Batting cleanup in his second game back from his second stint on the disabled list, Curtis Granderson gave the New York Yankees some badly needed power.
Granderson hit a two-run home run, his first since coming off the DL, and Ivan Nova dominated the Padres through seven impressive innings to lead the Yankees to a 3-0 victory against San Diego on Saturday night.
Tyson Ross was pitching well for the Padres when it quickly fell apart. Alfonso Soriano singled to center leading off the seventh and Granderson followed with a homer into the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 party deck atop the right field wall.
"It’s good. Any way to help the team out," Granderson said. "It was scuffle against Ross out there. He had thrown really well against us. Finally the third time around we were able to get a little thing going with Soriano to get the bloop there and then finally to get a pitch that caught some of the plate. He didn’t give us much of that throughout the earlier parts of the game."
It was Granderson’s first hit since being activated before Friday night’s game. He’s been on the DL twice since spring training after being hit by pitches. It was his second homer of the season.
"I fell behind first pitch changeup away, and then I tried to go fastball and got too much of the plate and he made me pay for it," Ross said.
Granderson scored again in the ninth when he hit a leadoff single, stole second and came in on Jayson Nix’s two-out single.
"He was part of all three runs tonight," manager Joe Girardi said. "I’ve talked about how Curtis can change the complexion of the game really quickly and that’s what he did tonight. That’s why I put him in the four slot tonight, because of how he can change a game and it’s really nice to have him back."
The sellout crowd at Petco Park was on its feet as Mariano Rivera came on to start the ninth. He pitched a perfect inning to earn his 35th save in 37 chances in his farewell season, and the 643rd of his career.
Nova (5-4) held San Diego to just four hits in seven innings while striking out eight and walking one. He retired 15 straight batters from the second through sixth innings, keeping the Padres off-balance with a mixture of curveballs and fastballs.
Nova’s streak began after he allowed Alexi Amarista’s leadoff double in the second. Amarista took third on Logan Forsythe’s groundout but was stranded as Nova got Nick Hundley to ground out and then struck out Ross.
"He was tough," San Diego’s Chase Headley said. "I felt he did a really good job of locating his fastball and obviously he had that really good breaking ball going tonight. I looked up at the scoreboard in the sixth or seventh inning and saw that he had thrown 15 or 18 balls total. And when someone has thrown as many breaking balls as he did, that’s pretty impressive. He did a great job of locating his pitches and had really good stuff."
The Padres didn’t have another baserunner until Will Venable doubled leading off the seventh. Nova retired the next two batters, walked Logan Forsythe and then punched out Hundley on a curveball to end the inning.
Nova was taken by San Diego in the December 2008 draft but was returned to the Yankees at the end of spring training in 2009.
Ross (2-5) retired the first 13 Yankees batters, including striking out five in a row at one point, before Lyle Overbay lined a single to left. Ross then got Eduardo Nunez to fly out to center and struck out Brett Lillibridge.
"Early on he was getting a lot of quick outs," Granderson said. "He was pitching no-hit baseball for a while until Overbay was able to get one in and then that finally, I guess, settled everybody in a little bit to say, `OK, we can hit him. Let’s do what we need to do up there and stay within our approach and get something we can hit.’ `’
Ross allowed two runs and three hits in six-plus innings, struck out a career-high nine and walked three. His previous career high was eight strikeouts, accomplished three times previously, including twice this season.
Ross was coming off a 1-0 victory against All-Star Patrick Corbin and the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he allowed only three hits in eight innings.
NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi is giving SS Derek Jeter two games off to rest his sore right leg. Girardi says Jeter has been battling a calf injury. The manager doesn’t know if the injury came about because of a strained right quadriceps that landed Jeter on the disabled list from July 12 until being activated last Sunday. "It’s a concern of ours and we’ve got to try to get him healthy," Girardi said. … Eduardo Nunez started at SS on Saturday night after starting at 3B on Friday night. Lillibridge started at 3B on Saturday night. … David "Boomer" Wells, who grew up in San Diego and pitched for both the Yankees and Padres, watched from right behind home plate. … The Padres signed SS Ronny Cedeno to a minor league contract because All-Star Everth Cabrera is facing a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball as part of its investigation of the Biogenesis drug clinic. Cedeno was scheduled to be in the lineup for Double-A Lake Elsinore on Saturday night. Cabrera is among 14 players facing discipline in MLB’s Biogenesis probe, and suspensions are expected Monday. The Padres are off Monday and begin a two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. … This three-game series concludes Sunday when Ian Kennedy (3-8, 5.23 ERA) makes his Padres debut against the team that drafted him in the first round in 2006. Kennedy was obtained in a trade with Arizona on Wednesday. The Yankees counter with Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.58).