(Sports Network) - Ivan Nova hopes to pitch the New York Yankees to a seventh
straight win on Saturday when they continue a three-game set with the Oakland
Athletics at Yankee Stadium.
Nova returned from the disabled list last Saturday and defeated the Tampa Bay
Rays, holding them to a pair of runs and four hits in six innings. He also
struck out eight and ran his record to 12-7, while lowering his ERA to 4.85.
A 16-game winner a year ago in his rookie season, Nova had been 1-3 with a
8.59 ERA in five starts prior to landing on the DL with right shoulder
"It's not that I didn't try to be focused in the past, but a game like today,
especially coming back from the DL, you have to do everything you can to win
this game," Nova said. "I came from my house mentally prepared to do that."
Nova is 1-0 in two starts versus the A's with a 3.29 ERA.
New York remained a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League
East on Friday, as Russell Martin's 10th inning home run carried the Yankees
to a 2-1 win.
New York held a 1-0 lead entering the ninth, but closer Rafael Soriano gave up
a one-out, pinch-hit blast to Brandon Moss to send the game to extra innings.
David Robertson (2-7) then retired the A's in order in the top of the 10th
before Martin jumped on the second pitch in the bottom half and launched it
into the left-field seats to send the Yankees to their sixth straight victory.
Sean Doolittle (1-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up Martin's solo
shot, as Oakland lost for the fourth time in their last five games.
"Our guys scrapped and fought the whole night and then to lose it like that,
it's really, really tough," Doolittle admitted.
The A's dropped one game behind the Orioles for the first AL wild card slot,
but hold a 3 1/2-game lead over the Angels for the final playoff berth.
Both teams got sparkling efforts from their respective starters, as CC
Sabathia fanned 11 over eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball for the
Yankees. Jarrod Parker gave the A's eight strong innings of one-run ball with
"I think every win from here on out is going to be the biggest win," Sabathia
said. "It just feels good to be a part of it."
On Saturday, Oakland will rely on lefty Travis Blackley, who has been pitching
mostly in long relief since the end of July. In 12 starts for the A's this
season Blackley is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA.
"Obviously, I'm psyched about it," said Blackley, who is 12-7 with a 4.85 ERA
on the year. "It's good to know they trusted me to take the reins when needed.
I'll take it like any other game. ... I'm looking to keep the team in the game
as long as possible."
Blackley, though, has never faced the Yankees, who are hitting just .255
against lefties this season.
New York has split eight matchups with the A's this season.
The Sports Network