Nova loses 3rd straight start; Yankees fall to Red Sox 5-3
BOSTON (AP) New York right-hander Ivan Nova hasn't had much offensive support the last three starts.
On Saturday, the bullpen didn't help either.
Nova left with New York trailing by a run before the bullpen allowed two more to score in Boston's 5-3 victory over the AL East-leading Yankees.
Boston led 3-2 when Nova was pulled with a runner on second and two outs in the seventh. The Red Sox added two more runs on an RBI triple by Mookie Betts and an infield single by Xander Bogaerts.
''We just couldn't get that third out,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ''I brought in the guys that were very capable of doing it, and they just weren't able to keep it there.''
Nova (1-3) allowed four runs and eight hits, striking out three in 6 2-3 innings in his fourth start of the season after missing the first 71 games recovering from Tommy John surgery.
''I've been very pleased the way he's thrown the ball,'' Girardi said. ''He's given us a chance to win every time.''
The Yankees scored one run total in his previous two starts.
''I felt pretty good the way I threw my cutter today,'' he said. ''I threw a lot of good pitches.''
Alex Rodriguez homered in the first inning for the second straight game, and ex-Boston center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits, including a home run.
Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer, Betts had two extra-base hits and David Ortiz had two hits for Boston.
The Red Sox won for the 10th time in 13 games. They remained in last place in the East, but they closed to 5 1-2 games out in the division. Boston was 10 games out June 20 last year.
The Yankees had beaten the Red Sox five straight times, including a 5-1 win Friday. But a day after losing the series opener and top starter Clay Buchholz on the same night, the Red Sox got 6 1-3 solid innings from Eduardo Rodriguez (5-2).
The rookie left-hander allowed five hits and a walk while striking out two, leaving with a 3-2 lead in the seventh. It was just the third time in nine career starts that he has given up two runs or more.
Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his 22nd save, ending it by getting Brian McCann on a 400-foot fly ball to center with a man on base.
Rodriguez made it 1-0 with his 672nd career homer, hitting it over the Green Monster, where it was grabbed by a fan in a ''Free (Tom) Brady'' T-shirt. The Yankees designated hitter was booed by the crowd, but he found a fan in a Yankees jersey in the front row to hand his batting gloves to on the way to the dugout.
Boston tied it in the third, then Ortiz singled to lead off the fourth and Ramirez homered to make it 3-1. Ellsbury homered into the Boston bullpen to cut the lead to 3-2.
Yankees prospect Rob Refsnyder was hitless in three at-bats, batting ninth in his major-league debut. Refsnyder, who was called up from Triple-A, hit into a double play in the third and was robbed of his first hit in the sixth when Boston RF Alejandro De Aza came in to make a diving catch of his sinking liner. He popped to first in the eighth.
''I wasn't nervous at all,'' he joked. ''It was quite an experience, growing up a sports fan in a sports family. It was special. I would have liked to get a hit and help the team win. It's something I'll remember.
Rodriguez's next hit will tie him with Rafeal Palmeiro for 24th all-time.
Adam Warren of the Yankees faced three batters, giving up the triple, single and a walk before he was pulled.
Yankees: Nathan Eovaldi (8-2) pitches for the Yankees in the series finale.
Red Sox: Wade Miley (8-7) will try to help Boston win its fifth straight series.
Yankees: The Yankees moved OF Mason Williams from the 15-day to the 60-day DL to make room for Refsnyder on the 40-man roster.
Red Sox: Buchholz was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right elbow a day after leaving his start in the fourth inning. To take his place, the club selected LHP Brian Johnson from Triple-A Pawtucket.