Ivan Nova had a pretty decent game in his return to the majors. But the bullpen couldn't strand the last runners Nova put on base, and the Rays came away with a 3-1 win on Sunday.
Nova started the game in a very Ivan Nova way. Matt Joyce led off the game with a single against the Yankees' starter. He moved to second on a bunt by Desmond Jennings, and scored on Ben Zobrist's single. Nova then walked Evan Longoria, but got out of the inning with a double play when James Loney bounced a ball back to the mound.
The Yankees got that run back in the bottom half of the first. Brett Gardner led off with a single, moving to second when Kelly Johnson misplayed the ball. Ichiro Suzuki tried to move him to third with a bunt, but popped it up for the first out. Gardner ended up moving to third anyway, when Chris Archer threw a wild pitch during Robinson Cano's at bat. Cano ended up hitting a sac fly deep to left field, which scored Gardner to tie the game.
After that, both pitchers settled down, and the game improbably became a bit of a pitchers' duel. Both teams had their chance's against the other starter, but neither could get a run across against them.
In the sixth inning, the Rays loaded the bases against Nova, but he got Jose Molina to ground into a double play to end the inning. Nova was eventually chased from the game in the seventh. He got the first two outs, before hitting both Jennings and Zobrist with pitches, bringing Longoria to the plate. Girardi elected to go with Shawn Kelley to face Longoria. On the day, Nova went 6.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and three walks, while he struck out seven.
Kelley came in and walked Longoria on five pitches. With the lefty Loney due up, Girardi brought in Boone Logan to face him. Logan got Loney to a 1-2 count, before Loney lined one past the pitcher for a single. That scored two runs and gave the Rays a 3-1 lead. The Yankees then went back to the bullpen again and brought in Joba Chamberlain. Joba finally ended the inning, by striking out Wil Myers.
The Yankees' offense also had their fair share of chances against Rays starter Chris Archer, but continued to struggle with runners in scoring position. Archer finished his day after the sixth inning. He went six innings, allowing one run on six hits and one walk.
The Yankees couldn't get much going against the Rays' bullpen either. Jake McGee and Joel Peralta both threw scoreless innings, before turning it over to Fernando Rodney for the ninth. The offense already has had success against Rodney this season, but couldn't duplicate that again today. Rodney struck out the side to end the game, and give the Rays a 3-1 win.
The Yankees have the day off tomorrow, before the Rangers come to town for a three game series starting Tuesday.