Ivan Nova tries to become the American League's first 10- game winner this evening when the New York Yankees continue their three-game Subway Series against the Mets at Citi Field.
Nova won his fifth straight start on Sunday in Washington, as he held the Nationals to a run and seven hits over 7 2/3 innings to run his record to 9-2, while lowering his ERA to 4.32.
"He pitched well last year and he's just carried it over," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "He always has a lot of confidence. He threw strikes today. He's been pretty much doing this for a year and a half."
Only the Mets' R.A. Dickey (11), who will face the Yanks on Sunday, St. Louis' Lance Lynn (11) and Cole Hamels of Philadelphia have more wins than Nova.
"I think (it's) the work that I've been putting in, the focus," Nova said. "I've been working really, really hard to especially get my ground balls back, and today I made really good pitches. I got ground balls when I needed it."
Nova has faced the Mets twice and is 1-0 against them with a 3.09 ERA.
The Mets, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Chris Young, who is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA. Young lost to the Reds on Sunday, despite a decent effort that saw him surrender two earned runs in seven innings.
The loss was Young's first since June 14, 2009. He had gone 10 straight starts without a defeat, compiling a 1.81 ERA over the stretch.
"You try to hold the team in the game and give the team a chance to win, but ultimately it wasn't enough to win today" Young said. "I wish we had won the game."
Young is 1-0 in two starts against the Yankees with a 6.23 ERA.
In Friday's opener Ike Davis belted a three-run homer during a five-run first inning and the Mets went on to beat the Yankees, 6-4.
The Mets won their fourth straight game overall but just their third in the last 12 against the Yankees, who swept them in a three-game series earlier this month.
Jon Niese (5-3) snapped a two-start winless streak after allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five.
The bullpen gave up two more runs but Frank Francisco pitched out of a jam in the ninth inning to earn his 18th save.
Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Alex Rodriguez and Andruw Jones added solo blasts for the Yankees, who have lost three in a row on the heels of a 10-game winning streak.
They are 10-3 during a current 15-game stretch against NL East teams, which started with a three-game sweep against the Mets at home from June 8-10.
Andy Pettitte (3-3) settled down after giving up five runs on five hits and two walks in the first inning. He allowed just two more hits and struck out six in his six innings.
"Unacceptable," said Pettitte. "We lost two games in a row and I come in and give up five in the first ... talk about disappointing."
The Yankees are 7-3 against the Mets since the start of 2011.