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New York at Pittsburgh

N.Y. Yankees (9-13) «31400101111100
Pittsburgh (9-13)0003101049122

Yankees 11, Pirates 9


BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Ivan Nova believes he's gotten comfortable enough with his new delivery to win a spot in the New York Yankees' starting rotation.

Nova tossed five decent innings in an 11-9 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The right-hander gave up four runs on six hits, walked one and struck out four.

"I think it went good," Nova said. "I got hit a couple times, but I was able to do what I wanted."

Nova has been working in camp with pitching coach Larry Rothschild to shorten the arm movement on his delivery. The adjustment creates more downward plane of Nova's pitches, making his mid-90s mph fastball an even better weapon.

"We're still working on it," Nova said. "It's not easy to do when you don't typically pitch with a shorter arm action. It's getting better. I'm throwing the ball with a better angle and that's something positive. "Sometimes, a couple times (Sunday), it wasn't there," Nova said. "But I feel comfortable. I have two more starts and I think that will be enough time to get ready for the season."

The 26-year-old Nova has lots of potential, but he faded badly over the final two months of last season and was not included on the Yankees' postseason roster.

"This has been a really good spring," Nova said. "I've been throwing strikes, I've been throwing with good velocity, the slider is coming back."

Will it be enough to clinch a rotation spot?

"I can't really say," Nova said. "For me, I don't think I've got to show (anything). I've got to just pitch my game, do the best I can out there and they'll make their decision. Even if I pitch good now, it's their decision."

In his second game since joining the Yankees, Brennan Boesch got his first hit, an infield single. Boesch stole second and scored on Kevin Youkilis' home run to left field, which gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Boesch went 2 for 3 with a sacrifice fly. The Yankees signed Boesch to a one-year, $1.5 million deal Friday after he was released by the Detroit Tigers.

Right-hander Phil Irwin worked 2 1-3 innings for the Pirates and gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks.

"I pitched behind a lot," said Irwin, who likely will start the season in the rotation at Triple-A Indianapolis. "A lot of the things I usually do well I didn't do well today. Sometimes, you have to fail to figure out what you need to do to succeed. Obviously, this didn't go well, but there are still things I can take from this and learn from."

After Irwin issued back-to-back walks in the third inning, he was replaced by Mike Zagurski. Dan Johnson walked to load the bases, then Mesa hit a towering home run into the left field bleachers.

Irwin had put together four good outings - a 2.25 ERA over eight innings, with five hits allowed and nine strikeouts - before struggling against the Yankees.

"It was a tough day for Phil," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "But that's part of spring training. You pitch well, you get bigger looks and different opportunities. For whatever reason today, he was behind in the count and his fastball was up. Everything we know about Phil, we didn't see."

Pedro Alvarez had two doubles, including one down the right field line that scored Russell Martin for the Pirates' first run.

NOTES: The Yankees released OF Matt Diaz, who was in camp on a minor league contract. Diaz batted .200 in 13 Grapefruit League games and fell out of contention for a bench spot. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (partially torn wrist tendon sheaf) reported to camp. He is expected to wear a wrist brace for a month and likely will be out of action until June. ... To mark St. Patrick's Day, the Pirates wore green caps and bench coach Jeff Banister filled out the lineup card in green ink.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game
New York

M. Mesa
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1

L. May
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2 Shop

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New York Yankees
Eduardo Nunez, SS4220001 .216
    Walter Ibarra, SS1000012 .412
Brennan Boesch, RF3121000 .227
    Neil Medchill, RF1000011 .000
Kevin Youkilis, 3B4123010 .308
    Gil Velazquez, 3B1010000 .389
Juan Rivera, 1B4000002 .286
    Bobby Wilson, C1000011 .158
Jayson Nix, 2B2100200 .189
    Jose Pirela, 2B1100001 .345
Chris Stewart, C3110100 .231
    Addison Maruszak, 1B1011000 .167
Thomas Neal, LF3100101 .258
    Shane Brown, LF1000011 .000
Dan Johnson, DH3100101 .069
Melky Mesa, CF3214000 .186
    Exircado Cayonez, PR-CF0000000 .000
2B - Kevin Youkilis (4, Irwin), Addison Maruszak (3, Hughes)
HR - Kevin Youkilis (3, Irwin), Melky Mesa (3, Zagurski)
SF - Brennan Boesch (1)
RBI - Brennan Boesch (1), Kevin Youkilis 3 (6), Addison Maruszak (3), Melky Mesa 4 (9)
2-OUT RBI - Kevin Youkilis (2), Addison Maruszak (1)
SB - Eduardo Nunez 2 (2, 2nd base off Irwin/Martin, off Irwin/Martin), Brennan Boesch (1, 3rd base off Irwin/Martin), Thomas Neal (3, 2nd base off Locke/May), Melky Mesa (3, 2nd base off Locke/Martin)
CS - Jayson Nix (1, 2nd base by Zagurski/Martin)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Melky Mesa 1
DP - Nunez-J. Rivera
PB - Chris Stewart (2)
New York Yankees
Ivan Nova (W,1-0) 5644141 3.21
David Robertson (H,3) 1000110 0.00
Branden Pinder (H,2) 1111100 3.68
Matthew Tracy (H,1) 1544100 12.00
Chase Whitley (S,1) 1000000 5.06
HBP - G. Jones (by Ivan Nova)
WP - David Robertson (1), Matthew Tracy (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Ivan Nova 36-29, David Robertson 10-5, Branden Pinder 9-5, Matthew Tracy 13-8, Chase Whitley 3-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ivan Nova 6-3, Branden Pinder 1-2, Chase Whitley 2-1
Batters Faced - Ivan Nova 21, David Robertson 4, Branden Pinder 5, Matthew Tracy 9, Chase Whitley 3
Pittsburgh Pirates
Starling Marte, LF3010021 .364
    Felix Pie, LF1211100 .300
Russell Martin, C2100101 .143
    Lucas May, C2122000 .421
Andrew McCutchen, CF3000011 .172
    Alex Presley, CF2011001 .306
Pedro Alvarez, 3B2121100 .172
    Jared Goedert, 3B2001000 .231
Garrett Jones, 1B2100011 .263
    Matt Curry, 1B1000101 .500
Gaby Sanchez, DH3011010 .310
   a- Gregory Polanco, PH-DH2000002 .200
Travis Snider, RF2011001 .258
    Jose Tabata, RF1000001 .206
Josh Harrison, 2B3000002 .259
    Ivan De Jesus Jr., 2B1110000 .407
Clint Barmes, SS3111001 .241
    Jordy Mercer, SS1110000 .368
a-flied out for G. Sanchez in the 8th
2B - Alex Presley (3, Tracy), Pedro Alvarez 2 (4, Nova, Nova), Gaby Sanchez (2, Nova)
HR - Clint Barmes (2, Nova)
SF - Travis Snider (3)
RBI - Felix Pie (7), Lucas May 2 (3), Alex Presley (5), Pedro Alvarez (3), Jared Goedert (4), Gaby Sanchez (5), Travis Snider (4), Clint Barmes (5)
2-OUT RBI - Lucas May (2)
SB - Felix Pie (1, 2nd base off Pinder/Wilson)
Team LOB - 6
PB - Lucas May (3)
E - Pedro Alvarez (3, Misplayed grounder), Russell Martin (1, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Phil Irwin (L,0-1) 2.1766201 6.97
Mike Zagurski 1.2122211 4.05
Jeff Locke 4020120 3.12
Jared Hughes 1211020 1.23
HBP - Mesa (by Jeff Locke)
WP - Jared Hughes (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Phil Irwin 28-16, Mike Zagurski 18-9, Jeff Locke 25-18, Jared Hughes 10-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Phil Irwin 5-2, Mike Zagurski 2-1, Jeff Locke 3-8, Jared Hughes 1-0
Batters Faced - Phil Irwin 16, Mike Zagurski 7, Jeff Locke 15, Jared Hughes 5
Game Information
Attendance - 8541
Game Time - 3:22
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Travis Carlson