Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/11/12

Ivan Nova wasn't as sharp as he would have liked Monday night, but the 25-year-old found a way to make the pitches when he needed to, firing seven shutout innings in the New York Yankees' 3-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Nova allowed five hits -- all singles -- and walked one, striking out six. Only one Braves hitter advanced past first base all game, and that happened after Nova was charged with a balk in the fourth inning.

"I thought he really had to battle today," manager Joe Girardi said. "At times he got behind. They got the first runner on sometimes, and he got some key double plays. Our innings were kind of long in between, so I'm not sure if he ever got to a real rhythm. I thought he battled and gave us a strong seven innings."

Nova improved to 8-2 with the win, but more important, it marked his second strong start in a row after a rough stretch in which he had allowed five or more runs in five of seven starts between April 27-May 30.

Nova has given up only one run in his last 15 innings, holding opponents to nine hits and two walks while striking out 11.

"The command of my fastball wasn't there like the last time," Nova said. "Sometimes I want to go inside with the guys, lefties, and I left the ball over the plate. I still got the out, but it was not where I wanted to throw it.

"Basically, when you have your best stuff to pitch, it's easy. When you don't have your best stuff, you have to fight."

Nova also had a personal highlight, collecting his first major league hit with a second-inning single. He asked for the ball, which was thrown to the Yankees dugout for safe-keeping.

"I was ready to hack the first pitch, but he was throwing hard," Nova said of the opposing starter, Randall Delgado. "I wasn't thinking about getting on base or anything like that, I just wanted to make contact. I didn't want to strike out. I got a pretty good swing on it. It was fun."

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