KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- It was more about the finish for Ivan Nova on Saturday, as the Yankees right-hander settled in after a shaky beginning to complete four innings of work.
Nova said that he had to adjust after the Astros hit him hard in the first frame, highlighted by Jason Castro's two-run double. Nova also allowed a second-inning RBI single to Cesar Izturis before clamping the damage.
"I kept my ball down a little bit better," Nova said. "My four-seamer wasn't cutting. In the first [inning], I couldn't keep it straight. I was trying to stay a little bit more on the mound and not go toward first base. I was doing that the first inning, before I finished the pitch, going to first base. Not good.
"That's not me. I asked [catcher Francisco] Cervelli, 'How am I looking? Am I going straight?' I got a little more aggressive."
Nova allowed three runs and eight hits over four innings, with no walks and five strikeouts. He threw 38 of 54 pitches for strikes.
"You look at his outings so far, they've been pretty easy," manager Joe Girardi said. "Today I thought was a good outing because he found it. He struggled in the first inning finding some sink and finding his curveball, and I thought he did a good job of finding himself, giving us four innings and really not throwing a ton of pitches."