Nova dominates Rays
New York - Ivan Nova took a two-hitter into the ninth inning, Mark Teixiera and Robinson Cano homered and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the second straight night, 4-1 Wednesday.
Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez had RBI doubles in the eighth inning to help the Yankees win for the 10th time in 13 games and pass Tampa Bay in the tight AL East standings for the first time since April 23.
Tampa Bay lost for the sixth time in eight games and dropped to third place after at least holding a share of the division lead since May 27.
Nova and Alex Cobb locked in a duel until Cobb (2-2) tired in the eighth. The pair combined to keep the bases clear after Cano's homer with one out in the fourth until Sean Rodriguez doubled with one out in the top of the eighth - 20 straight batters.
Nova (7-2) pitched into the ninth for the first time in 45 career starts but he gave up consecutive triples to Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton to start the inning.
He was lifted to a loud ovation and Rafael Soriano relieved. He got three outs for his eighth save in eight chances, all since Mariano Rivera went out with a knee injury.
Before the game Rays manager Joe Maddon said his team needs to play a complete game, fielding with some consistency after committing three errors in a 7-0 loss Tuesday night, hitting better and pitching up to their standards. They got two of the three right.
The lineup has struggled with Evan Longoria sidelined since May 1. Tampa Bay entered with a .221 average in the slugging third baseman's absence because of a partially torn left hamstring.
Mustering just two hits against Andy Pettitte for 7 1-3 innings Tuesday and four overall, the Rays looked equally as lost against Nova - getting a leadoff single then not getting a hit until the eighth.
The Yankees right-hander had allowed five runs in three of his last four starts but he had better command of his fastball this time and had one of his most dominant starts.
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