The Yankees four-game winning streak was snapped when their pitching-by-committee approach finally let them down in a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh in the second game of a traditional doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees starter Vidal Nuno (1-1) lasted a respectable six innings and left with the game tied at 3 after Yangervis Solarte took him off the hook with a homer in the bottom of the sixth inning. But the bullpen failed to hold up as reliever Alfredo Aceves (0-2) surrendered a homer to the Pirates' Josh Harrison in the top of the seventh and Matt Thornton was charged with another Pirates run in the top of the ninth.
Pirates starter Gerrit Cole (4-3), who was the Yankees' first-round draft choice in 2008 but spurned their offer to attend UCLA and later become the No. 1 overall pick by the Pirates in 2011, got the win. He gave up six hits in six innings and struck out eight while walking two.
The early part of the second game was a mélange of errors and oddball plays. Cole gave up a leadoff triple to Brett Gardner. But Gardner got picked off by catcher Chris Stewart, a former Yankees teammate.
Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead in the second when Starling Marte reached base on an error by third baseman Solarte, went to third on a botched double play ball by second baseman Brian Roberts and scored on a Stewart single. But the Pirates' Jose Tabata ran his team out of the inning on that play, suffering a right hamstring injury that caused him to pull up and get thrown out at third.
In the Yankees' half of the second, Solarte singled and scored with two outs on a John Ryan Murphy single that Pirates rightfielder Travis Snider misplayed. Murphy went to third on that error and scored on a bunt single by Brendan Ryan for a 2-1 Yankees lead.
That lasted only until the sixth when the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen singled to set up a two-run homer by Marte off Nuno for a 3-2 Pittsburgh lead. Solarte tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with his solo homer to right field off Cole.
Aceves relieved Nuno to start the seventh but gave up a two-out homer to left by Harrison that put the Pirates back in front, 4-3. In the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees tried to mount a two-out rally when Gardner singled and then was held at third on a double by Roberts. But Mark Teixeira ended the inning with a broken-bat popup to second.
The Yankees had another chance to tie it in the eighth when Derek Jeter led off with a pinch-hit single. Solarte hit a hard line shot to left, but the Pirates' Harrison made a nice run toward the foul line and laid out to make a brilliant run-saving catch. Reliever Tony Watson proceeded to strike out pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki to end the threat.
Pirates closer Mark Melancon got the Yankees in order in the ninth.