Ivan Nova tips his cap after he leaves the game in the ninth inning. Nova was at his best last night in the Yankees 4-1 victory over the Rays. (Image: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees sail past Rays in standings as Nova dazzles

They are not quite to the top yet, but the New York Yankees have jumped the Tampa Bay Rays in the standings into second place. Ivan Nova was at his best this season in eight plus innings of work as the Yankees shut down the Rays for the second straight night by a score of 4-1.

Nova (7-2), who continues to rack up wins, did not receive the typical run support he’s become accustomed to, but a pair of solo homers from Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano proved to be enough. Nova worked eight shutout innings and came out for the ninth but allowed back-to-back triples by Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton to start the frame. He was pulled in favor of Yankees closer Rafael Soriano, who stranded Upton, getting three straight outs on thirteen pitches.

The Yankees were facing Rays starter Alex Cobb for just the second time in his career and he tried to hold his own against the Bombers. In the second inning with one-out, Cobb hung a curve to Teixeira who deposited it into the second deck in right field. It was Tex’s 10th home run of the season and his 33rd RBI. The homer was Teixeira’s first since May 29th as he is sitting in a 4-for-26 slump over the last seven games, after a surge on the West Coast trip.

In the home half of the fourth, Robinson Cano came to the plate with two outs after Curtis Granderson flew out and Alex Rodriguez was picked off of first base by Rays catcher Jose Molina. Cano hit a laser beam into the right field bleachers on a pitch Cobb left up and over the plate. It was Cano’s ninth home run of the season to go with 25 RBI.

Nova, was in complete control after allowing a leadoff single to Jennings in the first. He set down 14 of 15 batters from the fifth inning through the eighth, including twelve straight. He finished the night allowing one run on four hits and one walk while striking out five.

The Yankees would get two insurance runs in the eighth off of Cobb, who was also stingy after Cano’s homer. Raul Ibanez led off the inning with a single and manager Joe Girardi sent in speedy Dewayne Wise to run for Ibanez. Nick Swisher doubled down the right field line past a diving Carlos Pena at first. The ball rolled all the way to the right field corner allowing Wise to score easily. Eric Chavez was next and with the elusive man in scoring position, delivered a double to the center field gap bringing home Swisher. Chavez would be stranded at second, but the Yankees held a 4-0 lead.

Nova who was trying for his first career shutout would have to settle for his 24th victory in 49 games (45 starts). Soriano notched his eighth straight save bailing the Yankees out of trouble in the ninth. The win is the Yankees 10th out of their last 13 games and positioned them in second place, 1/2 game back of the Baltimore Orioles and 1/2 game ahead of the Rays. CC Sabathia faces David Price in tonight’s series finale.

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Tags: Alex Cobb Alex Rodriguez B.J. Upton Baltimore Orioles Carlos Pena CC Sabathia Curtis Granderson David Price Desmond Jennings Dewayne Wise Eric Chavez Ivan Nova Joe Girardi Mark Teixeira New York Yankees Nick Swisher Rafael Soriano Raul Ibanez Robinson Cano Yankees

  • jkra0512_SK

    Cobb pitched well, all told. If you’re a Rays fan you’d take that outing every time out! However, sometimes, the other guy (Nova) is just better. Very happy seeing Nova bear down and have such a great outing, I think he needed it more than we, fans, did. Hopefully, this will catapult him into the 2011 second-half version of himself.

    • http://www.redbirdrants.com/ Chris_Carelli

       You’re probably right about Nova needing it. He’s a confident kid, but I think his performances prior to yesterday were beginning to weigh him down.

    • MHunterYGY

       @jkra0512_SK I don’t know if I’d agree that Cobb pitched well, but Nova’s outing was definitely encouraging. Biggest thing is that he kept the ball in the park, which he’s only done one other time this season, and not since the end of April.

      • http://www.redbirdrants.com/ Chris_Carelli

         @MHunterYGY  @jkra0512_SK
        Cobb was only down two runs allowing two hits going into the eighth (two hits of course were homers). Not sure why Maddon wouldn’t have gone to the bullpen as soon as a runner got on, but that’s his problem.

        • MHunterYGY

           @Chris_Carelli  @jkra0512_SK Yeah I mean obviously giving up 2 hits in 7 innings is good, but the fact that they were 2 homers makes a huge difference. He could have easily given up a groundball single or two before those homers and ended up giving up 4 or 5 runs instead, still pitching as “well” as he actually did. That being said, Cano’s homer did just clear the wall, so in most stadiums it would have only been one home run given up. All in all, I guess I’d call it more of a mediocre outing than a good or bad one.

        • http://www.redbirdrants.com/ Chris_Carelli

           @MHunterYGY  @jkra0512_SK
           Wow, you’re tough! LOL!

        • jkra0512_SK

           @MHunterYGY  @Chris_Carelli  I respectively disagree, I think Cobb did a marvelous job last night against the Yanks. Like Chris said, he gave up two runs on two hits. Sure they were HRs, but they were both to right field and if your offense can’t muster two runs in seven innings of work, that’s not on Cobb.
          Hindsight is 20/20 and Maddon probably should have taken him out after the 7th, but Cobb wasn’t pitching mediocre. He was keeping guys off base, which made those HRs not that bad in the grand scheme of things.
          Let’s switch it up. If Hughes pitched like Cobb did last night, would you have the same feeling on the outing? I think we would be saying how the Yankees offense let Hughes down after a good outing and wondering why Girardi didn’t take him out in favor of a good bullpen.