By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, May 20- The failure of Yankee batters to hit successfully with runners in scoring position continues to plague the team. After failing in three at bats to move runners beyond second base, the Yankee futility in scoring runners from second and/or third base reached a mark of three scores in 51 at bats.
It looked as if they could move beyond those failures in the ninth inning as a runner in scoring position was plated for the first time in 23 at bats as Nick Swisher singled Raul Ibañez home after the latter was at second after doubling. Singles by Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix accounted for the fifth run of the Yankees.
The streak of success ended quickly as Derek Jeter forced Nix at second and Curtis Granderson ended the game by grounding out to first base.
After the contest concluded, Yankee manager Joe Girardi spoke of this problem, “We just didn’t get the last hit we needed. It’s frustrating that we got so close. I’m sure it’s frustrating for them.”
Solo homers by Russell Martin in the third and Jayson Nix in the fifth accounted for two earlier runs. A double by Ibañez scored Robinson Cano from first in the fourth.
Returning to action after suffering a sprain of his right ankle in his last start on May 14, Ivan Nova hit a career-high of 12 strikeouts, but gave up five runs in six innings.
Girardi said of the performance of the 25 year old, “I thought he threw the ball pretty decent. When he got hit, they made it count.”
The instances the Yankee skipper referred to were: a single after two walks in the first, two doubles in the second and a three-run homer to Cincinnati star Joey Votto in the fifth.
Of the long ball hit by Votto, Girardi commented, “He made a mistake to Votto; he let the ball up.”
The pitcher was dissatisfied with his work, “I don’t care about strikeouts. I made a lot of mistakes. It was a slider [to Votto], I didn’t get it down.”
The defeat was the fifth in the last seven games for the Yankees.
CC Sabathia (5-0) will start the final game of the three game series for the Yanks against Johnny Cueto (4-1) for the Reds on Sunday afternoon.
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