Early exit for Nova
In his second start back from the 15-day disabled list, Ivan Nova simply did not have it Saturday at Yankee Stadium. It was not a good day for a starting pitcher to bail early, considering the state of the Yankees’ bullpen with righthanders Rafael Soriano and David Robertson likely unavailable due to excessive use this week.
Nova started off shakily by giving up two runs on consecutive doubles by the first three batters in the game. His teammates came to his rescue and took a 4-2 lead off A’s starter Travis Blackley, who was equally ineffective (the Oakland lefthander didn’t last past the second inning).
Nova was in danger of giving all of the lead back in the third, which proved his last inning. The A’s got to 4-3 on a leadoff home run by Stephen Drew and loaded the bases with one out on two walks book-ending a single by Brandon Moss. Yanks manager Joe Girardi gave the quick hook by bringing in lefty Clay Rapada, who preserved the lead by getting Josh Reddick to ground into a 1-2-3 double play.
The Yankees benefit from sloppy play by the A’s. They made two errors in the infield behind Blackley, who didn’t help his cause much with three walks, a hit batter and a balk.
Oakland tied the score in the fourth against Rapada, who had pitched to more than two batters only once in the past month. He faced six this time and coughed up the lead on an RBI single by Cliff Pennington before coming back to strike out the lefty-swinging Drew and Seth Smith, which is Rapada’s specialty after all.