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Nova wins 15th, Yanks take over first in AL East

Sep 3, 2011 - 7:51 AM Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Ivan Nova simply keeps winning.

The Yankees rookie shook off a pair of first-inning runs and held the Blue Jays scoreless over the next six frames, as Brett Gardner's two-run homer and Robinson Cano's RBI single proved to be enough in New York's 3-2 victory.

Nova (15-4) allowed just three hits and two walks en route to his eighth straight winning start and 11th consecutive positive decision.

"I know what I can do. I have to stay hungry and keep winning games," said Nova.

The Yankees have won five of their last six to jump over the Red Sox for AL East supremacy, though it's a tenuous half-game advantage over Boston.

Brandon Morrow (9-10) gave up three runs on four hits over a six-inning start for Toronto, which came into the three-game series having won three of four.

Derek Jeter started a two-out rally in the fifth inning with a base hit to center. Curtis Granderson worked a five-pitch walk to move Jeter into scoring position, and Cano's single in front of center fielder Mike McCoy broke a 2-2 tie.

The only hit Nova allowed after the first was Eric Thames' two-out double in the sixth. He stranded the runner by getting Adam Lind to fly out to center.

Rafael Soriano relieved Nova in the eighth and worked around a one-out single, and Mariano Rivera hurled a 1-2-3 ninth for his 37th save.

Nova gave up a walk and consecutive singles to start his outing, with Jose Bautista's base hit through the right side bringing in Yunel Escobar. Lind followed with a sacrifice fly, and Edwin Encarnacion appeared to tack on more when he laced a line drive down the left-field line.

Gardner, though, made a diving grab for the out and doubled off Bautista at first to keep it 2-0, then tied it with his sixth home run of the season in the third. Russell Martin walked ahead of the blast.

"I took my foot off the gas a little bit to Gardner. ... I just left the ball in the middle. It's the one pitch I would want to have back," Morrow said.

Nova also received some defensive support when Andruw Jones made a perfectly- timed jump at the right-field wall to take away a potential home run from Bautista in the fourth.

Game Notes

The Yankees are 18-5 in games started by Nova this season...Nova trails only Russ Ford and Atley Donald for most consecutive winning decisions by a Yankees rookie. Ford and Donald won 12 in a row in the 1910 and 1939 seasons, respectively...The Yankees are 23-22 in series openers this season...Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was sidelined with a knee injury...Morrow has allowed six home runs over his last three starts.