I wish every game would be that easy. Ivan Nova and some early runs helped the Yankees to a stress-free shutout win over the defending World Champion Giants on Saturday afternoon, a game that took a tidy two hours and 32 minutes. Pretty awesome. Let’s recap the 6-0 win:
- Ivan Rebounds: The last few weeks have been tough for Nova, and not coincidentally, he has been battling some triceps soreness. He rebounded to throw his best game of the month on Saturday, chucking his second complete-game shutout in his last five starts. Nova threw only 108 pitches while striking out seven and limiting the Giants to six hits. Twenty-one of his 27 outs came on the infield, including 14 ground ball outs. San Francisco did not have a batter reach third base and only two made it as far as second base. Nova was dominant. Great to see him bounce back after a few tough starts.
- Keep The Line Moving: This was like, the most textbook and cliched offensive game ever. The Yankees scored their first couple runs with an extended rally before pulling away late with homers. I’m sure you’ve heard more than a few announcers say that’s the right way to win. Anyway, the 7-8-9 hitters loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning before the 1-2-3 hitters drove them all in. Ichiro Suzuki hit a sacrifice fly to plate Mark Reynolds (single), Alex Rodriguez drove in Brendan Ryan (single) with a ground out, then Robinson Cano plated Chris Stewart (walk) with a single through the hole on the left side of the infield. Textbook. Or so I’m told.
- Pull Away: Like I said, the Yankees went to long ball to put the game to bed in the middle innings. Eduardo Nunez swatted a two-run dinger off Ryan Vogelsong in the fourth inning — it was a bomb, gone off the bat — before Alfonso Soriano tacked on a solo shot in the sixth. He said his sore thumb was sapping his power last week, but that’s now two homers in two games for him. Guess the thumb is feeling fine.
- Leftovers: Am I the only one who is still surprised any time Ryan fields a ball to his left? We haven’t seen too many Yankees shortstops make those plays in recent years, so it’s a shock to the system … Cano was the only Yankee with multiple hits but only Ichiro and A-Rod failed to reach base. They each drove in a run with a productive out … Cano is three doubles away from his fifth straight 40+ double season and seventh of his career. That would tie Lou Gehrig for the most such seasons in franchise history.
- Winning Season: The win was the team’s 82nd of the year, clinching their 21st consecutive winning season. That is the second longest such streak in history, trailing only the 1926-1964 Yankees. Thirty-nine straight years. Yeah, the current squad still has a long way to go to match that. Geez.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the rest of the day’s games, the Yankees will be either three games (Rangers or Indians win) or two games (Rangers and Indians both lose) back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column with seven to play. Andy Pettitte and Yusmeiro Petit (!!!) is your pitching matchup for the series finale on Sunday afternoon, which is Mariano Rivera day at Yankee Stadium. If you want to catch the game and festivities live, head to RAB Tickets.