NEW YORK (AP) — The Yankees will head into the final months of the season with what they have, faltering pitchers, injured starters and all.
After Masahiro Tanaka failed to hold a two-run lead in a 7-5, rain-interrupted win over Arizona on Wednesday in what became Zack Greinke’s final start for the Diamondbacks, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged he had failed to find additional pitching at a reasonable price before the trade deadline passed.
“It wasn’t for a lack of effort,” he said. “We engaged with all teams. Some players, obviously, we didn’t match up for. Other circumstances, those players weren’t really available even though they were widely talked about in the public setting.”
New York is 68-39 and started Wednesday night with an eight-game lead over second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East after Austin Romine’s go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh helped gain a two-game series split. Yet, the Yankees’ starting pitching has stumbled, with Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ struggling and CC Sabathia returning to the injured list for the third time this year. New York hopes starter Luis Severino and reliever Dellin Betances return from injuries that have sidelined them since spring training.
“We’ve already got what we believe is the best bullpen and some of the best (starting) pitchers in the league,” Romine said. “It’s over, so it’s kind of like, ‘Hey, let’s focus on the group that’s in here and get it done.'”
Yankees fans were hoping for a shiny acquisition — like the one Houston made when it acquired Greinke from the Diamondbacks shortly after his last pitch against New York.
“Just in there celebrating a win with those guys and looking around the room and knowing we’ve got everything we need to be a championship club,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “That doesn’t change. I have total faith in Brian and their staff in that they’re always gonna do the best for this organization, as far as whether that’s short-term, long-term things. So, the fact that something didn’t happen means it didn’t match up. So, we’re ready to roll and move forward now that this day’s officially behind us.”
Romine’s homer brought a spark to the Bronx on a gray, rainy day that started with slugger Luke Voit going on the injured list with a sports hernia that could require surgery. New York had lost four of five, and its only deadline move was to acquire Class A left-hander Alfredo Garcia from Colorado for reliever Joseph Harvey. The rival Boston Red Sox come to town for a four-game series starting Friday.
Greinke allowed a two-run homer to Mike Tauchman in the second inning but settled after that, pitching two-run ball over five innings. He got slick when rain began coming down in the fifth, throwing a 64 mph eephus curveball to Aaron Judge before striking him out with a 92 mph slider. A 36-minute rain delay followed, and that was Greinke’s last batter faced for the Diamondbacks.
Arizona took a 3-2 lead when Jake Lamb hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Chad Green in the fifth and center fielder Aaron Hicks airmailed his throw to third base. The ball bounced into the visiting dugout, allowing a second run to score. Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela was shaken up on the play but remained in the game.
Green ended the inning when Nick Ahmed hit a ball to the warning track in left.
Tanaka made his first start since allowing 12 runs in 3 1/3 innings against Boston last Thursday. He said he would tweak the grip on his splitfinger fastball, and that pitch was more effective against Arizona. The rest of his repertoire fell flat, though, and he was charged with three runs in four-plus innings. He allowed two singles to start the fifth before handing off to Green.
Judge struck out three times in three plate appearances against Greinke and was 1 for 25 before an eighth-inning single off Hirano. That started a three-run inning for the Yankees that included Gleyber Torres’ RBI double and Cameron Maybin’s run-scoring single.
Tim Locastro hit his first major league homer leading off the ninth against Nestor Cortes Jr. and David Peralta had an RBI double off Aroldis Chapman, who got All-Star Ketel Marte to ground into a game-ending forceout with two on, earning his 27th save in 32 chances.
Adam Ottavino (4-3) pitched a scoreless inning.
“We have a very strong position group, obviously a deep bullpen,” Cashman said. “The best play was we did nothing and we did nothing for a reason — because we felt that everything that was in front of me was really not obtainable based on the associated costs.”
Diamondbacks: OF/C Blake Swihart (strained right oblique) was 0 for 4 with four strikeouts and a walk in a rehab game with Triple-A Reno on Tuesday night. He was transferred to the 60-day IL Wednesday.
Yankees: Boone said the club will re-evaluate Voit over the next day or two before making a decision regarding surgery. If he needs an operation, Voit is expected to miss six weeks. … INF DJ LeMahieu was held out of the lineup for the fourth straight game with a sore groin. Boone said LeMahieu was available to pinch hit and is expected to start Friday against Boston. … SS Didi Gregorius got a visit from trainer Steve Donahue after rolling over his left wrist fielding a grounder in the third, but he remained in the game. … RHP David Hale (lumbar spine strain) was placed on the IL, retroactive to Sunday. He’s the 24th Yankees player on the IL this year. … INF Breyvic Valera and RHP Jonathan Holder were recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ross (9-7, 3.91) is scheduled to start against Washington on Friday night against RHP Joe Ross (0-3, 9.85).
Yankees: The Yankees haven’t announced a scheduled starter for Friday. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (13-4, 4.13) is in line to start for the Red Sox.