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Consistency on mound a factor for Nova

Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- There's one thing you can always count on from Ivan Nova. He's going to be around the plate.

In his first time facing the Marlins on Saturday at Marlins Park, Nova shut out the Fish, 4-0, on a complete-game three-hitter and, as customary, he did not walk a batter. He's only walked one this season, which spans some 36 innings. And since being acquired from the Yankees on Aug. 1, 2016, Nova has walked just four batters in 100 2/3 innings.

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MIAMI -- There's one thing you can always count on from Ivan Nova. He's going to be around the plate.

In his first time facing the Marlins on Saturday at Marlins Park, Nova shut out the Fish, 4-0, on a complete-game three-hitter and, as customary, he did not walk a batter. He's only walked one this season, which spans some 36 innings. And since being acquired from the Yankees on Aug. 1, 2016, Nova has walked just four batters in 100 2/3 innings.

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He struck out seven on Saturday, throwing 95 pitches (65 strikes) in his fifth complete game with the Pirates over 16 starts and second in six starts this season.

"He has a four-pitch mix, but he's throwing that two-seamer back over the plate to right-handers, getting ground balls," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Nova's outing. "I think he had 11 or 12 tonight. He uses the fastball sometimes in enough to stand people up. Then the combination of the changeup and curveball, when he gets the curveball rolling it's special to watch. It's got a finish like a bowling ball."

Nova gave up a one-out double to Martin Prado in the first inning and then retired the next 11 Marlins batters, five by strikeout, before yielding a leadoff single to Justin Bour in the fifth inning. He proceeded to sit down the next nine batters before Marcell Ozuna lined a single to start the eighth inning, but Ozuna was erased on a double play.

Video: PIT@MIA: Harrison's glove begins timely double play

Nova has seen a consistency since coming over to the Pirates that he didn't enjoy with the Yankees.

"Hopefully it will continue," Nova said.

Pitching every five days not only helped him with consistency, it helped him relax so that he could become the best pitcher he could be.

"I think that's the whole deal," Nova said. "I remember after I pitched my first game I was able to sleep until 12 o'clock the next day. Knowing that I was going to pitch every five days, that was the big key. That was what I needed."

Nova issued his only walk of the season in his previous start, a win over the Yankees, in which he went seven innings, allowing four hits and one earned run while striking out seven. Ironically, it was four consecutive walks by two Marlins pitchers on Saturday that produced two of the Pirates' runs in the sixth inning, providing Nova a solid cushion with which to work.

"They laid off some good pitches, they really did," said Marlins starter Dan Straily, who issued three of those free passes. "The three walks in a row. I wouldn't say I lost command. I was trying to get them to go after my pitch and they never did."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Pirates on Saturday.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Ivan Nova