By HOWIE RUMBERG AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Ivan Nova won his 11th straight decision with
some help from a rangy outfield and Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking
single in the fifth inning, lifting the New York Yankees to a 3-2
victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Nova (15-4) was nearly unhittable for seven innings after giving
up two runs in the first and Brett Gardner’s two-run homer in the
New York returned early Friday from a successful trip to Boston.
Gardner, Andruw Jones and Curtis Granderson all made impressive
plays to help the Yankees improve to 12-0 in Nova’s last 12 starts.
Brandon Morrow (9-10) made few mistakes against a Yankees lineup
missing Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, their Nos. 3 and 4
hitters. Teixeira was hit by a pitch on his right knee on Thursday
and was still sore a day later. Rodriguez was out of the lineup for
a sixth straight game with a strained left thumb.
Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 37th save in 42
chances one night after striking out Adrian Gonzalez with the bases
loaded to close out a victory against the Red Sox that gave New
York a win in two of three games against their AL East rival.
Gardner lined a 3-1 pitch over the fence in right-center for the
Yankees’ first hit Friday, a two-run drive with one out in the
third. Russell Martin had walked leading off and Eduardo Nunez
lined out to right field before Gardner came up.
Morrow gave up just three more hits but he was hurt by another
walk, to Granderson, in the fifth. He gave Granderson the pass
after Jeter singled to put runners on first and second. Cano then
lined a single to center, scoring Jeter for the 3-2 lead.
Nova held the Blue Jays without a hit after Jose Bautista
singled in a run with no outs in the first inning until Eric Thames
doubled with one out in the sixth.
The 24-year-old rookie has solidified his spot in a crowded New
York rotation that will be cut to five pitchers early next week by
improving to 7-0 since being recalled from Triple-A
Scranton-Wilkes/Barre on July 30. He gave up three hits and two
walks _ one intentional _ and struck out four.
Adam Lind followed Bautista’s single in the first with a
sacrifice fly for the game’s first out _ and a 2-0 Toronto lead.
Then with Bautista running, Edwin Encarnacion hit a sharp liner to
left caught by a sliding Gardner. Bautista had already rounded
second and conceded the double play.
All Jeter had to do was take Garnder’s throw and roll the ball
to first baseman Nick Swisher, getting his first start there this
season in place of Teixeira.
Bautista robbed Granderson of seeing another pitch in the second
when he made a leaping catch at the wall in foul territory down the
right-field lne. In the fourth, Bautista was on the other end,
sending a long drive to right-center that Jones caught above the
wall for the first out.
Gardner made a long running catch in the fifth on a drive by
rookie Brett Lawrie. In the sixth, Jones went down to the ground to
make a catch of Yunell Escobar’s sinking liner and Granderson
caught Lind’s drive running into the wall in center.
Toronto played an eighth straight game without manager John
Farrell. He is recovering from pneumonia and won’t be with the Jays
this weekend. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu is running the team in
NOTES: Blue Jays RHP Dustin McGowan, out since 2008 because of
an injured right shoulder that required two operations, pitched 3
2-3 scoreless innings, scattering four hits, for Double-A New
Hamsphire in his fifth rehab start. Wakamatsu said McGowan had no
problems at all. He could join the Blue Jays this month. …
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said LHP CC Sabathia will start Sunday
and RHP Freddy Garcia Monday but wouldn’t commit to a starter for
Tuesday. … Toronto LHP Ricky Romero (13-9) will face New York RHP
Bartolo Colon (8-9) on Saturday. … The Yankees honored former
players Bernie Williams and Luis Arroyo and current bench coach
Tony Pena for being selected into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)