DETROIT (AP) — Ivan Nova insisted his confidence isn’t an issue.
His location? Well, even Nova acknowledged that’s becoming a problem.
The right-hander gave up seven runs and 11 hits — matching a career high — over 5 1-3 innings as the Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 7-2 Monday night.
Nova (10-6) has only one victory in his last eight starts since June 28.
“I’ve got to keep my head up and keep working — it’s just location,” he said. “I left too many pitches over the plate. I still have my confidence up and I know I can do better the next time. It’s not one pitch in particular. They hit everything.”
Miguel Cabrera sent a thigh-high pitch over the middle of the plate 454 feet, clearing the second row of shrubs in center field, for his 28th homer in the fourth inning.
Prince Fielder cleared the fences for the 19th time with a no-doubt shot to right in the second.
The Yankees took advantage of Justin Verlander’s fielding error in the fifth to make it 2-all.
Nova, though, allowed the Tigers to break it open with three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to go ahead 7-2.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is trying to avoid sounding concerned about Nova.
“You’re going to go through struggles,” Girardi said. “For the most part, the kid has been pretty good for us but right now, he’s struggling. He’ll find his way out. Verlander, as good as he is, goes through struggles. He’s not 20-0 this year.”
Verlander (12-7) matched a career high with 14 strikeouts and threw 132 pitches, his most in a regular-season game, to help the Tigers win a fifth straight.
He started strong and didn’t let up.
The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young award winner struck out former teammate Curtis Granderson — for the first of three times — with an 85 mph breaking pitch to lead off the game and struck out the first two Yankees in the second inning. Verlander also fanned Ichiro Suzuki and Mark Teixeira three times each.
Suzuki snapped his 12-game hitting streak as a Yankee and struck out for the first time with his new team and finished with three to match a career high.
“In the eighth inning, he still had a 100 mph fastball,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “The rest of his pitches are great, too.”
Verlander gave up two unearned runs after his fielding error extended the fifth inning.
Leyland visited Verlander at the mound in the eighth after he gave up a walk to Raul Ibanez, and left him in the game following a brief chat. With many fans on their feet, Verlander responded by striking out Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez and Suzuki to tie his strikeout high set last year against Arizona.
Verlander raised his left hand to acknowledge a roaring, standing ovation as he walked off the field, giving way to closer Jose Valverde, who retired the side in order in the ninth.
The AL East-leading Yankees have lost 11 of 17 overall.
Verlander allowed the Yankees to score twice in the fifth when Granderson hit a two-out grounder and the pitcher looked down to step on first base as Fielder made an accurate throw that hit his glove. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano took advantage with RBI singles that made it 2-all.
Verlander hit low and outside corners with fastballs and also buckled knees with an assortment of breaking pitches that left the Yankees standing and looking or swinging and missing.
When New York did make contact for base hits, Verlander was at his best.
“He shut us down,” Jeter said. “A lot of time great pitchers get a little attitude when they have guys on base and they bear down. He did that.”
NOTES: The Yankees have decided Triple-A LHP Manny Banuelos, out since May with a bruised left elbow, won’t pitch again this season. … Nova has given up 11 hits twice this year to Detroit and three times in his career.
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