After winning the first two games of the series on walk-off hits, the Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 on Sunday. afternoon. Ivan Nova didn’t not pitch well, the team made three errors and the offense only had three hits.
Nova had his worst start of his three outings since coming off of the disabled list, as he allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks in five innings pitched. In his previous two starts, he allowed two and zero earned runs respectively.
“I thought he did a pretty good job for not having anything,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He just had a hard time throwing strikes.”
He had trouble locating his pitches and missed a lot with his first pitch curveballs. James Loney, who has a .303 average this season against the Yankees and between 2012 and 2014 he had a .358 average (58-162), hit a single in the first inning to right to score David DeJesus and Evan Longoria to give the Rays all the runs they would need.
In the second inning, back-up catcher Curt Casali hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Kevin Kiermaier to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. In the first two innings, the Rays had four hits including Kiermaier’s triple and one walk.
The run that the Rays scored in the fifth inning was unearned due to Nova’s error. Casali doubled to leadoff the inning and then Asdrubal Cabrera sacrificed between third and the mound, but instead of taking the easy out at first, Nova made a wild throw to third causing Casali to score easily. Nova should have thrown to first because it would have taken a perfect throw to get Casali out at third.
To end the fifth inning, Nova got Loney out on a shallow pop up and then got Logan Forsythe to line out right to Stephen Drew.
Erasmo Ramirez, who has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last seven appearances, only allowed one run on three hits in his six innings pitched. Ramirez is an outstanding 5-1 with a 1.18 ERA in his last seven starts, which proves he has dominated any team that he has faced. He threw 99 pitched and had six ground ball outs and eight fly ball outs.
The only run that the Yankees scored during the game was an Alex Rodriguez solo homer to left center in the sixth inning. Chase Headley and Garrett Jones were the only other two Yankees who had a hit. Jones had a chance at putting some runs on the board in the first inning but he got out with the bases loaded in the first inning.
“They have a bunch of big left-handed hitters, lot of power, and I think his changeup really plays well for him against these hitters,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s able to separate a lot with the fastball and the changeup combination.”
Bryan Mitchell, who had been a starter during his five seasons in the minors and had a 2.79 at Triple-A Scranton this season, allowed two earned runs (four overall) in his two innings pitched in relief of Nova. Jose Pirela made two errors on one play in the eighth as he made a fielding error on Loney’s hit to him and then made a throwing error that caused Loney to advance to second and Longoria to third.
Forsythe singled to score Loney and Longoria and then the other two runs came with Chris Capuano pitching. This combined with the effectiveness of the Rays relievers put the game out of reach. The Yankees were 0-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base, which makes it hard to win a game especially when getting a sub-par start from your starter.
The Yankees had their three-game winning streak end, but they are still a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles and two games ahead of the Rays and Blue Jays for first place in the AL East. The Yankees have an off day on Monday before playing a three-game series at Yankee Stadium against the Oakland Athletics.