Ichiro Suzuki LF
Derek Jeter DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Raul Ibanez RF
Eric Chavez 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C
RHP Ivan Nova
Nova vs. Rays
Desmond Jennings LF
Ben Zobrist SS
Evan Longoria DH
B.J. Upton CF
Jeff Keppinger 3B
Matt Joyce RF
Ryan Roberts 2B
Carlos Pena 1B
Jose Molina C
RHP James Shields
Shields vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 4:05 p.m., FOX
WEATHER: Beautiful day for baseball. It’s not too hot, but the sun is shining.
UMPIRES: HP Gary Darling, 1B Paul Emmel, 2B Jerry Meals, 3B Scott Barry
AT THE TOP: Thanks to the Orioles loss to the A’s last night, the Yankees remain tied for first place. They have been either tied or alone atop the AL East every day since June 12.
WINNING: With their next win, the Yankees will secure their 20th consecutive winning season since 1993. Their current streak of 19 consecutive winning seasons is the second-longest for any franchise in MLB history, trailing only the Yankees’ run of 39 straight seasons with a winning record from 1926-64. They’ve got a long way to go to reach that.
THE GRANDY MAN CAN: Curtis Granderson has homered four times over his last five games. He’s heating up again.
(NOTE: I’ll be updating the action here every so often, but I’ll be much more active on Twitter. To join the conversation, follow me @vzmercogliano.)
UPDATE, 4:10 p.m.: Nova looked good in the first. He gave up a leadoff single to Jennings on the first pitch, but then struck out Zobrist on a nasty curve and got Longoria to ground into an inning-ending double play. His fastball was hitting 95 MPH on the gun.
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Granderson and Nunez just went back-to-back in the second to give the Yanks a 3-0 lead. Granderson’s homer was his 39th of the year and fifth in his last six games, while Nunez’s was his first since Sept. 21 last year (which he also hit off of Shields). Grandy came in hitting .107 off of Shields, while Nunez was hitting .462 against the Rays’ right-hander. Go figure.
UPDATE, 5:21 p.m.: Nova gets out of the closest he’s been to being in trouble here in the fifth. A Joyce double and a walk to Pena put runners on first and second with two outs, but Nova got Molina to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. He’s allowed just two hits through five innings while striking out six. And he’s only at 66 pitches. Yanks still up 3-0.
UPDATE, 5:40 p.m.: After an Ichiro single with two outs in the sixth, he stole second base in a move that helped the Yankees add an insurance run. Jeter singled to drive him in, putting the Yanks up 4-0.
UPDATE, 5:46 p.m.: Longoria homered off of Nova with two outs in the sixth, prompting a rare mound visit from Girardi. Nova told him he was fine, and then went onto strike out Upton. He’s probably done after that inning at 83 pitches (Girardi said he’d throw 80-90). Very nice outing, allowing just three hits while striking out eight. Yanks are up 4-1 going into the seventh.
UPDATE, 5:57 p.m.: Girardi let Nova come back out for the seventh, but pulled him after a leadoff single to Keppinger. Nova tapped his chest and tipped his cap as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Very encouraging start. Here comes Boone Logan.
UPDATE, 6:12 p.m.: The Rays cut their deficit to 4-3 in the seventh. After Nova came out, Logan allowed a double to Roberts to put runners on second and third. Joba came in and got pinch-hitter Sam Fuld to ground out, but Luke Scott followed with a two-out, two-run single. Joba struck out Jennings to end the inning and avoid further damage.