NEW YORK — Ivan Nova went to bed about 10 p.m. He couldn't sleep.
When he returned to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for his first major league appearance in 14 months, he left the Philadelphia Phillies' lumber in a slumber.
"I almost cried when I was walking by the tunnel," Nova said. "When I first walked onto the mound, I didn't believe it."
The 28-year-old right-hander had not pitched in the majors since April 19, 2014, when he gave up a career-high four homers in a loss at Tampa Bay. He had Tommy John surgery 10 days later and the Yankees, seeking to stabilize an erratic rotation, activated him after three minor league rehab outings.
With a fastball that reached 95 mph, Nova walked two and struck out one. He threw 51 of 92 pitches for strikes and retired 11 batters on flyouts, including eight to center fielder Brett Gardner.
"Exactly what we needed," Mark Teixeira said. "It looked like he didn't miss any time, didn't skip a beat."
Nova (1-0) waved his cap and pointed it toward fans as he walked off to a standing ovation from the crowd of 45,877 on a sunny afternoon.
"Before the game, you could just tell he was a little amped up, rightfully so," catcher John Ryan Murphy said.
Nova followed poor outings by Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia, who all failed to reach the sixth inning during defeats. Nova's return could mean Adam Warren will eventually be dropped from the rotation, which began the day 23rd among the 30 teams in ERA.
"I thought his sinker was really good, his curveball was really good, his command of the strike zone ... everything — his pace," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
A focus of constant trade speculation, Hamels (5-6) allowed five runs in five innings, partly because of poor defense. He started to get in trouble in the second when Chris Young singled and Murphy walked. Didi Gregorius bunted a chopper off the plate, and catcher Carlos Ruiz, after waiting for the ball to drop, threw it late to first as Gregorius reached on an infield hit that loaded the bases.
With the infield in, Jose Pirela hit a two-hopper to third baseman Andres Blanco, who grabbed the ball with his bare hand and then bounced a one-hop throw off Ruiz's mitt as two runs scored, one on the error.
New York made it 5-0 in the fourth after shortstop Freddy Galvis allowed Gregorius' popup to drop for a double. Pirela walked, Gardner singled in a run and Chase Headley's grounder over third base went off Galvis' glove and down the left-field line for an RBI double.
Back in the lineup after missing two games with neck stiffness that required a cortisone injection, Teixeira followed with a run-scoring single, the second of his three hits.
Nova and the rest of the Yankees headed off for a trip to Houston and the Los Angeles Angels. Nova anticipated having trouble sleeping on the flight.
"Somebody told me that I'd sleep well before," he said. "I'm telling you he's a liar. I didn't sleep very well."
New York had played four consecutive games in which teams combined for 16 runs or more for the first time since five straight in May 1936, according to STATS.
Mel Stottlemyre's plaque was affixed next to Joe Torre's in Monument Park. The former Yankees pitcher and coach, surprised by the honor last weekend, had asked that it be placed there. Stottlemyre served as Yankees pitching coach while Torre was the team's manager.
Girardi was ejected from the dugout by first base umpire Alan Porter following Maikel Franco's checked swing in the third on an 0-2 pitch with two on and two outs. "I told him he swung. He said something, and I said he swung, and he said knock it off, and I said I'd knock it off if you got the call right. And he threw me," Girardi said.
Yankees: LHP Andrew Miller, sidelined since June 9 because of a strained forearm, threw 25 times from 60 feet on flat ground, his first action since the injury.
Yankees: Pushed back a day to make room for Nova, Warren (5-4) starts at AL West-leading Houston against LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-3) on Thursday.