The Yankees rode the bat of Robinson Cano and the pitching of CC Sabathia to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals Tuesday night at the Stadium.  In the first of their three game series, Cano was 4-4 at the plate, hitting line drives to left, center and right fields as well as a deep shot to center to knock in two of the Yankees 5 runs.

Cano also scored off a Melky Cabrera sacrifice-fly in the second inning.

Robinson Cano follows through on a hit against the Washington Nationals June 16, 2009. Cano was 4-4 with 2 RBI. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Robinson Cano follows through on a hit against the Washington Nationals June 16, 2009. Cano was 4-4 with 2 RBI. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Sabathia pitched 7 2/3 innings before he was pulled for Brian Bruney, who made his first appearance since going back on he DL with an elbow injury.   Sabathia held the Nationals’ lineup to only 6 hits, but surprisingly had only 2 strikeouts.  He was charged with three earned runs, all of which came off an Anderson Hernandez three-run homer – his first of the year.

Mariano Rivera got his 15th save, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth, with 1 strikeout.

The Yankees also got RBI’s from Mark Teixeira, whose one hit was a towering shot to deep center that almost cleared the wall and scored Johnny Damon, and from Ramiro Pena, the back-up shortstop.  Pena relieved an 0-3 at-the-plate Derek Jeter in the eighth and smacked an RBI single to left-center in his only at-bat.

The Yankees held the Nationals to a total of six hits.  Despite their 16-46 record, the Nationals are not a horrible offensive team – mostly it is their pitching that causes them to lose – they lead the Major Leagues with 355 runs allowed this season.

The Bombers (37-27) are still two games behind Boston in the AL East.  Boston easily handled the Florida Marlins 8-2 Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

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