|N.Y. Yankees (35-25) «||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||8||0|
Nova combined with four relievers on a five-hitter and the Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0 on Monday night to claim a share of first place in the AL East for the first time in seven weeks.
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"Who would have thought it?" Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked. "I think there's a lot of parity in the American League this year and I think there are a lot of good teams who are going to beat up on each other.
"Our guys have done a good job of enduring some things. We've had some key injuries and we've been able to figure things out a little bit. Guys have stepped up and we just have to keep going."
Raul Ibanez led off the second inning with a homer and Robinson Cano had two hits, including a run-scoring single in the first. The surging Yankees climbed into a tie with idle Tampa Bay for the division lead, their first return to first place since April 24.
Nova (8-2) gave up five hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings for his fourth straight win.
"Our starting pitching has been really good, and that's how you put streaks together," Girardi said.
The Braves didn't have a baserunner reach third base, but Nova said his command was inconsistent.
"I don't have my best stuff today, but I made pitches when I needed it," Nova said.
"My command of the fastball wasn't there. Sometimes I wanted to go inside on lefties and I left the ball over the plate. ... When you don't have your best stuff, you have to fight."
Nova added a milestone with a second-inning single for his first career hit. He said the ball from his first hit will earn a place of honor beside souvenirs from his first win and first strikeout.
"When I was little, I wanted to be a big league hitter," Nova said, adding his favorite hitter was Vladimir Guerrero.
The Yankees (35-25) have won four straight games and nine of 11 to move a season-best 10 games over .500. The Braves, held without an extra-base hit, have lost two straight after their season-best six-game winning streak.
Girardi said he held out closer Rafael Soriano, who developed "a little blister" on his right index finger while pitching on Sunday against the Mets.
"He said he was OK, but I'm not comfortable," Girardi said. "So give him one more day."
Randall Delgado (4-6) set a career-high with six walks as he allowed three runs and five hits in five innings. The control problems pushed up his pitch count early. He threw 66 pitches while giving up a run in each of the first three innings.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the 22-year-old was pumped up for the big-game atmosphere.
"He was excited," Gonzalez said. "He was coming out of his delivery, first time facing the New York Yankees and (42,669) in the stands. I think he got himself a little amped up for today's game."
Delgado agreed, saying "Yes. New York Yankees. We respect them. They've got a lot of tradition."
Cano's first-inning single drove in Alex Rodriguez, who doubled off the wall in left. Rodriguez walked in the third, moved to third on Cano's double and scored on Delgado's wild pitch.
Atlanta's leadoff hitters had singles in four of the first five innings. None advanced past second base as Nova was helped by double plays in the first and third innings.
Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher took a possible homer away from Brian McCann in the fourth. Swisher reached up to snap McCann's fly ball in front of the yellow line at the top of the wall. It was McCann's second long out. His first-inning drive was caught at the 400-foot mark in center field by Curtis Granderson.
Braves centerfielder Michael Bourn, running toward left field, made a diving catch to take a hit from Ibanez in the seventh.
Right-hander Cory Gearrin threw two scoreless innings for Atlanta after he was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves are 0-9 on Mondays this season.
Atlanta's Matt Diaz, who struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, was ejected by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez in the ninth when he continued to argue from the dugout about a called strike in the at-bat.
|The Yankees' Ivan Nova pitches seven strong innings for his fourth straight win and also collects his first career base hit. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|New York Yankees|
|Derek Jeter, SS||5||0||1||0||0||1||1||.315|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||4||0||1||0||1||1||0||.251|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||4||2||1||0||1||0||2||.277|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||4||0||2||1||1||1||0||.300|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B||4||0||1||0||1||1||2||.252|
|Raul Ibanez, LF||3||1||1||1||1||1||5||.256|
|Dewayne Wise, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.125|
|Nick Swisher, RF||2||0||0||0||2||1||2||.245|
|Russell Martin, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||6||.211|
|Ivan Nova, P||3||0||1||0||0||2||0||.333|
|a- Eric Chavez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.264|
|Cody Eppley, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Clay Rapada, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Cory Wade, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Boone Logan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Nova in the 8th|
|2B - Alex Rodriguez (6, Delgado), Robinson Cano (21, Delgado)|
|HR - Raul Ibanez (10, Delgado)|
|RBI - Robinson Cano (30), Raul Ibanez (31)|
|2-OUT RBI - Robinson Cano (11)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Jeter-Cano-Teixeira, Nova-Teixeira|
|New York Yankees|
|Ivan Nova (W,8-2)||7||5||0||0||1||6||0||4.64|
|Cody Eppley (H,2)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.55|
|Clay Rapada (H,4)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.71|
|Cory Wade (H,8)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.63|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ivan Nova 107-61, Cody Eppley 8-5, Clay Rapada 5-5, Cory Wade 4-4, Boone Logan 7-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ivan Nova 6-7, Cody Eppley 1-0, Clay Rapada 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Ivan Nova 25, Cody Eppley 1, Clay Rapada 2, Cory Wade 1, Boone Logan 2|
|Michael Bourn, CF||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.319|
|Martin Prado, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.320|
|Brian McCann, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.234|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||2||1||.264|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.255|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.299|
|Jason Heyward, RF||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.246|
|Andrelton Simmons, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.219|
|Randall Delgado, P||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.300|
|a- Juan Francisco, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.232|
|Cory Gearrin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chad Durbin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Eric Hinske, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.213|
|c- Matt Diaz, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.250|
|Jonny Venters, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Delgado in the 5th|
|b-announced for Durbin in the 8th|
|c-struck out for Hinske in the 8th|
|DP - Uggla-Freeman, Uggla-Simmons-Freeman|
|E - Chipper Jones (5, Misplayed grounder)|
|Randall Delgado (L,4-6)||5||5||3||3||6||5||1||4.34|
|WP - Randall Delgado (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Randall Delgado 110-58, Cory Gearrin 32-18, Chad Durbin 12-6, Jonny Venters 12-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randall Delgado 7-3, Cory Gearrin 3-1, Chad Durbin 1-1, Jonny Venters 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Randall Delgado 26, Cory Gearrin 9, Chad Durbin 3, Jonny Venters 3|
|Attendance - 42669|
|Game Time - 3:01|
|Temperature - 79|
|Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Chad Fairchild|