The Yankees split their doubleheader against the Pirates

Vidal Nuno

Vidal Nuno

After winning the first game of the doubleheader 4-3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Yankees lost their second of two games on Sunday by the score of 5-3. The Yankees are now 0-17 when trailing after seven innings.

The Yankees benched a few of their starters in the second game. “We were a little bit limited there because of what some guys were going through,” Joe Girardi said. “Of course you get greedy when you win the first two games, but we will move on and go to Chicago.”

Vidal Nuno, who replaced Ivan Nova in the rotation, allowed two earned runs (three overall) and struck out five in his six innings pitched. His off-speed pitches kept the Pirates guessing as he only allowed three hits through five innings, but Nuno ran out of gas in the sixth. Andrew McCutchen hit a single and was driven home on Starling Marte’s homer, and then Jody Mercer hit a single to left center.  The Yankees wouldn’t take the lead for the rest of the game.

Gerrit Cole, who was drafted by the Yankees out of high school but decided to go to UCLA, allowed three runs and struck out eight in six innings. However, the bullpen for the Pirates was much better than that of the Yankees since Alfredo Aceves and Matt Thornton combined to allow two runs.

It hurt the Yankees’ chances that they were 1-4 with runners in scoring position, committed two errors and left seven runners on base. Brett Gardner was also picked off of third base by Pirates’ back-up catcher Chris Stewart.

The player of the game was Pirates third baseman/right fielder Josh Harrison as a result of his defense and his power on offense.

In the sixth inning, to tie the score at three, Yangervis Solarte hit a deep homer to the right field bleachers for his fifth homer of the season.

In the seventh, after Harrison hit a solo homer to left for the Pirates to make the score 4-3, Brian Roberts hit a double to deep right to drive Gardner to third. Robby Thompson, the third base coach, decided to leave him at third to be safe. Mark Teixeira was not able to come through in the clutch with two outs as he popped up to the second baseman.

In the bottom of the eighth, Derek Jeter pinch-hit for Kelly Johnson and lead off the inning with a single to center. Harrison made an outstanding diving catch to rob Solarte of at least a double and then Alfonso Soriano (who was pinch hitting) and Ichiro Suzuki both struck out.

Girardi sent in two of his regulars to hit in the ninth, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann, but neither of them were able to get on base. For the Pirates, Stewart had previously only driven in one run this season, but had two RBIs in this game. He played for the Yankees briefly in 2008 and then again from 2012-2013.

Girardi could not give a definitive answer when he was asked about the return of starter CC Sabathia. “When we get him back, I don’t think any of us really knows,” Sabathia said after the game when asked about CC Sabathia. This is because the procedure that he had to replace the cartilage in his knee is extremely rare. “There are degenerative conditions in his knee,” Brian Cashman said.

The Yankees are in first place by a half-game in the AL East after having won four of their past five games. They will now have a road trip that very rarely happens as they will play their next six games in the city of Chicago. The first two will be at Wrigley Field against the Cubs and the last four will be at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox.

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