NEW YORK -- The Yankees beat the Orioles behind Ivan Nova's first complete game shutout of his career.
WHAT IT MEANS: With the A's and the Rays playing each other later on Saturday, the Yankees are going to gain even more ground in the wild card race. If Oakland wins, the Yankees will be just 3.5 games behind the Rays. If the Rays win, the Yankees will be four back of the A's.
In the meantime, they have vaulted past the Orioles in the wild card and division race. In the AL East, they are 7.5 games back. Of their final 27 games, they have seven remaining with the first place Red Sox.
The are now 2-0 since we calculated they needed to go 21-8 in their final 29 to have a chance at the wild card.
SUPER NOVA: In the second inning, the Orioles threatened to score, but Nova shut them down. Nova hit Adam Jones and Matt Wieters knocked a soft single. With two men on, Nova forced Nick Markakis into a 4-6-3 double play and then left a man at third by making J.J. Hardy fly out to right.
Besides that, Nova controlled the O's all day. Nova was sensational, allowing just 3 hits, striking out five and walking one. He is now 8-4 with 2.88 ERA on the year. Since July, he has an ERA of 2.06 in his last 10 starts. Can you say the new ace of the staff?
INSURANCE: In the eighth, Cano would add insurance, a solo shot, for his 25th homer of the year. It was his 202nd of his career, which tied him with Bill Dickey for 15th place on the Yankees' all-time list.
QUESTIONABLE CALL: With men on the corners and one out in the fifth, Derek Jeter had a chance to do some damage. Instead he hit into a 4-6-3 double play.There was one problem -- or so it seemed -- Hardy didn't look as if he were on the bag at second. Umpire Eric Cooper gave Hardy the "neighborhood call" and the inning was over. Joe Girardi complained, but not too vigorously.
DOUBLE PLAY DEREK: With a chance to add to the Yankees lead, Jeter grounded into another inning-ending double play to finish off the seventh. With men on first and second, he hit into another 4-6-3.
TWO CAN PLAY AT THAT GAME: In the eighth, after a leadoff walk, Wilson Betemit hit a sharp grounder to Jeter's right. The captain went to the ground to start 6-4-3 DP for Nova.
ON DECK: I will be writing a column on SuperNova. Mike Mazzeo will have all the news and blogs from clubhouse.