of the year,’’ said Joe Girardi, who lost Michael Pineda for the season to Tommy John surgery.“It’s a darn good thing we made the additions we made or we would be really, really short.’’

Girardi was referencing the trade-deadline deals that brought starters Jaime Garcia and Sonny Gray to the Yankees.

Before the game, Girardi said Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa were candidates to take Tanaka’s start Monday night against the Mets. After using Mitchell for two innings in Saturday’s loss to the Red Sox, the manager was asked if Mitchell is no longer in the picture.

“Probably, but he didn’t throw a ton of pitches so not necessarily,’’ Girardi said of the right-hander who threw 22 pitches.

In the first 10 games against the Red Sox, Yankees pitchers held their hitters to a .047 (3-for-64) average with runners in scoring position but that turned a bit Saturday when the Red Sox went 4-for-11.

The 10 runs Luis Severino gave up Saturday were the most allowed by a Yankees pitcher this season and the most by any Yankees pitcher since Sergio Mitre gave up 11 to the Blue Jays on Sept. 6, 2009, at Toronto.

Ronald Torreyes started a 10th straight game Saturday with nine of them at second base. And with the Red Sox starting lefty Chris Sale on Sunday night it’s likely to stretch to 10 since Girardi’s other choice at second is the lefty-swinging Tyler Wade.

Torreyes went 1-for-4 Saturday and in the 10 games is batting .278 (10-for-36).

His string of starts could end sometime next week because Starlin Castro is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment.

Castro took ground balls with first baseman Greg Bird before Saturday’s game and is slated to run the bases Sunday.

“Not really, thank God,’’ Castro said if he felt anything in the right hamstring that has landed him on the DL twice this season. He last played July 21.

A year ago Sunday, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin were the first teammates in major league history to homer in their big league debuts. They hit back-to-back homers in their first career plate appearances in the second inning of an 8-4 win over the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

It is also the 22nd anniversary of Mickey Mantle passing away of cancer at the age of 63.

Through 53 games at Yankee Stadium the Yankees averaged 40,214 customers which was the highest home attendance in the American League. Their 33-20 record which was second to the Red Sox (36-20) which was the best in the AL.

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/08/13/jacoby-ellsbury-ends-epic-drought-with-ninth-inning-homer/

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