ATLANTA -- The baseball from Ivan Nova's first Major League hit on Monday night is going in a prized place on the night table next his bed, along with the balls from his first big league victory and first strikeout.
Nova smacked a solid single to right-center field with two outs and no one on in the second inning of Monday's 3-0 Yankees victory over the Braves at Turner Field.
Hitting during Interleague Play in a National League park, Nova seemed as excited about the hit as he was about his eighth victory in 10 decisions. The Yanks right-hander combined with four relievers to shut down the Braves on five singles, all of them off Nova in his seven innings. Nova walked one, whiffed six and went 1-for-3 at the plate with a pair of strikeouts.
The hit came off Braves starter and losing pitcher Randall Delgado.
"I was going to hack at the first pitch, but he was throwing hard, so I took it," Nova said. "He was throwing, like, 100 [mph]. On that second pitch, I wasn't thinking about getting a base hit; I just wanted to make contact. I didn't want to strike out. I got a pretty good swing on it. It was fun."
At the plate, Yankees pitchers are a combined 31-for-306 (.086) with eight doubles and 11 RBIs since the advent of Interleague Play in 1997. No Yanks pitcher has hit a homer.
Nova said that if he were to accomplish that, the home run ball would go on the night table with the others.