The right-hander will try to remain unbeaten against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Sunday when New York looks to finish this four-game series with a third straight win.
While they rank near the bottom of the major leagues with a .219 batting average and 70 runs scored in June, the Yankees (41-33) have started to heat up with 13 runs and 18 hits in their last two victories.
Vernon Wells , batting .118 over his previous 30 games, came off the bench to hit a three-run double that keyed a four-run seventh inning as New York rallied for a 7-5 win Saturday."It was good to hit a ball and it not land in somebody's glove," Wells said. "And it came at a great time."
Rookie Zoilo Almonte , called up from Triple-A on Tuesday, has sparked the team's scoring surge, going 5 for 7 with a homer and four RBIs in this series.
The Yankees now look to win three straight for the first time since a four-game run June 3-6.
Since a rainout against the Los Angeles Dodgers forced Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes to pitch in Wednesday's doubleheader, Nova (2-1, 5.16 ERA) is expected to make his first start for the Yankees since April 26.
Nova had a 2.04 ERA over three starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He's 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in four starts with New York.
Nova, though, has been tough on the Rays (38-37), going 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA in five career home starts.
Sean Rodriguez has had the most success when facing Nova with five hits - including a homer and two doubles - in 12 career at-bats, while Desmond Jennings was 4 for 9 with a double and triple last season.
Nova will get his first look at Rays rookie Wil Myers , who had three hits and a sixth-inning grand slam that gave Tampa Bay a brief 5-3 lead Saturday."It was just awesome to be down two strikes and the crowd cheering and to be able to put a swing like that on it," Myers said. "Just a cool experience."
Evan Longoria has also done some damage in this series, going 4 for 10 with three homers.
The Rays have dropped 10 of 14, largely due to a starting rotation that has a 6.24 ERA during that span. They're hoping to earn a series split with Chris Archer (1-3, 5.03) taking the ball.
The Yankees have never faced Archer, though a patient approach likely would serve them well. Archer has worked into the sixth inning only once in his four starts due to high pitch counts and 14 walks in 19 2-3 innings.
The right-hander threw a career-high 109 pitches in 4 2-3 on Tuesday, allowing five free passes and four runs, in a 5-1 loss at Boston.
He's 0-5 with a 6.23 ERA on the road in his career.
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|June 16, 2013||Alex Cobb||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 05, 2013||Kelly Johnson||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 15, 2013||David Price||Day-to-Day||Left tricep tightness|
|May 08, 2013||Brandon Gomes||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|May 04, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Left hand contusion|
|New York Yankees|
|June 16, 2013||Mark Teixeira||15-Day DL||Right wrist inflammation|
|June 15, 2013||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Wrist|
|June 14, 2013||Kevin Youkilis||15-Day DL||Lumbar spine strain|
|June 01, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - dehydration|
|May 25, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken left pinkie finger|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Joe Maddon has no shortage of confidence in Jake McGee and Joel Peralta - or the quality of New York City's salsa.
A day after his key relievers had had a rough outing that cost them the game against the Yankees, the manager met with them in the clubhouse over a snack to explain that he still trusted them in tough situations.
On Sunday he showed it, calling on McGee and Peralta to hold the two-run lead the Rays took when James Loney hit a tiebreaking two-run single with two outs in the seventh inning. The bullpen put up zeros and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 3-1.
"I'm a big chips and salsa man, and there was some excellent chips and salsa," Maddon said. "I wanted to talk to Jake and Joel. So I got a little bucket of salsa, a little bucket of chips and I sat down with both of them.
"It was a good moment to just exchange thoughts, and I wanted them to know how much I believe in them, because that was a tough game for those guys," Maddon said.
On Saturday, trying to protect a two-run lead, Peralta loaded the bases, and McGee walked in a run and allowed a three-run double in the seventh inning. On Sunday, Maddon didn't hesitate to go back to them.
"It made me feel really, really good, you know?" Peralta said. "Thanks to Joe for putting me out there."
Peralta got Robinson Cano , Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay to fly out to center after McGee pitched a scoreless, one-hit seventh.
Then Fernando Rodney struck out the side in the ninth for his 15th save in 20 chances this season.
Chris Archer pitched six innings of one-run ball for his first win in three starts since June 7 and the Rays earned a split of their four-game series in the Bronx after the Yankees celebrated their 67th Old-Timers' Day.
Archer (2-3) struck out four, allowed six hits, with a walk and a hit batter, and outdueled Ivan Nova , who returned to the Yankees' rotation from the minor leagues and settled down after a shaky first inning.
The Yankees right-hander came undone just enough in the seventh.
Nova (2-2) left with two outs in the seventh after he hit Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist with pitches. Shawn Kelley walked Evan Longoria to load the bases and Boone Logan got to two strikes on Loney before the Rays first baseman lined a sharp shot up the middle. Joba Chamberlain came on and struck out Wil Myers to end the inning.
That was another case of Maddon trusting a player. He briefly considered pinch-hitting, but decided to roll with Loney against a left-hander.
"I'm getting that chance here again like I did when I first started in the big leagues," said Loney. "I was playing against lefties a lot, too. It's one of those things where I'm glad to be back in that situation."
Nova pitched himself out of a jam two innings before that. He walked Jose Molina to lead off the inning and allowed a two-out single to Desmond Jennings to bring up Ben Zobrist in a tough spot. After getting ahead of him 0-2, Nova threw Zobrist a curveball low and inside. He swung and missed, and catcher Chris Stewart pumped his fist and ran off the field.
Nova finished with seven strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings, allowing 7 hits and three walks.
"I thought he was really good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "First inning he got his fastball up and then after that he was real good."
Zobrist got the Rays on the board with an RBI single in the first as Nova labored. Cano answered with a sacrifice fly caught on the warning track in the bottom half.
Archer, too, settled down after that and worked with a quick tempo. Once Loney got the big hit for the Rays, Maddon could rest easy, turning the game over to his lock-down bullpen.
"When guys have a tough day like that, and they're your guys, there's no replacements there," Maddon said. "These are our guys. This is how we win this year. I believe in them. And they have to know that."
NOTES: Maddon's snack choice in a city held up for mockery in salsa commercials as the origin of subpar product may have been his boldest decision this weekend. That one worked out, too. "As it turns out ... the chips and salsa were outstanding," Maddon said. "I don't know where they're from here in the city, but they're really, really good." ... Loney finished with three hits and an intentional walk after hitting into a double play in the first inning. ... Molina easily stole a base in the top of the eighth inning. He took off for second, and Stewart couldn't corral a high pitch, allowing the sturdy catcher to take the base easily. ... With the Old-Timers lined up on the basepaths after being introduced, Yogi Berra was welcomed last. The 88-year-old Berra was brought out on a golf cart festooned with eight miniature American flags, and received a warm cheer. ... The Rays face Toronto on Monday night at home, where RHP Jeremy Hellickson (5-3, with a 5.50 ERA) will face RHP Esmil Rogers (3-2, 3.14). ... The Yankees are off Monday before hosting Texas for three games starting Tuesday night.