August 17, 2011
Yankees keep Nova’s winning streak alive
The Yankees were determined to keep Ivan Nova’s impressive winning streak intact. The only question was whether he would be around long enough to reap the rewards.
It turned out he was. Just barely.
Nova survived into the fifth inning in his shakiest outing in months, and Robinson Cano’s three-run homer into the Kauffman Stadium fountains gave him a lift. Russell Martin and Derek Jeter each added a pair of RBIs and the Yankees went on to beat the Kansas City Royals 9-7 on Tuesday night.
“A win is a win, no matter the way you get it,” said the soft-spoken Nova (12-4), who tied Andy Pettitte and Orlando Hernandez for the most wins by a Yankees rookie in the past three decades.
Nova has won eight straight decisions going back to a 3-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels on June 3.
“We won the game. Bottom line is we won the game,” manager Joe Girardi added. “He doesn’t need a mulligan. I mean, he’s pitched really well. Great pitchers get hit. It’s going to happen.”
Nova finally departed with one out in the fifth, and Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano and David Robertson shepherded the game to Mariano Rivera. The veteran closer pitched another perfect ninth for his 32nd save, his second in as many nights, and his 27th in a row against Kansas City dating to May 2, 1999.
The Yankees (74-46) moved a season-best 28 games over .500 and a half game ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East with their 16th win in their last 22 games.
Melky Cabrera hit a solo homer against his former team, and Jeff Francoeur drove in a pair of runs as the Royals took a 5-3 lead through three innings. But the Yankees blew the game open with a five-run fourth, which included a stretch of five consecutive hitters reaching to start the inning. Cano delivered the biggest blow, a rocket shot into the fountains in right field to finish off a 12-pitch at-bat and knock Danny Duffy from the game.
Tigers 7, Twins 1: Justin Verlander allowed one run in 7 2-3 innings to become baseball’s first 18-game winner and the Detroit Tigers breezed to the victory.
Verlander (18-5) labored through a 29-pitch first inning but settled down after that, allowing seven hits in another impressive outing. He struck out eight to surpass 200 on the year, walked one and lowered his ERA to 2.31.
Miguel Cabrera drove in three runs for the Tigers, and Ramon Santiago hit his third home run, a solo shot in the sixth.
Rangers 7, Angels 3: Michael Young had three of the Rangers’ 17 hits and drove in three runs, and Texas opened its biggest AL West lead of the season.
Derek Holland (11-4) yielded nine hits and fell one out shy of his fifth complete game for the Rangers, who have moved six games ahead the struggling Angels.
Josh Hamilton homered in a three-hit performance before leaving with back spasms, and Mitch Moreland had a two-run single among his three hits in Texas’ fifth straight victory.
Torii Hunter had two hits and drove in a run for the punchless Angels, who trailed Texas by just 1 1/2 games a week ago.
Red Sox 3-2, Rays 1-6: Rookie Desmond Jennings hit his fifth home run of the season and Jeff Niemann struck out 10 as the Tampa Bay Rays salvaged a split of a doubleheader with a second game victory over Boston.
The Red Sox opened the day with a win, but couldn’t overcome two unearned runs in the second inning of the nightcap. Boston also couldn’t capitalize on its first triple play since 1994.
Niemann (8-4) pitched his first complete game of the season and won his seventh straight decision. Tampa Bay won for the sixth time in eight games.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run homer, and Jon Lester struck out eight in the win by the Red Sox in the opener. Lester (12-6) outdueled fellow All-Star James Shields, who pitched nearly as well and deeper into the game but received little offensive support.
White Sox 8, Indians 7, 14 innings: Juan Pierre’s game-ending single in the 14th inning capped a wild, five-hour marathon for Chicago.
Gordon Beckham doubled off of Chad Durbin (2-2) with one out in the final inning, advancing to third on Brent Morel’s infield single. David Huff reliever Durbin to face Pierre, who singled to left to win it.
Jason Frasor (3-2) worked the top of the inning to earn the victory.
The White Sox have won nine of 11 and remain 3 1/2 games behind the American League Central-leading Detroit Tigers. The loss drops the second-place Indians three games back.
Athletics 8, Orioles 4: Josh Willingham hit a home run and had two hits, and Coco Crisp drove in two runs for Oakland.
Cliff Pennington had three hits, Jemile Weeks had two and both drove in runs for the A’s, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Scott Sizemore, Kurt Suzuki and Hideki Matsui also had RBIs.
Josh Bell drove in two runs for the Orioles, who have lost 15 of their last 19 road games. Vladimir Guerrero and Robert Andino also drove in runs.
Blue Jays 13, Mariners 7: Jose Bautista hit his major league-leading 35th home run, Colby Rasmus and Aaron Hill each drive in four runs and Toronto rallied twice.
The Blue Jays appeared on the way to an easy victory with a six-run first inning, highlighted by Rasmus’ three-run double. But by the third inning, the Mariners had tied it.
The Jays broke away again with a four-run fifth.
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