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Sunday, May 18, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Pirates 5, Yankees 3

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- The Pirates won Game 2 of Sunday's twin bill at Yankee Stadium, and no one should be all that surprised.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi sent out a weak lineup for this one, sitting Derek Jeter, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alfonso Soriano and Brian McCann after starting all four in Game 1 (a 4-3 Yankees victory). Vidal Nuno -- sporting a 6.43 ERA -- was Girardi's starting pitcher. And red-hot reliever Dellin Betances was unavailable after a heavy workload the past few days.

The crowd significantly thinned out for the second half of this single-admission doubleheader, the first at Yankee Stadium in 10 years. Those who remained saw the Yanks have their four-game winning streak snapped and drop to 23-20 -- a half-game ahead of the second-place Orioles in the American League East.

The Pirates (18-25) avoid a sweep in their first visit here since 2007, and get their first win in the Bronx since Game 5 of the 1960 World Series.

V. Nuno: The lefty bounced back pretty well from a rough outing against the Mets on Tuesday but ended up with a no-decision.

The one run Nuno gave up in his first five innings was unearned. In the top of the second, Starling Marte was safe at first on a throwing error by third baseman Yangervis Solarte. Marte advanced to third on an error by second baseman Brian Roberts (who dropped a good Solarte throw that would have resulted in a forceout). And Marte scored on a single by former Yankee Chris Stewart, making it 1-0 Pirates.

The Yanks scored two runs in the bottom of the second (see below), and it remained 2-1 until the sixth, when Nuno surrendered a two-run homer to Marte on an 0-1 slider.

That was the final inning for Nuno, who went six, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits, with five strikeouts and one walk. His record remains 1-1, but his ERA "improved" to 5.63.

More sloppiness: The Pirates committed two errors of their own in the bottom of the second, which contributed to the first two Yankees runs (although both were earned).

Solarte led off the frame with a single against Pirates starter Gerrit Cole, and came around to score on John Ryan Murphy's single that was misplayed by Travis Snider in right field. Then Brendan Ryan bunted Murphy home on a squeeze play, with Ryan advancing to second base on a Pirates throwing error.

The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, taking Nuno off the hook thanks to a Solarte solo shot deep to right, his fifth home run of the season. But then Josh Harrison followed with a solo shot of his own in the top of the seventh against Alfredo Aceves, which ended up being the winning run.

Missed opportunities: The Yanks had their chances late. In the seventh, with runners on second and third and two outs after back-to-back hits by Brett Gardner and Roberts, Mark Teixeira popped up to second.

In the eighth, Jeter pinch hit and, after a 10-pitch at-bat, knocked a single to center field. The next batter, Solarte, smacked a line drive to left field, but Harrison made a beautiful diving grab. Soriano pinch hit next and struck out. Then Ichiro Suzuki did the same -- one of three Suzuki strikeouts in the game.

The Pirates tacked on one more run in the top of the ninth, thanks to a leadoff double by Jordy Mercer off Matt Thornton, followed by a sacrifice fly by Stewart off Preston Claiborne.

Girardi used Ellsbury and McCann as pinch hitters in the bottom of the ninth, but the Yankees went down in order against ex-Yank Mark Melancon.

What's next: An off day Monday, followed by six consecutive games in Chicago, starting Tuesday. The Yankees will play two at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, followed by four at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox.