Results tagged ‘ Chris Davis ’

O’s slug twice as many homers as Yanks had hits

The momentum the Yankees achieved with two thrilling victories at Kansas City that hopped them over the Royals in the standings for the second wild-card spot came to a loud thump Friday night at Baltimore where the homer-happy Orioles maintained their lead in the competition.

The Orioles powered their way to an 8-0 victory that pushed the Yankees 3 1/2 games behind Baltimore, which began the night tied with Detroit for the second wild-card position. The Yankees also missed a chance to gain ground on Houston, which is 1 1/2 games ahead of them as well.

This one was over early as the Yankees fell into a 6-0 ditch in the second inning and lost their starting pitcher, rookie Chad Green, 12 batters into the game because of elbow soreness. Green was rocked for four earned runs and five hits in 1 2/3 innings. The first of five relief pitchers, Nick Goody, gave up successive home runs to Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, and the rout was on.

The Orioles had four home runs to increase their major-league leading total to 214. Pedro Alvarez became the sixth Baltimore hitter to reach the 20-homer plateau with a two-run shot off Green in the second. Manny Machado matched Davis with his 33rd, a two-run blow in the fourth off Kirby Yates. Trumbo’s solo blast was his major-league high 41st home run. The other Baltimore hitters with homer totals in the 20s are Adam Jones (24) and Jonathan Schoop (21).

The Yankees do not have a player with 20 home runs. The club leader is Starlin Castro with 19.

After a series against the defending World Series champions in which the Yankees averaged 11 hits per game, they managed merely two hits, both singles, against four Orioles pitchers Friday night. The Yanks did not have a hit over the final six innings.

With rosters expanding up to 40 players in September, the Yanks brought up six players from the minor leagues, and they all got into the game. With Green departing early, Goody, Yates, Luis Severino and Jonathan Holder all pitched. Holder, who drew the Yanks’ attention with a 13-strikeout game last week for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that included 11 K’s in a row, made his major-league debut with a 1-2-3 sixth. Outfielders Rob Refsnyder and newly-acquired Eric Young Jr. from the Brewers’ organization were defensive replacements in the ninth inning.

Teixeira injury opens possible spot for Refsnyder

Some Yankees fans may have been surprised not to see Rob Refsnyder in the lineup Friday night at Baltimore, the fourth and last stop on the trip. The rookie had a big game Thursday at Detroit (double, single, two runs, one RBI), and the Yankees can use all the offense they can find these days.

Although he was not in the starting lineup, Refsnyder got into the game in the third inning as a replacement at first base for Mark Teixeira, who left because of a right knee injury. Refsnyder had not played first base since college, but he is getting used to moving around the diamond. 

He played the outfield mostly at the University of Arizona but was converted into a second baseman in the Yankees’ minor-league system. During spring training this year Refsnyder played some third base as well but did not take to the position. Since coming up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this week Refsnyder has played right field and second base. He has also been working out at first base.

The Yankees have been vulnerable at that position even before Teixeira got hurt. Dustin Ackley is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Backup catcher Austin Romine has been used at first base, but he had to catch Friday night because Brian McCann was nursing a hyperextended left elbow.

Teixeira has had a dismal first third of a season (Friday night was game number 54, the one-third mark). The switch hitter is batting .180 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 167 at-bats. At this point a year ago, Tex had 16 homers and 40 RBI while batting .245.

His lack of productivity has been a factor in the Yankees’ woeful offense. They entered play Friday night last in the American League in batting (.232) and tied with the Twins for last in runs (198).

Scoring runs was not as much a problem for the Yankees Friday night as it was preventing them. The Yankees had not homered in the previous three games but took a 4-1 lead against Orioles righthander Chris Tillman on a two-run blast by Carlos Beltran and solo shots by Alex Rodriguez and Austin Romine.

Orioles slugger Chris Davis made the score 4-2 with his 11th homer, in the fourth. Nathan Eovaldi’s string of winning starts ended at five when he lost a 5-2 lead in the sixth. It was the first time in six starts that he failed to get through the sixth inning.

A bases-loaded single by Matt Wieters chased Eovaldi. Kirby Yates got a big strikeout but gave up a two-out double to Jonathan Schoop that tied the score. For his third floor straight appearance, Dellin Betances was scored upon, and the run he gave up in the seventh proved the decider. 

Singles by Adam Jones and Hyun Soo Kim put runners on the corners with none out. A slow grounder along the third base line by Manny Machado was well placed enough for Jones to score as Chase Headley had no other play but to get an out at first base

CC hurt by weak ‘D’

CC Sabathia hoped to an impact on this pennant race. It was felt when he limped off the field Aug. 23 that his 2015 season might be over. Wearing a brace on his arthritic right knee Wednesday night, Sabathia returned with a serviceable if unspectacular and ultimately disappointing performance.

The disappointment part had more to due with the leaky defense of second baseman Stephen Drew, whose two misplays during Sabathia’s 4 2/3 innings resulted in three runs, only one of which was earned but was nevertheless tainted.

“That was really the difference in the game,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of those runs.

The Yankees lost, 5-3, to a Baltimore club that won two of three games at Yankee Stadium, a tough prelude to their upcoming four-game showdown against the Blue Jays that starts Thursday night.

Drew, whose batting average was below .200 most of the past two seasons, got a pass from Yankees fans because his fielding has mostly been a positive trait. Wednesday night, however, he turned out to be a thorn in Sabathia’s side.

In the first inning with a runner on first base and none out, Drew bobbled a bouncer by Gerardo Parra that might have been a double play. Drew was able to recover and get an out at first base, but Nolan Reimold was able to take second. One out later, he scored on Chris Davis’ flare single to right field.

Sabathia settled into a nice rhythm over the next two innings while Carlos Beltran thrust him into a 3-1 lead with a solo home run (No. 15) in the first inning and a two-out, two-run single in the third.

The Orioles threatened in the fourth on a leadoff walk to Davis and a single by Jonathan Schoop. Sabathia recovered nicely by striking out Caleb Joseph, retiring Steve Pearce on a fly ball to the warning track in left field and J.J. Hardy on a grounder to third.

The same scenario presented itself in the fifth as Dariel Alvarez walked and Reimold singled to start the inning. Parra bunted the runners into scoring position, and Sabathia got a big strikeout of Manny Machado on a pitch off the plate.

Girardi estimated before the game that he could get 85 pitches from Sabathia, which is precisely the number he got, except that CC’s 85th pitch, a 1-2 fastball, hit Davis and ended the lefthander’s outing before he could qualify for his first victory in eight starts since July 8.

Adam Warren took over with the bases loaded and appeared to have gotten out of the jam by getting Schoop on a grounder to third, but Drew mishandled third baseman Chase Headley’s peg for what would have been an inning-ending forceout for an error that allowed in two runs which tied the score.

Pearce, who was robbed of an extra-base hit in the second inning on a wall-climbing catch by left fielder Dustin Ackley, finally got something out of a long drive when he homered with one out in the eighth. The Orioles added an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI double by Davis, who had a big series (4-for-8, two runs, one double, one home run, four RBI, four walks).

For the second straight game, the Yankees were shut down by the Orioles’ bullpen, who held them hitless for six innings. As strange as it may seem, the work of Sabathia may have been the most encouraging aspect of this game.

Yanks’ offense can’t match Tanaka’s brilliance

Division races do not get much tighter than this: two teams separated by only a half-game both locked in 1-1 games entering the ninth inning. That was the case for the Yankees and the Blue Jays Tuesday night.

Toronto ended up going into extras. The Yankees wished they could have done the same. After eight brilliant innings from Masahiro Tanaka, Chasen Shreve (6-2) gave up a home run to Chris Davis leading off the ninth and it held up for a 1-0 Orioles victory. Not long after the game at Yankee Stadium ended, the Blue Jays scored four runs in the 10th for a 5-1 victory at Fenway Park and took a 1 1/2-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East.

It was a tough no-decision for Tanaka, who gave the Yankees exactly the kind of start they needed on the heels of the loss of Nathan Eovaldi probably for the rest of the regular season due to right elbow inflammation and to spare the bullpen that may be needed Wednesday night with CC Sabathia coming back to the rotation after a stint on the 15-day disabled list because of right knee inflammation.

Tanaka was at his dominant best with 10 strikeouts. He flirted with a perfect game for four innings. That ended with a leadoff walk, his only base on balls, in the fifth, and soon the no-hit bid was gone as well when Matt Wieters singled on a dribbler against the overshift.

The shutout remained intact through that inning, but a home run to right by Ryan Flaherty at the start of the sixth put an end to the scoreless tie. The Yankees responded with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning by Alex Rodriguez off Kevin Gausman. It was an historic hit for A-Rod, career No. 3,056 that pushed him by Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson into 22nd place on the all-time list. In addition, Rodriguez reached the 30-homer plateau for the15th time in his career, tying the record established by Hall of Famer Henry Aaron.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, that would be the extend of their scoring as relievers T.J. McFarland, Darren O’Day (6-2) and Zach Britton (31st save) held them hitless over four innings. The last 11 Yankees batters went out in order.

That the game was so close was a testament not only to Tanaka’s pitching but also their defense. Third baseman Brendan Ryan made a remarkable stop of a scorching grounder by Jonathan Schoop and from his knees threw a dart to second baseman Stephen Drew to start a double play that loomed large when the next batter, Wieters, doubled off the wall in left-center. Shortstop Didi Gregorius followed with a good stop of a grounder by J.J. Hardy to get the third out of the inning.

After Davis’ homer in the ninth, the Orioles threatened to extend their lead with singles by Jimmy Paredes and Schoop. One out later, Shreve struck out Hardy for the front end of a double play as Ryan kept the glove on Schoop, who attempted to steal third base but over-slid the bag slightly. An offensive highlight to match that was not forthcoming, however.

Rookie’s debut lone highlight for Yankees

Mason Williams broke into the major leagues with a bang Friday night. Williams, part of several roster moves by the Yankees after Andrew Miller’s assignment to the 15-day disabled list, made his big-league debut as the starting center fielder at Camden Yards.

Williams, 23, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, found out how hitter-friendly the Baltimore park is. Batting ninth in the order, Williams drove a 0-1 fastball from righthander Ubaldo Jimenez into the right field bleachers in the fourth inning, a home run for his first hit in the majors. And among those in the crowd of 33,203 were Williams’ mother and brother.

What was interesting about Williams going yard was that he had not homered at all this year in 201 at-bats combined at SWB and Double A Trenton. Williams hit 23 home runs in 1,832 at-bats over his six minor-league seasons.

Williams, who also made two good plays in the field, will always remember this night, but the Yankees would love to forget it. The first inning was a bad omen when the Yankees loaded the bases with none out and failed to score. The Orioles had no such woes and coasted to an 11-3 victory.

Michael Pineda, pitching on 10 days’ rest after being skipped one turn in the rotation to conserve innings, was off his game and was tagged for six runs (five earned) and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. It was a bad omen for him as well when he walked the first batter he faced. That runner eventually scored on a single by Chris Davis, who did greater damage two innings later with a three-run homer.

Yankees starting pitchers had allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of their previous 11 starts (since May 29), during which they were 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 67 2/3 innings.

It was also a miserable night afield for the Yankees. Third baseman Chase Headley committed his 14th error and had to leave the game in the fifth inning because of a groin injury. First baseman Mark Teixeira had his streak of errorless games end at 108 when he made a wild throw over second base in Baltimore’s four-run sixth inning. Caleb Joseph reached base and pushed a runner to third base when his fly ball fell between center fielder Brett Gardner and right fielder Carlos Beltan, each of whom thought the other was going to catch it. The runner who got to third base on that “hit” eventually scored.

It was an unsightly night for the Yankees’ first game against an American League East opponent since May 14 at Tampa Bay. The Yanks went 12-11 against non-divisional opponents in that span. After this three-game series, the Yanks will not face another divisional foe until July 3-5 at Yankee Stadium against the Rays.

Front & back combos work again for Yanks

What has become a winning formula for the Yankees — the 1-2 combination at the front of the batting order and the 1-2 combo at the back end of the bullpen — was in evidence again Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner teamed for four hits and three runs, and Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller each pitched a shutout inning. Toss in two RBI apiece by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and a decent if unspectacular start from Nathan Eovaldi and you have a 4-3 victory over the Orioles, who are having a rough week in the big city after having lost a two-game set to the Mets.

Ellsbury, who ran his hitting streak to 10 games, and Gardner each singled and scored the Yankees’ two runs in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez and a single by Teixeira. A-Rod crushed his 661st career home run in the third off Orioles starter Chris Tillman.

Baltimore kept coming back, however, against Eovaldi. Jimmy Paredes had given the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a home run, and after the Yankees went ahead in the bottom half a homer by Caleb Joseph in the third got Baltimore even again. In the fifth, Joseph struck again with an RBI double that once more tied the game. Eovaldi got himself out of further danger with a huge pickoff of Paredes at first base.

Doubles by Gardner and Teixeira in the fifth pushed the Yankees in front for what turned out to be for good. Lefthander Justin Wilson bailed Eovaldi out of a jam in the sixth and followed that with a 1-2-3 seventh.

Now the game was set up for Betances in the eighth and Miller in the ninth. This duo is bringing back memories of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera in similar roles not so long ago. Betances retied the side in order, finishing up with a strikeout of Chris Davis, who took the Golden Sombrero (four Ks).

Miller put the potential tying run on first base with a leadoff walk in the ninth but recovered to get J.J. Hardy on a soft liner to second and pinch hitter Ryan Lavarnway and Joseph on strikes. Miller, who was with the Orioles last year, is now 12-for-12 in saves.

Yankees blown out by Orioles in series opener

It is still too early to consider a series a must-win, yet that was how the Yankees identified the three-game set against the Orioles that began Monday night with a thud. All the 11-3 loss did was to add more pressure on the Yankees, who need to win the next two games to capture the series.

Based on what happened at Camden Yards Monday night, it is hard to remain optimistic. The Yankees blew a 3-1 lead and were outscored, 9-0, with only one hit, a Derek Jeter double in the fifth, after the second inning. It is easy to say that the bullpen let the game get away from the Yankees, but the offense was also at fault as it failed to tack on runs and force the Orioles out of their game.

Instead, Baltimore remained close enough to strike back and did so in a big way on a two-run home run by Chris Davis off Chris Capuano in the fifth and a three-run bomb by Nelson Cruz in the seventh off Adam Warren. Joseph Schoop added a three-run homer in the eighth off Chase Whitley as the final crusing blown of a 14-hit attack that included eight for extra bases.

Davis, struggling this year after his 53-homer season in 2013, was not even in the starting lineup. He entered the game at third base in place of Manny Machado, who exited in the third inning due to a sprained right knee.

The offensive outburst was a continuation of combustable forces by the Orioles, who have scored 10 or more runs in three of the past four games. What a difference compared to the Yankees, who have reached double figures in runs in only four games all season. Monday night, they got three runs without a run-scoring hit. The runs came on an infield out and a double steal aided by two Baltimore errors.

We all keep waiting for them to turn things around, and there is no better time than now against the first-place team in the American League East. The Yankees now trail the Orioles by seven games. The clubs have nine games remaining against each other, but the Yankees need to make up some ground as early as possible.

A ground-gaining night for the Yankees

The Yankees finally had a good night Tuesday in their wild-card chase. They won and all the teams in front of them lost. They beat one of them, the Orioles, 7-5, while the Rays and Indians both were defeated. The Yanks are now two games out of the second wild card spot and a half-game behind Baltimore and Cleveland.

It was not a totally pleasant night, however. A team that has kept the medical staff working overtime since Opening Day had more bumps and bruises to report. Alex Rodriguez, who had two doubles and one RBI, came out of the game in the eighth inning because of tightness in his left hamstring. The Yankees are hoping it is not serious and that A-Rod be able at least to be the designated hitter Wednesday night.

Ivan Nova, who has pitched well despite dealing with a nagging right triceps, was lifted after six innings and 79 pitches and the Yankees trailing, 4-3. Again, the Yanks have their fingers crossed that he won’t have to come out of the rotation. Catcher Austin Romine took a nasty foul ball off his mask in the eighth inning and may have a concussion.

Before the game, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Boone Logan has not responded to a cortisone injection and that the club will send the reliever’s medical records to Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist in Pensacola, Fla., which may not be a good sign.

The Yankees’ acquisition late Tuesday night of slick-fielding shortstop Brendan Ryan from the Mariners for a player to be named could be an indication that Derek Jeter may be unavailable for an even longer period than originally anticipated.

The state of the Yankees’ bullpen with David Robertson ailing (right shoulder) is such that Mariano Rivera was called on for a four-out save. He retired all four batters he faced for his 42nd save this season and career No. 650.

It was an impressive, comeback victory for the Yankees, who were behind, 4-1, through five innings. Solo home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds in the sixth made it a one-run game, and the Yankee exploded ahead with a four-run eighth. Soriano and Reynolds did some more damage that inning against Orioles reliever Kevin Gausman.

Rodriguez got the Yankees started with a double. He tweaked the hammy while sliding into the plate and scoring on a single by Robinson Cano. Soriano followed with his second home run of the game, his 15th this year for the Yankees and 32nd overall this season. Sori leads the majors in multi-homer games with seven, four of which have come in his seven weeks with the Yankees. Doubles by Curtis Granderson and Reynolds marked five straight hits for the Yanks that inning and produced another run.

Nova, who entered the game with a 2-0 record and 1.52 ERA against the Orioles this year, gave up Chris Davis’ 49th home run of the season, a two-run shot, in Baltimore’s four-run fifth, an inning that was extended because of a throwing error by shortstop Eduardo Nunez.

Adam Warren (2-2), who ended up with the winning decision, pitched a perfect seventh. Shawn Kelley hurt himself with two wild pitches that helped the Orioles to a run in the eighth before Mo came on the scene to restore order. As he told everybody last Sunday, “I’ll be there.”

Orioles stun Yanks with 7-run 7th inning

At the beginning of the same week that the National Football League will begin its schedule, the Yankees fumbled their chance to blow past the Orioles in the wild-card race. They caught one break this weekend with fellow contenders Tampa Bay and Oakland playing each other in the Bay Area so they would gain ground on one of them daily and were on the brink of sweeping Baltimore and putting the O’s in the Yanks’ rear-view mirror.

That was before the Birds changed their luck by rolling seven in the seventh inning that ruined yet another strong starting effort by Andy Pettitte (3-0, 1.20 ERA in past five starts) and jostled the Yankees back into fourth place in the American League East and kept them at least 3 ½ games back in the wild-card hunt with another calendar date torn off.

The 3-0 lead that Pettitte took into the seventh appeared pretty safe with the Orioles offering little resistance until newly-acquired Michael Morse and Danny Valencia opened the inning with singles. Yanks manager Joe Girardi turned to a well-rested bullpen but found no relief.

Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan each faced two batters without retiring either. Kelley did the most damage by giving up an RBI single to Matt Wieters and a three-run, opposite-field home run to J.J. Hardy on a ball that hit the top of the wall just beyond the reach of Curtis Granderson in right field. Logan yielded a bunt single to Brian Roberts and a walk to Nick Markakis before Joba Chamberlain got clobbered one out later by Adam Jones with the second three-run homer of the inning, this one onto the netting above Monument Park that created the 7-3 final score.

It marked the first time in 33 home games this season that the Yankees lost when they had a lead of at least two runs.

“They have been so good for us all for so long, it was surprising to see,” Girardi said of the pen.

Despite the pitching changes, all of this seemed to happen in a mini-second. What would have been Pettitte’s 256th victory went flying out the window and offset the decision to have him start instead of Phil Hughes, who is scheduled to get the ball Monday in the Labor Day afternoon tilt against the White Sox, a last-place team but one that swept the Yankees Aug. 5-7 at Chicago.

In games like this, you look back at missed chances for the Yankees to put up more runs. They were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 base runners. Cano, who usually rakes against Baltimore (.340, 27 HR, 99 RBI) was 0-for-5 and struck out three times in a game against the O’s for the first time in his career.

Derek Jeter had a sacrifice fly but was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The RBI was career No. 1,258, which pushed him past former teammate Bernie Williams into sixth place on the all-time franchise list. The Yanks’ 2-through-6 hitters in the Yankees’ lineup were a combined 1-for-19 (Alfonso Soriano’s RBI single in the third inning giving him 36 RBI in 34 games for the Yanks) with 10 strikeouts.

The Yankees were able to contain Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis in the series. The major-league home run leader had 1-for-10 with a walk, a hit by pitch, an RBI and 10 strikeouts. He was the only Orioles player who did not reach base Sunday as he made five outs.

It was Baltimore’s relief corps that held sway. After a shaky start by starter Wei-Yin Chen (three earned runs, four hits, five walks in four innings), four Orioles relievers teamed up to pitch five scoreless innings allowing three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. The Orioles lead the season series, 8-7, with four games remaining against the teams Sept. 9-12 at Camden Yards.

Nova does just what the skipper ordered

In assessing the explosive offense after Friday night’s 8-5 victory, Yankees manager Joe Girardi added, “And let’s get the pitchers right, too. We have to click on all cylinders, basically. One night, we might score eight runs. The next night, we may not. And that’s when the pitchers have got to pick up the hitters.”

Give the skipper a swami turban.

Ivan Nova’s three-hit, complete-game shutout Saturday was just the kind of performance the manager had talked about. For a while there, it looked as if the Yankees’ run in the first inning on doubles by Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano off Scott Feldman was all they would get before Cano made the score 2-0 with a home run into the right field bleachers off lefthander Troy Patton in the eighth.

Nova was certainly uplifted by Cano’s 25th homer of the year. He hoped Girard would let him go out for the ninth inning and not be tempted to bring in Mariano Rivera. The second run helped.

“I told the guys I don’t want a 1-0 game; get me another run,” Nova said. “I’m happy that Joe gave me the opportunity.”

Nova earned the chance to finish this one out. He walked one batter and hit two but allowed only three hits. The third was a leadoff single in the ninth inning by Nate McLouth on a chopper to the mound that Nova knocked down but could not recover in time to throw him out. And Girardi still stayed with Nova.

“If it had been a walk, it might have been different,” Girardi said. “But he got a ground ball. And what we needed after that was another ground ball.”

Nova did not get another grounder, however. McLouth getting on added drama to the situation because the third hitter due up that inning was the major-league home run leader, Chris Davis. One swing could have tied the score. After Manny Machado flied out to left, Davis had the Yankee Stadium crowd gasping when he hit a towering fly ball to right field.

That was when it was discovered that Ichiro Suzuki is pretty good at playing possum, which I though was strictly an American trait. Ichiro did not move at first, an indication that the ball was behind him and in the seats. Then after a tantalizingly long moment, he held his glove up over his head and made the catch on the warning track. Suzuki knew he was playing with the crowd.

“Humans want to come from a bad place to a good place,” he said. “Of course, you have to make the play.”

Unlike many of the 42,836 in attendance, Nova didn’t think the ball was going out. The look on Davis’ face told him that, a look that said, “I didn’t get it.” Catcher Chris Stewart said Davis hit the ball off the end of his bat, another good sign of the sinking movement on Nova’s fastball.

There was still another dangerous hitter to go, but Adam Jones’ line drive ended up in the glove of shortstop Derek Jeter.

“He picked up the hitters and the bullpen,” Girardi said of Nova, who won his fourth consecutive start in improving his record to 8-4 with a 2.88 ERA.

With CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda showing signs of fatigue and Phil Hughes winless in nearly two months, Nova has been the rotation’s savior in the second half. The Yankees will go for the series sweep Sunday afternoon behind Andy Pettitte, who is also on a winning streak with three straight victories.

“The key to me for Nova is that he is keeping his fastball down in the zone,” Girardi said. “He has a good curve, but it is even better because he can keep hitters off balance with that fastball down in the zone.”

Girardi also gave Nova credit for “finding himself” during his time in the minor leagues last year and this following his 16-victory season in 2011. Nova agreed.

“I went to Tampa where I worked to do the things I needed to do to prove what kind of pitcher I can be,” Nova said.

It comes down to maturity. Nova was a pretty green kid when he surprised people in 2011. The league catches up to young pitchers if they are not careful, and Nova took his lumps. Saturday, he showed what kind of pitcher he can be.

It was an uplifting day for the Yankees, who jumped over Baltimore into third place in the American League East after a 47-game period since July 7 in fourth place and also positioned themselves ahead of Cleveland in the wild-card chase where they still trail Tampa Bay and Oakland, but as Girardi pointed out, “It sure beats four or five” teams ahead of them.