Nova hopes to keep streaking as Yanks battle Blue Jays

Ivan Nova tries to win his 11th straight decision this game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.

Nova improved to 6-0 since a stint in the minors on Sunday in Baltimore, as he allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings to run his record to 14-4, while lowering his earned run average to 3.96. The American League Rookie of the Year candidate hasn't lost since falling to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim back on June 3.

"It's good, but seriously, I don't pay too much attention," said Nova, who has won his last seven starts. "I think I'm a big part of the team and we need to win games. That's all that matters."

Nova beat the Blue Jays the last time he faced them and is 1-1 in four games (three starts) against them with a 4.24 ERA.

The Yanks picked up a much-needed series win in Boston on Thursday, as Russell Martin's two-run double in the seventh inning propelled New York to a 4-2 victory.

Eric Chavez added an RBI single in the deciding frame for the Yankees, who took two of three from their perennial rivals and crept within a half-game of first-place Boston in the AL East after the four-hour, 21-minute marathon was complete.

"We're playing better against them," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "We didn't play very well the first nine games against them (this season), we just didn't. We won one game early here in April, but they've beat us up pretty good."

Cory Wade (3-0) picked up the win after recording the final out of the sixth inning, while Mariano Rivera made things interesting in the ninth but held on to post his 36th save.

A.J. Burnett's winless streak against the BoSox was extended to 10 starts, as he yielded two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings but did not register a decision.

Toronto, meanwhile, enters on the heels of a series win as well after Brett Lawrie went 3-for-5 and hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, as the Blue Jays got past Baltimore, 8-6, in the rubber match of a three-game series at Camden Yards on Thursday.

Yunel Escobar went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored and Kelly Johnson hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays, who have won three of four.

Toronto starter Luis Perez gave up five runs on six hits over five-plus innings. He struck out six and walked three. Shawn Camp (2-3) recorded the final two outs in the seventh to pick up the win.

Getting the call for the Jays tonight will be righty Brandon Morrow, who is 9-9 with a 4.79 ERA. Morrow lost his second straight start on Sunday, when Tampa ripped him for five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"Obviously, I haven't been very good the last couple times, and probably this whole month," Morrow said after his last start. "You have to make changes when things aren't going that well. So I've got a chance to work on some things.

Morrow beat the Yankees back on July 15 and is 3-1 lifetime against them with a 4.68 ERA in 14 games (eight starts).

The Yanks are 7-5 versus Toronto this season, including wins in four of the six matchups in the Bronx.