The New York Yankees opened their series with the Baltimore Orioles with a dramatic 3-2 victory at Yankee Stadium. Ivan Nova tossed a complete game and Vernon Wells drilled a bases loaded single to score Brett Gardner with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“That team over there has had our number. They’ve played well against us, even in the games that we’ve won,” Wells said. “We were just able to come through late. We need to win games like that.”
Trailing 2-1 and facing the last three outs, the Yankees went to work. David Adams singled to get the rally started against Orioles’ closer Jim Johnson. Gardner followed with a bunt that Johnson couldn’t handle cleanly and the Yankees had runners on first and second.
Ichiro Suzuki then came to the plate. Suzuki successfully bunted the runners to second and third. The Orioles decided to intentionally walk Robinson Cano to load the bases. Travis Hafner followed with a walk of his own to force in Adams to tie the game. That set the stage for Wells to send a bullet between short and third to bring home Gardner.
“Those are fun. Anytime you can jump around, get punched a little bit after doing something good, it’s a good time,” Wells added. “Those are times, like when we turned the triple play, when you see the kid come out in us. That’s the great part about this game. You forget that we do this for a living and just brings us back to when you’re a kid.”
Nova was delighted with the comeback and his performance. In all, he struck out 11 while giving up only three hits.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling the way I’ve been throwing the ball lately,” Nova said. “We just got to keep it going.”
And Nova believed in his teammates until the end.
“I was positive the whole night. I knew that we were going to win at some point,” he explained. “I told a couple of the guys, ‘It’s impossible that I can pitch that way, the first time, and lose the game.'”
So now the question remains of how the Yankees are going to utilize Nova going forward. Manager Joe Girardi had the answer.
“I’m not sure exactly how we’ll do it,” Girardi said, “but he’ll probably start again.”
With the win, Nova improved his record to 3-2.