Results tagged ‘ Ivan Nova ’
There was not too much scoreboard watching for the Yankees Saturday. The only game other than theirs against the Giants in the afternoon that involved the clubs ahead of them in the wild-card hunt was the Orioles at St. Pete where the Rays won, 5-1. The Indians, Rangers and Royals were all scheduled at night.
So the best scoreboard watching for the Yankees was their own as inning by inning Ivan Nova kept tossing zeroes at the distant cousins from San Francisco. The righthander, who has been the Yankees’ best starting pitcher in the second half, finished up with a six-hit shutout, his second complete-game blanking of the season. This one, a 6-0 final, was clutch because of the timing when the Yankees simply have to win every game they play.
“If we play like we did today, there is no reason why we can’t win all seven games we have left,” Alfonso Soriano said.
Soriano ranks right up there with Nova as the most important Yankees post the All-Star Game. Sori smacked out another home run Saturday. That gives him 17 in 52 games with the Yankees, the same total he had in 93 games with the Cubs. He also raised his RBI total to 101 in becoming only the fifth player in history to drive in 50 or more runs each for two different clubs in the same season. The others were Matt Holliday with the Athletics and Cardinals in 2009, Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2008, Carlos Beltran with the Royals and Astros in 2004 and David Justice with the Indians and Yankees in 2000.
Similar to what Justice did for the Yanks 13 years ago; Soriano has re-ignited the team’s offense with 50 RBI in 52 games and 36 RBI in 26 games at Yankee Stadium.
“He has been special since he got here,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I think it is because he is excited to be here. He had fond memories of being here before and enjoyed it so much.”
Soriano’s 34th home run of the season overall was icing on the cake Saturday. The way Nova was pitching the three runs he got in the fourth were plenty sufficient. They came essentially from the bottom third of the order against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong on singles by Mark Reynolds and Brendan Ryan and a walk to Chris Stewart that loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly by Ichiro Suzuki, an infield out by Alex Rodriguez and a two-out single by Robinson Cano scored all the runners. Eduardo Nunez contributed a two-run homer in the fourth, two innings before Soriano connected.
In the meantime, Nova (9-5) held the Giants to six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in an efficient, 108-pitch effort. Nova had been the American League Pitcher of the Month for August but was 0-1 with a 7.07 ERA in his first three starts in September before Saturday’s gem. He had better command of his breaking ball and a good sinker that resulted in 14 groundouts. Splendid defense up the middle by Ryan at shortstop made this the kind of day to get ground balls.
So the Yankees pulled even with Baltimore again in the wild-card standings and would pay close attention to the night games to see where they stand heading into Sunday, which will be a special day for Mariano Rivera and they hope for the rest of the team as well.
The Yankees finally had a good night Tuesday in their wild-card chase. They won and all the teams in front of them lost. They beat one of them, the Orioles, 7-5, while the Rays and Indians both were defeated. The Yanks are now two games out of the second wild card spot and a half-game behind Baltimore and Cleveland.
It was not a totally pleasant night, however. A team that has kept the medical staff working overtime since Opening Day had more bumps and bruises to report. Alex Rodriguez, who had two doubles and one RBI, came out of the game in the eighth inning because of tightness in his left hamstring. The Yankees are hoping it is not serious and that A-Rod be able at least to be the designated hitter Wednesday night.
Ivan Nova, who has pitched well despite dealing with a nagging right triceps, was lifted after six innings and 79 pitches and the Yankees trailing, 4-3. Again, the Yanks have their fingers crossed that he won’t have to come out of the rotation. Catcher Austin Romine took a nasty foul ball off his mask in the eighth inning and may have a concussion.
Before the game, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Boone Logan has not responded to a cortisone injection and that the club will send the reliever’s medical records to Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist in Pensacola, Fla., which may not be a good sign.
The Yankees’ acquisition late Tuesday night of slick-fielding shortstop Brendan Ryan from the Mariners for a player to be named could be an indication that Derek Jeter may be unavailable for an even longer period than originally anticipated.
The state of the Yankees’ bullpen with David Robertson ailing (right shoulder) is such that Mariano Rivera was called on for a four-out save. He retired all four batters he faced for his 42nd save this season and career No. 650.
It was an impressive, comeback victory for the Yankees, who were behind, 4-1, through five innings. Solo home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds in the sixth made it a one-run game, and the Yankee exploded ahead with a four-run eighth. Soriano and Reynolds did some more damage that inning against Orioles reliever Kevin Gausman.
Rodriguez got the Yankees started with a double. He tweaked the hammy while sliding into the plate and scoring on a single by Robinson Cano. Soriano followed with his second home run of the game, his 15th this year for the Yankees and 32nd overall this season. Sori leads the majors in multi-homer games with seven, four of which have come in his seven weeks with the Yankees. Doubles by Curtis Granderson and Reynolds marked five straight hits for the Yanks that inning and produced another run.
Nova, who entered the game with a 2-0 record and 1.52 ERA against the Orioles this year, gave up Chris Davis’ 49th home run of the season, a two-run shot, in Baltimore’s four-run fifth, an inning that was extended because of a throwing error by shortstop Eduardo Nunez.
Adam Warren (2-2), who ended up with the winning decision, pitched a perfect seventh. Shawn Kelley hurt himself with two wild pitches that helped the Orioles to a run in the eighth before Mo came on the scene to restore order. As he told everybody last Sunday, “I’ll be there.”
Now you know why it was so important for the Yankees to get quality starts from Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte in the first two games of the four-game series against the Red Sox. The Yankees were relying on the back end of the bullpen to get them through the third game. After Nova had his briefest outing (four innings) Thursday night and Pettitte turned an 8-3 lead over to the bullpen Friday night with the relievers blowing both games, the Yankees had to turn to a trio of late-season Triple A call-ups to navigate through one of the toughest lineups in the league.
The result naturally was disastrous. David Huff, who had pitched well in relief since Aug. 16 (two earned runs in 16 innings) termed his 3 1/3-inning outing Saturday “terrible.” No one would dispute it. He hit just about every bat in the Boston order and allowed nine earned runs and eight hits, including two home runs. Jim Miller, summoned after Scranton’s season was over, could not stem the tide as the Red Sox dusted him off for three runs and three hits, one a home run, in 1 1/3 innings. Only Brett Marshall, who entered the game with the Yankees down 12-3 in the fifth, was the one bright light with 4 1/3 serviceable innings in which he yielded one run and three hits.
The Yankees’ offense put up a good fight in the 13-9 loss. Their 12 hits were spread among nine players. They cut the deficit to three runs at one point. The problem was that point was the eighth inning. When Mike Napoli took Marshall deep in the ninth, somehow it seemed to shut the door. Napoli, who has feasted off Yankees pitching all year (.404, four doubles, seven home runs, 23 RBI in 12 games and 57 at-bats), is 7-for-12 (.583) with a double, three homers and eight RBI in this series.
The Red Sox came to town after slugging eight home runs in one game and have continued the power surge with eight homers in the series. Boston starter John Lackey, who has had the worst run support for an American League starting pitcher this year, could not seem to handle the burst of offense but ended up with the victory despite giving up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The Yankees knew coming in that the bullpen is in tatters. David Robertson will be out another several days because of right shoulder tendinitis. Boone Logan has an inflamed left biceps that will shelve him for at least three days, and Shawn Kelley has been unavailable due to a strained right triceps.
On top of that, the Yankees lost shortstop Derek Jeter for who knows how long. Manager Joe Girardi pulled the captain when he saw him running tentatively on his left leg. Jeter also had trouble planting his surgical left ankle in the sixth and threw the ball past first baseman Lyle Overbay on an infield single by Jonny Gomes. DJ was sent for a CT scan, which the Yankees said was negative. Nevertheless, they sent the results to Charlotte, N.C., surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the operation on Jeter’s ankle last October.
Let’s be honest, the Yankees were going to have a tough time trying to catch the first-place Red Sox in the AL East. The Bombers were eight games behind when the series began, but their spirits were high as they hoped to do their rivals some damage. The Red Sox have pushed the Yankees 11 games back in historic if somewhat dubious fashion. The Elias Sports Bureau reported that this is the first time in franchise history that the Yankees lost three games in a row when they scored at least seven runs in each game.
It has been clear for some time that the Yankees’ only path to the postseason is through a wild-card berth. Thanks to a current bumpy stretch by the Rays, the Yanks remain in contention there, but their losses to Boston have allowed the Orioles, Indians and even the Royals to encroach their space.
Considering the state of the bullpen, Hiroki Kuroda will have to be awfully good Sunday to avoid an embarrassing sweep at Yankee Stadium to the Red Sox.
Ivan Nova was the American League Pitcher of the Month for August. He is off to a rocky start in contention for AL Pitcher of the Month for September.
The righthander, who was 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA last month, made it through only four innings Thursday night and left the game trailing due to Will Middlebrooks’ home run into the second deck in left field that unlocked a 2-2 score.
So much for all that excitement that was forecast about the Yankees-Red Sox showdown. It was snore, snore for a couple of innings. Things got lively in the third inning, however, as Yankee Stadium began to rock ‘n roll like the good, old Yankees-Red Sox days.
Boston broke the silence in the top of the inning with two runs off Nova, who had trouble keeping his fastball down in the strike zone or getting his curveball over. Ryan Lavarnway and Middlebrooks reached him for singles, and Jacoby Ellsbury put the Red Sox on the board with a double over the fence to right-center.
The Yankees kept the infield back and conceded another run when Shane Victorino grounded out. Dustin Pedroia did, too, but after walking David Ortiz intentionally Nova walked Daniel Nava quite unintentionally on four pitches to load the bases. Nova went to a full count on Mike Napoli before getting him on a called third strike.
After the top half of that inning awoke Red Sox fans, it was Yankees fans’ turn in the bottom half against Jake Peavy, who had lost all four of his previous starts against the Bombers. Ichiro Suzuki got the Yankees’ first hit on a single to center and then promptly stole second base. Chris Stewart made the second out on a popup, but Brett Gardner kept the inning alive with a bunt single.
Peavy got himself in trouble with a walk to Derek Jeter that filled the bases for hot-hitting Robinson Cano, who whacked the first pitch off the wall in right field for a two-run double that tied the score. The Red Sox put one of those exaggerated shifts on Alfonso Soriano, who hit into it and flied out to left field.
Nova’s brief outing was a decided disappointment. The Yankees had been counting on him to continue his hot hand and get them off to a good start in the four-game set against the Red Sox. Nova had pitched into the seventh inning and higher in 11 of his previous 12 starts but ran his pitch count up to nearly 100 (96) through the fourth.
Preston Claiborne, recently recalled from Triple A Scranton, did not help matter when he faced five batters in the fifth inning and got none of them out. Shane Victorino started Claiborne off with a home run to left. Pedroia and Ortiz followed with singles before Nava walked to fill the bases. An infield single by Napoli and an infield out brought in two more runs.
The Yankees would love for Ivan Nova to duplicate his August success in September. He will get his first start of this month Thursday night opposite Boston’s Jake Peavy in the opener of a four-game series against the Red Sox.
Last month was indeed august for Nova. The righthander had a 4-0 record with a 2.08 ERA and was a very deserving winner of the American League Pitcher of the Month Award, the first for a Yankees hurler since CC Sabathia in July 2011. Nova has been a key ingredient in the Yankees’ turnaround in recent weeks.
Among league leaders for August, Nova was first in ERA, tied for first in victories and starts (six) and tied for third in innings pitched (43 1/3) in which he walked 12 batters and struck out 31. Opponents batted .250 against him with only one home run – the fewest allowed per nine innings in the AL during the month.
Nova began his honored month with seven shutout innings at San Diego in a game the Yankees won, 3-0. He held the Padres to four hits with eight strikeouts. In his next start Aug. 9 against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium, Nova limited Detroit to one run on eight hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings but got a no-decision in a 4-3, 10-inning victory.
In defeating the Angels, 11-3, at the Stadium Aug. 14, Nova became the first Yankees pitcher to throw at least seven innings and allow three or fewer earned runs over seven consecutive starts – a run that began July 5 – since Sabathia in 2011 and the first Yankees righthander to do it since David Cone in 1998.
Nova capped it off with his first career complete-game shutout, a 2-0 three-hitter against the Orioles on the last day of the month. He walked one batter, hit two and struck out five.
In assessing the explosive offense after Friday night’s 8-5 victory, Yankees manager Joe Girardi added, “And let’s get the pitchers right, too. We have to click on all cylinders, basically. One night, we might score eight runs. The next night, we may not. And that’s when the pitchers have got to pick up the hitters.”
Give the skipper a swami turban.
Ivan Nova’s three-hit, complete-game shutout Saturday was just the kind of performance the manager had talked about. For a while there, it looked as if the Yankees’ run in the first inning on doubles by Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano off Scott Feldman was all they would get before Cano made the score 2-0 with a home run into the right field bleachers off lefthander Troy Patton in the eighth.
Nova was certainly uplifted by Cano’s 25th homer of the year. He hoped Girard would let him go out for the ninth inning and not be tempted to bring in Mariano Rivera. The second run helped.
“I told the guys I don’t want a 1-0 game; get me another run,” Nova said. “I’m happy that Joe gave me the opportunity.”
Nova earned the chance to finish this one out. He walked one batter and hit two but allowed only three hits. The third was a leadoff single in the ninth inning by Nate McLouth on a chopper to the mound that Nova knocked down but could not recover in time to throw him out. And Girardi still stayed with Nova.
“If it had been a walk, it might have been different,” Girardi said. “But he got a ground ball. And what we needed after that was another ground ball.”
Nova did not get another grounder, however. McLouth getting on added drama to the situation because the third hitter due up that inning was the major-league home run leader, Chris Davis. One swing could have tied the score. After Manny Machado flied out to left, Davis had the Yankee Stadium crowd gasping when he hit a towering fly ball to right field.
That was when it was discovered that Ichiro Suzuki is pretty good at playing possum, which I though was strictly an American trait. Ichiro did not move at first, an indication that the ball was behind him and in the seats. Then after a tantalizingly long moment, he held his glove up over his head and made the catch on the warning track. Suzuki knew he was playing with the crowd.
“Humans want to come from a bad place to a good place,” he said. “Of course, you have to make the play.”
Unlike many of the 42,836 in attendance, Nova didn’t think the ball was going out. The look on Davis’ face told him that, a look that said, “I didn’t get it.” Catcher Chris Stewart said Davis hit the ball off the end of his bat, another good sign of the sinking movement on Nova’s fastball.
There was still another dangerous hitter to go, but Adam Jones’ line drive ended up in the glove of shortstop Derek Jeter.
“He picked up the hitters and the bullpen,” Girardi said of Nova, who won his fourth consecutive start in improving his record to 8-4 with a 2.88 ERA.
With CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda showing signs of fatigue and Phil Hughes winless in nearly two months, Nova has been the rotation’s savior in the second half. The Yankees will go for the series sweep Sunday afternoon behind Andy Pettitte, who is also on a winning streak with three straight victories.
“The key to me for Nova is that he is keeping his fastball down in the zone,” Girardi said. “He has a good curve, but it is even better because he can keep hitters off balance with that fastball down in the zone.”
Girardi also gave Nova credit for “finding himself” during his time in the minor leagues last year and this following his 16-victory season in 2011. Nova agreed.
“I went to Tampa where I worked to do the things I needed to do to prove what kind of pitcher I can be,” Nova said.
It comes down to maturity. Nova was a pretty green kid when he surprised people in 2011. The league catches up to young pitchers if they are not careful, and Nova took his lumps. Saturday, he showed what kind of pitcher he can be.
It was an uplifting day for the Yankees, who jumped over Baltimore into third place in the American League East after a 47-game period since July 7 in fourth place and also positioned themselves ahead of Cleveland in the wild-card chase where they still trail Tampa Bay and Oakland, but as Girardi pointed out, “It sure beats four or five” teams ahead of them.
To be honest, I contemplated getting on Alfonso Soriano’s case for styling when he hits a long drive instead of running hard out of the box in the event the ball does not clear the fence. Robinson Cano has a history of doing the same thing.
But how dumb would that have looked on the day the Yankees won an 11-inning game because of Soriano’s legs and Cano’s sizzling bat?
Soriano’s base running Sunday helped the Yankees to a 3-2, 11-inning victory over the Rays that avoided a three-game sweep at Tropicana Field. He ran hard from the box to second base to get a one-out double off Tampa Bay righthander Jamie Wright and even harder to third base for a key steal that made it possible for him to break the tie on Curtis Granderson’s flyout to right-center that proved a game-winning sacrifice fly after Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half for his 38th save of the season and career No. 646.
Regular readers are aware of my high regard for Soriano, but one element of his game that I find disturbing is his tendency to hot dog it at the plate when he hits a ball into the air and deep. If the ball goes over the fence, fine. When it doesn’t, which was the case in one of his at-bats Saturday night, it is an embarrassment if Soriano is unable to take the extra base because he was too late to move into high gear as a runner.
Considering his speed, Soriano should never look flat-footed on the field. He certainly did not look that way in the 11th inning Sunday. This was a big victory for the Yankees, who are in a positive frame of mind heading to Toronto for a three-game set against a club they have beaten in 12 of 13 previous meetings.
Cano, who was 1-for-8 in the first two games of the series, both losses, broke free with his 24th home run, plus a double and a single. He drove in both Yankees runs in regulation. Cano has hit safely in 17 of past 20 games, batting .410 with 11 runs, seven doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI in 78 at-bats.
For the Rays, Evan Longoria was responsible for both their runs as well with an RBI single in the first and his 28th homer in the sixth. It was the seventh homer of the season against the Yankees by Longoria, who is batting .299 with four doubles and 12 RBI in 64 at-bats against them this year. The homer was the 23rd of Longoria’s career against the Yankees, the most he has off a single club.
The Yankees had confidence that Ivan Nova would help them avoid a sweep by the Rays. And why not? Nova was on a personal three-game winning streak and along with Hiroki Kuroda has been a very reliable arm in the rotation.
Nova did a commendable job and kept the Yankees in the game during his 6 2/3 innings. At the outset it appeared it might be a miserable day for the Yanks. Tampa Bay scored in the first inning and threatened to add on by loading the bases with none out. Nova was still trying to get control of his breaking ball, but the first indication that his sinking fastball would be a major weapon for him was when James Loney swung late on a 94-mph heater and hit a ground ball to third baseman Mark Reynolds, who began an around-the-horn double play to squash the rally.
Nova continued to have some issues with his curve displayed by his six walks (one intentional), but the sinker remained an ally as the righthander got 14 of his 20 outs on ground balls. Only two outs were recorded in the air. Nova also struck out three batters and got an out from his catcher, Chris Stewart, who caught a base runner attempting to steal second (Stew got a second one after Nova came out of the game in the seventh).
The Yankees had the leadoff hitter reach base in the eighth and 10th innings but did not capitalize. In the 10th, Alex Rodriguez got the first pinch hit of his career (in 15 at-bats), but he ended up being doubled off second base. The double play proved more an ally for the Yankees, who turned four of them in the game.
The bullpen did a magnificent ensemble job. Shawn Kelley, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan (4-2) and Rivera combined for 4 1/3 hitless innings. Only one of the 12 Tampa Bay hitters faced by the Yanks’ relievers reached base, on a one-out walk by Chamberlain in the 10th, and he was erased on a double play.
So off to Toronto go the Yankees where their captain, Derek Jeter, will be waiting to rejoin them.
Watching Alfonso Soriano drive in six runs Tuesday night reminded me of the story about the former Brooklyn Dodgers manager Chuck Dressen back in the days of their heated rivalry with the New York Giants.
After watching Willie Mays make a spectacular catch in center field to rob one of the Dodgers hitters of an extra-base hit, Dressen snarled in the dugout, “I’d like to see him do that again!”
So for all those detractors out there who might have said the same thing about him, Soriano had a ready answer. He went out and did it again – and thensome – the very next night.
By the second inning Wednesday night, Soriano had already matched his career-best RBI total set the night before. The crowd at Yankee Stadium went wild when he connected for his fifth career grand slam in the first inning, an impressive blow to center field off of one of the best pitchers in the American League, Angels righthander Jered Weaver.
It climaxed a two-out rally featuring a single by Robinson Cano (the first of his four hits), a double by Alex Rodriguez and a walk to Curtis Granderson. The Yankees batted around in the second inning to put up four more runs on RBI singles by Cano and Granderson and a two-run double by Soriano. That gave him six RBI for the second straight game.
Soriano broke his personal mark for RBI in a game that had stood for one day when he led off the fifth inning with his second home run of the game and fourth in two games. It marked the third time in his career that Soriano has had back-to-back multi-homer games. Soriano had a shot at an eighth RBI when he batted in the seventh after Granderson led off with a double, but the Angels finally got smart and just walked him.
Always a favorite with Stadium crowds, he was serenaded with rhythmic chants of “Sor-i-a-no!” all night long. And why not? He has been just what the Yankees needed when acquired from the Cubs prior to the non-waiver trade deadline last month. The Yanks had long been need for a power bat from the right side, and Soriano has provided that. He has 22 RBI in 17 games with the Yankees while batting .258 with seven home runs in 66 at-bats.
Soriano had been in a funk for about a week leading up to his 2,000th hit, a home run Sunday against the Tigers that set him off on the current streak in which he is 6-for-14 (.429) with four homers and 13 RBI. He has always been a streaky hitter. The Yankees are enjoying the ride on his current streak.
Soriano has helped revive an element that had been missing largely from the Yankees’ attack this year – the long ball. The Yankees have homered in five consecutive games and 18 times in their past 15 games after being held homerless in nine straight games from July 19-27.
Armed with an 8-0 lead after two innings, Ivan Nova pitched with confidence and efficiency to raise his record to 6-4. The righthander allowed 10 hits but no walks, although he hit a batter. It was the seventh straight start in which Nova pitched at least seven innings and allowed three runs or less, another good sign that he has found a permanent home in the rotation.
So the Yankees who had gone a month without winning two consecutive games have now won four in a row and have the opportunity to complete a sweep of the Angels Thursday before going to Boston over the weekend for a three-game set against the American League East-leading Red Sox.
The Yankees’ 4-3, 10-inning victory Friday night was their fourth walk-off triumph of the season. The others were June 25 against the Orioles and July 28 against the Rays. The Yanks have won consecutive home games in walk-off fashion for the first time since Sept. 21 and 22 last year against the Athletics.
The walk-off hit for Brett Gardner, a single to left field, was the fourth of his career and his first since June 16, 2011 against the Rangers. In the fifth inning, Gardner got his 20th stolen base of the season to reach that plateau for the fourth time. He also had 26 steals in 2009, 47 in 2010 and 49 in 2011.
The Yankees’ victory ended Detroit’s 12-game winning streak. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last previous time the Yankees defeated an opponent on a winning streak of at least 12 games was in August 1995 against the Red Sox.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova, who was in position for the victory until Mariano Rivera blew the save in the ninth inning, gave up one run, eight hits, two walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch with seven strikeouts in seven innings. The righthander became the first Yankees pitcher to toss at least seven innings and allow no more than three earned runs in six straight starts since CC Sabathia did so in eight straight starts June 15-Aug. 1, 2011 and the first right-handed Yankees starter to do so since Mike Mussina in six consecutive starts April 9-May 7, 2003. Nova has held opponents scoreless in 19 of his past 21 innings.
Rivera sustained his second consecutive blown save after allowing a game-tying two-run home run to Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera with two outs in the ninth (also Wednesday night at Chicago). Mo has blown back-to-back save opportunities for the first time since April 19 and 24, 2011 and had a streak of 23 consecutive converted save opportunities against Detroit dating to July 8, 1999 ended.
Disabled first baseman Mark Teixeira will ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange Monday.
The Yankees’ recent 2-6 trip through Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago’s South Side was particularly rough for Robinson Cano, who had only five hits in 30 at-bats. Cano showed signs of getting back into action with a 431-foot bomb of a home run in the trek’s last game Wednesday night. It would have been a game winner, too, if the White Sox had not come back to score twice in the bottom of the 12th for the victory.
Cano had an RBI opportunity right away Friday night against the Tigers in his first at-bat against Rick Porcello with runners on first and second, but he grounded out. Cano had the same situation in the third inning and this time came through with a well-struck double to left-center that sent both runners to the plate and increased the Yankees’ lead to 3-0. Cano got to third base on the throw home but was stranded there as Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rodriguez struck out and Curtis Granderson grounded out.
Cano came to bat with another runner in scoring position in the fifth. Leadoff man Brett Gardner reached base for the third time with a single, advanced to second on an infield out and stole third. The Tigers decided to walk Cano purposely this time and take their chances against Soriano, who struck out, and Rodriguez, who flied out to right field.
Detroit came to town on a 12-game winning streak and boasting a seven-game lead in the American League Central. The Yankees caught one break because Max Scherzer and his 17-1 record will not start in this series. The Yankees do have to contend with Justin Verlander in the series finale Sunday, however. Oddly, Scherzer was ejected from Friday night’s game in the seventh inning by plate umpire Will Little for arguing from the dugout a third strike call against teammate Torii Hunter.
Ivan Nova took a while to get his rhythm, but he did show off an effective curveball early that helped him get out of jams. The Tigers did not lack for base runners. They did lack for a clutch hit. Detroit left nine runners on base over the first five innings and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position over that stretch. Nova did not have his first 1-2-3 inning until the sixth.