3/19/2014 4:04 P.M. ET
Braves' bats quieted as Hale stumbles early
Simmons gets one of two knocks off Yanks starter Nova in Grapefruit tilt
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Ivan Nova went 6 1/3 strong innings and Carlos Beltran began his three-hit performance with a first-inning RBI single that propelled the Yankees to a 7-0 win over the Braves on Wednesday afternoon at Champion Stadium.
Nova was in complete control as he surrendered two hits and notched five strikeouts in a scoreless effort. Andrelton Simmons' third-inning leadoff single accounted for the only Braves baserunner until Ryan Doumit delivered a one-out, pinch-hit double in the sixth.
It did not take the Yankees long to give Nova an early advantage. After drawing a walk to open the game against Braves starter David Hale, Brett Gardner advanced to third base courtesy of a stolen base and Derek Jeter's flyout to right field. Beltran then scored Gardner with a sharp single through the right side of the infield.
Beltran chased Hale with a one-out, fifth-inning single and then fueled New York's two-run seventh with an RBI single off Luis Vasquez. Beltran entered Sunday with just three hits in 25 Grapefruit League at-bats, but he has recorded five hits in the 10 at-bats that have followed.
Hale had retired nine consecutive batters before Brian Roberts singled with two outs in the fourth inning. Kelly Johnson followed with a walk that put him in position to score on Adonis Garcia's two-run double.
Brian McCann went hitless in four at-bats while playing his first game back at Champion Stadium since leaving the Braves to sign with the Yankees this past winter.
Up next: Ervin Santana will make his Grapefruit League debut Thursday, when the Braves travel to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to play the Mets at 1:10 p.m. ET (available live on MLB.TV). After their rotation was depleted last week by the elbow injuries suffered by Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, the Braves signed Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million contract. Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton are all scheduled to be in an Atlanta lineup that will face Mets starter Zack Wheeler.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.