Yankees continue to struggle on the road with 2-1 loss against Ivan Nova led Pirates

The Yankees bats were able to come alive Saturday afternoon as they won 11-5 in Pittsburgh. Having a mix of veterans and youth, the Yankees offense has been inconsistent at times, but completely different from last year. In April 2016, the Yankees scored 73 total runs, this season with seven games remaining in the month the Yankees have scored 91 runs. On Sunday, the Yankees were going up against a familiar face in the likes of Ivan Nova. Last summer, knowing that the 29-year-old was due to become a free agent, the Yankees sent Nova to Pittsburgh for a minor-league outfielder and left handed pitcher. Nova has been solid in the Burgh, and signed a three-year deal worth north of 26 million dollars. The Yankees are known for struggling against pitchers they are seeing for the first time, but how would they fare against one of their own that most likely has a chip on his shoulder?
Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar | AP

Hitting is contagious, and until the pitcher Jordan Montgomery came to bat in the third inning, Nova had a perfect game going. Montgomery would work a walk, but the struggling Brett Gardner lined out to end the inning. Outside of three singles, the Yankees looked simply outmatched through six innings. Credit the Pirate defense for making great plays, but the Yankees offense struggled out of the gate. Aaron Judge, while having a solid start to the season continues to leave runners on base, and Gardner who is 1-for his last-19 at the plate looks lost.
Montgomery was looking to solidify his spot in the Yankee rotation, and although he pitched six innings giving up just two runs his control was noticeably off today. Through Montgomery’s first two starts, his control was what he thrived on. Living on the edge of the zone, he was able to extend the strike zone and stay ahead of hitters. Today, he just did not have his best stuff. He fell behind most batters, but only allowing two runs is a positive. The Yankees could see that even without his best stuff, he can battle and give his team innings, which is exactly what a number five starter should be able to do.
At the top of the seventh inning the Yankees cut the lead in half. A lead-off home run by Jacoby Ellsbury gave the team their first extra base hit on the day. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Nova settled down, and once again breezed through the rest of the inning only having thrown 87 pitches.
Bryan Mitchell came in to pitch for the Yankees at the bottom of the seventh, and he too struggled early with control. After walking John Jaso, Mitchell gave up a single to Chris Stewart and walked Josh Bell to load the bases. A fly out by Jordy Mercer, a hard line out by Josh Harrison and finally a huge strikeout by Andrew McCutchen led to Mitchell tightroping out of trouble.
Chris Carter got his second pinch hit in as many days, and although Gardner is due for a hit he had to settle for a walk, placing two on with one out for Headley. Much like the rest of the day, it was not meant to be for Headley’s modest six game hitting streak as he popped out to the shortstop. The inning ended with Starlin Castro striking out.
The Yankees put up a fight against closer Tony Watson. A solid liner hit by Ellsbury resulted in the first out, but Judge was able to reach on a single, and Matt Holliday who is 2 for his last 24 reached on a walk. To the benefit of the Yankees, a soft grounder hit by Ronald Torreyes, was bobbled by second baseman Josh Harrison which loaded the bases. Pinch hitter Aaron Hicks struck out swinging, and left it all in the hands of light hitting Pete Kozma. Anticlimactically, Kozma grounded out on a fielder’s choice.

Tomorrow is a day off for the Yankees, but they resume action on Tuesday night 7:10 PM ET. The rival, Boston Red Sox come to town with righty Rick Porcello (1-2, 5.32 ERA) scheduled to face hard throwing Luis Severino (1-1, 4.05 ERA).


Winning Pitcher: Ivan Nova (2-2, 2.00 ERA) 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
Losing Pitcher: Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 3.78 ERA) 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
Save: Tony Watson (6)
Notables:
Brett Gardner: 0-3, BB
Aaron Judge: 1-3
Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-4, HR (2), R, RBI
Greg Bird: 0-3
Bryan Mitchell: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Gregory Polanco: 2-4, RBI, 2B


Article by: Randy Hancock

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