Results tagged ‘ Ivan Nova ’

Yankees come up short in bases-loaded spots

Twice in the first four innings Monday night at Fenway Park the Yankees had the bases loaded and none out and they made the least of the situation by getting only one run each time. In the fifth, they filled the bags again, this time with two out, and came away with no runs.

So it seemed fitting somehow that in the ninth inning a bases-loaded scenario would present itself to the Yankees, who once again could not come up with a big hit, in this case one that could have pulled the game out on a night when the Blue Jays suffered a rare loss. A victory would have brought the Yankees even with Toronto in the loss column, but the Red Sox held on to win, 4-3.

Jean Machi, the new Boston closer now that Koji Uehara is done for the season with a wrist injury, had a brutal inning in the ninth with 18 of his 33 pitches out of the strike zone. He walked three batters, one of them forcing home a run, and somehow got called third strikes past Carlos Beltran and Greg Bird.

The Yankees still had a chance with two outs in Didi Gregorius, who was 4-for-4 to that point in the game and 11-for-16 (.688) in his past four game combined. Gregorius had gotten the only hit the Yankees had in a bases-loaded situation with a run-scoring single in the fourth inning. He brought the crowd to its feet with a long drive to right field, but Rusney Castill caught the ball on the warning track.

That was how close the Yankees came to a fourth straight victory that would have nudged them closer to first place in the American League East. Their failure in a wide assortment of scoring opportunities resulted in the Yankees leaving 14 runners on base, including 10 in the first six innings when they continually had eventual winning pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (8-5) on the ropes.

Yankees starter Ivan Nova (5-7) had a good sinker that produced nine groundouts, but when he got the ball paid for it on a two-run home run by Mookie Betts in the third inning and a solo shot by David Ortiz in the fourth.

The Red Sox scored what proved the winning run in the seventh when rookie first baseman Greg Bird bobbled slightly a potential double play ball and had to settle for one out as Jackie Bradley Jr. scored from third base.

The Yankees also had help from the Red Sox, who made two errors in the first inning that helped create the Yankees’ first base-loaded episode. A single by Alex Rodriguez filled the bags for Beltran, who got a run home with a sacrifice fly, but that was it as Brian McCann flied out to shallow right and Chase Headley struck out looking.

A leadoff walk by McCann in the fourth followed by Headley and Bird singles promised another big inning for the Yankees, but after Gregorius’ single to center plated McCann, Brendan Ryan hit a comebacker to Eduardo Rodriguez, who got an out at the plate, and Jacoby Ellsbury flied out into a double play as Bradley threw out Bird at home trying to score.

The next inning, the Yankees had the bags full after two out on Beltran’s 500th career double and walks to McCann and Headley before Bird struck out.

These frustrating rallies made it an exceedingly long (3 hours, 44 minutes) and disappointing night for the Yankees. After the game, it was announced which minor-league players will be called up as rosters expand Tuesday: pitchers Andrew Bailey, Caleb Cotham and James Pazos; infielders Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder; infielder-outfielder Dustin Ackley; outfielder Rico Noel and catcher Austin Romine.

Against Houston, the Yankees had a problem

What a weird night. While doing a little scoreboard watching in the first inning of the Yankees-Astros game Tuesday night, I noticed that eight teams around the major leagues had scored in the first inning of games.

I had plenty of time to see this because the top of the first inning at Yankee Stadium took 20 minutes to complete as Houston sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs against Ivan Nova, who threw 40 pitches. So that made it nine teams scoring in the first inning on the same night.

And the Astros did not stop there. They batted around again in the fifth and seventh innings. One night after being shut out with five singles, Houston burst through for a 15-1 drubbing featuring eight extra-base hits, including three home runs.

Nova got off to a nice start. Jose Altuve hit the first pitch to right field for a quick out and Jed Lowrie was called out on strikes. Then everything fell apart for Nova, who had struggled to make it through five innings in his previous start.

As what often happens in a rally, it started with a walk, to Carlos Correa. Colby Rasmus hit a liner to center field that froze Jacoby Ellsbury momentarily. He tried to recover and make a shoestring catch, but the ball got past him for a run-scoring triple. Just the night before, a bobblehead promotion depicted Ellsbury making a lunging catch. I do not remember if a ball was in that glove, either.

Nova walked Evan Gattis and gave up a booming double to left-center by Carlos Gomez for another run. Luis Valbuena followed with an opposite-field double off the left field wall to drive in two runs. He scored on a single past first base by Marwin Gonzalez that made it 5-0 Astros.

The third walk of the inning, of catcher Jason Castro, got things stirring in the Yankees’ bullpen as Branden Pinder began warming up. The relievers got caught a big break Monday night because Nathan Eovaldi pitched eight quality innings. Pinder sat down as Altuve, who had begun the inning, ended it as well with a forceout at third base.

This was not the night to fall behind by five runs early because Houston’s starting pitcher was All-Star Dallas Keuchel, who had shut out the Yankees June 25 with a six-hit, 12-strikeout effort at Minute Maid Park. In fact, Keuchel had complete games in both his career starts against the Yanks. He went eight innings Aug. 21 last year in a loss at the Stadium.

Minute Maid Park has been a palace for Keuchel this year. He has an 11-0 record with a 1.35 ERA in 15 99 2/3 innings at home. The road has been bumpier for the lefthander, who entered play Tuesday night with a 3-6 mark and 3.65 ERA in 79 innings away from home.

The Stadium played very much like Minute Maid Park Tuesday night for Keuchel, who did not have to go the distance with so cushy a lead. He allowed merely three hits and no walks with nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings to improve his career record against the Yankees to 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 24 innings.

The Yankees’ only run came in the ninth inning against reliever Vincent Velasquez on a single, a hit batter and two groundouts. Mark Teixeira returned to the Yankees’ lineup after missing seven games because of a bruised right shin. He was hitless in two at-bats and had trouble running out a ground ball and came out of the game after the sixth inning.

Nova settled down a bit until the fifth when he gave up a leadoff double to Rasmus and a two-run home run to Gattis. The Astros added two more runs that inning against Nick Rumbelow, one of which was unearned due to an error by second baseman Brendan Ryan, who shaved off his W.B. Mason mustache. The other run was very earned on a home run by Gonzalez.

Chris Capuano walked three batters in a six-run seventh and all scored on a two-run single by Gattis and a three-run home run by Gomez. The dinger was quite satisfying to Gomez, who an inning earlier got into a shouting match with manager Joe Girardi and some players in the Yanks’ dugout over his tossing his bat in anger with his team up by nine runs. Gomez has a history of disturbing opponents for his showboating demeanor.

Not wanting to waste any more pitchers, Girardi gave the ball to Ryan, who had never pitched in the majors before, for the last two innings in which he held the Astros scoreless. It is never a good sign when a team’s most effective pitcher is a utility infielder.

HOPE Week: Vacations for cancer patients

HOPE Week concluded Friday with a visit by Yankees pitchers CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova and Adam Warren and infielders Brendan Ryan and Greg Bird, who surprised Frank Squeo at Rockland BOCES in West Nyack, N.Y., to bake cookies with him and his family.

Squeo, 47, was diagnosed with Stage III testicular cancer in 2007. During the months that followed, he began his fight against cancer, undergoing surgery and chemotherapy. Just as troubling to Frank, there were many children who were battling their cancer alongside of him – kids who did not know a life beyond hospitals or their disease. Frank promised himself that when he overcame his illness, he would do something to help these children.

In 2012, the Rockland County resident founded Baking Memories 4 Kids, a non-profit organization that sells chocolate chip cookies during the holiday season. The sales from those cookies fund all-expenses-paid vacations for the families of children with life-threatening illnesses to Give Kids the World Village, an Orlando, Fla., resort designed specifically for children with disabilities and illnesses.

While on their vacations, children and their families have the opportunity to visit any of the Orlando-area amusement parks and receive VIP treatment. If a child falls ill on the trip or is too sick to go out, the amusement park of their choosing brings the excitement to them at the resort.
Strictly by word of mouth Frank and local volunteers sold more than 3,000 batches of cookies during their first holiday season in 2012. They were able to more than double their sales in their second season.

In less than three years, Frank has processed more than 10,000 cookie orders and sent 10 families to Orlando on their dream vacation. In 2015, they have committed to sending nine more families.

Prior to Friday’s game against the Indians, the Yankees will team with Baking Memories 4 ids to help surprise Noah Diaz and his family with an all-expenses-paid vacation. Noah Diaz is a four-year-old who suffers from a rare heart defect and Kabuki syndrome.

Yanks need more than A-Rod’s power

Two nights ago, one home run by Alex Rodriguez was enough for the Yankees to win a game. Thursday night, one homer by A-Rod was not enough, although he provided the bulk of the offense in a 3-2 loss to the Indians.

In Monday night’s victory over the Twins, Rodriguez turned things around with his 25th career grand slam. The bases were empty in the fourth inning when he homered off Josh Tomlin, which they were often against the journeyman righthander, 30, coming back from shoulder surgery. The Yankees had only other hit off Tomlin in seven innings, a leadoff double in the third by Chase Headley, who was stranded.

Rodriguez triggered a ninth-inning rally as the Yanks threatened to pull this one out. He led off against closer Cody Allen with a single, and when the reliever did not pay attention to him at first base A-Rod swiped second.

Allen got a big strikeout of Brian McCann, who disputed the call but not as much as manager Joe Girardi, who took up the beef and got ejected for the third time this season. Plate umpire Dan Iassogna actually ran Girardi before the skipper even opened his mouth. Girardi then made sure he got his money’s worth.

In truth, the breaking ball Allen threw for the third strike on McCann was over the plate. Girardi’s argument indicated that he was more upset with Iassogna over a called third strike on Jacoby Ellsbury the previous inning on a pitch from righthander Bryan Shaw that video replays revealed was clearly off the outside corner of the plate. Girardi made a line in that area in the right-handed batter’s box to demonstrate to Iassogna where he thought the pitch was.

Carlos Beltran followed the McCann strikeouts with a solid single through the shift into right field to score Rodriguez and make it a one-run game. A walk to Greg Bird pushed pinch runner Chris Young into scoring position and put the potential winning run on base.

Those runners advanced when first baseman Carlos Santana bobbled a potential double-play grounder by Headley and had to settle for one out at first base, but Didi Gregorius could not get the hit the Yankees needed in flying out to left field.

The Yankees have done well against American League Central teams this year with a 17-9 record but continue to have trouble with the Indians, who are 3-1 against them this year. Ivan Nova had control problems and lasted only five innings in which he gave up three runs, six hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Adam Warren and Chris Capuano supplied two shutout innings of relief apiece, but the Yanks ultimately fell a run short.

Yanks back in 1st after ending Jays’ 11-win run

Well now, look who is back in first place?

In a stunning turn of events, the Yankees, who were staring at the possibility of yet another shutout loss to the Blue Jays, kicked over the table with a four-run eighth inning to cool off Toronto before a packed house at Rogers Centre.

The crushing blow for the Yanks came from Carlos Beltran, who came off the bench to bat for Chris Young once lefthander David Price was replaced on the mound by righthander Aaron Sanchez. Beltran, 0-for-3 previously as a pinch hitter, was overmatched by two 97-mph fastballs from Sanchez but in an old-school approach shortened up on the bat and made solid contact with another 97-mph heater for a three-run home run that headed the Yankees toward a 4-3 victory.

The Yankees had runners on base in seven of eight innings against Price but did not put any of them across the plate until the eighth when Chase Headley followed one-out singles by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann with his second double of the game to end a 33-inning scoreless drought against Toronto pitching. Next came Beltran and soon the Jays’ 11-game winning streak was history.

Not that it went all that smoothly before the Yankees celebrated. Dellin Betances pitched a perfect eighth inning, but Andrew Miller did another high-wire act in the ninth as a walk, a single and a wild pitch gave the Blue Jays runners on second and third with one out.

With a sellout crowd of 46,689 in the enclosed Rogers Centre creating a postseason atmosphere, Miller truly earned his 26th save by striking out Ben Revere and Troy Tulowitzki, two of the recently-acquired players through trades that have transformed the Jays into serious contenders.

The Tulowitzki at-bat was a chamber of tension climaxed by his swinging and missing the 12th pitch, a hard-breaking slider. The Blue Jays had been 13-0 in games started by Tulowitzki although the Yankees have handled him for the most part. In four games against the Yankees over the past week, Tulowitzki is 2-for-17 (.118) with one home run and two RBI.

Beltran’s 11th home run of the season made a deserving winner of Ivan Nova (5-4), who had one bad inning, the third, when the Blue Jays had three of their five hits off the righthander and all their runs on a fielder’s choice by Tulowitzki, a double by Jose Bautista and a sacrifice fly by Edwin Encarnacion. Nova gave up only two hits in his other six innings.

So the Yankees take a half-game lead into Saturday’s game at Toronto and are two games up on the Jays in the loss column. What a difference a single inning can make.

Jays continue to flex muscles against Yanks

The Blue Jays are not exactly breathing down the Yankees’ necks, but Toronto has certainly made its presence felt in the American League East race this weekend at Yankee Stadium. As recently as July 28, the Yankees had a seven-game lead in the division. After Saturday’s 6-0 loss to the Jays, the Yanks’ spread is down to 2 1/2 games.

Yes, they are four games up on Toronto in the loss column, which is one consolation, but they have been no match for the Jays’ muscle. The recent offensive slump continued against lefthander David Price, whom they had beaten up twice earlier this season (30.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings) but who was flawless Saturday with seven brilliant innings (three hits, three walks, seven strikeouts).

The Yankees suffered their fourth shutout loss of the season and ended a stretch of nine non-losing series. They had not lost a series since June 29-July 1 when they dropped two of three games to the Angels at Anaheim. The Yanks are 2-6 against the Jays this year and have lost the first three series between them. There is still plenty of baseball left for these clubs against each other. They will meet up again next weekend at Toronto and seven more times in September.

“There is a long way to go,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted after the game. “I called this an important series before it started, but we have two months to go so you can’t get overly concerned about two games.”

Nevertheless, Girardi added that Masahiro Tanaka needs to come up big Sunday against Toronto righthander Marco Estrada as well as an offense that has disappeared during this homestand. Since exploding for 13 runs against the Red Sox to open the homestand five days ago, the Yankees have scored four runs in their past 37 innings and none in their past 17. They are hitless in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position over the past four games, three of them losses.

Ivan Nova was coasting along for five innings matching Price in putting up zeroes until it all came apart in the sixth. Two walks around a single by Jose Bautista, who won Friday night’s game with a 10th-inning home run, filled the bases for Justin Smoak, who belted a 0-1 pitch to right field for his first career grand slam.

Girardi had Adam Warren in the bullpen but counted on Nova’s sinker to get a much-needed ground ball, but the two-seamer had lost its effectiveness by then. Newcomer Troy Tulowitzki was 0-for-7 in the series before he connected in the seventh off Bryan Mitchell for a solo home run.

An error by second baseman Brendan Ryan led to an unearned run in the eighth on a two-out, RBI infield single by Russell Martin, the only one of Toronto’s eight runs in the series that was not the result of a home run.

An 0-for-4 by Mark Teixeira ended his stretch of 24 consecutive games in which he reached base. The Yankees had only five base runners in the game and failed to homer for the first time in 13 games.

Emphasizing the obvious, Girardi said, “We have to start swinging the bats.”

No more fiddling with watches for Yanks

Welcome back to the Eastern time zone, Yankees. When they touch ground in New York Sunday night, the Yankees will be in Eastern Daylight Time for the remainder of the regular season.

The 10-game swing through Minnesota, Texas and Chicago, all in the Central time zone, ended the Yankees’ season outside EDT territory as the schedule the rest of the way become an ally.

To begin with, they will play 34 of their final 58 games at Yankee Stadium where they have a 30-17 record, a .638 winning percentage. And when they do travel, the Yankees will stay in their home time zone.They had two more visits to Toronto, which has moved into second place, as well as stops in Cleveland, Atlanta, Boston, St. Petersburg, Baltimore and Citi Field for the second Subway Series against the Mets.

This is all good news in an era when the schedule increasingly forces clubs to arrive in opposing cities at the crack of dawn. The Yankees are finished with the West Coast and now the Mountain and Central time zones as well.

They finished off the 6-4 trip in a big way with a runaway, 12-3 victory over the White Sox for the Yanks’ eight straight non-losing series. Dividing the four-game set at Arlington, Texas, has been the only series split for the Yankees during this stretch.

Concern over starting pitching due to the disabling of Michael Pineda and a couple of wayward outings by CC Sabathia was the one negative aspect of the trip, but it ended with an encouraging effort from Ivan Nova, who had experienced arm fatigue in his previous start, which is not uncommon for a pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Nova showed off tantalizing breaking balls to go with his fastball Sunday and held Chicago to one run, five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in six innings. The righthander could work free and easy, thanks to a Yankees offense that pounded White Sox ace Jeff Samardzja for nine runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in 4 2/3 innings.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a homer. The second long ball came from Mark Teixeira leading off the Yanks’ three-run fifth, the inning after they put up a five-spot against Samardzja.

It was another strong game from the bottom of the batting order as the 7-through-9 hitters — Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew, plus pinch hitter John Ryan Murphy — combined to go 7-for-14 (.500) with eight runs, two doubles, one triple and six RBI. At the top of the order, Ellsbury and Brett Gardner teamed up for five RBI.

Drew came within a home run of hitting for the cycle. His 3-for-5 game got his season batting average finally nudging .200 at .199. He started the trip batting .180 but added 19 points by going 10-for-29 (.345) with three runs, one double, one triple, one home run and six RBI.

It was a great trip offensively all around for the infielders. Teixeira increased his American League Most Valuable Player Award candidacy by batting .310 with nine runs, two doubles, five home runs and nine RBI in 42 at-bats.

Gregorius batted .438 with eight runs, a triple, a homer and 12 RBI in 32 at-bats in raising his season batting average from .241 to .260. The shortstop has 11 RBI in his past seven games.

Headley, who is on an 11-game hitting streak, was an astounding 16-for-37 (.593) on the trip with 11 runs, two doubles, one home run and eight RBI and watched his batting average hike 30 points to .276.

In nine games on the trip, Alex Rodriguez batted .333 with 10 runs, two doubles, four home runs, seven RBI and eight walks in 33 at-bats.

The Yankees averaged 7.8 runs per game in outscoring their opponents, 78-53. They gained only a half-game in the AL East standings — to a six-game spread over the Blue Jays — but took time off the race, 10 big days, and now no longer have to set the clock back, at least not until postseason play, their ultimate goal.

Yankees run out of dramatic comebacks

The Yankees went nearly half the 2015 season before they won a game in their last at-bat, which had not occurred since Derek Jeter’s walk-off hit in his final game at Yankee Stadium last September. Then to start off the Fourth of July Weekend, the Yankees pulled off back-to-back walk-off victories over the American League East rival Rays.

Friday, it was the powerful swing of Brian McCann, whose three-run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning sent the Yankees to a 7-5 triumph. Saturday, it was the churning legs of pinch runner Jose Pirela, who raced from second base to home to score on an errant throw to first base by pitcher Brad Boxberger to complete a 3-2 victory.

It appeared as if the Yankees would wrap that game as a shutout up without batting in the ninth, but Dellin Betances was tagged for a two-run home run by Steven Souza in the top of the inning that tied the score. It was only the second blown save this season by Betances, who has done a solid job in the closer role while Andrew Miller has been on the 15-day disabled list. It was the first home run Betances allowed since Aug. 13 last year at Baltimore by Jonathan Schoop, a 54-game stretch covering 59 2/3 innings.

There would be no such comeback Sunday, however, as the Rays ran with an early lead, built on it and ended a seven-game losing streak by coasting, 8-1. The Yankees managed only three hits – all for extra bases, including Alex Rodriguez’s 16th home run, which accounted for their scoring.

This game got out of hand in the eighth inning when the Rays staged a four-run rally that began when Pirela, Saturday’s hero, made two errors on the same play. He had just entered the game at second base after having pinch-hit for Stephen Drew the previous inning. A bases-loaded walk by Chris Capuano added to the unsightly frame.

One positive showing from the bullpen was another impressive outing by Nick Rumbelow, who retired the side in order with two strikeouts in the ninth.

Yankees starter Ivan Nova hurt himself with a throwing error that cost him one of the four runs he allowed in five shaky innings. After two impressive outings since coming back from Tommy John surgery, Nova had his first ineffective performance, although the Yankees were still within reach until the eighth.

In Nova’s past two starts, Yankees batters have had just three hits while he was on the mound – one Sunday and two last Tuesday night at Anaheim. Nova is 0-5 with a 4.71 ERA in his past six starts against Tampa Bay dating to June 23, 2013 after having gone 6-1 in his first nine career games (eight starts) against the Rays.

Tampa Bay starter Erasmo Ramirez (7-3) held the Yanks in check for six innings. He did walk three batters, hit one and committed an error, but the A-Rod homer (career No. 670) was the only damage the righthander suffered. Since joining the starting rotation May 14, Ramirez is 7-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 10 starts and 54 innings.

The Yankees scored only one run for the fourth time in their past seven games and one or less for the fifth time in their past 10 games since June 25. From May 19 through June 24, they were held to one or fewer runs just twice in 33 games (none May 31 at Oakland and one June 15 at Miami). Rodriguez is finding the Stadium quite comfortable. In his past nine home games since June 19, A-Rod is batting .406 with seven runs, one double, four home runs and 12 RBI in 32 at-bats.

Equally as comfortable at the Stadium, unfortunately for the Yankees, is James Loney. The Rays first baseman, who had a two-run single off Nova in the first inning, is a career .402 hitter in 112 at-bats at Yankee Stadium. He ranks third among visiting players with a minimum of 50 at-bats at the Stadium behind only Justin Morneau (.433 in 60 at-bats) and Kurt Suzuki (.411 in 56 at-bats). In 55 career games against the Yankees in all venues, Loney is batting .340 with an .857 on-base plus slugging in 212 at-bats. That is Yankee Killer stuff.

The Yanks may have failed to pull off a sweep but they maintained a hold on first place in the AL East by 1 ½ games over the Orioles and two over the Rays and Blue Jays.

After hot homestand, bats turn cold on road

First place in the American League East was all theirs for the taking Tuesday night, but the Yankees failed to take advantage of losses by the Orioles, Rays and Blue Jays by suffering the same fate.

For five innings, it appeared as if Iva Nova would drive the Yanks back to the top of the division. In his second start since coming back from Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow, Nova took a shutout into the sixth inning. He wiggled out of danger in the first two innings as the Angels were hitless in five at-bats with five runners in scoring position and stranded five runners, three of them in scoring position.

Then in the sixth, the Angels struck quickly and deeply as Nova was tagged for back-to-back home runs by Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar for the first runs the righthander had allowed in 12 innings this year.

The blows offset the solo home run Mark Teixeira hit leading off the second inning against Angels starter Andrew Heaney, who allowed only one other hit through seven innings and earned his first major league victory. Other than Tex’s 19th home run, the Yankees had only five other base runners on a single by Brett Gardner, two walks, an error and a wild-pitch third strike. None of them got past first base with the Angels turning three double plays along the way.

It was a tough loss for Nova, who scattered eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. A nasty curve served him well in the game until he could not keep the ball in the yard. Adam Warren, back in the bullpen after having done a good job as a starter, did his part in keeping the Yankees close with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit, one-walk, two-strikeout relief.

The bats have turned cold on this trip, which ends Wednesday. After a homestand in which they batted .351 with 19 home runs and averaged 7.5 runs per game, the Yankees through six games on the trip are hitting .192 with five home runs and are averaging 2.5 runs per game. Of the Yankees’ 15 runs on the trip, nine came in one game.

Nova good as new in return from TJ surgery

A homestand that began so promisingly and then seemed to fall apart ended on a very high note Wednesday for the Yankees as Ivan Nova made a triumphant return from Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow 14 months ago.

The Phillies, owners of the worst record in baseball, threatened to complete a embarrassing sweep of the Yankees behind veteran Cole Hamels, who seems to be auditioning for a variety of clubs in need of a quality starter. Nova followed disappointing starts by CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka with 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball against a team that had scored 22 runs over the previous two games.

Yankees pitchers were banged around for 34 runs and 44 hits in three straight losses. Nova’s outing was just what they needed, not that they could have expected it from him. Pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery do not often have so impressive a first outing as did Nova in a 10-2 victory over the Phillies.

The Yankees gave their teammate some working room by jumping out to a 5-0 lead off Hamels by the fourth inning, a continuation of their offensive combustibility throughout the homestand in which they scored 60 runs in eight games, an average of 7.5 runs per game. On the 5-3 homestand, the Yanks batted .351 with 19 home runs to offset a staff ERA of 5.50.

As for Nova, his ERA is 0.00. In his first start since April 19, 2014, the righthander allowed three hits and two walks. He had only one strikeout but kept the Phillies off base with routine outs. Center fielder Brett Gardner had nine putouts behind Nova.

Gardner also continued his ferocious hitting with an RBI single, a walk and two runs. On the homestand, he had 17-for-36 (.472) with three doubles, one triple, four home runs and 10 RBI. Gardy scored 12 runs and raised his batting average 30 points to .292.

Everybody on the Yankees hit Wednesday except for Carlos Beltran (0-for-5; there is always one player who doesn’t get to the dance floor). After missing two games because of a stiff neck, Mark Teixeira banged out three singles and knocked in two runs.

Chase Headley, Alex Rodriguez, Chris Young, Didi Gregorius and Jose Pirela had two hits apiece. Hamels was gone after five innings in which he allowed five runs, eight hits and three walks, and the Yankees piled it on against two Phillies relievers.

Finally, the Yankees were able to put a net over infielder Maikel Franco, who was 0-for-4 after having gone 6-for-8 (.750) with 10 RBI and five runs over the two prior games.

The Yankees are 12-4 in their past 16 home games since May 25 and have outscored opponents, 115-67, during that time. Nova’s stint was the longest stretch of scoreless innings by a Yankees pitcher in his season debut since Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez pitched eight innings of one-hit ball April 26, 2002 against Tampa Bay.

The victory coupled with the Rays’ loss to the Blue Jays inched the Yankees to one game of first-place Tampa Bay in the American League East.

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