Rapid Reaction: Yankees 3, Rays 2 (11)

August, 25, 2013
8/25/13
5:33
PM ET


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The heart of the Yankees is still beating, however faintly. Their 3-2, 11-inning win at The Trop on Sunday was a triumph of pitching (Ivan Nova) and perseverance, and now they get to travel to Patsy-ville, also known as Toronto, with some hope of still squeaking into a wild-card spot over the final 32 games of the season.

Sori, no broom at The Dome: The Yankees avoided what would have been a soul-crushing sweep by the Rays when Alfonso Soriano, who had doubled with one out in the 11th, scored from third on Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly to center. Mariano Rivera came on to retire the dangerous heart of the Rays' order -- Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce -- to nail down his 38th save of the season.

Stolen run: On a day when the catchers were deadly (see below), Soriano set up the winning run by daringly stealing third off Jose Molina with one out in the 11th.

Money's worth: Judging by the rest of the weekend, a good portion of the 34,078 at The Trop came solely to boo Alex Rodriguez, and even though they had to wait more than three hours, they got their chance when A-Rod batted for Chris Stewart leading off the 10th. Rodriguez singled softly to center, but after being sacrificed to second, got doubled off when Ichiro lined back to pitcher Jamey Wright, who flipped to second to retire A-Rod, who seemed frozen in his tracks.

Great hit, no run: Robinson Cano absolutely scorched one over the head of Rays RF Wil Myers in the sixth to score Ichiro Suzuki and give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. But he inexplicably kept going, at a customarily leisurely pace, around second and was thrown out by so much he just gave up about halfway to third.

Long gone: Longoria absolutely pulverized a hanging curveball from Nova deep into the left-field seats in the sixth to wipe out the Yankees' short-lived lead and tie the game at 2. It was No. 28 on the season for Longoria, who homered in all three games here and crushed the Yankees' pitching all weekend, going 6-for-12 with 3 HRs and 5 RBIs in the series.

Rocky start: Nova allowed two hits, a walk and a run before getting his first out in a 21-pitch first inning.

On the Mark: Nova was bailed out of the first by Mark Reynolds, making his first start at third base as a Yankee and just his sixth at third this season. With the bases loaded and one out, Reynolds snagged James Loney's sharp grounder and fired home to start a crucial 5-2-3 inning-ending double play.

24 for 24: Robinson Cano tied the game at 1 with a home run -- his 24th of the season -- into the left-center-field seats with one out in the fourth. It was only his third HR since the All-Star break.

Stop, thieves!: Both catchers, Chris Stewart and Jose Molina, were enforcing the law on the basepaths on Sunday. Stewart threw out both of his would-be basestealers and Molina gunned down Brett Gardner to end the fifth. That is, until Soriano swiped third in the 11th.

What's next: Charter flight headed due north, followed by a three-game series with the often curative Toronto Blue Jays beginning Monday night. Pitching matchups: Phil Hughes (4-12, 4.88) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (9-12, 4.49) on Monday, Andy Pettitte (9-9, 4.26) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (3-3, 5.10) on Tuesday and Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 2.71) vs. TBA on Wednesday. All games at 7:07 p.m.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146