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Pirates batter Nova in loss

by The Associated Press on March 18, 2013 10:40 AM

BRADENTON, Fla. — Ivan Nova believes he’s gotten comfortable enough with his new delivery to win a spot in the New York Yankees’ starting rotation.

Nova tossed five decent innings in an 11-9 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The right-hander gave up four runs on six hits, walked one and struck out four.

“I think it went good,” Nova said. “I got hit a couple times, but I was able to do what I wanted.”

In his second game since joining the Yankees, Brennan Boesch got his first hit, an infield single. Boesch stole second and scored on Kevin Youkilis’ home run to left field, which gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Boesch went 2 for 3 with a sacrifice fly. The Yankees signed Boesch to a one-year, $1.5 million deal Friday after he was released by the Detroit Tigers.

Right-hander Phil Irwin worked 2 1-3 innings for the Pirates and gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks.

“I pitched behind a lot,” said Irwin, who likely will start the season in the rotation at Triple-A Indianapolis. “A lot of the things I usually do well I didn’t do well today. Sometimes, you have to fail to figure out what you need to do to succeed. Obviously, this didn’t go well, but there are still things I can take from this and learn from.”

After Irwin issued back-to-back walks in the third inning, he was replaced by Mike Zagurski. Dan Johnson walked to load the bases, then Mesa hit a towering home run into the left field bleachers.

Irwin had put together four good outings — a 2.25 ERA over eight innings, with five hits allowed and nine strikeouts — before struggling against the Yankees.

“It was a tough day for Phil,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “But that’s part of spring training. You pitch well, you get bigger looks and different opportunities. For whatever reason today, he was behind in the count and his fastball was up. Everything we know about Phil, we didn’t see.”

Pedro Alvarez had two doubles, including one down the right field line that scored Russell Martin for the Pirates’ first run.

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