Nova’s winning streak still intact
Ivan Nova flirted with danger a bit too often Friday night, and it eventually caught up to him as he gave up leads of 1-0 and 4-3 to the Tigers and was in jeopardy of having his 15-game winning streak end before the Yankees tied the score in the eighth inning and got him off the hook.
Through the first three innings, the Tigers had as many as 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Detroit was 0-for-3 in those cases in each of the first two innings. The run Nova gave up in the second that tied the score at 1 was somewhat tainted because left fielder Raul Ibanez misplayed a hit by Matt Eldred into a run-scoring triple. Nova did his job keeping Eldred at third base. Eldred was called up from Triple A Toledo to replace Brandon Inge, who was waived.
The Tigers gave Justin Verlander the lead with two runs in the third on RBI singles by their 3-4 sluggers, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Verlander got careless with outside fastballs to Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin that resulted in home runs to right field.
Alex’s was a solo shot for career No. 633. With a run-scoring single in the first plus the homer, A-Rod raised his career RBI total to 1,902, one behind Willie Mays for eighth on the all-time list. The Say Hey Kid is also ahead of Alex in home runs with 660, fourth on the career ladder.
Martin’s homer was a two-run blast in the fifth that put Nova back in the lead, but it would be short-lived. The righthander had been able to dance out of danger earlier had no such luck in the sixth. Austin Jackson doubled in two runs as Detroit regained the lead, and the Tigers picked up another run on a single by Fielder off lefthander Boone Logan, who allowed an inherited runner to score for the first time this season.
Giving up hits has been an issue all year for Nova despite his previous success. He allowed 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings Friday night and has yielded 36 hits in 24 1/3 innings for the season. Nova’s ERA jumped from 3.79 to 5.18.
Verlander, who won both the American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards in 2011, was not his dominant self. He gave up five runs (four earned) and seven hits but did not walk a batter and struck out four. The unearned run was due to an error by left fielder Don Kelly in the sixth that sliced Detroit’s lead to 6-5.
Rodriguez, who was coming off a 3-for-20 (.150) trip that had dropped his season average to .221, began the eighth inning with a single to right, his third hit, and eventually scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Mark Teixeira.