(Courtesy of the AP)
The Yankees got this hugely important weekend series against the Orioles started off right last night with an 8-5 win. CC Sabathia wasn't very good again, but the offense picked him behind big hitting nights from Cano, Soriano, and Ichiro. Every game is critically important at this stage and another win this afternoon would have been big. The Bombers sent Ivan Nova to the mound as he continued to audition for a more important rotation role in 2014. He was countered by Scott Feldman, one of the Orioles deadline pickups who's made a pretty smooth transition back to the AL and the meat grinder that is the AL East.
- It was a very efficient start for Nova, who walked 6 in his last outing. He gave up just 1 hit, immediately erased on a double play ball, and needed only 31 pitches to cruise through the first 3 innings.
- It didn't look like it was going to be as smooth for Feldman after he gave up a run in the bottom of the 1st on a pair of doubles by Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano. He rebounded from that and worked the next innings hitless and scoreless.
- Nova continued to cruise through the middle innings. He didn't give up his second hit until the 6th inning - a 2-out single by Manny Machado - and he immediately erased it with a second straight inning-ending strikeout. 68 pitches in 6 innings.
- The Yankees had chances to widen the lead with 2 runners on in the 5th and 6th innings. A Derek Jeter GIDP and an Ichiro Suzuki flyout killed those chances and kept Nova's margin for error slim.
- Jeter repeated his double play to end the 7th, and it wasn't until Cano hit a solo HR to lead off the bottom of the 8th that Nova finally got an insurance run.
- Not that he really needed it. Nova rolled through 8 scoreless on 89 pitches and finished off the CG SO by sitting down Machado, Chris Davis, and Adam Jones in order. It truly was a masterful performance by Ivan.
- Nova: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K. No signs of command issues today. Nova's 2-seamer was being located everywhere it needed to be, his curveball was unhittable, and he even mixed in a changeup or 2. He finished the game looking better than he did when he started the game. Awesome job of pitching.
- Cano: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 LOB. Drove in both Yankee runs on a slow day at the plate for the rest of the lineup.
- Jeter: 0-4, 2 GIDP, 5 LOB. Rallies went to The Captain's spot in the batting order to die today, continuing a relatively useless string of games since coming off the DL for Jeter. Hey, at least he hasn't re-injured himself.
The Yankees would love to sweep Baltimore, and Joe made a move in his rotation to help facilitate it. Phil Hughes has been pushed back to Monday and it'll be the resurgent Andy Pettitte who starts the series finale tomorrow against Wei-Yin Chen.