Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pinstripe Pulse

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pinstripe Pulse

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - Nathan Eovaldi's return to the rotation went smoothly until Tuesday night's sixth inning, when he required help.

And that aid wasn't coming from any of the Big Three in the Yankees' bullpen.

Veteran right-hander Anthony Swarzak pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam against the first-place Orioles, providing a critical moment in the Yankees' 7-1 win before 31,192 fans at the Stadium.

"It saved the game for us," catcher Brian McCann said of Swarzak's work in getting Mark Trumbo and Jonathan Schoop to foul out and preserve a 3-1 lead.

Starlin Castro drove in four with a two-run homer and a two-run double, helping boost the fourth-place Yankees (47-46) to a third straight win and cutting their deficit against Baltimore (53-39) to 6 1/2 games.

"We're focused on playing," said McCann -- not on the looming Aug. 1 trade deadline. While the Yanks' front office weighs the merits of selling off players, "We just need to keep playing good baseball.

"We knew coming back from the All-Star break this was a huge homestand for us."

And it was a big start for Eovaldi (8-6), who has been linked to interest by the Pirates and Rangers. But any wayward thoughts about the trade deadline "takes away from what I need to do here," Eovaldi said of keeping his focus on his game. "I started out with this team and I want to finish with this team.

"And I feel like we've got a real chance of coming back and coming through."

Eovaldi's 9.20 ERA over six starts - four of them losses - caused the Yanks to bump him from the rotation July 2. By using an improved splitter and staying ahead on Tuesday, Eovaldi cruised through the first five innings.

But Joey Rickard's RBI double cut the lead to 3-1 in the sixth, and Eovaldi exited with the bases loaded and one out.

Enter Swarzak, who retired Trumbo - MLB's leader with 28 home runs - on a foul-out to first baseman Rob Refsnyder, who made a terrific, one-handed catch near the rail after a long run. …

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