Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nova, Yankees Sink Reds

The Yankees are doing their best to refute that old idiom of every ship needing its captain. They've gone 6-1 since theirs was thrown overboard by a strained calf.

Monday night, Jeter, who was appointed team captain during the Yankees' last and only trip to the Great American Ballpark in 2003, watched Ivan Nova steer his team to a 5-3 victory against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds, boasting the National League's highest scoring offense, were stifled by the Yankee rookie who registered the longest -- and perhaps best -- outing of his career, pitching eight innings and giving up a lone run on four hits while striking out seven.

Nova surrendered the run in the first, but by that time the Yankees had already provided him the comfort of a four run lead. Nick Swisher, once again batting lead off due to his high on-base-percentage against left-handed pitchers, began the game by stroking a single to left. After a Curtis Granderson strike-out, Mark Texeria, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano singled, singled, and doubled receptively to give the Yankees the early lead. A Russle Martain RBI ground-out and yet another hit by Andrew Jones later in the inning would total to four runs in the frame.

The early onslaught came against Red's lefty Travis Wood who drew the assignment after ace Johnny Cueto was scratched due to a stiff neck. Wood's performance was true to character. Entering the game, he led his team with the most first inning runs surrendered. Though he settled down afterward, it hardly mattered with his counterpart in peek form.

With Nova's turn at bat due in the top of the ninth, Yankees manager Joe Girardi elected to have him pitch hit for with Jorge Posada. The move would eventually force Mariano Rivera to enter the game for a save in the ninth as relievers Luis Ayala and Boone Logan each allowed their only hitter faced to reach base bringing the tying run on deck. Logan twice checked on the runner at first before promptly hitting Joey Votto with his only pitch.

Rivera allowed the two inherited runners to score but struck out pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria to end the game and earn his eighteenth save.


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