Rookie Ivan Nova picked up his 12th win last night against the Kansas City Royals, but it was thanks in large part to the pounding the Yankees' bats put on fellow rookie Dan Duffy. Nova struggled in the early going, settled down for a couple of innings, and then was pulled when the Royals had cut a three run deficit to a single run in the 6th inning.
Boone Logan, with the help of a diving stop by Mark Teixeira, kept the lead and the Yankees bullpen trio of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and Mariano Rivera slammed the door on any hopes of a Royals comeback.
Nova can thank Robinson Cano most of all for adding to his win total, which is second only to CC Sabathia on the team. With two aboard in the 4th inning, Cano battled Duffy through a 12 pitch at-bat until the All-Star Home Run Derby king delivered a 421 ft. blast into the right field seats to put the Yankees on top for good 8-5.
Derek Jeter (5 RBI in the first two games of the series) and Russell Martin added a pair of RBI each and Martin continued his hot play behind the plate when he gunned down Jeff Francouer on an attempt to steal second base.
For Nova it was a night off from the consistency he had shown in his last half dozen starts. But the seven earned runs he allowed in 5.1 innings shouldn't have a big impact on Joe Girardi's thinking. Nova has been better more often and longer this season (and in the stretch drive) than either Phil Hughes or A.J. Burnett.
Rivera breezed through the 9th inning for the second straight night, struck out a pair, and picked up his 32nd save. The Yankees four relievers did not allow a single base runner in 3.2 IP.
Royals manager Ned Yost was tossed in the 4th after a trip to the mound. His real purpose was to complain to home plate ump Kerwin Danley about squeezing the strike zone on his prized rookie. Danley had a bad night behind the plate with the consistency of his strike zone and drew the ire of both teams.