Yankees Beat Braves, Move Into First Place

Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova (47) pitches during the 1st inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

Mark your calendar. Or don't mark your calendar.

The 11th of June wasn't the first day in 2012 that ended with the New York Yankees in first place.

But it might be the last day in 2012 that doesn't begin with the New York Yankees in first place.

Or it might not be. These affairs tend to be finicky.

But the Yankees do own the best run differential in the tough American League East. And after beating the Braves 3-0 Monday night, they're also tied with the Tampa Bay Rays atop the tough American League East standings, with both sporting league-best 35-25 records.

Monday, the Yankees made it look easy against the Braves. Or rather, Ivan Nova made it look easy.

Nova entered his dozenth start of the season with a 5.09 ERA, but tossed seven scoreless innings before giving way to the bullpen, which topped off the evening with two perfect innings. With closer Rafael Soriano getting some time off, Cory Wade recorded the first out in the ninth inning, and Boone Logan took care of two and three to finish the team shutout.

The Yankees did all the scoring they would need in the first inning. With two outs and nobody aboard, Alex Rodriguez doubled, then scored a moment later on Robinson Cano's single up the middle. In the second inning, Raul Ibañez led off with a home run to make it 2-0. And in the third, Rodriguez scored again, this time on a wild pitch.

Atlanta's Randall Delgado took the loss, going five innings and striking out five Yankees, but also walking six.

Tuesday night down South, the Braves again host the Yankees, while the Rays will host the Mets. First place in the American League East will be on the line.

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