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It was Old Timer's Day at The Stadium yesterday, always one of the most fun and most attended games of the year. The regulars were all in attendance - O'Neill, Bernie, Cone, Guidry, Whitey, Yogi, etc. - along with a few new faces like John Flaherty and Orlando Hernandez. Once those festivities were over, all eyes were on Ivan Nova, who was making his first start since late April. As previously mentioned, there was little chance that Nova was being used for anything more than a spot start but he could still lay the groundwork for consideration later in the season with a good performance. He turned in a pretty good one actually, albeit one that got stained a bit by some poor relief pitching behind him in the loss.
- It was vintage Nova early and not in a good way. He gave up a run in the top of the 1st on a couple of line drive singles and a walk. His fastball command was spotty and he needed a big GIDP to escape the jam.
- In a continuation of a positive new trend, the offense picked up Nova immediately in the bottom half. Brett Gardner singled and moved to second on an error, then third on a wild pitch. Robinson Cano drove him home on a sac fly and the game was tied.
- After the tough 1st, Nova adjusted and went with more offspeed stuff early in the count. His curveball was really working - the Rays hitters couldn't do much of anything with it - and he leaned on it through 5 innings, scattering just a few more baserunners and striking out 7.
- Nova tired and hit 2 batters with 2 outs in the 7th, Shawn Kelley walked Evan Longoria, and Boone Logan hung a slider to James Loney to mar Ivan's final line and give the Rays a 3-1 lead. Not what the binder ordered.
- The offensive dormancy returned after the 1st. The Yanks left 2 on in the 3rd and the 4th, and stranded Zoilo on a 2-out double in the 6th, and that was about it for them. Not much of a fight.
- Gardner: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 K. Almost half the team's hits on a day where they didn't hit much. Nice bounce back after his 0-fer on Saturday.
- David Adams: 0-4, 2 K, 2 LOB. Not the kind of day the kid was hoping for after a couple of walks on Saturday. He needs to start hitting again to justify getting the full-time third base gig handed to him again.
- Logan: 0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Not much on Logan's line today but the slider he hung to Loney 1-2 was the killer pitch. He had just got Loney to swing and miss at one off the plate the pitch before and then he served up a meatball on the next pitch. Probably was the time to go heater upstairs, but he went slider and didn't execute.
This series ended in a split and the Yanks are right in the middle of a tightening AL East race. They get another scheduled off-day today while they wait for the Texas Rangers to come to town. That should help reset the rotation order, and the Yanks will need it with 6 against the Rangers and O's this week.