Nova hopes for rebound against Blue Jays

There have been few pitchers in the majors this season who have been more frustrating than Ivan Nova has been for the New York Yankees.

There's been plenty of good about Nova's game, including his impressive record (10-6) and the fact that he's allowed two earned runs or less on 11 different occasions. He's also pitched at least five innings in each of his 22 starts.

The 25-year-old right-hander is coming off two of the worst starts of his career however. In back-to-back loss to Baltimore and Detroit, Nova has surrendered 22 hits and 16 earned runs in just 10 1/3 innings, while raising his ERA to 4.81 in the process.

Nova hopes to get on track at Rogers Centre. He's been much better on the road this season than he has been at home, compiling at 7-2 record and a 3.87 ERA in 13 starts away from Yankee Stadium.

The Blue Jays will counter with Aaron Laffey, who has been up and down in his eight starts this season with a 3-2 record and a 4.39 ERA.

After a win over the Red Sox on July 20, Laffey's ERA was sitting at 2.77, but he has since struggled, giving up 15 earned runs over his last three starts. Though he allowed four earned runs over six innings of work in his last start on Aug. 5, it was enough to earn the 6-5 win over Oakland.

The southpaw has been roughed up in three career appearances against the Yankees, allowing 10 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings.

The Yankees managed to steal the first game of the weekend series on Friday night, 10-4.

Ichiro Suzuki had his biggest game since becoming a Yankee, finishing 2-for-5 and matching a career-high with five RBI. Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano also chipped in with two hits apiece and Mark Teixeira blasted his 22nd home run of the season.

"(Ichiro) has a knack for finding ways to get on base," Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. "He kind of solidifies the bottom of our lineup. It seems like we're starting to pick it up a little bit."

Freddy Garcia (6-5) was very impressive in the win, allowing five hits, no walks, and two earned runs over six innings of work while striking out five. Garcia has now won back-to-back starts since losing his previous three.

Despite the loss, Toronto starter Ricky Romero (8-9) pitched well, allowing just four hits and two earned runs over seven innings of work. The Blue Jays bullpen imploded for seven runs over the final two innings.

Kelly Johnson finished 2-for-4 with a home run for the home team.

The Yankees have taken four of their six matchups with the Jays so far this season.