New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run since June 18, Ivan Nova pitched six innings of one-run ball and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1, Monday at Yankee Stadium. >> Read more
- Rodriguez went 1 for 3 with a solo home run off Kevin Gausman in the second inning that gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
- After Jonathan Schoop tied the game in the top of the third inning, Brian McCann drove in Brett Gardner with a sac fly to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
- Nova (7-5) pitched out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the first inning by getting Pedro Alvarez to foul out to third base. He gave up four hits and three walks in six innings, retiring the final seven batters he faced and throwing 56 of 97 pitches for strikes.
- Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman each pitched one inning of scoreless relief for the second straight game.
- Gausman (1-7) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
This series is the most important one of the season to date. If the Yankees manage a sweep, they pull within 4 1/2 games of the Orioles and the narrative of selling before the non-waiver trade deadline could surely get swept under the rug by ownership that has little inclination to quit.
Of course, a sweep is asking a lot, but it is the only way this club can make a statement strong enough, in my opinion, to hold out any modicum of postseason hope. Taking thee out of four -- still a big task -- allows them to pick up two games in the standings, but that is hardly enough to suggest the Yankees are on their way to big things. A split, and the Yankees are in the same boat they arrived in. If this is to be the only win, then they fall two games further back than when the series began. You get the picture.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said the club must take things day by day. He's correct to think in the short term, but the long haul ahead of them is arduous. The Yankees created this mess due to inconsistent play, and it will take practically perfect and steady baseball for the next nine days to change the perception of the team everyone except for the players and ownership believes to be true.
Nathan Eovaldi (7-6, 5.11 ERA) will face Vance Worley (2-0, 2.87 ERA) in the second game of a four-game series on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET.