Josh Johnson and the Blue Jays handed this game to the Yankees in the fifth inning. With the Blue Jays leading 2-1, the Yankees loaded the bases on three hits by Chris Stewart, Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells. Johnson managed to get Travis Haffner out, but after that he completely lost the strike zone. Johnson issued bases loaded walks to Lyle Overbay and Eduardo Nunez, handing the Yankees a 3-2 lead. The Yankees expanded that lead the next inning when Brett Gardner scored Jayson Nix on a sacrifice fly. Suddenly the Yankees were up by two heading into the final innings with a possible sweep on their hands.
It wasn’t meant to be. Ivan Nova walked Adam Lind to start the bottom of the sixth inning. That brought up J.P. Arencibia who doubled, putting runners on second and third with no outs. That was the end of Nova’s day. The Yankees handed things over to Boone Logan who gave up a single to Colby Rasmus, the only batter he faced. The single scored Adam Lind, making it a 4-3 ball game. David Phelps came in to relieve Logan. He promptly gave up a double to Brett Lawrie that scored both Rasmus and Arencibia to give the Blue Jays a 5-4 lead. Melky Cabrera singled later in the inning to score Lawrie, giving the Blue Jays an insurance run.
At that point the Yankee bullpen had blown the lead (with some help from Ivan Nova) but the team was still in the game. That ended in the bottom of the seventh inning. David Phelps was still on the mound when he gave up a two run homer to Arencibia, giving the Blue Jays an 8-4 lead and eventually the victory.
The Yankees never deserved to win this game. The team went one for twelve with runners in scoring position and had just two extra base hits, a home run by Stewart and a double by Cano. That’s why it was so critical to take the victory when Johnson made it available. Instead, the Yankees leave Canada with a frustrating loss, but a hard earned series victory.
It won’t show up in the box score, but Ivan Nova had impressive velocity on his fastball. The YES gun clocked him as fast as 97 mph. He was consistently hitting 94 and 95. None of this has translated into strong performances. Nova is off to a bad start this season and has yet to give the Yankees length in any of his starts, but hopefully he can begin turning his increased velocity into performance.
The Yankees will move on to Tampa Bay Monday where they will need to find their offense. Matt Moore will be the starting pitcher Monday and he’s gotten off to a red hot start for the Rays, with an ERA of 1.00 and a WHIP of 1.06 over his first three starts. The Yankees will counter with none other than CC Sabathia.