(Yankee pitching star of the day. Courtesy of Getty Images)
The brakes have been put on the Yankees' turnaround in a big way this weekend. They've been outhit, outpitched, and outmanaged by the Rays, and they came into this afternoon's series finale needing to get a win and salvage something from this series before moving on to take on Toronto again. They had Ivan Nova on the mound, looking to get back to the ace-caliber performance he was turning in before he started to lose his command in his last 2 starts. The command definitely didn't come back, at all, but Nova managed to keep the Yankees in the game and they managed to scratch out a much-needed extra inning win.
- Nova put 4 men on base in the bottom of the 1st inning, 2 of them on walks, and an Evan Longoria RBI single gave Tampa the early lead.
- Robinson Cano got a good look at Tampa starter Alex Cobb's changeup when he singled in his first at-bat. Cobb threw him another one to start off his second AB in the top of the 4th and Cano smacked it for a game-tying solo HR.
- Cano and Longoria drove their respective offenses as the teams traded runs in the 6th. Cano doubled to score Ichiro and got thrown out trying to stretch at third base, and Longoria cracked a solo shot of his own to make it 2-2.
- Nova continued to walk batters as he pitched into the 7th, displaying little command of his fastball or curveball. Like the last 2 times out though, he kept the Rays at 2 runs thanks to some timely strikeouts and double play balls before giving way to Shawn Kelley to end the 7th.
- The Yanks continued to put runners on base but never really turned anything into a real scoring chance. The game moved to extra innings still tied at 2.
- Joe got 2 solid innings out of David Robertson to get to extras, then pieced the 10th together with Joba and Logan. Alfonso Soriano doubled and stole third in the top of the 11th, then trotted home on a C-Grand sac fly to give New York the lead.
- It was "exit light, enter night" time in the bottom half and if you blinked you might have missed Mo's save. 6 pitches, 3 outs, game over, Yankees win.
- Cano: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 LOB. He needed to carry the team with not much else happening around him today, and that's just what he did through the first 9 innings.
- D-Rob: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Was on his game when he needed to be as Joe rode him for 28 pitches. He went for the win and D-Rob held up his end of the bargain when called on.
- Nova: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 3 K. I'll give him credit for working deeper into the game than he probably should have given how bad his command was. But 6 walks is 6 walks and today was the third straight game in which we saw that command going in the wrong direction. If Nova truly has turned over a new leaf as a fastball/curveball pitcher, he needs to make the necessary tweaks to regain that command and cut down on the free passes.
- Bottom Third of the Order: Combined 0-11, 7 K, 4 LOB. Lyle Overbay's spot in the batting order was where scoring chances went to die today. Mark Reynolds was his usual all-or-nothing self. Chris Stewart was who we thought he was. Ugly all around.
It's off to Toronto for another series with the Jays, this time on their home turf (literally) before heading home later in the week. Phil Hughes and R.A. Dickey kick things off tomorrow night.