Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, Rays 3
May, 25, 2013
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A fine starting pitching performance by Vidal Nuno, a stirring ninth-inning rally and a game-saving catch by Ichiro Suzuki set the stage for a dramatic 11th-inning home run by Lyle Overbay that provided the New York Yankees with a most-unlikely 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at The Trop.
Lyle, love it: Overbay's home run, No. 8 of the season, into the right-field seats off Josh Lueke with two out in the 11th, was the game winner. If this is the last week of Overbay's tenure as the Yankees' starting first baseman -- and it certainly looks as if Mark Teixeira will return soon -- then he left Yankees with one to remember him by.
Great escape: David Robertson got himself into trouble right away in the bottom of the ninth, walking leadoff hitter Matt Joyce, who went to second on Jose Lobaton's sacrifice bunt. But Ichiro made a spectacular sliding catch on Yunel Escobar's slicing drive to right to save the game, and Robertson slipped a 94 mph fastball past Desmond Jennings to strand Joyce at second.
Gardy-an angel: Brett Gardner reached out and tapped a 1-2 pitch from Rays' closer Fernando Rodney to score Brennan Boesch from second, tying the game at three with two out in the ninth. But with Robinson Cano at the plate with a chance to put the Yankees ahead, Gardner got himself thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning. Cano just stood at home plate staring out at the field for a long time after the play.
By gosh: Boesch, recalled from Triple-A Scranton to replace Curtis Granderson on the roster, got the call to pinch hit for Austin Romine with two out in the ninth and made it a one-run game when he served an opposite-field double into left off Rodney, scoring Overbay (walk) to cut Tampa's lead to 3-2.
Close shave: Ivan Nova's first appearance as a relief pitcher nearly ended in disaster when he loaded the bases in the 10th on two singles and a walk, but he struck out James Loney on a honey of a slider and got Joyce to tap out to second to kill the threat. But thanks to Overbay, Nova comes away with the win, his second of the season.
Presto! Just when the game seemed to be spinning out of control on the Yankees after neither Shawn Kelley nor Boone Logan could do their jobs in the seventh inning, rookie Preston Claiborne came on to stop the bleeding with a groundout and a pair of strikeouts, stranding runners at first and third and keeping the game close enough -- 3-2 -- to enable the Yankees to tie it in the ninth.
Vidal decision: Nuno virtually matched Rays' ace Matt Moore for six innings, but things unraveled for the Yankees when manager Joe Girardi sent him out to start the seventh. Nuno allowed a leadoff single to Loney -- which looked playable by David Adams at third base -- after which Girardi pulled him for Kelley; from there, the wheels came off as the Rays went on to score twice. Still, Nuno turned in another excellent performance -- six-plus innings, five hits and two runs, one of which was Loney scoring on a hit allowed by Logan.
No Moore: Despite handcuffing the Yankees on five hits and one run over six innings, Moore had the plug pulled on him by manager Joe Maddon after 104 pitches, and lefty Jake McGee came out to pitch the seventh. That insured Moore's second no-decision of the season; he had won eight of his previous nine starts, and this was the sixth time this season Moore had held an opponent to one run or fewer. McGee got into immediate trouble when Jayson Nix led off with a single and stole second with one out -- and got out of it again when he caught both Romine and Gardner looking at fastballs to end the inning.
Nicked up: Add Nix to the list of bloodied but unbowed Yankees. He was apparently spiked on the right forearm by Rays' first baseman Loney while diving back to first on a pickoff attempt by Jose Molina and was treated by trainer Stevie Donohue, who was wearing biohazard gloves while stanching the bleeding. But Nix shook it off -- and stole second, complete with head-first slide, on the next pitch.
What's next: The series finale on Sunday afternoon. CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.43 ERA), who has had a terrible time winning at Tropicana Field -- he is 3-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 15 lifetime starts, his lowest winning percentage at any visiting park -- goes up against Alex Cobb (5-2, 2.73 ERA). First pitch at 1:40 p.m.