Yankees 8, Royals 1: Offense Explodes as Nova shuts down Royals

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Ivan Nova was outstanding for the second consecutive start and the Yankees offense erupted for eight runs as the Yankees snapped their three game losing streak.

Sometimes I wonder why the Yankees offense can't show this kind of performance in a game where the pitcher really needs it, but I guess you take what you can get. Lyle Overbay hit a grand slam, Robinson Cano added a three run homer, and Ivan Nova was nothing short of brilliant for the second consecutive game as the Yankees won comfortably at home against the Royals 8-1.

The offense got it going right away in the first as Brett Gardner led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Ichiro Suzuki. A groundout by Cano put runners on second and third with one out, and a passed ball allowed Gardner to score the Yankees first run. Ichiro also attempted to score on the play but was tagged out at home plate.

After scoring one, the offense finally got the big hit that we've been waiting quite a while for in the bottom of the third. Luis Cruz led off with a single to center and moved to second after Gardner was hit by a pitch from Wade Davis. Luis Cruz moved to third on a flyout by Ichiro which set the stage for Robinson Cano. Cano drove a hanging breaking ball from Davis over the center field wall for a three run homer to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead. This was the first time the Yankees scored more than one run in a game since last Saturday's 5-4 win against the Orioles.

That would've been more than enough for tonight but the offense decided to add some more anyway in the bottom of the sixth. Robinson Cano led off the inning with a single and stole second rather easily on Davis (Cano now has six steals on the season without being caught). A pinch hit single to left by Vernon Wells put runners on the corners with nobody out. Zoilo Almonte walked to load the bases, and then Lyle Overbay proceeded to blow the game open with an opposite field grand slam over the left field wall. This made it 8-0 and ended the night for Wade Davis, who's line was rather ugly: Five innings, six hits, eight runs, two home runs. Against the 2013 Yankee offense. Well done, Wade.

For all the offense we saw tonight, only a couple of runs were necessary for Ivan Nova, who was fantastic for the second consecutive start. Nova ran into a bit of trouble in the first and fifth innings but otherwise was dominant through the first seven, shutting down the Royals offense. He gave up a run in the eighth as his pitch count got up there over 100, but he got a groundout to Cano to finish his night. He completed eight innings, giving up five hits and one run, striking out six. I think it's safe to say that Ivan Nova has solidified his rotation spot, at least for the time being. We've heard recent reports that Phil Hughes could be on the move in a trade which could open up a rotation spot for David Phelps or Michael Pineda, but I don't think after his last couple outings that Nova has to worry about going back to the bullpen. Please do this the rest of the season, Ivan.

With an 8-1 lead, Joe Girardi was comfortable enough to bring Joba Chamberlain into the game. Joba threw a clean ninth to close out the win.

Game Notes:

  • Travis Hafner was pinch hit for by Vernon Wells in the sixth, and Brett Gardner was taken out later in the game. Hafner left the game with a left foot contusion, and Gardner left with a right leg contusion. Both had X-rays and both were negative, so both are considered day-to-day. Vernon Wells, by the way, is 12-29 since June 28th, raising his average from .223 to .242.
  • Ivan Nova has been brilliant his last two outings, but he's actually had success ever since he came back from his injury. Since his return on May 25th, he's lowered his ERA from 6/11 to 3.63 in six appearances (three starts) and has not given up more than three runs in any of those appearances.
  • This last one doesn't have anything to do with this game, but tomorrow might be the last game the Yankees play without Derek Jeter.
In that game, the Yankees will look to salvage a split with Kansas City before welcoming the Minnesota Twins to finish off the first half. Andy Pettitte and Ervin Santana are your starters. Start time at around 1:05 Eastern.

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