The Yankees began a 4-game series in 3 days with a 5-0 victory and Ivan Nova’s 16th win of the season to reduce the magic number for clinching a playoff berth to 3, and later 2 as the Red Sox lost tonight as well.
The Yankees offense supported the Rookie of the Year candidate early as a run-scoring single by Eric Chavez and a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double by MVP candidate Curtis Granderson drove in 3 runs for a 4-run 2nd inning. He also drove in 1 more run with a single in the 5th for his league-leading 119 runs batted in. This was more than enough offense for Nova.
Ivan Nova continued his winning ways tonight as he has a 12-game winning streak. In 7.2 innings, Nova didn’t allow any runs despite 6 hits and 3 walks. Nova’s only clean inning was the first as he constantly worked with at least one runner on. But Nova was able to mix all of his pitches and keep hitters off-balance when the Rays managed to get on base. This says a lot about the composure of the young right hander. He doesn’t let tough situations overwhelm him as he gets tougher with runners on base.
As said earlier, the Red Sox lost their game against the Orioles thanks to a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double by Robert Andino off of Jonathan Papelbon in his attempt at a 5-out save. With the Yankees win and the Red Sox loss, the Yankees magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 2, and the magic number to clinch the AL East title is 3. With tomorrow’s doubleheader, two Yankees wins and one Red Sox loss will clinch both a playoff spot and the AL East.