Thursday, September 14, 2006
Sweep Lowers Magic Number to 6
The Yankees inched closer to a division title on Thursday night, finishing off a three-game sweep of the Devil Rays. Robinson Cano drove in three runs, including the tying and winning tallies, leading New York to a 7-4 victory. Cano collected eight RBIs in the past two games, helping the Yanks move to 33 games over .500.
Rookie Jeff Karstens, starting on about two hours' notice after Joe Torre decided to push Chien-Ming Wang back to Friday because of potential weather problems, gave up four runs over five innings.
Darrell Rasner (2-0), another rookie, tossed four scoreless innings of relief to close out the game and earn the win. The Yankees were able to win without using a single regular member of the bullpen, giving them a fresh group of relievers for the weekend series against the Red Sox.
The Yankees' magic number to clinch their ninth consecutive American League East title dropped to six, meaning that they can clinch this weekend by taking three of four from the Red Sox.
Rocco Baldelli led off the game with a triple, scoring on Delmon Young's RBI groundout. Hideki Matsui tied the game in the second, drilling his sixth homer of the year, his first since returning from the disabled list earlier this week.
One inning later, Baldelli put the Rays back on top with a solo shot of his own, his 12th of the season. Baldelli extended the lead in the fifth, hitting a two-run homer off Karstens to make it a 4-1 game. It was the first two-homer game of Baldelli's career.
The Yankees battled back in the bottom of the fifth, getting an RBI single by Jeter and a two-run double by Cano to tie the game. Cano's hit actually hit Carl Crawford's glove, but the left fielder couldn't come up with the ball, tying the game at 4.
New York rallied in the seventh, getting one-out singles by Kevin Thompson and Bernie Williams to put runners on the corners. Derek Jeter struck out, but Cano delivered an RBI double, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Alex Rodriguez singled in two more runs, boosting the lead to three.
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Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:56 PM