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Yankees 4, Nationals 2: Nova shines as New York wins fourth straight

Brian Blanco

Ivan Nova pitched three hitless innings with four strikeouts and without allowing a walk as the Yankees picked up their fourth straight win in Grapefruit League play on Monday afternoon. The offense put up a crooked number in the second inning against Nationals starter Ross Detwiler, scoring all four of their runs before there were even two outs in the inning.

All of Nova's stuff seemed to be working the way it does when he looks nearly unbeatable. Thirty-one of his 35 pitches went for strikes. It's still early in spring training but it's really nice to see an important part of the rotation already looking the way that Nova did today. He was replaced in the game by David Robertson making his spring training debut. Robertson pitched one inning allowing only the first batter to reach base via a hit by pitch before his day was done. Shawn Kelley was next out of the bullpen, giving up a home run to Zach Walters and striking out two in his inning of work. Danny Burawa, Robert Coello, Yoshinori Tateyama, and Jim Miller completed the reliever brigade with Burawa giving up the only other Nationals run after some bad luck on ground balls and an error by Derek Jeter. Addison Maruszak also made an error in the field.

New York's scoring got started with Brian Roberts being driven in on a Kelly Johnson double. Francisco Cervelli singled and scored with Johnson on an Ichiro infield hit that resulted in a wide throw by the shortstop. Zoilo Almonte joined in the hitting with a ground rule double before coming around to score on a Corban Joseph single. A Derek Jeter double play ended the inning.

Brian McCann, Jose Gil, Mason Williams, and Jose Pirela all chipped in singles in the game. Brett Gardner and Cervelli each had a double and Almonte tacked on another single for a two-hit day. The catchers in spring training continue to all hit the ball very, very well. That could be extra important if the Yankees are looking to unload one of the five they have on their 40-man roster at some point in the near future.

Tomorrow marks the first night game of spring training for the Yankees when the Orioles visit Steinbrenner Field at 7:00 pm. David Phelps will start the game for New York opposite Wei-Yin Chen for Baltimore. Derek Jeter is expected back in the lineup at DH, along with other expected starters Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran.

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