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Ivan Nova

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Ivan Nova struck out a career-high 10 and the New
York Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox 7-2 on Thursday night,
completing a four-game sweep and winning their seventh in a row
overall.

The Yankees moved into a tie with Boston for the AL East lead.
The teams begin a three-game series at Fenway Park on Friday night.
Russell Martin hit a three-run homer in the ninth to break open
the game and send Chicago to its sixth straight loss. He drove in
four runs.

Nova (10-4) pitched 7 2-3 innings and won his sixth consecutive
decision. He held Chicago to one run and six hits and didn’t walk a
batter.

Robinson Cano homered, singled, walked and scored a pair of runs
as the Yankees won their sixth straight over Chicago, a streak
during which they’ve outscored the White Sox 49-14.

The White Sox have lost six straight games after getting to the
.500 mark and drawing within three games of the lead in the AL
Central last Friday.

Chicago absorbed its first four-game sweep at home since
dropping four in a row to Boston from Aug 23-26, 2007. The last
time the White Sox were swept at home in a four-game set against
New York was June 17-20, 1976.

Paul Konerko had two singles for a quiet White Sox offense in
his first start since Sunday. He missed the three previous games
with bruised left leg. Adam Dunn homered in the ninth.
Phil Humber (8-8) lost his fourth straight start. He went 6 1-3
innings, allowing five hits and four runs.

Entering the game, the players currently on the Yankees’ roster
came into the game a combined 0 for 18 lifetime against Humber. He
retired the first four batters on Thursday before Cano came up in
the second.

With one out in the inning, Cano lined the first pitch he saw
from Humber into the left-field bullpen for the first run of the
game. It was Cano’s 18th homer of the season and second in as many
games after he’d gone 14 games without a longball.

Nova had good stuff early, retiring the first seven White Sox in
order, the last three on strikeouts.

The streak was broken when Alejandro De Aza beat out an infield
grounder to shortstop Derek Jeter. That gave De Aza, who was 4 for
4 in Wednesday’s 18-7 loss to New York, five straight hits.
De Aza then stole second, went to third on Brent Morel’s single
to right and scored on Juan Pierre’s sacrifice fly for a tie at 1.

The Yankees regained the lead in the sixth thanks to the speed
of Brett Gardner, who started the inning with a double to right and
went to third on Jeter’s sacrifice bunt.

Curtis Granderson hit a hard grounder to Dunn at first base and
Gardner broke for the plate. Dunn stepped on the bag to retire
Granderson and threw home, but Gardner slid home safely just ahead
of the tag by catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Humber seemed to tire in the Yankees’ two-run seventh. Cano led
off with a single, Nick Swisher walked and Jorge Posada hit an RBI
single for a 3-1 lead.

That was it for Humber, who was replaced by Jesse Crain after
throwing 94 pitches. Swisher scored on Martin’s sacrifice fly to
deep center,

NOTES: Konerko had been out since being hit in the left knee by
a pitch against Boston last Sunday. Manager Ozzie Guillen said
Konerko would be limited to designated hitter duty for a few days.
Bartolo Colon will start for the Yankees in the series opener
against Jon Lester. New York is 454-458 all-time at Fenway.
However, the Yankees are 1-8 vs. Boston this season and have lost
seven straight at Fenway. Colon has lost both of his starts against
the Red Sox this season, once each at Boston and New York. Mark
Buehrle gets the call for the White Sox in their opener at
Minnesota in a key series for two teams scrambling to stay in the
AL Central race. The Twins have beaten the White Sox in seven of
eight meetings this season and have won 29 of their last 36 against
Chicago. Buehrle has posted a 2.03 ERA over his last eight starts
but is just 2-1 over that stretch. He’s allowed three runs or less
in 16 straight starts. … White Sox speedster Juan Pierre was
thrown out stealing in the sixth. He’s just 16 for 29 on the
basepaths this season.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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