The Arizona Diamondbacks avoided a sweep at Yankee Stadium on Thursday with a 6-2 win in 12 innings over the New York Yankees. Eric Chavez returned to face his former team and led the Diamondbacks with three RBIs to erase J.J. Putz second blown save of the season.
Chavez spent each of the last two seasons as a member of the Yankees, but he signed with Arizona over the offseason. His return to Yankee Stadium started off on the wrong foot as he combined to go 0-for-5 in the first two games.
The Yankees won both games but the Diamondbacks got the spark they needed on Thursday to avoid the sweep. Chavez finished off his return in style and went 3-for-5 at the plate in game three.
Chavez wasn’t the only Diamondbacks starter to shine on Thursday, as rookie Didi Gregorius homered on the first pitch he saw in his major league career. The Diamondbacks’ shortstop took a Phil Hughes’ first-pitch fastball and lined it over the right field wall to give Arizona a 1-0 lead after three innings.
Gregorius went on to strike out twice in the game but proved his potential early on with the solo shot in the third. At 23-years-old, Gregorius began the season in Triple-A with the Reno Aces where he hit .387 with two home runs in seven games before being called up.
Patrick Corbin got the start on the mound for Arizona and pitched seven strong innings before being relieved. Corbin gave up one run on two hits while striking out seven. His only run allowed came off the bat of Robinson Cano in the bottom of the sixth.
Cano has been on fire of late and launched a ball into the right-center bleachers to cut the Diamondbacks lead to one. Arizona’s Martin Prado hit a solo home run in the top half of the inning before Cano hit his fifth of the year.
Corbin pitched a scoreless seventh inning before David Hernandez did more of the same in the eighth. Trouble came in the ninth as J.J. Putz blew the save opportunity when Francisco Cervelli went deep to tie the game at two.
Cervelli solo shot gave Putz his second blown save in four chances and kept Patrick Corbin from getting the win after a great outing. Putz settled down and got through the inning without anymore harm done but didn’t return for the 10th inning.
The game remained scoreless in extra innings until the 12th when the Diamondbacks blew up for four runs. Cody Ross drove in Gerard Parra with a single to left to start the Diamondbacks’ big inning.
Eric Chavez then cleared the bases with a 3-RBI double to deep center to seal the win for the Diamondbacks as Tony Sipp came in to close out the Yankees in the bottom half.
With the loss, the Yankees have dropped to 2 1/2 games back of the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East. The loss wasn’t the only bad news for Yankees’ fans on Thursday, as captain Derek Jeter faced another setback and isn’t expected to return to the field until the All-Star break.
Manager Joe Girardi will have to adjust as injuries continue to dampen the mood in New York. Nevertheless, the Yankees will move forward with the players they have and Girardi made it known that they have a lot of work to do without Jeter.
“It’s something that we’re gonna have to fight through,” Girardi said after the game. “Some guys are really gonna have to step up in his (Jeter) absence.”
Girardi’s team is off to a pretty good start this year considering it began with over $80 million on the disabled list. Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are expected to return to the team soon, but Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will continue to rehab and could miss more than half of the season.
Can the New York Yankees regroup after losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks in game three or will Jeter’s bad news be the beginning of the end for the Yankees?
[Image via Keith Allison]