ATLANTA (AP) — Randall Delgado’s 19th career start was a little different.
This time the right-hander was facing Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees. This was not a normal Monday night at Turner Field.
Delgado struggled with his curveball, a high pitch count and his nerves early in the game as the Braves fell 3-0 to Ivan Nova and the Yankees, who moved into a first-place tie in the AL East.
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Delgado (4-6) set a career-high with six walks as the rookie allowed three runs and five hits in five innings.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the 22-year-old was pumped up for the big-game atmosphere.
“He was excited,” Gonzalez said. “He was coming out of his delivery, first time facing the New York Yankees and (42,669) in the stands. I think he got himself a little amped up for today’s game.”
Delgado agreed, saying “Yes. New York Yankees. We respect them. They’ve got a lot of tradition.”
The control problems pushed up Delgado’s pitch count early. He threw 66 pitches while giving up a run in each of the first three innings.
“It’s something he can learn from,” Gonzalez said. “But in all honesty, he made some pitches. He had the bases loaded (in the third) and he got out of just giving up one run. That’s a good stepping stone. … He kept pitching. He kept battling.”
The Braves fell three games behind first-place Washington in the NL East.
Nova combined with four relievers on a five-hitter as the Yankees claimed a share of first place with Tampa Bay for the first time since April 24.
“Who would have thought it?” Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked. “I think there’s a lot of parity in the American League this year and I think there are a lot of good teams who are going to beat up on each other.
“Our guys have done a good job of enduring some things. We’ve had some key injuries and we’ve been able to figure things out a little bit. Guys have stepped up and we just have to keep going.”
Raul Ibanez led off the second inning with a homer and Robinson Cano had two hits, including a run-scoring single in the first.
Nova (8-2) gave up five hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings for his fourth straight win.
“Our starting pitching has been really good, and that’s how you put streaks together,” Girardi said.
The Braves didn’t have a runner reach third base, but Nova said his command was inconsistent.
“I don’t have my best stuff today, but I made pitches when I needed it,” Nova said.
Nova added a milestone with a second-inning single for his first career hit.
The Yankees (35-25) have won four straight games and nine of 11 to move a season-best 10 games over .500. The Braves, held without an extra-base hit, have lost two straight after their season-best six-game winning streak.
Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada combined for three straight outs in the eighth. Cory Wade struck out Martin Prado to open the ninth and left-hander Boone Logan recorded the final two outs.
Girardi said he held out closer Rafael Soriano, who developed “a little blister” on his right index finger while pitching on Sunday against the Mets.
Cano’s first-inning single drove in Rodriguez, who doubled off the wall in left. Rodriguez walked in the third, moved to third on Cano’s double and scored on Delgado’s wild pitch.
Atlanta’s leadoff hitters had singles in four of the first five innings. None advanced past second base as Nova was helped by double plays in the first and third innings.
Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher took a possible homer away from Brian McCann in the fourth. Swisher reached up to snap McCann’s fly ball in front of the yellow line at the top of the wall. It was McCann’s second long out. His first-inning drive was caught at the 400-foot mark in center field by Curtis Granderson.
Braves centerfielder Michael Bourn, running toward left field, made a diving catch to take a hit from Ibanez in the seventh.
Right-hander Cory Gearrin threw two scoreless innings for Atlanta after he was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves are 0-9 on Mondays this season.
Atlanta’s Matt Diaz, who struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, was ejected by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez in the ninth when he continued to argue from the dugout about a called strike in the at-bat.
NOTES: Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte said his left hand is fine. Pettitte snared a grounder from the Mets’ Scott Hairston with the bare hand on Sunday. Pettitte no longer wore the bandage he had on the hand after Sunday’s game. He is not expected to miss a start. … RHP Tim Hudson, who had his start skipped Sunday due to painful bone spurs in his right ankle, threw well in the bullpen and was officially added to the Braves’ rotation for Wednesday’s game against the Yankees. … Gearrin was recalled to replace RHP Julio Teheran, who made a fill-in start for Hudson on Sunday. … Yankees LHP CC Sabathia will make his third career start against the Braves, his first with the Yankees, when he faces LHP Mike Minor in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night.