It seemed from this angle that the game’s balanced changed with Mark Reynold’s at bat in the top of the second. Nova had started the inning by allowing consecutive singles to Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Nova then blew away both Lew Ford and Wilson Betemit on strikeouts. It looked like he was going to get out of the inning as he had Mark Reynolds, one of the most prolific strikeout batters in history, down 0-2 in the count. Nova and Martin had a little conference to decide what the next pitch would be. It would be a terrible decision. Nova threw the flattest of sliders and Reynolds punished it for a ground rule double to left. Here is pictorial proof of how bad that pitch was (from Brooks Baseball):
From there the floodgates opened and Nova could not hold back the flood. Omar Quintanilla singled to score two. Nick Markakis singled and J.J. Hardy walked to load the bases. Then the killer blow happened as Chris Davis hit the top of the Orioles’ bullpen wall and the ball bounced over for a grand slam. The five run lead turned into a two run deficit and Nova and the Yankees never recovered.
All in all, Nova pitched five ineffective innings. He gave up ten hits and nine runs with a walk and five strikeouts. Of the ten hits, five were for extra bases to pad Nova’s majors leading extra base hits allowed total. Four were doubles and the grand slam. Again from Brooks Baseball, here is Nova’s chart for the game. Warning, this chart is not suitable for children:
All those blue squares in the middle of the strike zone speak volumes for how easy Nova made it for the Orioles’ batters.
As for the Yankees, Derek Jeter went three for five with a double, a run scored and two infield singles. Every other Yankees’ starter had a hit but Jeter was the only one with multiple hits. Curtis Granderson had a single in the first to plate Jeter but then struck out three times and hit into a double play to end the game. Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer in the first as part of the Yankees’ five run rally.
Tonight’s game was only the seventh occasion this season where the Yankees did not have a single walk in the game. And yet, it was the third time since July 19, when this tough patch started for the Yankees in Oakland.