Ryan Vogelsong felt he didn't have his head in this outing.
Vogelsong gave up five runs, and the San Francisco Giants managed just six hits against Ivan Nova in a 6-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday.
"It was upsetting for me from a mental standpoint," Vogelsong said. "I didn't have a good mental game."
Shortstop Brendan Ryan made several stellar plays, Alfonso Soriano connected for the second straight day and Robinson Cano had an RBI single in a three-run third against Vogelsong (3-6), helping New York win for just the third time in eight games.
New York entered three games behind Cleveland for the second AL wild card, with three teams ahead. The Yankees have seven games remaining, including three against wild-card leading Tampa Bay.
"If we played like we played last night and today we feel like we can win every game," Soriano said.
The Giants gave the many orange-and-black-clad fans in attendance little to cheer. They only had two baserunners reach second — one the result of Soriano losing Brandon Belt's flyball to left field in the sun for a double. Belt and Pablo Sandoval and each had two hits for the Giants, who never put two runners on in the same inning.
Sandoval was lifted before the bottom of the eighth because his back tightened up. He is day to day.
San Francisco lost for the eighth time in nine interleague road games this season. With a .458 winning percentage (71-84), the Giants are on track for the third-worst winning percentage for a defending World Series champion, trailing only the 1998 Florida Marlins (.333) and the 1991 Cincinnati Reds (.457), according to STATS.
After retiring six straight to start the game, Vogelsong ran into trouble against the bottom third of New York's lineup to start the third inning.
"He got off to a good start in the first two innings but after that he got a little fancy. He was off with his stuff," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Mark Reynolds blooped a single over third base and went to third on a hit-and-run single by Ryan, who entered with a .197 average. Chris Stewart walked on four pitches to load the bases for Ichiro Suzuki.
Suzuki's sacrifice fly put the Yankees ahead, Alex Rodriguez drove in another run with a spinning grounder to the left of second base that shortstop Brandon Crawford glove with a nifty grab, and Cano tacked on a run when he sliced a single the opposite way through a huge hole between shortstop and third base.
"On the hit and run, I knew they were going to send the runner there and the cutter away ran up a bit," Vogelsong said. "If that ball is where I want it to be it's a groundball."
Nunez connected in the fourth on the first pitch he saw from Vogelsong for his second homer this season.
Vogelsong was lifted after five innings. He allowed five runs and five hits in losing for the fourth time in five starts.
A day before New York honors retiring closer Mariano Rivera in a pregame ceremony, Nova (9-5) gave the Yankees' bullpen a rest with a 108-pitch gem for his third complete game, all this year. He struck out seven and walked one in winning for the first time in four start following poor efforts against AL East rivals Boston and Baltimore.
"All my pitches were working," Nova said.
Soriano connected on the first pitch thrown by reliever Guillermo Moscoso leading off the sixth, giving him 17 homers and 50 RBIs with the Yankees in 52 games. He had 17 homers and 51 RBIs in 93 games for the Chicago Cubs.
NOTES: Giants C Johnny Monell, who grew up in the Bronx, struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... San Francisco 2B Joaquin Arias will miss several games with a pulled left hamstring. Arias was injured Friday night in the seventh inning. ... Bochy visited Monument Park before the game. ... The Yankees are urging fans to be in their seats for Sunday's game before 12:30 p.m. for the start of the ceremony honoring Rivera. .... Giants RHP Yusmeiro Petit (4-0) faces LHP Andy Pettitte (10-10), who will be making his final regular-season start at Yankee Stadium.