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If they wanted to keep their faint glimmer of playoff hope alive, the Yankees needed to start pitching better. They got a much improved 7-inning/1-run performance from CC Sabathia on Friday night and Ivan Nova following suit this afternoon would have been a huge boost. They can't continue to roll with just Andy Pettitte as the only reliable starting pitcher. Nova could help his stock for 2014 as well with a good start, and that stock is even more important now that we know Andy is retiring. Ivan did answer the bell, and did one better by outdoing what Sabathia did last night and completely shutting down the San Francisco lineup on the way to the Yankees' second straight win.
- Outside of a fastball over the plate to Pablo Sandoval, Nova looked pretty good through the first 3 innings. He was getting ahead with his fastball, locating down in the zone to get a lot of groundball outs, and didn't put a run on the scoreboard.
- A pair of singles and a 4-pitch walk from the 7-8-9 hitters put the Yankees in business with no outs in the bottom of the 3rd. They brought all 3 runs around to score on an Ichiro sac fly, an Alex Rodriguez RBI groundout, and a Robinson Cano RBI single to give Nova a cushion.
- That cushion got bigger and softer in the bottom of the 4th when Eduardo Nunez yanked a hanging curveball down the line and into the left field seats for a 2-run HR. His lack of power development is one of the things that has made him such an extreme negative WAR player, but he showed some on that swing.
- Nova gave up a leadoff, sun-aided double to start the 4th, and then he was in full command for the remainder of his outing. That runner never moved from second base, Nova retired the next 8 batters in a row, and punctuated his 8 scoreless with 2 strikeouts to strand another runner.
- Another Alfonso Soriano home run tacked on another run, and Nova finished what he started with another swinging strikeout at a nasty curveball. 2 games, 2 wins, and a stocked bullpen to support Andy tomorrow.