In his brief time as a major league starter, nobody has hit Ivan Nova more than Matt Wieters.
That trend continued Wednesday night as Nova’s 15-game winning streak ended in a 5-0 loss to the Orioles.
Wieters is now 7-for-13 with three home runs and five RBI off Nova, who had been 3-0 against Baltimore before allowing five runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings Wednesday night.
“I don’t think it’s hard to pitch to him,” Nova said. “You just got to make the right pitch at the right time.”
For the second time this season, Wieters hit a solo home run off Nova’s changeup, doing so in the fourth. He also had an RBI double that ended Nova’s night and put Baltimore up, 4-0.
In between those hits, Nova also gave up a solo home run to Nick Markakis on a changeup that preceded Wieters’s hit. He also gave up an RBI single in the sixth to Robert Andino and held the Orioles down enough for the Yankees to have a reasonable chance at winning until the seventh.
“I know they were over the middle,” Nova said of the changeups to Wieters and Markakis. “I have to go back to work with that pitch. I was ahead in the count and I know they were getting pretty good swings on the fastball. I was throwing too many curveballs and sliders and they didn’t see any of my changeups.”
Instead, his final line of five runs and nine hits was nowhere near good enough for the Yankees, especially with how they have swung the bats the last three nights.
“He had some bad location, got into some long counts later in the game,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I felt he had a good slider, a good fastball tonight. He elevated his changeup, but I felt his curveball was decent and he had a lot working tonight.”
The Yankees had scored at least five runs in 14 of Nova’s wins during this streak, averaged 8.05 runs in his 15 wins and scored 35 runs for him this year. During this series, they came nowhere close to those numbers.
“Unfortunately it happens,” Mark Teixeira said. “You don’t want it to happen. Every now and then you have seven or eight guys who aren’t getting it done.”
“We’re not swinging the bats great collectively,” Girardi said. “We have some guys who are, but it’s a group of nine guys. We have some guys struggling and you’re going to go through that. Everyone was giddy about the offense a couple of weeks ago when we got a lot of runs. Now, when we don’t get runs, if you start changing the lineup every time you get shut down, you’d change the lineup a lot.”
They scratched out two runs off Jason Hammel on Monday and scored just once off Brian Matusz Tuesday.
Then came Jake Arrieta, who bettered Hammel and Matusz by allowing five singles in eight innings while making the Yankees look bad on three notable occasions with his fastball and off-speed pitches.
With Alex Rodriguez on first in the opening frame, Robinson Cano struck out by chasing an outside fastball, an at-bat that ended after he fouled off four pitches.
In the fourth, it only took three pitches for Cano to strike out swinging on Arrieta’s curveball.
“That’s huge because he’s such a tremendous power hitter,” Arrieta said. “Not only can he hit for power but he can take the ball the opposite field very well. I’ve continued to be impressed by his ability at the plate and to be able to make quality pitches time and time again to a guy like that, I feel speaks highly of my maturity as a pitcher.”
With one out in the sixth of a two-run game Rodriguez swung at a first pitch slider and bounced into a double play to end the Yankees’ final real scoring chance of the night.
By shutting down the Yankees, Arrieta and the Orioles held them to two runs or fewer in three straight games in the Bronx for the first time since 1978. That feat was last accomplished by Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan and Don Stanhouse.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.