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Yankees have faded quickly in A.L. East

Fri., Sept. 7, 2012

Andruw Jones and New York had a 10-game lead over Baltimore on July 18, but they have watched it slip away. (Associated Press)
Andruw Jones and New York had a 10-game lead over Baltimore on July 18, but they have watched it slip away. (Associated Press)

Joe Girardi chewed out an umpire at Tampa Bay, was brusque with reporters after a loss to Baltimore and snapped at a heckling fan in Chicago.

Usually even-keeled, the Yankees manager has been a bit out of sorts lately. His banged-up team has been, too.

Leading the A.L. East by 10 games on July 18, New York blew the entire bulge. Girardi held a team meeting Wednesday and the Yankees beat Tampa Bay, taking a one-game edge over the Orioles going into a four-game series with Baltimore that began Thursday with another Yankees’ loss.

New York had been alone in first for 84 straight days – its longest streak since 1984 – before the Orioles caught up. Tampa Bay also closed in and is still close behind.

New York built its big lead with home runs and solid pitching, managing to pull away despite the absence of career saves leader Mariano Rivera.

Then as injuries began to pile up, the lead started to dwindle. In the space of 47 games, the entire 10-game margin disappeared. Spotty pitching and a lack of clutch hitting have added to the problems.

“We’re just not playing up to our abilities,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “I’m bothered by the recent struggles, but I also know that’s not what we are.”

“Every team goes through their slumps,” Girardi said. “When we went through one, I told you it probably would not our last one. It seems like a couple months ago we were talking about how many days in a row we’d score three or more runs. You just go through it. We’re still in first place, that’s the bottom line.”

A’s McCarthy alert

Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy was in stable condition in the critical care unit of a Bay Area hospital on Thursday, a day after having surgery for a skull fracture and brain contusion.

McCarthy was hit in the right side of the head Wednesday by a line drive off the bat of Erick Aybar of the Angels. He was knocked down and hit his head on the ground.

A CT scan following the accident showed that McCarthy had an epidural hemorrhage, a brain contusion and a skull fracture. He was moved to another hospital, had a second CT scan, then underwent two hours of surgery to relieve pressure in his head.

The A’s also announced that third baseman Brandon Inge was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder. Inge will have season-ending surgery on the shoulder.

Weaver to miss start

An MRI test revealed that Jered Weaver has biceps tendinitis in his right arm, and the L.A. Angels ace will not pitch against Detroit this weekend. The team will announce in a few days when Weaver will make his next start.

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