Sports

Jeter Continues To Roll, Yanks Batter Halos

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees celebrates with scoring runners Brett Gardner and Russell Martin after hitting a three run home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium on April 15, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. In honor of Jackie Robinson Day, all players across Major League Baseball will wear number 42. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 15: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees celebrates with scoring runners Brett Gardner and Russell Martin after hitting a three run home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium on April 15, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. In honor of Jackie Robinson Day, all players across Major League Baseball will wear number 42. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

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By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Derek Jeter and the rest of the Yankees hitters
made it easy for Ivan Nova to prolong his impressive winning
streak.

Jeter hit a three-run homer to extend his fast start and Nova
won his 14th straight decision, leading New York to an 11-5 victory
over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday night.

Raul Ibanez added a titanic homer and Jeter also doubled during
a four-run rally to help the Yankees take two of three in an early
series between high-priced teams expected to challenge for the
American League pennant.

“I think everybody in here already knows what we can do,” Nick
Swisher said. “I think tonight was just an explosion for us at the
plate. It was great.”

The prime-time crowd for a nationally televised game included
Tim Tebow and Dwyane Wade, who sat side by side wearing Yankees
caps in the third row next to the Los Angeles dugout. The new
backup quarterback for the New York Jets, Tebow was mostly booed
when he was shown on the giant video board _ but he cracked a smile
anyway.

New York spoiled the season debut of Jerome Williams (0-1),
chased in the third inning, while sending Albert Pujols and the
Angels to their sixth defeat in eight games. The $240 million
slugger went 1 for 5 with an RBI single in the seventh that cut it
to 8-5, but David Robertson retired Mark Trumbo on a bases-loaded
fly to end the inning.

“No one’s ever happy when you start off slowly. No one’s saying
no big deal,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “But you also
have to understand the need for some guys to get into their game.
Some guys are going hit stride right out of spring training, hit
the ground running. Some guys are going to need some innings or
some at-bats.”

Pujols is still looking for his first home run with his new
team. He’s gone nine games without one, his longest drought to
start a season.

Howie Kendrick had his second consecutive three-hit game for the
Angels and nearly hit for the cycle. Needing a home run to do it _
the longtime Yankees nemesis hit one Saturday _ he almost got it
with a drive that barely sliced foul in the eighth. On the next
pitch, Kendrick grounded out.

Fighting a cold and fever, Nova (2-0) struck out eight over six
innings. Often the beneficiary of big run support, the 25-year-old
right-hander hasn’t lost in the regular season since the Angels
beat him 3-2 on June 3.

“The guy has great stuff,” Kendrick said. “He’s got an
electric fastball, he throws his breaking balls for strikes and he
knows how to pitch.”

Nova’s winning streak ties Hall of Famer Whitey Ford and Steve
Sundra (1938-39) for the second-longest by a Yankees pitcher since
1920. Roger Clemens won 16 straight in 2001.

Nova was actually demoted to the minors during his winning
streak _ where he lost twice for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
last July. He finished 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA as a rookie last
season.

“I’m not worried about a winning streak. I just want to take
the ball every five days,” Nova said. “I don’t pay attention to
that stuff.”

Jeter made it 8-1 when he connected off Hisanori Takahashi in
the fourth, sending a drive to the short porch in right for his
second homer of the season. The 37-year-old captain is 15 for 41
(.366) with six extra-base hits.

“He looks really good,” teammate Robinson Cano said. “I’m
happy for that guy because people always criticize, his age and
stuff like that, so I’m happy to see him have a good start.”

New York has won five of six after opening 0-3.

Tebow and Wade were gone by the seventh, when Swisher hit an RBI
single and Ibanez greeted Jason Isringhausen with a two-run drive
into the suite level between the second and third decks at new
Yankee Stadium.

Hunter, standing in right field after the ball soared over him,
was caught on camera mouthing, “Wow.”

“That’s one of the farthest ones I’ve seen,” Jeter said.

Ibanez’s second homer with New York made it 11-5, and the
designated hitter finished with three RBIs. Cano, named for Jackie
Robinson, scored three runs and reached safely four times 65 years
to the day after the Brooklyn Dodgers star broke baseball’s color
barrier.

“It’s a special day. We enjoy this day,” Jeter said.

Chris Iannetta homered for the second consecutive day, a two-run
shot, and Trumbo also went deep for the Angels. Maicer Izturis had
an RBI double in the sixth but third baseman Alex Rodriguez made a
diving play to get Nova out of the inning with an 8-4 lead.

NOTES: Angels pitchers Jered Weaver and Dan Haren both flew back
to California before the game to get some extra rest for their
upcoming starts. Weaver goes Monday night at home against Oakland,
followed by Haren on Tuesday. … Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte tossed
four scoreless innings of two-hit ball in his second start with
Class-A Tampa. … Freddy Garcia starts Monday night against
ex-Yankee Carl Pavano when New York opens a four-game series with
Minnesota.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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