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Yankees 1, Pirates 2: Ivan Nova bests former team

Jacoby Ellsbury’s solo shot was the only run the Yankees could muster.

MLB: New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Today the Yankees faced Ivan Nova for the first time since he was traded to the Pirates. Naturally, Nova has pitched well since joining the Pirates, and he was able to hold his former team to just one run today. Jordan Montgomery and Bryan Mitchell kept the Yankees in the game, but the offense struggled to get anything going, and failed to take advantage of the opportunities that they did have.

Montgomery wasted no time working his way into trouble in the first inning. After issuing a walk to Jordy Mercer, Montgomery gave up back-to-back singles to Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen to load the bases. David Freese hit a sac fly to deep center to put Pittsburgh on the board. In the following inning, Chris Stewart hit a one-out triple (the first of his career) that went over Jacoby Ellsbury’s head and ended with Ellsbury crashing into the fence. He seemed to be okay after the incident, and the Pirates left Stewart stranded to end the inning.

Pittsburgh scored their final run of the game in the third inning after McCutchen drew a walk. Gregory Polanco lined a double to right field, and although the Pirates’ third base coach threw up a late stop sign, McCutchen continued home and was safe at the plate.

Bryan Mitchell took over for Montgomery in the seventh and worked his way into a bases-loaded jam with zero outs after issuing two walks and giving up a single to Chris Stewart, hit machine. Mitchell was somehow able to work his way out of that jam without letting the Pirates do any damage, and even stuck out McCutchen to end the inning.

It was not a memorable day for the Yankees offensively. Heading into this game, Nova had yet to walk a batter, and he ended up issuing his first walk of the season to Jordan Montgomery. That was the most interesting thing to happen through the first three innings of the game. Starlin Castro and Jacoby Ellsbury hit back-to-back singles in the fourth, but Aaron Judge grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The Yankees finally scored a run in the seventh after Ellsbury hit a leadoff home run to right. Daniel Hudson relieved Nova to start the eighth. With one out, Chris Carter hit the ball past a diving Mercer and took first base, then Pete Kozma entered the game as a pinch runner. Brett Gardner followed with a walk, and Chase Headley popped out. With Starlin Castro at the plate, Hudson threw a wild pitch and Kozma took third base. He got a late start and only happened to be safe because Stewart’s throw was off. Castro went on to strike out.

Things got interesting in the ninth after Judge singled and Matt Holliday walked. Torreyes reached on a fielding error by Harrison, who couldn’t come up with the ball. Unfortunately, the Yankees had already worked their way through their entire bench at this point. With one out, Aaron Hicks struck out, and Kozma grounded out to end the game.

The Yankees have tomorrow off, but they’ll start a series against the Red Sox in Boston on Tuesday. Luis Severino is expected to start that game opposite of Rick Porcello.

Box score