Yankees roll by Angels
Granderson HRs help to end skid
NEW YORK - Having pitched his way back into the Yankees’ starting rotation, rookie Ivan Nova showed off a veteran move: He won without his best stuff.
Curtis Granderson helped him out by hitting a three-run homer off Garrett Richards before the rookie got his first major league out and New York snapped its three-game losing streak with a 9-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels last night.
Nova (11-4) took over the big league lead in wins for rookies, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings. He made 10 appearances last season with New York, including seven late-season starts, before he was left off the postseason roster.
“I think he’s made great strides since last year as a starter,’’ New York manager Joe Girardi said. “I think he’s become more consistent. He’s developed another pitch.’’
That new slider of Nova’s has been a strength. One of the few times he threw it, however, he gave up Peter Bourjos’s solo home run in the fifth.
No big deal. He got the last out of the inning and set down the top of the Angels’ order before finally running out of steam in the seventh, when he let the first four batters reach. He tipped his cap to appreciative fans as he walked off the field.
Nova allowed three walks and did not have a strikeout one start after fanning 10 without a walk. He hasn’t lost in eight starts since June 3, against the Angels, and has won all three since he was recalled from Triple A in late July.
“He has really good stuff,’’ the Angels’ Torii Hunter said.
Granderson later added his 31st homer on a long shot to the second deck in right field, beating his career high of 30 from 2009 in Detroit.
Robinson Cano tacked on a two-run shot in the seventh inning, getting within a single of hitting for the cycle. Eric Chavez had an RBI double and Nick Swisher and Russell Martin had run-scoring singles .
The Yankees had lost six games in a row when the opposing starter was making his major league debut.
Leadoff hitter Brett Gardner walked, as did Derek Jeter, before Granderson hit a long line drive to the gap in right that hit the padding atop the fence in front of the Yankees bullpen and bounced softly over.
“His first three hitters weren’t what you hoped,’’ Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “In between, there were some signs of his talent, settled down, and pitched some good baseball, but by then the damage was done.’’
Richards (0-1) allowed six runs and six hits in five innings. He also had 2 wild pitches, 2 strikeouts, and 2 walks. He was called up from Double A Arkansas by Los Angeles to take Jered Weaver’s turn in the rotation while the Angels ace serves a six-game suspension.
Los Angeles made two sharp defensive plays behind Richards. In the second inning, shortstop Erick Aybar sprinted out into left field, leaned left and robbed Gardner.
Two innings later, Bourjos made the play of the game in center field, running down Eduardo Nunez’s drive to the gap and catching it at his knees while right fielder Hunter dived in front of him. Bourjos turned and fired to second, where he nearly doubled off Chavez.