In the lineup at first base in his first game as a Yankee, Mark Reynolds made it count. Reynolds blasted a two-run home run to left field off of Felix Doubront in the second inning, bolstering the Yankee lead to 3-0. Meanwhile, outfielder Alfonso Soriano continued to stay red hot. The former Cub entered the night with 14 RBI and four home runs in his last three games. Soriano blasted home run #25 on the season (#8 as a Yankee), a three-run shot off of Doubront in the third, bringing the Yankees up to 6-0.
Meanwhile, Yankees starter Andy Pettitte was solid, allowing three unearned runs over six and two-thirds innings. He allowed six hits, walked one, and struck out five before deferring to the bullpen. The combination of Shawn Kelley and David Robertson held the Red Sox offense silent. Joba Chamberlain got two outs in the ninth but loaded the bases in the process, so manager Joe Girardi called on lefty David Huff. Huff retired Jacoby Ellsbury to finalize the 10-3 victory.
Alex Rodriguez, by the way, went 2-for-4 with a walk. Soriano finished 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, bolstering his stats over the last four games to five home runs and 18 RBI, tying the Major League record for RBI in a four-game span. Per ESPN Stats & Info, others to do it include Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Sammy Sosa, Jim Bottomley, and Tony Lazzeri. He has had four consecutive three-hit games, becoming the first Yankee to accomplish the feat since Johnny Damon in 2006, per the YES Network. Since joining the Yankees, he is hitting .320/.354/.667.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.
The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.
Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.
With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.
Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.
Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.
The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.