All Ivan Nova does is win. All Derek Jeter does is hit. Sprinkle in that 1-2 punch in the Bronx on Sunday night and watch as the New York Yankees notch another series victory.
Nova allowed four runs over six frames to record his 14th consecutive regular season victory and Jeter smashed a three-run homer to power the Yankees to an 11-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Raul Ibanez swatted a titanic blast that just missed the upper deck and Nick Swisher drove in a pair of runs for the Yankees (5-4), who have won five of their last six games.
“We have a good lineup,” Jeter told reporters. “It’s not always going to be this. There is a lot of good lineups. If one-through-nine are going to be swinging the bats well, we’re going to look good. Tonight, we looked good. Last night we didn’t.”
The Yankees sure did bring out the lumber in a start for Nova (2-0), who had won 13 straight regular season decisions entering this one. And even though Nova was a wee bit under the weather on Sunday, he still had enough in the tank to win again – and tie some guy named Whitey Ford for second place on the all-time Yankees consecutive win list.
Nova, who allowed three of his four runs over the final four frames, finished with 102 pitches. He allowed eight hits while walking two and striking out eight Angels (3-6) batters.
“All I want to do is pitch,” Nova told reporters. “After the first couple innings I lost all my power. That’s why I threw the way the last two innings.”
If anything, it was a combination of the illness and the Yankees forcing the righthander to the bench while they plated eight runs that affected Nova, who will enter his next start just two wins shy of Roger Clemens’ franchise-record of 16 straight Ws in 2001.
Nova told reporters that in the future, he may think of throwing a warmup pitch or two in the Yankees’ batting cage underneath the ballpark to get loose when the Yankees prolong an inning by flashing the lumber.
“For me, when I sit so long, I always have that trouble,” he said. “I think I have to work on that”
One thing that was working for the Yankees on this Sunday night was their bats. New York, which struggled with runners in scoring position entering this one, had no problem plating them on national TV, finishing 5-for-13.
No one’s hit was bigger than Jeter’s, who plated three runs by finding the short porch in right field to put the Yankees up 8-1. Jeter also doubled and scored a run in New York’s four-run third and nearly hit the ball out of the deepest part of the ballpark in the sixth.
The Yankees captain is having a magnificent start to the 2012 season, batting .366 with two homers and six RBI. He has a six game hitting streak and has multi-hit games in five of his first nine games.
“I feel alright,” Jeter said. “I felt alright from the end of spring training. All you want to do is feel comfortable. If you feel comfortable, the results will be there. I feel pretty good.”
Jeter isn’t the only Yankee who has felt pretty good at the plate. Although the average is not quite there for Ibanez, the newly minted DH has gotten the big hit when the Yankees have needed it.
Sunday night was no different.
After the Angels closed the Yankee lead to 8-5 in the seventh, Ibanez nearly crushed a Jason Isringhausen 2-1 sinker into the recessed right field upper deck. The blast landed just shy of the top level, falling into the luxury suites below.
“I really try to ignore it,” said Ibanez, who narrowly missed becoming the only player other than Russell Branyan to hit the ball into the new Yankee Stadium’s upper deck. “I really try to ignore the short porch. I need to fill up the ballpark with line drives. … It definitely feels good, especially when you help the team win.”
Prior to the Ibanez blast, it looked like the Yankees could be in trouble of coughing up the huge lead in this one. But Alex Rodriguez made a diving grab to thwart an Anaheim rally in the sixth.
David Robertson worked out of an inherited bases-loaded jam with two outs in the seventh by inducing Mark Trumbo to harmlessly out to right field before pitching a scoreless seventh. Boone Logan ended the game with a scoreless ninth.
Trumbo posted the Angels to a 1-0 lead with a homer in the top of the second before Ibanez tied it with a base hit off of Anaheim starter Jerome Williams in the bottom of the frame. New York opened up a 5-1 lead in the third on a Curtis Granderson groundout, an RBI single by A-Rod, a run-scoring double by Mark Teixeira and a Swisher sacrifice fly.
Swisher also plated a run with a single in New York’s three-run eighth.
Williams (0-1) lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his 2012 debut, allowing five runs on five hits while walking three and striking out a batter.
Chris Iannetta homered and Trumbo drove in three runs for the Angels, who lost for the 12th time in their last 16 games in the Yankees’ home ballparks.
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