What it means: That if the New York Yankees truly are a meritocracy, then Ivan Nova is secure in the starting rotation, and A.J. Burnett is on his way out. The Yankees take 3-of-4 from the Twins behind Nova's pitching, go 5-2 on the road trip and remain a half-game ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East race.
What's good: Nova wasn't good, he was brilliant. Seven innings, no runs, five hits and two great escapes from jams in the fifth and sixth innings. Nova's slider was particularly nasty; it claimed Jim Thome to end the sixth with two runners on and Yankees holding a 1-0 lead. Nova's 13th win is the most by a Yankee rookie since Ron Davis went 14-2, all in relief, in 1979. Curtis Granderson discovered a novel way to collect HR No. 35: bang the ball high off the wall and race around the bases as the outfielders chase it. Granderson's first IPHR since 2007 -- against the Yankees at Comerica -- barely missed clearing the 30-foot wall in right-center, but Grandy had no trouble touching them all well ahead of the throw home. Not to be outdone, Mark Teixeira hit No. 34, this one over the wall in left. Robinson Cano's sixth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 13 games. In his first game back, Alex Rodriguez was hitless in 5 ABs but fielded a bunt attempt flawlessly on his first chance in the field in the sixth inning. A hot grounder by Joe Mauer went off his glove on a backhanded attempt in the eighth, ruled (correctly) a base hit. David Robertson got himself into trouble in the eighth, loading the bases on two infield hits and a walk, but of course, got out of it when Danny Valencia jumped on the first pitch and flied out to right, extending his scoreless streak to 11 appearances (10-2/3 innings). Mariano Rivera struck out two in a perfect ninth to notch his 33rd save, and No. 592 lifetime.
What's not so good: Granderson and Nick Swisher fouled up a routine fly ball by Danny Valencia in the sixth. It dropped behind them for a double, but Valencia went no further as Nova retired the next three batters, two on strikeouts. Otherwise, all is well.
What's next: Off day, followed by a brief three-game homestand with the Oakland Athletics beginning Tuesday night. Bartolo Colon (8-7, 3.54) opens the festivities against RHP Brandon McCarthy (6-6, 3.74), first pitch at 7:05 p.m.