Results tagged ‘ Ivan Nova ’

Neck stiffness resurfaces for slumping Teixeira

While Alex Rodriguez is on the road back to good health and expected to rejoin the Yankees for Thursday’s late-afternoon series finale against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, there are other physical concerns disrupting the club.

Rodriguez homered in two at-bats for Double A Trenton Wednesday night after going 2-for-4 with a run batted in Tuesday night on an injury-rehabilitation assignment. It is too bad A-Rod did not take to playing first base a couple of years ago because the Yankees may have a real need there.

Mark Teixeira was out of the lineup Wednesday night because of neck stiffness, the same ailment that forced him to miss two home games earlier this month against the Royals. It has been a rough month for Teixeira, who is batting .164 with three doubles and two RBI in May that has driven his season batting average down to .195. Tex was 4-for-25 (.160) on the recent trip to Phoenix and Oakland. He went 16 games without an RBI from May 3-21, the longest stretch of his career. He was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in Tuesday night’s 6-0 victory over the Blue Jays. Teixeira has not homered since April 13, another career-worst stretch of 124 at-bats.

Dustin Ackley was at first base batting sixth in the order Wednesday night. Manager Joe Girardi conceded he does not have that many options at that position. He said he could use backup catcher Austin Romine at first base or use Romine behind the plate and have regular catcher Brian McCann at first. Romine was taking grounders at first base during batting practice.

Gary Sanchez, the catcher Romine beat out in spring training for the role of McCann’s caddy, is also hurt. Playing at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Sanchez took a foul ball off his right hand Tuesday night and sustained a bone fracture in this thumb that placed him on the disabled list.

A former Yankees catcher was a primary reason the Yankees’ six-game winning streak came to an end. Russell Martin, who entered the game without a home run and only one extra-base hit in 122 at bats, cranked two home runs to drive in three runs for Toronto in its 8-4 victory that dropped the Yankees back below .500(22-23).

The Yanks got a pair of home runs on back-to-back solos by Chase Headley (No. 3) and Didi Gregorius (No. 4) in the seventh but it was too little too late. For the seventh straight game, the Yankees’ starter pitched six innings or more. Ivan Nova (2-2) lasted two outs in the seventh before he hit Edwin Encarnacion with a pitch and was replaced by Chase Shreve, who gave up a two-run homer to Patrick Saunders.

The Blue Jays were not finished with Shreve. Justin Smoak doubled and Martin followed with his second homer of the game. His first came leading off the sixth against Nova, who was charged with four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. A couple of two-out infield singles in the fourth hurt Nova, who then yielded a bases-clearing double by Ryan Goins.

Martin’s sixth-inning homer came in his 125th at-bat, the second longest drought at the start of a season in his career. Martin did not hit a home run in 2009 until his 218th at-bat for the Dodgers. Martin’s bid for a three-homer game came in the ninth but center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury caught his drive on the warning track.

Toronto starter Marco Estrada earned his first victory in eight starts since April 10. The righthander, who had received scant run support prior to Wednesday night, loaded the bases with none out in the second on singles by Headley and Gregorius and a four-pitch walk to Aaron Hicks but gave up only one run on an infield out. Gregorius had three hits, including a singe off lefthander Chad Girodo, which raised his team-leading batting average against southpaws to .368 in 38 at-bats.

Rodriguez has played only two games at first base, both in 2015, in his career and was not a bit comfortable on that side of the infield as he has been over the years as a shortstop turned third baseman. A-Rod made one error in his 9 2/3 innings as a first baseman.
The Yankees are hopeful Teixeira’s health issues are short-term. If the problem should linger, they would have to weigh all options. After a hot start at SWB, Nick Swisher has cooled off to a .260 batting average with four home runs and 13 RBI. He has been platooned there with Chris Parmelee, who is batting .244 with six homers and 18 RBI.

Beltran homers to atone for weak base running

On a night when the Yankees seemed to be doing so many things to avoid scoring, a home run and shutdown pitching made up for all the bizarre offensive mistakes Thursday night in a 4-1 victory at Oakland against a team that had swept the Yankees at home last month.

Carlos Beltran was at the center of the Yankees’ schizophrenia. He drove in a run in the third inning with a double, then failed to score when right fielder Josh Reddick dropped Brian McCann’s fly ball with two outs by not running because he lost count of the outs.

That missed run looked huge when the Athletics tied the score in the fourth on a home run by Reddick off Ivan Nova, the only blemish on the righthander’s third straight impressive start that bodes well for his chances to stay in the rotation even with CC Sabathia coming off the the 15-day disabled list to start Friday night.

The Yankees regained the lead in the sixth on a two-out, RBI double by Aaron Hicks. This was the weirdest inning of the night for the Yanks. They had four hits in the inning against Oakland starter Kendall Graveman (1-6) but scored just the one run.

Chase Headley, who has really pick things up offensively of late, led off with a single but was picked off first base, although Headley and Yankees manager Joe Girardi thought Graveman balked. Dustin Ackley singled and crossed to third on a single to right field by Didi Gregorius, who did not run hard out of the box and then tried to stretch his hit on Reddick’s throw to third base and was out at second. Hicks’ two-bagger at least gave the Yankees something from the inning.

Beltran atoned for his base running gaffe by bashing a two-run home run in the top of the ninth off reliever Fernando Rodriguez. Turning a one-run lead into a three-lead with Aroldis Chapman coming in for the bottom of the ninth was very positive penance for Beltran. He got a chance to play hero thanks to Brett Gardner, who walked with two outs right before him. It was a big night for Gardner, who reached base four times (two singles, two walks), stole a base, scored two runs and robbed Yonder Alonso of a potential RBI extra-base hit with a running, leaping catch on the left field warning track in the second inning.

Nova limited the A’s to four hits and no walks with three strikeouts over the first six innings and got 12 outs on ground balls, a sign that his sinker was effective. Also efficient. Nova threw only 62 pitches. He is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings as a starter this year.

It may have been surprising to see Nova remain in the dugout as the seventh inning rolled around, but just as he did Wednesday night with Nathan Eovaldi pitching a one-hitter through six Girard could not resist the temptation to nail things down by bringing in Dellin Betances to pitch the seventh, Andrew Miller the eighth and Chapman the ninth. Opponents should take note — you are looking at a six-inning game if you fall behind the Yankees by the middle innings.

An abundance of bullpen options for Girardi

Among the added benefits of having Aroldis Chapman as the closer out of the bullpen is that it allows Yankees manager Joe Girardi to use Dellin Betances or Andrew Miller earlier in the game when the situation calls for a key pitching change.

Take Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the White Sox, for example, the first game in which all three power relievers appeared in the same game. Girardi had Betances warming up in the bullpen in the sixth inning in case starter Ivan Nova ran into trouble.

Nova, who made his second start since joining the rotation following CC Sabathia’s assignment to the 15-day disabled list, was not in any real trouble most of his outing. His sinker produced 13 ground ball outs, including the first two outs of the sixth. But when he walked Todd Frazier, out of the dugout came Girardi, who signaled for Betances.

Frazier had accounted for Chicago’s run in the fourth inning with his 12th home run, so Nova needed to be careful. Betances finished the inning with a strikeout of Melky Cabrera and struck out the side in the seventh as well.

That set up the Yankees’ new bullpen formula, which went into effect for the first time. Miller pitched the eighth and allowed one hit with two strikeouts. Chapman brought his trademark heat in the ninth with two more strikeouts for his second save. This was right out of the blueprint.

The 10-out performance by this powerful trio extended the bullpen’s scoreless streak to 15 2/3 innings. In 12 games since May 3, Yankees relievers have combined for a 1.54 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 35 innings.

Nova is 2-0 with a 1.02 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings in five games (two starts) at the Stadium this season. He has allowed one run in each of his past two starts (1.74 ERA) covering 10 1/3 innings. The quality start from Nova was very welcomed coming on the heels of a rocky start Friday night by Luis Severino, who was placed on the DL due to a strained right triceps.

The Yankees made several other moves Saturday. They signed righthanders Chad Green and Conor Mullee to major league contracts and called them up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, optioned catcher Gary Sanchez to SWB and transferred pitcher Bryan Mitchell, first baseman Greg Bird and outfielder Mason Williams to the 60-day DL. Those moves created space on the 40-man roster for Green, Mullee and J.R. Graham, a right-handed pitcher obtained from the Twins for a player to be named and cash considerations. Graham was optioned to Double A Trenton.

The Yankees guaranteed a winning homestand with Saturday’s victory that made them 6-3 with one game remaining. They are 13-2 against the White Sox at the Stadium dating to June 30, 2012. It was the Yankees’ first victory when scoring two or fewer runs since Sept. 26 last year, also by 2-1 and also against the White Sox. The Yanks had lost 18 consecutive games when scored two or fewer runs.

Both Yankees runs came in the second inning after two were out off Jose Quintana, the lefthander who originally signed with the Yankees and went to the White Sox as a six-year, minor-league free agent. Chase Headley walked and scored on a double to center by Aaron Hicks. A single to right by Didi Gregorius scored Hicks. Austin Romine followed with a double, but the automatic kind that bounced over the fence in right-center, which hurt the Yanks because Gregorius had to go back to third base. Brett Gardner grounded out to end the added threat.

Another positive sign was center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury on the field for the first time in eight games since injuring his right hip as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning. At two hours, 24 minutes, the game was the shortest nine-inning game at the Stadium since a 2:20 game June 6 last year against the Angels

Yanks homers give Chapman a chance to close

Yankees fans got their first look at Aroldis Chapman in pinstripes Monday night. The lefthander was everything as advertised with gun readings in triple figures, but there was some rust as well befitting a pitcher who sat out a 30-day suspension at the start of the season for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.

Of the 17 pitches Chapman threw in the ninth inning, six were 100 miles per hour or faster — four topped out at 101 and the other two were at 100. After quick strikeouts of the first two batters of the inning, pinch hitter Paulo Orlando ripped a double to center field on what at 90 mph was probably a changeup.

That was impressive for Orlando, who was on the bench all night and then was told to go up and try to hit a guy throwing 100 mph regularly. Alcides Escobar followed with a sharply-struck single past Didi Gregorius at shortstop to drive in Orlando before Lorenzo Cain was out on a pepper shot to Chapman.

In the 6-3 victory, the Yankees figured out a way to solve their dilemma of hitting with runners in scoring position — just come up with no one on base let alone in scoring position and hit the ball over the fence.

That approach worked very well against Royals righthander Chris Young, not the former Yankees outfielder but the journeyman pitcher who was one of Kansas City’s World Series heroes last year. The Yanks bashed five solo home runs off Young in 2 2/3 innings.

Brian McCann began the assault with two out in the first inning. After the Royals tied the score in the second on a homer by Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran led off the bottom of the inning by taking Young deep. Beltran was just getting started it seemed.

Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks started things off in the third with bombs to right field. Two outs later, Beltran connected again for his 38th multi-homer game (all but one are two-homer games). That marked the first three-homer inning for the Yankees since May 25 last year, also against KC and Jeremy Guthrie, by Gardner, McCann and Chase Headley.

That was it for Young, who tied a dubious franchise record for home runs allowed in a single appearance and departed the game with a swollen 6.68 ERA. Such an outing did not bode well for the defending World Series champs because they have had just as hard time as the Yankees scoring runs this year. KC entered play with only one more run scored than the Bombers.

The Royals might have been better off starting Dillon Gee, who gave up only one run on a sacrifice fly by Hicks in 5 1/3 innings.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hoping Ivan Nova, starting in place of disabled pitcher CC Sabathia, could give the Yankees at least 75 pitches. Nova did even better than that (81 pitches), but his own error probably cost him a shot at a winning decision.

Nova missed the bag taking a throw from Mark Teixeira while covering first base on a grounder by Escobar and lost a precious out. When left-handed Eric Hosmer came to the plate with two down in the fifth, Girardi brought in lefthander Phil Coke to face the Royals first baseman who flied out to the left field warning track. Failing to pitch a full five innings to qualify for a victory, Nova was hung with a no-decision despite a first-rate effort.

The victory went to Kirby Yates (2-0), who pitched scoreless, one-hit ball for 1 2/3 innings. It was also a big night for rookie Ben Gamel, who singled in his first major-league plate appearance in the eighth.

The Yankees finished the game 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, but they enjoyed their new formula for scoring.

Yankees dealing with non-DL injuries

Starlin Castro was not in the starting lineup for the Yankees Monday night as they opened a four-game series at Yankee Stadium against the reigning World Series champion Royals, but that was more due to manager Joe Girardi’s characteristic cautionary approach to injuries that anything too serious.

Castro told reporters that his left ribcage was still sore but that he could have played. Girardi did not disagree but felt comfortable giving the second baseman who leads the club in hits (32) another day to get healthy. Castro has has some adventures on the bases. He was caught off third base in Sunday night’s 5-1 loss to the Red Sox and was picked off second base last week at Baltimore.

The Yankees also continue to be without center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has not played since the first inning Friday night because of a tight right hip. Although not on the 15-day disabled list with Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, Ellsbury has yet to do any baseball-related activity. Aaron Hicks was in center field and Ronald Torreyes at second base Monday night.

The Yankees also activated relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman. To make room for the lefthander on the roster, there Yankees optioned Johnny Barbato to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Barbato, a righthander who won the James P. Dawson Award as the outstanding rookie in the Yankees’ spring training camp, was 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 games covering 13 innings.

Ivan Nova was to make his first start of the season in place of Sabathia, who has a strained left groin. Girardi was hopeful that Nova, who is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in six relief appearances totaling 14 innings, could give him at least 75 pitches. Nova’s longest outing in relief was four innings, which he did twice, April 6 against the Astros at the Stadium and April 26 against the Rangers at Arlington, Texas.

Last year, the Yankees had the best record of an American League club against AL Central competition of 21-12 (.625). Only the National League’s Pirates did better against AL Central competition in 13 fewer games at 13-7 (.650). The Yankees entered play Monday night with a 1-1 record against the AL Central (both games against the Tigers).

The Yanks also found out they will have an additional workload coming up. Their rainout April 10 at Detroit’s Comerica Park will be made up there at 7:40 p.m. June 2, which had been an open date for both clubs. With this date set, the Yankees will play on 40 of 41 days from May 3 through June 6. Their only off day during that stretch will be May 23 upon returning from a trip to Phoenix and Oakland

CC joins A-Rod on the disabled list

Just when the Yankees’ rotation was beginning to click, a wrench has been thrown into the mix. It came in the form of a strained left groin to CC Sabathia, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list two days after he pitched seven shutout innings at Baltimore’s Camden Yards in one of only two victories the Yankees had in their nine-game trip.

Back at Yankee Stadium Friday night against the Red Sox to start a 10-game homestand, the Yankees had bad news regarding Sabathia, who joins Alex Rodriguez on the DL. The Yankees recalled lefthander Phil Coke from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Coke, who pitched for the Yankees in 2008 and ’09, will be in the bullpen. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Ivan Nova will fill in for Sabathia in the rotation.

Sabathia beat out Nova for the fifth starter’s spot in spring training and has a 2-2 record with a 3.81 ERA. Girardi called CC’s outing Wednesday night the best he has seen in the past two years. One of the amazing things about it is that Sabathia felt soreness in his groin in the fourth inning and was able to pitch quality ball through the seventh.

Masahiro Tanaka followed Sabathia’s effort with a gem of his own Thursday night, although the Yankees lost, 1-0, in 10 innings. Tanaka shut out the Orioles for eight innings in lowering his ERA to 2.29.

Matching Tanaka through eight was Orioles starter Kevin Gausman. It marked the major leagues’ first game in which both starters pitched at least eight scoreless innings since Aug. 24, 2015 when the Yankees’ Nathan Eovaldi and the Astros’ Scott Feldman did it in a 1-0 Yankees victory at the Stadium.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the third time in 1,028 games between the Yankees and Orioles (since the team moved to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954) that neither team scored through nine innings. The others were June 3, 1981 at the Stadium (a 2-0 Yankees victory in 11 innings) and Sept. 12, 2014 at Camden Yards (a 2-1 Orioles victory in 11 innings).

Tanaka’s eight scoreless innings Thursday night was the longest start by a Yankees pitcher this season and the longest since Eovaldi’s game Aug. 24 last year. The last time a Yankees starter went at least eight scoreless innings on the road was exactly a year ago, by Michael Pineda May 5, 2015 at Toronto. Along with Sabathia’s start Wednesday night, Yankees starters have thrown at least seven scoreless innings in consecutive starts for the first time in exactly one year: Chase Whitley threw seven innings May 4, 2015 at Toronto and Pineda’s eight the next day.

After the three-game, weekend series against the Red Sox, the reigning World Series champion Royals come to town for four games followed by the American League Central-leading White Sox for a three-game set.

Alex Rodriguez Replica Bat Day will take place Saturday, May 14. The first 10,000 people in attendance, 14 years of age and younger, will receive a replica bat, courtesy of Bank of America.

Ticket specials will run Monday, May 9 (Military Personnel Game), Tuesday, May 10 (MasterCard $5, Military Personnel and Senior Citizen Game), Wednesday, May 11 (Military Personnel and Student Game), Thursday, May 12 (Military Personnel Game), Saturday, May 14 (Youth Game) and Sunday, May 15 (Youth Game).

For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.

The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:

Saturday, May 7 – Yankees vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Sunscreen Day, presented by Blue Lizard, to all in attendance.

Monday, May 9 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Cap Night, presented by the Robin Hood Foundation, to all in attendance.

Tuesday, May 10 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Dunkin’ Donuts Card Night, presented by Dunkin’ Donuts, to first 18,000 in attendance, 21 and older.

Thursday, May 12 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Commemorative Bookmark Night-Free Museum Admission Ticket, presented by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, to all in attendance.

Friday, May 13 – Yankees vs. White Sox, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Reusable Tote Bag Night, presented by MLB Network, to first 40,000 in attendance.

Sunday, May 15 – Yankees vs. White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
MLB Play Ball Weekend-Plastic Bat and Ball Set, to first 10,000 in attendance, 14 and younger.

Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at 877-469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at 800-943-4327 and at all ticket offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call 212-YANKEES [926-5337] or email tickets@yankees.com.

For information on parking and public transportation options to the Stadium, please visit http://www.yankees.com and click on the Yankee Stadium tab at the top of the page.

Severino cannot stop the rain of Texas hits

Violent weather was in the forecast for Arlington, Texas, Tuesday night,  which threatened the Yankees’ game against the Rangers. The teams were hoping to get the game in so that they woild not lose their off day Thursday. As it turned out, the Yankees would probably have settled for a rainout. Instead they got a washout.

Rain did fall briefly in a couple of spots, but the game went the distance. The rain that bothered the Yankees more was the rain of hits the Rangers slammed all over Globe Life Park as Texas breezed to a 10-1 victory. The relief the Yankees may have felt for facing a right-handed starting pitcher for the first time in five days dissipated as A.J. Griffin eased through the lineup. He allowed only two singles, both by 9-hole hitter Ronald Torreyes, through six innings and pitched through the eighth.

The Yankees finally got on the board in the seventh on an RBI single by Mark Teixeira, who is on a nice run, but they were eight runs behind at the time. The Rangers bashed out 13 hits — five for extra bases, including home runs by Ian Desmond off Ivan Nova and Roughned Odor off Chasen Shreve — in ending a four-game losing streak.

The most disappointing performance by a Yankees pitcher was that of Luis Severino, who was not taken deep but was stung for six earned runs and seven hits in three innings. It was the poorest outing of the season for Severino, who had a strong spring and was projected as a possible staff ace but has stumbled to a 0-3 start with a 6.86 ERA.

The ugliest inning for Severino was the third. After getting two quick outs on grounders, he gave up a single to birthday boy Nomar Mazara (21) and a double to Adian Beltre. With first base open, Prince Fielder was walked intentionally, a wise strategic move unless what happened next happens, a very unintentional walk to Desmond that pushed in a run. With little feel for his breaking ball, Severino tried to muscle his way through the inning and gave up a two-run single to Mitch Moreland and a run-scoring single by Elvis Andrus on fastballs. In between Severino let in another run with a wild pitch.

It was 6-0 Texas, and all the Yankees could hope for was the fierce storm that was predicted to make an early arrival and rinse those runs away.

For the second straight night, Teixeira had the Yankees’ only hit with a runner in scoring position that extended his hitting streak to five games during which he is batting .450 with two runs, a double and three RBI in 20 at-bats.

Nova still adapting to reliever’s role

The invincibility of the Yankees’ bullpen took a hit Wednesday night due mainly because of a pitcher not used to working in relief. In his previous appearance a week ago at Yankee Stadium, Ivan Nova earned his first career save with four shutout innings against the Astros.

So Yankees manager Joe Girardi had every reason to believe that they could remain within a run’s reach of the Blue Jays when he brought in Nova to hold them down in the eighth inning after Mark Teixeira’s third home run of the season had cut Toronto’s lead to 3-2. Nova, who was beaten out in the spring for a spot in the rotation by CC Sabathia, had a miserable time of it in yielding four runs as the Jays pulled away for a 7-2 victory.

“It’s different for him.” Girardi said about Nova’s new role, “but we need him to get outs.”

Toronto scored a run before Nova got an out that inning on doubles by Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista. The two-base hit was big for the Jays, who have not homered in either game of the series but lashed out six doubles Wednesday night, including two by 9-hole hitter Ryan Goins, who had three hits and two RBI. After getting Edwin Encarnacion out on a ground ball, Nova gave up an RBI single to Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Saunders’ second double of the game on a late swing against the shift.

Russell Martin knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly for the second out, but Nova hit Justin Smoak in the foot with a pitch and gave up a run-scoring single to Goins. The four runs allowed by Nova raised his ERA from 0.00 to 7.20 and that of the overall bullpen from a league-best 0.84 to 2.31.

Michael Pineda got through six innings but threw 105 innings and was uncharacteristically wild with three walks. Goins’ first double with two out in the second put Toronto ahead. After tying the score in the fifth against J.A. Happ on a double by Ronald Torreys, a single by Austin Romine and an infield out, an errant throw by Torreys, who played shortstop with Didi Gregorius getting a night off, opened the door for two Toronto runs. Smoak scored on the wild throw, and Goins came home as Donaldson grounded into a double play.

Kirby Yates pitched a shutout seventh with two strikeouts to extend the bullpen’s scoreless string to 7 1/3 innings before Nova came unglued in the eighth.

A night full of nothing for the Yankees

No clinching a postseason berth. No attaining the franchise’s 10,000th victory. Not much of anything Monday night for the Yankees, who even lost more ground in their fleeting chance of winning the American League East title.

While the Yankees were in the process of losing to the Red Sox, 5-1, the Blue Jays came back from a 3-1, eighth-inning deficit in Baltimore to beat the Orioles, 4-3, as Toronto bloated its lead over the Yankees to five games with six to play.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Wild Card playoff game is likely the Yankees’ path to the postseason. Masahiro Tanaka can put himself in position to get the call for that game with a strong outing Wednesday night as he returns to the rotation for the first time in 11 days.

Ivan Nova was working on a five-hit shutout through five innings before giving up his 1-0 lead on two-run home runs by Travis Shaw in the sixth and Jackie Bradley in the seventh. Bradley was also a major factor on defense for Boston with two circus catches in left field that robbed Chase Headley and John Ryan Murphy of potential extra-base hits. Mookie Betts also made a dazzling grab in center field in the seventh to spoil a hit bid by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Nova, who was shipped to the bullpen briefly but returned to the rotation when Nathan Eovaldi went down with inflammation in his right elbow, fell to 6-10 and is now 1-6 with a 6.88 ERA over his past seven starts covering 35 1/3 innings. Deven Marrero got the Red Sox’ third home run of the game and the first of his career in the ninth off Caleb Cotham.

The Yankees had another frustrating game at the plate. One night after stranding 15 base runners, the Yankees left 10 on and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Alex Rodriguez, who drove in the Yankees’ run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning, had a chance to break the game open in the second against Eduardo Rodriguez but struck out on a foul tip with the bases loaded. The Yankees had eight left on base over the first five innings leaving Nova scant margin for error.

Wild card looms as AL East slipping from Yanks’ grasp

Scoreboard watchers among Yankees fans may want to pay more attention to what the Rangers, Twins and Angels are doing than to the Blue Jays. Toronto’s doubleheader sweep Saturday left the Yankees 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Jays in the American League East. There is still plenty of baseball left — 21 games for the Yankees, including three at Toronto in two weeks — but more and more it appears their path to postseason play may have to be through the wild card.

Texas and Minnesota are actually closer to the Yankees in the wild card race than the Yanks are to Toronto in the AL East. They have the wild-card lead by three games over the Rangers and four over the Twins. The Angels are six games back of the Yanks.

As if there were not enough baseball in store at Yankee Stadium, the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader went into extra innings. The second game also took more than four hours to complete due to a 33-minute rain delay.

The lone star of the day for the Yankee was Brett Gardner, who was 4-for-9 with three home runs and seven RBI. Two of the homers and six of the RBI were in the nightcap, a 10-7 loss in which the Yankees fell behind by six runs early and cut the deficit in half twice only to fall short.

In what was a home run derby in the opener for much of regulation, the winning rally for Toronto in the 11th inning was a quiet one. The Blue Jays batted around with 10 hitters coming to the plate and only two balls were put into play. Nevertheless, Toronto came away with four runs and a 9-5 victory.

It turned out to be perhaps the ugliest inning the Yankees played this year. After Andrew Miller pitched two scoreless inning with four strikeouts but the Yankees failed to score, Bryan Mitchell started the 11th and loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter. The hit by pitch came between the walks and on a 1-2 pitch to Cliff Pennington, who had flubbed two sacrifice attempts.

After Mitchell struck out Dioner Navarro, Yankees manager Joe Girardi brought in Chasen Shreve, who had a nightmare of an outing — a walk to pinch hitter Russell Martin, a single to Ben Revere, the only hit of the inning, and two more bases-loaded walks to Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista. The crowd of 46,278 was stunned.

The Yankees got the home run derby started against Blue Jays started Marco Estrada with solo shots by Gardner in the first and Chase Headley in the second and a two-run, opposite-field blast by Alex Rodriguez in the fourth.

Michael Pineda blew a 4-1 lead as the Blue Jays, who hit five home runs Friday night, tied the score in the fifth on a leadoff homer by Revere and a two-run bomb by Edwin Encarnacion following a walk to Bautista, who had homered in the fourth.

Bautista crushed his second homer of the game leading off the eighth against Betances, a booming drive to dead center off the Monument Park screen to put the Jays in front for the first time in the game. The Yankees tied the score in the bottom half on an RBI single by Brian McCann, but with the bases loaded Headley and Greg Bird could not get the ball out of the infield.

The situation did not improve much for the Yankees in the second game, a rain-soaked affair in which Ivan Nova struggled mightily with his control and put them in a 6-0 hole in the second inning.

Pennington, pressed into duty with the injury to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, smashed a three-run homer that inning. Nova also gave up five other hits, hit two batters and threw two wild pitches before he was mercifully removed.

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