Yankees ride Nova, Granderson to easy victory

Ivan Nova

Even without his best off-speed stuff, the present version of Ivan Nova represents a better option than A.J. Burnett when the postseason begins in six weeks.

Nova did not have that new slider, but managed to get by on mostly sinking fastballs and the result was three runs and five hits in six-plus innings during last night’s 9-3 rout of the Angels.

“He’s been incredible,” catcher Russell Martin said. “Today stuff-wise was probably his least good stuff that he’s had so far but he was still able to pitch and he’s focused out there.”

var params = {wmode: ‘opaque’}; addPlayer(’06c7c348-13be-4bf5-b1f0-8f1e92cfcb4c’, ”, 13191, ‘zoken3lubvvk1fy20obmge9zx’, true, false, ‘zoken3lubvvk1fy20obmge9zx’, ‘eplayer2′);

Nova threw 96 pitches — 80 fastballs. Most of those pitches were of the sinking variety and that led to 13 groundball outs without any strikeouts.

“Today I had command of my fastball,” Nova said. “The off-speed [just weren’t] there [for me].”

“He’s got such a good fastball,” Martin said. “He can get by on that alone.”

It is the same pitch Burnett abandoned during his four-run sixth inning 24 hours earlier.  Sticking with it led to a performance by Nova better than most starts Burnett has made since the end of June.

Since returning from the minors when the Yankees needed room for Phil Hughes, Nova is 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA. Now he is no danger of being sent down anytime soon after improving to 7-0 with a 3.10 ERA since a June 3 loss at Anaheim.

“You never want to go back down,” Nova said. “When I get back here, that’s one of the first things I said [when I returned].”

“I think he took it as a challenge that this would be the last time you’re able to send me down,” Girardi said. “That’s kind of how we told him to take it — make us force our hand in a sense, don’t give us an opportunity to say you need to work on this or that and I think he took that upon himself and I think it has paid huge dividends.

“I think he has made great strides since last year as a starter,” Girardi said. “There were some times when some big innings that got away from him. I just think that he has become more consistent. I think that he has developed another pitch and I think when we look back on last year, what we asked him to do in the month we asked him to [do it], I really think that helped him and it’s showing up this year.”

Already armed with a groundball rate of 54 percent, Nova continued being a groundball machine. The thirteen ground ball outs were four shy of his career best and at one point Nova recorded six straight outs on the ground.

One of the few fly balls allowed by Nova accounted for the first run — Peter Bourjos’ solo home run in the fifth.

Besides keeping the ball down, Nova also was economical. Through six, he had 80 pitches and did not throw more than 16 in an inning.

Eventually Nova seemed to tire during the seventh when the first three Angels reached and Torii Hunter scored on Vernon Wells’s base hit. That prompted Rafael Soriano to begin getting loose.

Nova had just two 3-0 counts with the last coming against Alberto Callaspo, who drew a bases loaded walk. That ended his night with a standing ovation from the crowd — the complete opposite of the response to Burnett 24 hours earlier.

The Yankee bats quickly rolled over rookie Garrett Richards in his major league debut. They had a three-run lead just 14 pitches in when Curtis Granderson equaled his career high with his 30th home run.

Granderson atoned for getting picked off for the final out of Tuesday’s loss by surpassing his career high with a solo shot in the fifth that made it 6-1. It was more than enough for Nova.

“When you don’t have your good stuff and you can do that, that’s a sign of maturity,” Girardi said.

Follow Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking


K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.


Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.


Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.


Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.


Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…


Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.


Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.


2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…


Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.


Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.


Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.


Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.