Game 145: Homers Bog Down Shields, Rays as Nova Wins Return for Yankees

By Robbie Knopf

In a 3-game set in baseball there are only two possible outcomes: one team gains three games on the other with a sweep or one team gains one game on the other by winning 2 out of 3. The Rays would have loved a sweep but will have to try for simply the series win on Sunday after a tough loss.

It’s crazy how things work out sometimes. Yankees ace CC Sabathia was chastised by the New York media for allowing 4 runs in 6.2 innings Friday. Unfortunately, James Shields, who has at times been considered the Rays’ ace, was a tick worse on Saturday. Shields’ outing went wrong in the second inning as he allowed a 2-run home run to Curtis  Granderson, his 39th of the season, and a solo shot to Eduardo Nunez, his first. Shields mostly settled down after that, but the Rays could not put anything together against Ivan Nova, managing just a hit and a walk over the first 4 innings. The Rays stranded 2 in the 5th before Shields allowed one final run on a Derek Jeter RBI single to make it 4-0 New York. Only then did the Rays finally get some offense.

Evan Longoria got the Rays on the board in the 6th with a solo home run to make it 4-1, and the Rays got Nova out of the game in the 7th. Nova departed after a Jeff Keppinger single to begin the inning with Boone Logan entering the game for the Yankees. Then Ben Francisco failed to execute a sacrifice bunt as Logan threw to second base for the force on Keppinger. But Ryan Roberts then doubled off of Logan before Sam Fuld, who pinch-hit for Chris Gimenez who had pinch-hit for Carlos Pena, grounded out against Joba Chamberlain, who had entered the game for Logan to necessitate the second pinch-hitter. But the Rays did get a huge 2-out hit by Luke Scott, who pinch-hit for Jose Molina with a 2-run single to make it a 4-3 game. Desmond Jennings struck out to end the inning but you have to wonder how the inning would have changed if Francisco had executed the bunt.

Kyle Farnsworth relieved Shields with 1 out in the 7th for the Rays and got out of the inning without a run. Shields went 6.1 innings allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. David Robertson retired the Rays in order in the 8th before Jake McGee, who has been automatic for the Rays of late, saw his streak of 8 straight strikeouts end on a Derek Jeter lineout before a Robinson Cano double and an Alex Rodriguez single gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead. In the 9th against Rafael Soriano, the Rays got a Ben Francisco RBI single and a Stephen Vogt walk in his first big league plate appearance since April, but Soriano struck Elliot Johnson to end it as the Yankees won 5-3. Nova (12-7) earned the win with a great outing in his return from the DL, Shields (14-9) took the loss, and Soriano nailed down his 39th save. The