Ivan Nova acknowledges cheers from Yankees' fans in attendance at Nationals Park. Nova won his fifth straight start. (Image: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees ride the 'Super Nova' to third straight series sweep

The New York Yankees won their third straight three-game series yesterday behind the American League’s wins leader Ivan Nova and solo home runs from Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, as the Bombers beat the Washington Nationals 4-1.

Nova (9-2) took over the American League win total with his fifth straight win. In his last three starts Nova has allowed only 2 earned runs in 22.2 innings and the Yankees have scored a total of ten runs in those games, putting to rest the notion that he can only win when the offense scores an abundance of runs for him. Nova’s performance lowered his ERA to 4.32.

Against the Nationals, Nova went 7.2 innings allowing one run, a solo homer to Adam LaRoche in the second inning, seven hits and walked only one batter. He was in control for much of the game, adding four strikeouts and a 2-to-1 ground out to the fly out ratio. Nova had to escape one jam in the fourth but registered a double play with runners at the corners.

The Nationals found themselves down by a run after the first, but it could have been worse. Derek Jeter led off the game with an infield single and Granderson doubled. Nationals starter Edwin Jackson got Alex Rodriguez to fly out to left field but it wasn’t deep enough to get Jeter home. Cano was intentionally walked. Mark Teixeira’s fly ball to center field was deep enough, scoring Jeter. Jackson got Raul Ibanez to line out to end the inning and the threat. The Yankees ended the game 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but yet again home runs bailed them out.

In the top of the fifth the Yankees took the lead after a solo homer off the bat of Curtis Granderson. It was the 21st home run of the season for Granderson. Jackson had been tip-toeing around trouble for a better part of the afternoon, leading to a high pitch count. Jackson scattered seven hits and three walks, allowing two runs in six innings.

With one out in the Yankees half of the seventh, Cano hit a moon shot to center field for his 12th home run of the season off lefty reliever Tom Gorzelanny. The Yanks would tack on another run after Teixeira doubled, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball.

Boone Logan retired his only batter in the bottom of the eighth, getting LaRoche to fly out. LaRoche had hit Nova the hardest of any Nats player in the game. Rafael Soriano worked a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 13th save of the season. It is the most saves by any Yankees reliever other than Mariano Rivera since 1997.

The Yankees (40-25) head back to Yankee Stadium for a short three-game home stand against the Atlanta Braves (35-31). The Yankees remain 1.5 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. The Bombers are winners of 9 straight and 19 of 23. It is the first time since 1998 that the Yankees have swept three straight series.

Swisher hopes to play in series opener

After suffering a bruised left quad in Saturday’s game while sliding into home plate, Nick Swisher hopes to be in the Yankees lineup tonight. Swisher was in obvious pain after sliding directly into Nationals’ catcher Jesus Flores. Flores’ knee met Swisher’s quad muscle creating what Swisher called the “worst charley-horse ever” and required the use of crutches to get around after Saturday’s game.

Later today on Yanks Go Yard

Check back later this morning for an audio preview of the series, as Ricky Keeler talks with Tomahawk Take’s Fred Owens on the Yanks Go Yard Podcast Preview. I’ll provide a written glimpse of the upcoming matchups in the Interleague rematch. The Yankees swept three games from the Braves in Atlanta last week.

Also, Jimmy Kraft will also provide us with the second part of his series which investigates the Yankees options for the outfield in 2013.

Tags: Adam LaRoche Baltimore Orioles Boone Logan Curtis Granderson Derek Jeter Edwin Jackson Ivan Nova Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira New York Yankees Nick Swisher Rafael Soriano Raul Ibanez Robinson Cano Washington Nationals Yankee Stadium Yankees

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