Ivan Nova is all smiles after striking out 11 in a complete game effort to a walk-off win. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
Baltimore Orioles 2 — New York Yankees 3
Vernon Wells hit the walk-off single to give Ivan Nova a W in tonight’s 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
For the Yankees, they turned to Ivan Nova in a spot start situation in place of the injured Hiroki Kuroda. It would turn out to be a great decision except for one pitch. In the second inning, on a 2-1 pitch, Ivan Nova hit the slugging Chris Davis with a pitch and gave Matt Wieters an opportunity to put the Orioles on the scoreboard. On a 1-1 fastball, the switch-hitting catcher would hit a high fly ball to left field that bounced off the top of the wall and entered the crowd for a two-run home run. This would be the one bad pitch that Nova threw in this masterful start.
The offense wasn’t fairing as well as their pitcher was. With two outs in the fourth inning, the Yankees rallied to cut into their small two-run deficit. Vernon Wells would single and Lyle Overbay walked to put two on and two out. Shortstop Luis Cruz would continue to be a good presence in the field and at the plate when he singled in one run.
In the fifth inning, the Yankees would have prime scoring opportunity. David Adams started the inning with a walk. Brett Gardner would strikeout but Ichiro Suzuki doubled to right. With first base open, Robinson Cano would receive an intentional walk. Travis Hafner would follow with a shallow fly out to center field that would not be deep enough to score a run. Vernon Wells would also falter in this situation, popping out to first base.
While the Yankees offense wasted opportunities, Ivan Nova was on cruise control. After the home run in the second inning, Nova got 12 consecutive outs, capped off when he struck out the side to end the fifth inning. Through the remainder of the game, Nova looked in control. He allowed a single to start the sixth inning but it was erased on a double play. In the last two innings of Nova’s complete game effort, he induced four ground outs and two strikeouts in an amazing start.
In nine innings, Ivan Nova allowed two runs on just three hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. The only thing that eluded Nova is the win.
With closer Jim Johnson in, David Adams started the inning with a single. Brett Gardner would drop a bunt down that pitcher Jim Johnson was unable to handle and two would be on with no outs. Ichiro Suzuki would bunt to sacrifice the two on into scoring position. In a sense of deja vu to the fifth inning, Robinson Cano would receive an intentional walk. Ironically, Johnson lost the strike zone with this walk and would walk the tying run in on four straight balls to Travis Hafner. With the game tied, Vernon Wells would come up with the opportunity to bring home the winning run by a number of ways. With one out, a fly ball could get the job done but with a 2-2 count, Vernon Wells would hit a single past the diving Manny Machado and the Yankees would end the game with their fourth straight win.
Vernon Wells continues his recent hitting success and could continue seeing playing time with games like tonight’s. Ichiro Suzuki brought his hot hitting back with him from Minnesota. More importantly, Ivan Nova more than likely earned another start as Joe Girardi continues to deal with a positive problem, too much pitching.
Win – Ivan Nova (3-2)
Loss – Jim Johnson (2-7)
*Matt Wieters – 1 for 2, R, 2-Run Home Run () in the 2nd, 2 RBI (42)
*Nick Markakis – 1 for 4
*Vernon Wells – 2 for 5, R, Walk-off single in the 9th, RBI (35)
*Luis Cruz – 1 for 4, RBI (8)
Yankees Current Record: 47-39
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