Yankees thumped by Rays' five homers
ST. PETERSBURG -- Ivan Nova's Saturday evening went from bad to worse in a hurry, as the Yankees right-hander surrendered a career-high four home runs, then was driven away from Tropicana Field and wheeled into an MRI tube for a better look at his ailing pitching elbow.
Ryan Hanigan and Wil Myers each homered twice and Evan Longoria clubbed a tape-measure shot to left field as the Rays tied a home record with five round-trippers, highlighting a lopsided, 16-1 thumping that sent the Yankees to their second defeat in as many nights.
"We know that they're explosive," manager Joe Girardi said. "They have lot of power in their lineup, and you need to shut them down. We have not been able to do that the last two nights, and we've got to right the ship tomorrow."
New York's bullpen was roughed up again by Tampa Bay's batting order, prompting Girardi to trigger the unappealing option of having Dean Anna move from shortstop to the mound and recording the final three outs with batting-practice fastballs.
That might have provided some comic relief in the visitors' dugout if not for the overwhelming concern about Nova's health. Bench coach Tony Pena saw Nova shake his arm after his final pitch, a 90-mph fastball to Longoria in the fifth inning, and quickly alerted the rest of the coaching staff.
"It was funny, the way he delivered the ball," Pena said. "Then he started to shake it. I saw it right away. I said, 'We need to take care of this guy.'"
Girardi sprang out of the dugout and removed Nova following a brief conversation, though he said that the four homers had not been a red flag.
"He had never complained. He had made every one of his starts," Girardi said. "There was nothing that was telling me. You didn't see, like, he was throwing his fastball 85 [mph]. His fastball was pretty consistent the whole night, the same speed, so it wasn't really anything that told me. Tony saw it, and we ran out."
Nova was replaced by right-hander Matt Daley, who joined the club from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday and was given a rude welcome back to the big leagues; the Rays pounded him for six runs (four earned) in 1 1/3 innings.
Right-hander Chris Archer, who easily improved his career record against New York to 4-0 with a sharp, well-cushioned outing, held the Yankees in check. Archer permitted just three hits, touched only by Kelly Johnson's run-scoring double in the fifth inning.
Catcher Brian McCann said that Nova was having trouble keeping the ball down, and the Rays clubbed him early and often. Myers started the damage in the second inning with his first homer of the season and Hanigan blasted his second shot of 2014 to start the third inning.
Longoria unloaded on a long two-run homer that struck the "C" catwalk above the left-field bleachers, a shot that marked the 164th of his career and moved him past Carlos Pena for ownership of the Rays' all-time lead.
"This was a good statement win for us," Longoria said. "To be able to come out against Nova, who has given us trouble in the past, and put together an offensive performance like we did today, it's one of those games where you hope it propels you going forward."
The rout was on when Hanigan added a two-run shot in the fourth inning, and Myers blasted a three-run shot off Daley in the fifth. Tampa Bay added four runs by sending 10 men to the plate in the sixth against Daley and Dellin Betances, an inning that featured three hits, three walks and an error.
When the Yankees took the field in the eighth, they did so with Anna on the mound. Anna hadn't pitched in a game since he was about 11 years old, in summer league, but he keeps busy during the winter by helping to teach kids' baseball clinics at Bo Jackson's academy in Lockport, Ill.
At Girardi's urging, Anna essentially was back in the cages, lobbing batting practice, as he navigated the eighth inning. His first pitch was clocked at 66 mph.
"When I do a lot of lessons back home, that's actually how I throw, just a nice little flick in there," Anna said.
The Rays connected for three hits and two runs, with Hanigan picking up his fifth and sixth RBIs of the evening, leaving Anna forever imprinted on the '14 Yankees pitching page with an 18.00 ERA. He hopes there won't be any opportunities to decrease that number.
"When you see me in there, it's not a good day," he said. "We've got to regroup tomorrow and get back at it."