The primary topic pregame was more on A.J. Burnett's performance Saturday night but that was quickly eclipsed by what a rookie 10 years younger than the erratic righthander did.
Ivan Nova was borderline brilliant, shutting out the Twins over seven innings, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out five.
"His slider was really good," Joe Girardi said.
In the fifth inning especially when a defensive miscommunication between Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher led to the Twins having runners on second and third with none out. Nova struck out Rene Tosoni and Matt Tolbert on sliders, then got Drew Butera to the inning by driving a slider into the ground, resulting in an easy ground out to first.
“You have to keep your eyes on the game,” Nova said. “In the past something like that happened to me, I’d get out of control.”
At that point it was difficult not to draw a distinction between Nova, 24, and Burnett, 34, who does just the opposite far too often.
“In that situation, you have to stay focused,” Nova said. “I went right back to the hitter and got the out.”
Two reached with two out in the sixth but Nova got out of it and he retired three straight after Danny Valencia singled to start the seventh.
Nova (13-4, 3.97) won his sixth straight start and ninth straight decision, his last loss coming June 3 in Anaheim. But he was unbeaten in five straight games before being demoted to Triple-A in early July so Nova isn't chancing things.
"You have to keep thinking that you're fighting for your spot in the rotation," Nova said. "That way you're going to have good results."
Swisher doesn't see Nova going anywhere.
"Now that he's back," Swisher said, "he's not leaving."