Nova’s great start goes to waste in extra-innings loss
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- And here is the game recap from MLB.com’s Taylor Soper:
SEATTLE — Mariano Rivera’s 601st save will have to wait for now.
New York reliever Cory Wade gave up a 12th-inning walk-off solo shot to Luis Rodriguez, as the Mariners avoided the sweep with a 2-1 win over the Yankees on Wednesday night in front of 20,327 at Safeco Field.
Rivera, who picked up his 600th save on Tuesday night, still needs one more to tie Trevor Hoffmann atop the career saves list.
It was another one-run loss for the Yankees, who managed just four hits all night and had their three-game winning streak snapped.
“We’ve had three tough ones on this road trip, lost three games by one run,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s a tough one, because you figure your offense is usually going to score more than one run.”
Despite the loss, the Yankees maintained a four-game lead in the American League East thanks to Toronto’s 5-4 win over second-place Boston. New York’s magic number is now 11 and the Yankees will enjoy an off-day Thursday before heading to Toronto for a three-game set starting Friday.
Wade offered up a hanging changeup right down the middle of the plate for Rodriguez, whose mother flew in from Venezuela to watch her son play for the first time in five years.
“He gets paid to hit and he did just what he’s supposed to do — hit it out,” Wade said. “You hate to lose games like that, but it’s going to happen and it’s part of it. But we’ll come back after the off-day and do what we need to do.”
What the Yankees needed to do on Wednesday was score more runs, but Seattle starter Jason Vargas and the Mariners bullpen kept New York in check. Vargas retired 17 of the first 20 batters he faced and gave up just three hits in 6 2/3 innings pitched, striking out six in the no-decision.
But he was matched by another impressive effort from Yankees starter Ivan Nova, who found himself in an unexpected pitchers’ duel. Girardi called his rookie’s outing “excellent,” as the 24-year-old went 7 1/3 innings, giving up just one run on five hits while walking four. Nova’s 11-game winning streak remained alive after his second consecutive no-decision.
“You’ve got to fight, especially when you know your opposing pitcher is doing a good job and you can’t get hits,” said Nova, who struck out five and walked four. “You need to keep it as close as you can.”
Nova gave up his only run in the fourth on a wild pitch. He surrendered a two-out walk to Mike Carp, who moved to third on an Adam Kennedy single to center field. Nova then threw a high curveball off the glove of Russell Martin, and Carp slid safely into home to give Seattle the early 1-0 advantage.
But the Yanks came back in the seventh thanks to Nick Swisher, who belted a solo shot — his 23rd homer of the year — to left field off Vargas, scoring New York’s first run.
Yet that was all the Bombers could muster. There were a few deep balls hit to the warning track, but the Yankees just couldn’t string hits together and were held to one run or less for the 16th time this season.
“We hit a lot of balls hard tonight, but just didn’t get anything going,” said Swisher, who has eight homers in his last 19 games. “We had some opportunities, but we couldn’t capitalize on them.”
Had New York put up some offense, Nova might have gone the distance. But the rookie was pulled at just 87 pitches in the eighth after leaving runners on the corners with one out in a 1-1 game.
“At least one or two more runs, and I think I can finish the game,” Nova said. “But unfortunately, we didn’t hit today and I had to be out of the game.”
Setup man David Robertson relieved Nova and forced Kyle Seager to pop out and caught Dustin Ackley looking at strike three, keeping Nova from his first loss since June 3.
New York had a chance to go ahead in the top of the eighth, but Derek Jeter — who extended his season-long hitting streak to 13 — looked at a hanging curveball for strike three from reliever Jamey Wright with Brett Gardner at third.
The Seattle bullpen continued to stifle the Yankees, allowing just one hit from the ninth inning on.
With a win, Nova would have tied Russ Ford (1910) and Atley Donald (1939) for the longest winning streak by a Yankees rookie. After winning eight consecutive starts, Nova is now winless in his last two starts, having taken another no-decision last Thursday at Baltimore.
The Yankees missed an opportunity in the third thanks to a nice relay from the Mariners. Eduardo Nunez ripped a double down the left-field line and Andruw Jones tried to score from first, but left fielder Mike Carp fired the ball to Dustin Ackley, who completed the relay with a perfect strike to Miguel Olivo at home to easily beat Jones.