Today's pitching matchup between the New York Yankees and LA Angels of Anaheim is worth the price of admission, as Jered Weaver squares off against Ivan Nova in the Bronx.
Weaver has allowed just one earned run in his last 27 2/3 innings pitched and has won his last five decisions. Weaver won his fourth straight start in a 3-0 win over Baltimore on July 7 and tossed eight scoreless innings with five strikeouts and only one walk. He improved to 10-1 in 15 starts and lowered his earned run average to 1.96.
The right-hander, who is 4-1 in eight road outings this season, last faced the Yankees in a 9-8 win back on May 29, but only threw 12 pitches because of a lower back issue. Weaver was then placed on the disabled list and returned June 20 versus San Francisco. In 10 career starts against the Yankees, Weaver is 5-2 with a 4.79 ERA over 56 1/3 innings.
Nova, meanwhile, has won six of seven decisions and will try to string winning starts together this afternoon.
The young righty reached the 10-win column for the second straight season by shutting down rival Boston back on July 8 at Fenway Park. Nova held the Red Sox to a pair of runs -- one earned -- and six hits in six innings, while striking out 10 batters. The win lifted Nova to 10-3 in 17 starts and lowered his ERA slightly from 4.05 to 3.92.
Nova has already beaten the Angels twice already this season and is 3-1 with a 5.11 ERA in four career starts against them. The Dominican is 3-2 in seven home starts in 2012.
New York made a winner out of veteran hurler Freddy Garcia in Saturday's 5-3 victory over the Angels, as the right-hander got by with five innings of three-run ball. Cody Eppley and David Robertson combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief before closer Rafael Soriano struck out two in the ninth for his 22nd save.
Curtis Granderson homered and Robinson Cano went deep, finishing 2-for-3 with three RBI to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Cano has 10 runs, six homers, 19 RBI and nine multi-hit games during the surge. The Yankees lead the majors with 138 home runs this season.
"This is a team that always hits a lot of home runs," Cano said. "We're doing that with men on base."
The Yankees, who have the best record in baseball at 54-33, are 52-19 when hitting a home run this season and 37-8 when clubbing multiple homers.
The AL East-leading Yanks, winners in six of the last seven contests, will also entertain the Toronto Blue Jays on this homestand. They also have an eight-game lead over Baltimore in the division. Mark Teixeira entered Saturday's game batting .370 with four homers and 15 RBI in his previous seven games, but went hitless in three at-bats.
Meanwhile, the Angels are one more loss from a sweep in the Bronx and didn't get much help from starter Jerome Williams, who was activated off the disabled list before the game and yielded five runs and seven hits in six innings. Williams was sidelined because of a respiratory issue.
Mike Trout had three hits and a run scored, while Alberto Callaspo drove in a pair of runs for the Angels, who have dropped two straight and five of eight games. The Angels are still five games behind Texas for the AL West lead.
"Timely hitting, it hasn't been there for us the last couple of days," Trout said. "We just have to come out tomorrow and swing the bats."
LA has lost four in a row on the road and will visit Detroit for four games after this set at Yankee Stadium. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter did not play on Saturday due to a tight groin and is day-to-day.
New York leads the season series with the Angels, 5-3. The Yankees have won 14 of their last 19 home games against the Angels.