The New York Yankees are finding success away from the Bronx lately, thanks in large part to some clutch hitting.
The Yankees may prefer to make things easier on themselves Tuesday night, when they go for their longest road winning streak in over 10 months against the St. Louis Cardinals.
New York (27-23) has won six of nine on the road, and half of those wins have come in extra innings. That was the case again Monday, when Brian Roberts’ bases-loaded single gave the Yankees the first of three runs in the 12th inning of a 6-4 win over St. Louis in the opener of this three-game set.
"It’s a grind," said left fielder Brett Gardner, whose leaping catch at the wall in the 11th prevented at least an extra-base hit for Yadier Molina. "But we’ve been playing pretty well and we seem to really stay focused."
That’s been particularly true during a three-game winning streak with two of those victories decided in extra innings. New York hasn’t won four games in a row on the road since July 1-4.
The Yankees have compiled a 2.03 ERA during the current streak, and they’ll turn to David Phelps (1-1, 3.18), who is 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA in four starts after replacing the injured Michael Pineda (shoulder) in the rotation.
The right-hander is a native of St. Louis and will take the mound at Busch Stadium for the first time.
"Going to games (at old Busch) with my parents growing up was something that really helped raise my appreciation for baseball," Phelps told the team’s official website.
"You grow up thinking about playing on this field," he said. "Obviously, you don’t think about doing it in a Yankees’ uniform, but it’s really cool. You walk out and you see the Arch. There’s small things like that that do make it fun."
Phelps was the hard-luck loser in a pitchers’ duel with the Chicago White Sox’s Chris Sale in Thursday’s 3-2 loss. He allowed two runs with eight strikeouts in seven innings – both season highs.
Phelps is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three games – two starts – in interleague play. That includes five scoreless innings in a 7-1 win over Pittsburgh on May 17.
The Cardinals have lost just three of the past 12 games, and each came by one or two runs.
"It comes down to doing little things and getting big hits," manager Mike Matheny said. "That’s no secret."
Matheny will give the ball to Lance Lynn (5-2, 3.60), who is 1-0 while allowing four runs in 13 innings over his last two starts – both at home.
He pitched well enough to win while not getting a decision in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Arizona. Lynn allowed two runs in the first inning before tossing five scoreless and leaving with six strikeouts.
He’s 0-3 with a 6.39 ERA over his last five interleague starts, but only one came at Busch.
Molina is batting .380 in 13 games, but he’s looking to rebound from his 0-for-4 effort in the series opener.
Jon Jay, meanwhile, had an RBI double in the 12th and two hits total. The center fielder is 6 for 11 with three RBIs in four games.