Before the New York Yankees got to Tropicana Field for their three-game weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays, they had won 11 out of their last 13, but dropped the first two games of the series.
With the third and final game, the Yankees were turning to Ivan Nova in hopes of not getting swept and getting out of St. Petersburg with at least one win before they head off to their next series.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Rays drew first blood on the Yankees when Evan Longoria's RBI single against Nova made it 1-0 and put the pressure on the Yankees early in the game.
In the top of the fourth inning facing Rays starter Alex Cobb, Robinson Cano tied the game with a solo home run that made it 1-1; it was Cano's 24th home run of the season.
In the top of the sixth inning, Cano's strong game continued when he hit an RBI double to right field and scored Ichiro Suzuki to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
That lead didn't last for long as Longoria continued to kill the Yankees all series with his 28th home run of the year, a solo home run off Nova and the game was tied again at 2-2.
Both starters wouldn't factor into the decision of the ball game, as Cobb went 5.2 innings, allowed two runs on seven hits, walked three and struck out five. Nova went 6.2 innings, allowed two runs on six hits, walked six and struck out three. The high walk total for Nova could have really came back to bite him, but he was able to scatter those potential runs and gave the Yankees another fine outing on the mound.
The game was forced into extra innings, and Joe Girardi made the move to send in Alex Rodriguez to pinch hit for catcher Chris Stewart and A-Rod did his job by singling to center and got to second base on Brett Gardner's sacrifice bunt. Tampa was able to avoid giving up the lead when Ichiro lined the pitch to Jamey Wright and then threw the ball back to second for a inning-ending double play as the game continued in a tie game.
In the top of the 11th inning, Alfonso Soriano ripped a double to left field off Wright and then pushed the envelope by stealing third base, setting up one out and a runner on third for Curtis Granderson; who hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly to center and Soriano easily scored to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
Mariano Rivera came in in the bottom of the inning to pitch an easy 1-2-3 inning to close out the game and the Yankees held on to win 3-2 and win the final game of the three-game set.
Boone Logan got the win for the Yankees and improved to 4-2, while Wright took the loss and dropped to 2-2. Rivera picked up his 38th save of the season. The Yankees have now won 12 out of their last 16 games with Sunday's win.
On Monday, the Yankees (69-61) will head north of the border to play the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre and could see Derek Jeter activated off the disabled list. Phil Hughes (4-12, 4.88 ERA) will go for the Yankees as he will face Toronto ace R.A. Dickey (9-124.49 ERA.)
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