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Sunday, October 2, 2011
Tigers praise Ivan Nova

Austin Jackson played with Ivan Nova in the minor leagues in the Yankees system, before Jackson was dealt to the Detroit Tigers in the three-team deal that brought Curtis Granderson to the Bronx.

“He looked the same way then as he does now,” Jackson said after Nova took over for CC Sabathia as play resumed in Game 1 of the ALDS Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.

Nova put up six scoreless frames before departing with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning. Mariano Rivera eventually closed the door on the Yankees’ 9-3 win.

“He’s got good stuff -- a good fastball, a good curveball, a good changeup,” Jackson said about Nova. “He kept us off-balance pretty well tonight. He throws everything the same. He throws his fastball the same way he throws his changeup, the same arm action. It’s kind of deceiving a little bit. It looks like he’s not going to throw that hard, but the ball kind of gets in there on you pretty good.

“He looked pretty poised out there. I knew him a little bit. In this situation, you can get nervous out there. But he looked pretty poised and he did a good job.”

Said Tigers manager Jim Leyland: “I thought Nova was good. He was about what we expected, and he got quite a few outs in the strike zone. He also got a few out of the strike zone. And that probably hurt us a little bit. We didn’t get him in the strike zone quite enough.”

As for the Robinson Cano grand slam, Leyland said he expected second guesses for inserting right-hander Al Alburquerque. Alburquerque, who had not allowed a homer in 43 1/3 innings during the regular season, declined to comment after the game.

“To me that was a no-brainer,” Leyland said. “… Left-handers are hitting .177 off Alburquerque, .200 off (left-hander Daniel) Schlereth. Cano is hitting .320 off of left-handers, .295 off righties. Alburquerque has had a tremendous ratio of swings and misses. He had only faced him one time. He had struck him out.”