An august August for Nova

The Yankees would love for Ivan Nova to duplicate his August success in September. He will get his first start of this month Thursday night opposite Boston’s Jake Peavy in the opener of a four-game series against the Red Sox.

Last month was indeed august for Nova. The righthander had a 4-0 record with a 2.08 ERA and was a very deserving winner of the American League Pitcher of the Month Award, the first for a Yankees hurler since CC Sabathia in July 2011. Nova has been a key ingredient in the Yankees’ turnaround in recent weeks.

Among league leaders for August, Nova was first in ERA, tied for first in victories and starts (six) and tied for third in innings pitched (43 1/3) in which he walked 12 batters and struck out 31. Opponents batted .250 against him with only one home run – the fewest allowed per nine innings in the AL during the month.

Nova began his honored month with seven shutout innings at San Diego in a game the Yankees won, 3-0. He held the Padres to four hits with eight strikeouts. In his next start Aug. 9 against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium, Nova limited Detroit to one run on eight hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings but got a no-decision in a 4-3, 10-inning victory.

In defeating the Angels, 11-3, at the Stadium Aug. 14, Nova became the first Yankees pitcher to throw at least seven innings and allow three or fewer earned runs over seven consecutive starts – a run that began July 5 – since Sabathia in 2011 and the first Yankees righthander to do it since David Cone in 1998.

Nova capped it off with his first career complete-game shutout, a 2-0 three-hitter against the Orioles on the last day of the month. He walked one batter, hit two and struck out five.

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