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

NEW YORK -- Inning by inning, New York Yankees starter Ivan Nova looked less like the pitcher who had been roughed up for most of the season and more like the 16-game winner he was last year.

With each new scoreless inning, Nova also made Tampa Bay Rays starter Alex Cobb's own impressive outing look as though it would end in vain, which it did in the Yankees' 4-1 win Wednesday night.

Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano homered to lead the Yankees and Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez added what ended up being important back-to-back RBI doubles in the eighth to send the Yankees to their third consecutive win.

Nova finally walked off in the ninth, tipping his cap after a loud ovation, after Tampa Bay scored its first run on back-to-back triples by Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton.

Rafael Soriano then earned his eighth save of the season by retiring the Rays' 3-4-5 hitters.

Nova (7-2) allowed just the one run on four hits while striking out five.

New York nudged a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East, jumping over the Rays and into sole possession of second place, a half-game behind the Baltimore Orioles.

Nova entered the game with a 5.60 ERA and had allowed 18 runs in his last 24 innings.

But he dominated the Rays on Wednesday, only allowing two runners as far as third base, and stranding both.

Cobb was nearly as impressive, allowing only the home runs and a walk entering the eighth.

But then Raul Ibanez led off with a single, and Swisher and Chavez followed with doubles to right and left-center, respectively, to make it 4-0. Cobb (2-2) was done, having allowed just four hits while striking out four.

Nova came out strong against the Rays, shutting them out on one hit in the first five innings. Cobb nearly matched him, allowing only two hits, but they were both home runs.

Teixeira hit his 10th homer of the season, to right field, with one out in the second for a 1-0 lead.

Cano hit a two-out solo shot in the fourth to make it 2-0, giving him nine on the year.

NOTES: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera's surgery to repair the torn ACL on his right knee has been scheduled for June 12 because his blood clot issue was resolved, he said. Rivera continued to promise he would come back next season, but said he did not expect to come back this year. ... Right-hander David Robertson was scheduled to throw batting practice Thursday and pitch in a minor league rehab game Sunday. When he returns, he will go back to his setup role with Rafael Soriano remaining the closer, manager Joe Girardi said. ... Outfielder Brett Gardner (right elbow) will likely play in a minor league rehab game for High-A Tampa on Thursday, Girardi said. ... Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (left hamstring) should need about a week to 10 days once he begins his rehab assignment, which should happen during the Rays' road trip, manager Joe Maddon said. Longoria had told reporters he thought he could return by the middle of the month, but Maddon indicated he might take a more cautious approach. ... Outfielder/first baseman Brandon Allen was designated for assignment, but Maddon said he would "love to" keep him in the organization. Allen, who hit .154 in seven games for the Rays, is out of minor league options, so he would have to clear waivers before accepting a demotion.

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