Nova goes six as Yankees top Twins 4-3

(photo c/o The AP)

Ivan Nova came to play in his first start of the season, throwing six innings of three-run ball (and while that’s a fine outing, it seems like it might be time to revise the definition of a quality start given that a pitcher can have an ERA as high as 4.50 and still record one), scattering six hits, striking out three and walking one, as the Yankees beat the Twins 4-3 in the first of four.

True to 2010 form, Nova cruised through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth, sandwiching a pair of doubles around a single with two outs, including one of the RBI variety off the bat of Jim Thome. Nova gave up two more doubles in the fifth, yielding another run, but held strong against the heart of the Twins order in the sixth, inducing Delmon Young to ground into a big double play after a leadoff single by Justin Morneau and finishing the inning with a huge strikeout of Thome.

While four of the six hits he yielded went for extra bases, Nova deserves credit for keeping the ball in the yard, and not unraveling in the 5th/6th inning, as was often the case in his brief stint with the team last fall. Really, you can’t ask for much more from your fourth starter than three runs over six. The Yankees’ new bullpen endgame of Joba Chamberlain-Rafael Soriano-Mariano Rivera did its job again, combining for three scoreless innings and only yielding two hits.

On offense, it looked like the Yankees were about to explode yet again after a first-inning two-run blast by Alex Rodriguez (who flew out deeply yet again in his second at-bat and might already have four or five home runs if not for some unfortunate wind), and another two-run bomb from Jorge Posada in the second, but Scott Baker really bore down and kept the Yankees off the board thereafter until he came out after six. Kevin Slowey and Dusty Hughes also notched scoreless innings of their own.

If there are any negatives to be drawn on the offensive side of the equation during the first four games of the season, they would be in the form of Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter, who combined to go 0-7 with a walk in this one. In Gardner’s defense he did hit into some bad luck, but thus far the Yankees table setters are doing anything but.

6 thoughts on “Nova goes six as Yankees top Twins 4-3

  1. Peter

    Can’t really say anything about Brett Gardner yesterday, all you can ask from a guy is to hit it hard somewhere and he did twice. I think Jeter actually looked a lot better too, I didn’t think he would ever get it out of the infield. Line drive to left and an almost double that was a foul ball. I think Jeter looks the worst on the team by far..hopefully he can turn it around with his new swing or the signing will go down as one of the worst.

    • I agree. Both looked a lot better last night.

      • Yeah, I mean I really only singled them out just because everyone else is hitting SO much better than they are. Once they find their grooves, I shudder to think of having to face the Yankees as an opposing team.

  2. Mike HC

    Jeter also hit into some bad luck. He had a liner go just foul down the right field line. And also lined one deep, right at the left fielder.

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  4. I'm Flying High

    Great piece. It seemed that Nova struggled his second time through the line up. TJ over at thebronxbrains does a good job sumatizing Monday’s game.

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