Rapid Reaction: Yankees 5, Blue Jays 2
August, 11, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What's it all mean? That Ivan Nova might not be a lost cause after all. Nova followed up two of the worst outings of his career with one of his best, baffling the Jays for seven innings before tiring in the eighth. The 5-2 win gives the Yankees a chance to turn this into a 5-2 road trip if they can win Sunday's finale.
Found: Two breaking balls: Belonging to Nova, who seemed to have misplaced both his slider and curveball since the All-Star break. Nova relocated both of his swing-and-miss pitches Saturday, using his hard (89 mph) slider and a knee-buckling curve to notch nine of his 10 strikeouts.
Brief encounter: David Robertson came on in relief of Nova with one out and two on in the eighth. D-Rob threw one pitch and got two outs when Robbie Cano and Derek Jeter turned a snappy inning-ending 4-6-3.
Strong Case: Casey McGehee got a rare second start in a row and made the most of it, crushing a three-run homer in the fourth inning and doubling -- and scoring on Jeter's ground-rule double -- in the sixth.
Laff riot: The Yankees erupted for five runs off their former teammate Aaron Laffey, four in the fourth inning on McGehee's first home run as a Yank and an RBI single from Jayson Nix, and another in the fifth on the doubles by McGehee and Jeter.
Second chance: An apparent Nova strikeout of Anthony Gose in the fourth inning was overturned by home-plate umpire Jim Joyce, who ruled Nova had balked just before the strikeout pitch, moving Rajai Davis to second. Given a new lease on life, Gose struck out on the next pitch. In all, Nova fanned Gose four times, three on curveballs and one on a 94 mph heater after setting him up with four hooks.
Watch out! Three batters got plunked, Curtis Granderson on the right shoulder and Yunel Escobar (twice). After Nova hit Escobar the second time, giving the Jays runners at first and second with one out in the sixth, Joyce issued warnings to both benches, although why Nova would have deliberately wanted to put a runner on base in that situation is a mystery to me.
Rob-bied: Cano stole a run from the Blue Jays, and killed an incipient rally, in the sixth with a diving stop of Moises Sierra's hot grounder in the hole with runners at the corners and two out.
Grand larceny: Granderson made a spectacular running catch of a line drive off the bat of Adeiny Hechavarria on the warning track in deep center to end the seventh inning.
Lights out: After Jeter's sixth-inning double, the Yankees did not have another hit as three Blue Jays relievers retired nine straight batters until Mark Teixeira's walk with two out in the ninth.
What's coming: A column on the new Nova, as well as the latest news on CC Sabathia, who reportedly has a sore elbow and may not be able to go Monday night.
Tomorrow: The road trip comes to a close with one more matinee, Phil Hughes (11-9, 4.10) vs. J.A. Happ (0-1, 6.35), first pitch at 1:07 p.m.