Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Nova Stars at Night for Yanks

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Nova Stars at Night for Yanks

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Ivan Nova never was concerned with losing his spot.

Even as spring training inconsistency raised doubts, his confidence did not waver.

Nova was sure he would get back to where he was as a rookie when the lights went on for real and the games actually counted, especially on baseball's big stage in the Bronx.

If Sunday's 11-5 victory over the Angels is any indication of what's to come, Nova eased some worry as to whether he could pick up where he left off last season.

Nova won his 14th consecutive regular-season decision, tied for the second longest such streak by a Yankees pitcher since 1960. His streak matches that of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, who accomplished the feat in 1961.

Roger Clemens is tops with 16 straight regular-season victories in 2001.

After Raul Ibanez's second-inning RBI single tied the score at 1, Nova sent quite a message in the third by striking out the side: the 2-3-4 of Howard Kendrick, Albert Pujols and Torii Hunter. That set the stage for the Yankees (5-4) to go ahead in their half.

Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira (2-for-3, walk) drove in runs with base hits during a four-run outburst against Angels rookie right-hander Jerome Williams for a 5-1 lead.

Derek Jeter blasted a three-run homer in the fourth inning, his second of the season.

He didn't hit his second home run last season until May 8, and both of those came in that game.

David Robertson bailed Rafael Soriano out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh when he got Mark Trumbo to fly out to right field. Ibanez (2-for-4, three RBI) ended up putting the game out of reach when he crushed a two-run home run into the suite level below the upper deck in right field.

Lost in all the offensive fireworks was another relatively strong performance from Nova (102 pitches, 66 strikes). He went six innings and allowed four runs on eight hits, striking out eight and walking two.

The competition to stay in the starting rotation promises to get only more challenging.

Consider what Andy Pettitte did in his second start Sunday afternoon for Class A Tampa with four scoreless innings as another positive step in what the Yankees expect to be a mid-May return trip to the Bronx. …

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