Though his season has been a shaky one, Ivan Nova proved on Saturday afternoon just how dominating he can be.
Nova (11-6) allowed just five hits, one walk, and two earned runs over 7 1/3 innings while striking out 10 as the New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-2.
"He threw really well today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Nova's outing. "I thought his curveball was very good. For the most part he spotted his fastball pretty well. He threw some good sliders today, it was more consistent than it has been."
Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth innings for his 28th save of the season.
Casey McGehee did the majority of the damage for the Bombers, who have won four straight. He finished 2-for-4 with a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Derek Jeter added two hits and an RBI out of the leadoff spot.
For the Blue Jays, Aaron Laffey (3-3) surrendered seven hits, four walks, and five earned runs over 5 2/3 innings. Laffey was effective when he first joined the rotation in late June, but he's struggled mightily of late, allowing four earned runs or more in four consecutive starts, raising his ERA to 4.72.
Edwin Encarnacion finished with two hits and two RBI and Rajai Davis went 2- for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base, his 29th of the year.
Toronto has now lost five straight and 11 of its last 13 games.
The Yankees will go after a three-game sweep this afternoon with Phil Hughes on the mound. He's been effective albeit unspectacular this season with an 11-9 record and a 4.10 ERA.
Hughes was awful his last time out, lasting just 4 1/3 innings while allowing eight hits and four earned runs in an Aug. 7 loss to the Detroit Tigers. It was a rare poor performance for the right-hander of late however, as it was the first time he'd allowed more than three earned runs since June 20.
The 26-year-old has not fared well away from home, going 3-6 with a 4.58 ERA in 10 road starts.
The Blue Jays will answer with J.A. Happ, who's been largely disappointing this season with a 7-10 record and a 4.98 ERA. He hasn't fared much better since coming to Toronto from the Astros in late July, posting a 6.35 ERA in 11 innings.
The southpaw made his first start for his new team on Aug. 7 and lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs in a 4-1 loss to the Rays.
Happ has just one career start against the Yankees back on May 23, 2009, where he allowed two earned runs over six innings of work in a no decision.
The Yankees have taken five of their seven matchups with the Jays so far this season.