1:35 PM EDT
June 17, 2012
New York Yankees (39-25) at Washington Nationals (38-25), 1:35 p.m. (ET)
(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees go after a ninth straight win a third consecutive sweep this afternoon when they wrap up their three-game set against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
After winning Friday's opener in matter of fact fashion, the Yankees needed 14 innings to get past the NL East-leading Nats on Saturday, as Mark Teixeira's two-run double proved to be the difference in a 5-3 win.
It was also New York's first win this season without hitting a home run. It had been 0-12 when failing to leave the park. New York has now won 18 of 22 and has a 1 1/2-game led on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.
Andy Pettitte allowed two runs in seven innings in a solid start, and former starter Freddy Garcia (1-2) earned the first relief win of his career with two scoreless innings.
Ian Desmond hit a game-tying home run in the eighth for Washington before a controversial call sent the game to extra innings.
With Tyler Moore on second, Adam LaRoche laced a two-out single to right, and Moore was called out at the plate on a throw home. Replays showed Moore was clearly safe, but the missed call ended up sending the game into extras.
Phenom Bryce Harper had his worst game in the majors for the Nationals, striking out five times in an 0-for-7 effort. With two runners on in the 14th, Harper grounded out to end the game.
"I've never seen him swing at balls out of the zone and he was chasing balls," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson about Harper. "He got in that mode of trying to make something happen, but that's part of the youth."
Jordan Zimmermann started and allowed three runs -- two earned -- in six innings, and Brad Lidge (0-1) continued his struggles by allowing two runs in the 14th.
The Yankees should have a terrific chance at staying in the win column this afternoon behind right-hander Ivan Nova, who has won his last four starts and is 8-2 this season with a 4.64 ERA.
Nova was magnificent in beating the Atlanta Braves on Monday, as he scattered five hits over seven scoreless innings to nail down the win. He also struck out six and walked a batter.
"I didn't have my best stuff today, but I made the pitches when I had to," Nova said. "The command on my fastball wasn't there like last time. I got help, big-time. Swisher was awesome. I enjoyed watching that play out there."
This will be his first-ever start against the Nationals, who will counter with righty Edwin Jackson.
Jackson won his second straight start on Monday in Toronto, as he held the Blue Jays to a pair of runs and four hits in eight innings to even his record at 3-3, while lowering his ERA to 3.02.
"He's got great stuff, he's stingy about giving up hits per inning," Nats manager Davey Johnson said. "His command is a lot better."
Jackson has faced the Yankees 16 times (12 starts), but is just 2-6 against them with a 5.35 ERA.
The Nationals have won four of seven meetings with the Yankees since moving the franchise from Montreal to Washington for the 2005 season.