TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ivan Nova turned his game plan into a successful first start.
Nova allowed an infield single over two scoreless innings and the New York Yankees stopped a seven-game losing streak by beating a Detroit Tigers split squad 10-3 on Saturday.
“I’m concentrating on attacking the strike zone, and I did it,” Nova said. “That’s what I’ve got to do, attack the strike zone and then my team will do the rest.”
Trying to make the rotation after faltering down the stretch last season, Nova struck out one during an outing in which he threw 22 of 27 pitches for strikes. The right-hander went 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA last year, down from 16-4 the year before.
“I thought his fastball command was really good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Pleased with where he was at in his first start. He needs to build on it. When you struggle, a lot of times it’s difficult and you have to find a way to fight through that. When he’s consistent, he’s dynamite.”
New York’s Brett Gardner had two singles, and has at least one hit in all six of his spring training games this year. The speedy outfielder also stole two bases, and scored to tie it 1-all on Robinson Cano’s single after stealing second in the third.
Shawn Hill, signed by the Tigers as a minor league free agent last October, gave up two runs and five hits in 2 2-3 innings. Omar Infante had a third-inning sacrifice fly against David Aardsma.
The second run charged to Hill in the third came when Tigers left-hander Kenny Faulk walked Travis Hafner with the bases loaded.
The Yankees took a 4-2 lead in the fourth when Chris Stewart hit a two-run homer off Kyle Lobstein.
Lobstein, a Rule 5 player that entered with a 9.82 ERA, struck out four over two innings, including Mark Teixeira, Dan Johnson and Hafner during a perfect fifth.
“He threw the ball a lot better,” Tigers coach Gene Lamont said. “Got one slider up.”
Teixeira went 1 for 3 in his final game before leaving to join the United States’ team in the World Baseball Classic.
“I’m really excited about going,” Teixeira said. “Excited about competing, and it should be a blast. We have as good a chance as anybody. We’re going there to win.”
Teixeira, known for offensive struggles in April, is hopeful that playing in the WBC will be beneficial.
“It’s one of the reasons I’m playing,” Teixeira said. “You get a chance to play some exciting games, and hopefully jump start the season.”
Cano is also leaving to play in the WBC for the Dominican Republic.
New York travels to Fort Myers on Sunday to play Boston. Players scheduled to make the trip include Gardner and Eduardo Nunez. Right-hander Adam Warren will start against the Red Sox.
Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte is scheduled for his first simulated game Sunday in Tampa. Closer Mariano Rivera, coming off knee surgery, will take part in his second simulated game. Right-hander Phil Hughes will throw for the first time in two weeks since being sidelined by a bulging disk in his upper back.
NOTES: New York bench coach Tony Pena, the Dominican Republic manager, said former Detroit closer Jose Valverde and Yankees OF Melky Mesa have decided not play in the classic. — The Tigers agreed to terms on one-year contracts with RHP Luis Marte, LHP Casey Crosby, INFs Dixon Machado, Hernan Perez and Danny Worth, and OFs Quintin Berry and Avisail Garcia. — Yankees LHP Boone Logan has a tender elbow and will not throw for a few days. — New York minor league OF Slade Heathcott underwent an MRI for a sprained right thumb, the result of an outfield collision Thursday with Ronnier Mustelier. He will be reevaluated in a few days. — The Yankees reassigned RHPs Corey Black, Matt Daley, Nick Goody, Shane Greene, Bryan Mitchell, Zach Nuding, Mike O’Brien and Ryan Pope, and INF Kyle Roller to their minor league camp.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)