NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Yankees fans want Ivan Nova to keep piling up victories for the Yankees — and for himself.
The rookie right-hander looks to continue his impressive run of success Friday night when the Bombers host the Toronto Blue Jays.
Nova (14-4, 3.96 ERA) is 6-0 with a 3.60 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A Scranton on July 30 and 10-0 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 starts since losing to the Angels on June 3.
He allowed three runs in seven innings of an 8-3 victory at Baltimore on Sunday.
“It’s good, but seriously, I don’t pay too much attention,” Nova, who suddenly found himself in the conversation for AL Rookie of the Year, said. “I think I’m a big part of the team and we need to win games. That’s all that matters.”
The Yankees moved within one-half game of first-place Boston after winning 4-2 at Fenway Park on Thursday to take two of three from the Red Sox.
Nova, who allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-2 home win over Toronto (69-68) on May 1, looks to help New York to a third straight victory over Toronto, which has dropped seven of 10 at Yankee Stadium.
Russell Martin, who had a go-ahead two-run double Thursday, is 10 for 33 with a homer and five RBIs against Toronto this season. Teammate Curtis Granderson, also in the conversation for a major award (AL MVP), is 2 for 13 in his last four games, but has batted .388 with three homers and 14 RBIs against the Blue Jays.
The Yankees could have Alex Rodriguez back in the lineup after he missed the entire Boston series with a sprained thumb. Prior to the injury, Rodriguez was 3 for 17 with a homer in four games since missing more than a month after knee surgery.
“It hurts just sitting on the sidelines, just watching,” Rodriguez told the Yankees’ official website.
Rodriguez, Granderson, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano have combined to hit .192 (14 for 73) with 29 strikeouts against scheduled starter Brandon Morrow (9-9, 4.79).
Morrow allowed one run and four hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-1 home win over New York on July 15, but has been knocked around for 11 runs and 17 hits over 10 innings in his past two outings overall. The right-hander surrendered five runs and three homers over 5 1-3 innings of a 12-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
“Obviously I haven’t been very good the last couple of times and probably this whole month,” said Morrow, who went 1-4 with a 5.58 ERA in August.
Toronto slugger Jose Bautista has hit two of his major league-leading 39 home runs in his last four games. He has three in 28 at-bats versus New York in 2011.
Rookie infielder Brett Lawrie hopes to continue his hot hitting when he takes the field in the Bronx for the first time. Lawrie hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning to help give Toronto an 8-6 win at Baltimore on Thursday.
Since making his big league debut Aug. 5, Lawrie has hit .340 with 20 RBIs and leads all rookies since that time with seven homers, four triples and 17 extra-base hits.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar became the fifth player in Blue Jays history to have at least four hits in consecutive games while the Blue Jays totaled 21 runs and 33 hits to win the last two against the Orioles.
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