Nova tops Phils in sharp return from surgery

Nova tops Phils in sharp return from surgery

NEW YORK -- In his first big league start of 2015, Ivan Nova led the Yankees to a win in the series finale with a standout performance Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

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He helped the Yankees beat the Phillies, 10-2, to avoid being swept by the team with the worst record in baseball. Nova made his season debut following more than a year of rehab after Tommy John surgery in April 2014. It looked like he never left. He allowed three hits, two walks and struck out one in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

Phillies ace Cole Hamels did not fare nearly as well. He allowed eight hits, five runs, three walks and hit a batter in just five innings. He has been a focus of trade speculation for more than a year, but Hamels said he isn't thinking about it.

"I could think of something really funny to say to that, but I'd rather just be truthful with you," Hamels said. "No, I really don't [think about it]. I've got to pitch every five days. I'm just trying to stay healthy and just try to put up good results for this team. Trying to be accountable. Ultimately when I've been here from the moment I came up here in '06 and throughout my career, just trying to do everything I possibly can and know if I had a good game or bad game I know I could do more and try to figure out the best way to get better. I think that's all I really focus on."

After sitting the first two games of the series due to a stiff neck, Mark Teixeira went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for the Yanks.

Teixeira's second RBI single

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nova impresses in 2015 debut: Questions lingered regarding Nova and his first Major League start of 2015 before Wednesday, but the right-hander put them to rest with a three-hit performance. Before the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he would likely hold Nova to 100 pitches. Nova ended the day with 92 pitches (51 strikes) and gave the Yankees a much-needed boost from the rotation, as Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia both struggled mightily against the Phillies in the first two losses of the series. More >

Girardi on Nova's return

Hamels not sharp: Hamels has had better days. He was not sharp in five innings, but he got no help from the defense or offense as he dropped to 5-6 with a 3.26 ERA. It was the seventh time in 15 starts this season the Phillies had not scored a run for him while he was in the game. Hamels' performance should not deter contending teams from trying to acquire him before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. More >

Murphy singles to beat the shift

Role reversal: After allowing the Phillies a combined 22 runs on Monday and Tuesday, it was the Yanks who brought the offense on Wednesday. It was the second time this homestand that the Yankees put up a double-digit run performance. Through the eight-game homestand, outfielder Brett Gardner hit .472 with 12 runs scored, three doubles, a triple, four homers and 10 RBIs. His 17 hits were the most he's ever had on any homestand of his career.

"He's just in a good spot right now. Sometimes it's hard to predict when a hitter's gonna take off," Girardi said before the game Wednesday. "He went through kind of a tough period and now he's swinging the bat extremely well and it's been great to have. He's been as big a part of our offense as anyone. The homestand, he's been unbelievable, so we'll keep him going."

Gardner's RBI single

Where's the D?: The Phillies could not field a bunt in front of the plate and catcher Carlos Ruiz could not handle a one-hopper from third baseman Andres Blanco, which led to the Yankees scoring two runs in the second inning. Shortstop Freddy Galvis then lost a ball in the sun and a ball tipped third base and over Blanco's glove in the fourth, with the Yanks scoring three runs in the frame.

"There was some miscommunication there as soon as the ball hit the ground," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said about the bunt in the second. "It looked like one of them could've caught that in the air. I thought Blanco made a good play on trying to go home on the throw, just a heads-up play, threw it wild. Just things didn't go [Hamels'] way."

Pirela picks up RBI, two score

QUOTABLE
"Everything -- except a little mishap down the line that was about the only thing he did wrong today. I think his sinker was really good, his curveball was really good, his command at the strike zone ... everything: his pace, everything he did. -- Girardi, on what he was pleased with in Nova's 2015 debut

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Phillies starting pitchers have thrown fewer than six innings 35 times in 74 games (47.3 percent) this season. That ties Colorado for the most in the National League. Only the Rays have had more starts like that with 37.

AUMONT BECOMES A FREE AGENT
Right-hander Phillippe Aumont had been the only remaining player from the Cliff Lee trade with the Mariners in December 2009, but he elected free agency Wednesday. The Phillies designated him for assignment following Friday's start against the Cardinals. Aumont, 26, is 1-6 with a 6.80 ERA in 46 appearances over four seasons with the Phillies. The Phillies previously let right-hander J.C. Ramirez and outfielder Tyson Gillies walk away.

WHAT'S NEXT
Phillies: Right-hander Aaron Harang hopes to get back on track on Friday. He is 0-4 with a 7.61 ERA in his last four starts, although his last two were spoiled when he allowed three-run home runs in the sixth inning in both games. He had pitched pretty well to that point. Regardless, Harang needs to bring his best against Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who threw a no-hitter in his last start. The game is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Yankees: The Yanks will travel to Houston for the first of a four-game series on Thursday at 8:10 p.m. ET. Adam Warren gets the ball, looking for his sixth win of the season. Warren has been a consistent force for the Yankees, allowing three earned runs or fewer in his last seven outings. In his last start, against the Tigers, Warren became the first Yanks pitcher since Hiroki Kuroda in 2014 to toss at least eight innings with seven or more strikeouts and no walks.

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Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.