8 ip, 4 h, 1 er, 0 bb, 7 k, 14 groundouts, 0 flyouts. Wow.
Love the no walks. Love the grounders. It was among the best pitched games by a Yankee this season. For as lost as Nova looked at the plate (he struck out thrice), he was just the opposite on the mound, keeping Cincinnati hitters off balance primarily with a low-90s sinker and sharp curveball. He also experimented with changeups and cutters.
Yankee batters had nine hits, eight singles and a Cano double. Four of the five Yankee runs came in the first inning in this order: single, K, single, single, double, RBI groundout, single, foul out.
Joe Girardi pulled Nova after eight frames - I can only assume because he'd thrown 105 pitches - and brought in Luis Ayala, who served up a single. Boone Logan came in and hit a batter. So with two runners on and none out, Girardi had to use Mariano Rivera.* Hindsight sure makes the removal of the cruising Nova look terrible. Mo allowed a single and two groundouts, which brought Cincinnati within two. He then K'ed Edgar Renteria to end the contest.
This night goes to show that the club really doesn't have a third bullpen option. There's Mo and there's D-Rob. After that it's a guessing game. The return of Soriano - assuming he's close to his 2010 version - will really be a boon to the pen.
Play of the Game: Robbie Cano's first-inning double that made it 2-0 (+12%).
The platooning Andruw Jones failed to run out a GIDP in the third. Whether it was pure laziness, a mental lapse or an injury (he stayed in the game), it looked awful. I wonder what Joe will say.
* Jay Bruce clearly swung on the first checked swing in the ninth. Even he thought so, walking back to the dugout before the thirdbase ump declared it a non-swing.