It took eleven innings, but the Yankees managed to come away with a series-salvaging win against the Rays. Ivan Nova was solid on the mound and Robinson Cano drove in both runs early on. But it was Alfonso Soriano's eleventh inning double that was the main catalyst in the Yankees coming away with a 3-2 win.
Nova did not get off to the best of starts in the first inning, as the Rays tacked on a run early. David DeJesus led off the bottom of the first with a single and moved to second on a walk by Ben Zobrist. Evan Longoria followed that up with a single, which scored DeJesus. Before Nova had recorded an out, the Rays had a 1-0 lead. Nova got Matt Joyce to hit into a force at second for the first out, but followed that up by walking Wil Myers. The Yankees managed to escape further damage when James Loney grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Yankees offense didn't start very well either. Cano's two-out single in the first was their only hit in the first three innings. But that changed when Cano came back up for his second at bat in the fourth. He homered to left field, tying the game at one.
Nova had settled down pretty well after the first inning, and the Yankees offense got going again in the top of the sixth. Ichiro Suzuki led off the inning with a single. That brought Cano back to the plate. He continued his hot day by lacing a double into right. Ichiro came all the way around from first to score. Cano tried going to third on the expected throw home, but the throw went to third instead and he was out easily. Despite running into an out, Cano had given the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
The out at third did hurt a little when Soriano reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error by Yunel Escobar. The Rays then intentionally walked Curtis Granderson to get to Eduardo Nunez. Nunez hit a soft grounder back to the pitcher and very nearly beat out the throw. However, he was called out, leaving the inning up to Lyle Overbay. The Rays opted to go to the bullpen at that point, bringing in Alex Torres to face Overbay. Alex Cobb finished his day with 5.2 innings pitches, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks. The move to Torres worked as Overbay ended up watching strike three go by to end the inning.
Nova's newly found lead did not last very long as Longoria hit a one-out home run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game back up. That was followed up by a Matt Joyce double. Nova stopped the Rays' rally there by striking out Myers, intentionally walking Loney and getting Desmond Jennings to ground into a force out. After six innings, the game was tied at two.
Despite surrendering the lead in the sixth, Nova came back out for the bottom of the seventh. After getting the first two hitters, Nova allowed a single to David DeJesus, which spelled the end of his day. He went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and six walks. Shawn Kelley came in from the bullpen to face Zobrist, but the inning ended when DeJesus was caught trying to steal second.
The Yankees' offense wasted a decent chance to score in the top of the eighth. Ichiro led off with a single, but the middle of the order failed to bring him home. David Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth to send the game to the ninth tied. Robertson also threw another scoreless inning in the ninth after the offense failed to score again in the top half.
Alex Rodriguez led off the top of the tenth as a pinch hitter for Chris Stewart. He reached on a single, giving the Yankees another chance to score. Gardner bunted him over to second, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. Ichiro came up next. He put a decent shot on a ball, but it was straight at Rays' reliever Jamey Wright, who caught it and threw it to second to double off A-Rod to end the inning.
Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch the tenth for the Yankees. He started well, striking out Escobar. But after he walked Molina, Girardi took no chances and brought in Boone Logan to face pinch-hitter Jose Lobaton. Logan got Lobaton to ground into a inning-ending double play to send the game to an eleventh inning.
With one out in the eleventh, Soriano doubled down the left field line to, again, put the go-ahead run on base. He stole third and scored on a Granderson sac fly. The Yankees had the lead again and Mo began to warm up. After Nunez popped out to end the inning, Mariano Rivera came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh.
Cano made a nice play on a Zobrist grounder for out number one. Next up was a certain Rays' third baseman who had already driven in both runs for the home team. Longoria put a decent shot on a fly ball to left, but Granderson came up with the catch for the second out. Matt Joyce was the Rays' last chance. Granderson made a nice catch, tracking down a foul ball near the bullpen for the third out. Mo had yet another save and the Yankees salvaged the series with a 3-2 win.
The Yankees head north of the border for a series in Toronto against the Blue Jays starting tomorrow. Phil Hughes and R.A. Dickey will be the starters and first pitch is at 7:07 eastern.