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Happ stung by HRs at Stadium despite theft

Maybin brings one back, but lefty sees home ERA climb to 7.65
@BryanHoch
May 4, 2019

NEW YORK -- As Cameron Maybin leaped from the right-field warning track in the fourth inning on Saturday afternoon, stealing what would have been a three-run homer from the Twins' Jonathan Schoop, Yankees starter J.A. Happ raised both hands above his head and offered a few words of appreciation. Maybin's

NEW YORK -- As Cameron Maybin leaped from the right-field warning track in the fourth inning on Saturday afternoon, stealing what would have been a three-run homer from the Twins' Jonathan Schoop, Yankees starter J.A. Happ raised both hands above his head and offered a few words of appreciation.

Maybin's highlight-reel grab kept the score manageable, but Happ was unable to pin the damage, continuing his early-season issues at Yankee Stadium. Mitch Garver and C.J. Cron homered off the left-hander, who allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings in the Yankees' 7-3 loss to Minnesota.

Box score

"Obviously, I wanted better results," Happ said. "I felt about as good as I've felt so far this year. I started out strong. I missed a couple of times and they made me pay. Overall, I feel like I made a lot of good pitches but you've got to live with it and try to move on."

Acquired from the Blue Jays last summer, Happ provided everything the Yankees could have hoped for down the stretch, helping the club secure a postseason berth. But it has been a different story in 2019, especially in the Bronx, where Happ has allowed 17 runs and seven homers in 20 innings (7.65 ERA) across four starts.

With his four-seamer having been repeatedly hit hard, Happ is attempting to alter his style to quell opponents, but the issue may run deeper than mixing in his two-seamer, slider and changeup. Some of the homers that have been hit this season have prompted Happ to wonder about a super-charged baseball, as he told USA Today this past week in Arizona.

"The nine guys in the lineup can beat you, really at any area of the ballpark, especially the way that it is now," Happ said on Saturday. "Before, you used to not really see that. I give credit to them, they made good swings and they got us today. They outplayed us."

Happ owns a 1.96 ERA in three road starts, and was 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA in seven Yankee Stadium starts last season. Yankees manager Aaron Boone noted that Happ set the side down in order efficiently in the first inning, and couldn't kick himself too much over Garver's third-inning poke to the short porch in right field.

"Garver hit the two-run homer that's probably not a homer in a lot of other places, and even the one Cameron took back, that's a fly ball," Boone said. "Especially when we are talking just a month into the season, that's the kind of thing that can catch you a little and skew some things."

Regardless of the cause for the travails, the Yanks' bats mustered no support for Happ, blanked by Jake Odorizzi over six innings of two-hit ball. Even Luke Voit's career-best on-base streak was snapped, at 42 games.

New York broke through with a pair of runs off Trevor Hildenberger in the seventh, including a run-scoring wild pitch and a DJ LeMahieu RBI single in the second baseman's return to the lineup from a right knee injury.

Gary Sánchez hit an eighth-inning homer, his third in the past two games. Sánchez has 11 homers with 21 RBIs in 19 games this season, including five homers in eight games since coming off the injured list on April 24.

"I'm feeling good right now," Sánchez said through an interpreter. "It's about making adjustments, and I've been able to do that, staying away from swinging at bad pitches. I'm looking to keep the consistency going."

It was an afternoon of mixed results for Miguel Andújar, who was activated from the injured list prior to the game. Andújar went 1-for-2 with a walk in his first big league contest since March 31, though he also committed two errors at third base -- one on a missed second-inning grounder, one on a seventh-inning throw that sailed into the outfield.

"I felt good out there; just moving around, it felt good," Andújar said through an interpreter. "Errors are going to happen in a game. I'm looking forward to tomorrow; I'll come back and be ready to go."

Nelson Cruz hit a long ninth-inning homer while Eddie Rosario and Schoop also drove home runs for the Twins, who celebrated a rare victory in the Bronx. Minnesota had lost 14 of 16 at Yankee Stadium since the beginning of 2015, including the 2017 American League Wild Card Game.

"As it is right now, guys continue to grind away at it and find a way," Boone said. "That's what we need to continue to do, knowing that over time we're going to continue to get guys back."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.