Curtis Granderson hits two-run homer to back Ivan Nova in 3-0 win
SAN DIEGO -- Upon coming off the disabled list Friday night, Curtis Granderson cautioned that no one should expect a sudden infusion of offense.
"I don't plan on a complete turnaround just because myself or anyone else ends up returning to the lineup," Granderson said.
It was the equivalent of saying: "It's not about me."
But Saturday night it very much was about Granderson.
And Ivan Nova, too.
With Granderson providing the offense and Nova pitching seven brilliant innings, the Yankees beat the Padres, 3-0, in front of 44,184 at Petco Park.
"He's been really good," Joe Girardi said of Nova, who allowed four hits in seven innings and improved to 4-3 with a 2.08 ERA since coming off the DL May 23.
Granderson, playing in only his 10th game this season, snapped a scoreless tie in the seventh with a two-run homer to right off Tyson Ross (2-5, 2.91), who to that point had been every bit as good as Nova (5-4, 3.08). Alfonso Soriano's leadoff single in the seventh and Granderson's homer were only the second and third hits off Ross.
It was the second homer of the season for Granderson, who has had two DL stints, once for a broken right forearm and once for a broken left pinkie finger, his most recent injury. He totaled 84 home runs in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
"It was good," said Granderson, who singled, stole second and scored on Jayson Nix's two-out single in the ninth to make it 3-0. "Second game back, obviously, I still have a lot to work on. [Hitting coach] Kevin Long and myself are going to do as much swinging and hitting as we can to try and close the gap in the repetition that I've lost up to this point."
Nova was simply outstanding, walking one with eight strikeouts in an 85-pitch outing.
With a darting curveball, he got stronger as the game went along, retiring 15 straight after Alexi Amarista's leadoff double in the second.
"My curveball was really good today," Nova said. "And I had good command of my fastball, was working both sides of the plate to righties and lefties and got quick outs."
That was especially evident early when, after stranding runners in the first and second innings, he needed only nine, eight and seven pitches to get through the third, fourth and fifth frames.
"I've been feeling really good, really good," said Nova, who has allowed seven runs in 38 innings in his last five starts. He has given up 25 hits and 10 walks and struck out 37 in that span.
Nova's streak of 15 straight retired ended when Will Venable led off the seventh with a double, but he got out of the inning with no damage done.
David Robertson pitched the eighth and Mariano Rivera added a perfect ninth to go 35-for-37 in saves.
In his sixth start of the season, Ross matched a career high with eight strikeouts through five innings and ended up with nine in six innings- plus.
He and Nova matched zeros in a game reminiscent of Wednesday night's 3-0 victory by the Yankees in Los Angeles, when Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw hooked up in a pitchers' duel.
The Yankees (57-52) didn't get their first baserunner, or hit, until Lyle Overbay's one-out single in the fifth. They didn't get a runner in scoring position until the sixth, when Brett Gardner walked with two outs and stole second, his 18th theft of the season. But Robinson Cano, in a 4-for-28 skid, just got under Ross' 2-and-1 pitch and flied out to the track in center to end the inning.
The critical inning was the seventh. Soriano started it off with a bloop single to center and Granderson pounded Ross' 1-and-0 fastball over the wall in right to make it 2-0.
"Curtis can change the complexion of a game really quickly," Girardi said. "And that's what he did tonight."