Streaking Nova takes the hill for Yanks in Baltimore
Ivan Nova goes after his 12th straight winning decision game set at Yankee Stadium.
The Yanks won the first two games of a regularly scheduled three-game series in the Bronx, but lost to the O's in extra innings on Wednesday. Today's matchup in Baltimore is a makeup game from an August 27 postponement.
Nova continued to impress on Friday against Toronto, as he gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings to run his record to 15-4, while lowering his earned run average to 3.89.
"I've got everything this year," said Nova, who has not lost since June 3 and is 11-0 with a 3.43 ERA in his last 12 starts. "I knew they were going to score runs, and they said, 'We're going to score runs,' and I said, 'You better score them before I get out.' I also know we've got really good defense."
Since returning from a stint at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for nearly all of July, Nova has reeled off seven straight wins and owns an ERA of 3.44. His eight-start winning streak is the longest by a Yankees rookie since Marius Russo rattled off eight in a row in 1939.
Should he win today he would become the first Yankees rookie to win nine consecutive starts since Atley Donald won nine in a row in 1939. The last Yankee to win nine straight starts was Ron Guidry, who ran off 11 in a row in 1979.
Nova has beaten the Orioles twice already this season and has pitched to a 3.15 ERA in three starts against them.
Baltimore will rely on righty Alfredo Simon, who is 4-8 on the year with a 4.64 ERA. Simon lost his second straight start on Saturday against Tampa Bay and was rocked for six runs and seven hits in five innings. He also walked four batters in the loss.
Simon lost to the Yankees the last time he faced them and is 0-2 in five games (two starts) against them with a 4.80 ERA.
In Wednesday's rainy finale at Yankee Stadium, Mark Reynolds hit an RBI single in the 11th inning, and the Orioles held on for a 5-4 victory over the streaking Yankees.
With Hector Noesi (2-1) on the mound, Matt Angle reached base when shortstop Eduardo Nunez failed to field his ground ball, then stole second. The Yankees intentionally walked Nick Markakis to bring up Reynolds, who slapped a single to center to put the Orioles on top.
"I just went up there and tried to get a pitch over the plate I could handle, stay on top of it," Reynolds said. "I was able to do that because the ball wasn't really traveling today to hit a home run. I just got on top of the slider and hit a line drive to left."
Jim Johnson allowed runners to reach first and third with two away in the bottom half, but escaped the jam when pinch-hitter Eric Chavez hit a hard grounder toward shortstop.
Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run double for the Yankees, who had won six in a row and nine of 10. They still hold a 2 1/2-game lead on Boston in the AL East.
The extra-inning game came on the heels of the teams' late-night contest, which was delayed by four hours because of rain and didn't finish until about 2:15 a.m. (et) Wednesday morning.
"The way our schedule sets up right now isn't exactly the best," Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher said. "Close games, every game is important now. We had to call in all the boys, but it just wasn't our day today."
The Yankees are 13-4 against the Orioles this season.