NEW YORK -- Ivan Nova recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts, but one bat he didn't miss was Joey Votto's, and it cost him -- and the Yankees -- the game.
Votto hit his fifth homer in seven days, a three-run shot in the fifth inning, and the Reds held on to defeat the Yankees, 6-5, before 45,302 Saturday at Yankee Stadium. The interleague loss marked another frustrating day for the Yankees (21-19) at bat, and puzzling day on the mound.
The Yankees, who have lost five of seven, scored twice and knocked out Reds closer Sean Marshall in the ninth, but Jose Arredondo got Derek Jeter to hit into a force out and Curtis Granderson to ground to first to strand the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position.
The Reds are 20-19 but Votto, their marquee player, has begun heating up. After hitting two homers in the Reds' first 32 games, he hit three homers, including a walk-off grand slam, last Sunday to beat the Nationals, and another against the Mets during the mid-week series at Citi Field. Now hitting .308 with seven homers and 28 RBI, Votto leads the NL with 24 extra-base hits.
Nova (4-2, 5.69 ERA) recorded his first seven outs by strikeouts, getting Votto swinging in the third, but he allowed seven hits and five runs in his six innings, throwing 103 pitches.
With the game tied at 2-2, Wilson Valdez led off the fifth with a single to center, and Chris Heisey, attempting to sacrifice, ended up with a bunt single when he beat Alex Rodriguez's throw to first. Rodriguez bobbled Drew Stubbs' bouncer, costing the Yankees a chance at a double play, settling for a force at second. Then Votto hit Nova's 2-1 pitch into the seats in right, the ball landing in the first row beyond the scoreboard, to give the Reds a 5-2 lead.
The Reds scored in each of the first two innings, though Nova struck out the side in both. Brandon Phillips' single to right knocked in a run in the first, and Heisey doubled to left to drive home another in the second. Then Nova retired seven in a row.
Russell Martin hit Homer Bailey's first pitch of the third inning into the right-field stands, his fourth homer of the year, to pull the Yankees within 2-1. Raul Ibanez's two-out double scored Robinson Cano from first to tie the game in the fourth.
Jayson Nix added a homer for the Yankees in the fifth and Mike Costanzo's sacrifice fly gave the Reds a 6-3 lead in the eighth. In the ninth, Nick Swisher and Nix hit RBI singles.
Bailey (2-3, 4.34) lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs to get the win.
NOTES: Mark Teixeira, still suffering from bronchial inflammation, was given a second consecutive day off and will probably sit Sunday, too. "Mark didn't want it," manager Joe Girardi said, "but I told him, let's try rest and see if we can knock this thing out." Teixeira, hitting .228 with five homers and 20 RBI, has been coughing for weeks, and said the problem gets worse once he starts running, breathing heavily. "I've seen every doctor there is," he said, "and I've taken all the medicine I can take. The last thing is rest. It may be just a matter of time; you'd like it to get better right away." ... The Yankees will wait a few more days before deciding when David Robertson, who has a strained oblique, can begin throwing. ... Reds manager Dusty Baker said he is still leaning toward keeping Aroldis Chapman, who was hitting 99 MPH consistently in the eighth inning, in the bullpen, which has been Cincinnati's strength. ... Phillips' first-inning single produced his 500th RBI as a member of the Reds. ... Costanzo's single in the seventh was his first MLB hit.