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Sergio Mitre earned his first win in two years, Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and the surging Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-4 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.

Alex Rodriguez had a key two-run single. The Yankees are a major league-best 43-22 since Rodriguez came off the disabled list May 8 following hip surgery.

The Yankees improved to a season-best 19 games over .500 and took a one-game lead in the AL East over Boston, which lost to Texas.

Mitre, who was called up from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the game, allowed four runs, three earned, and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first major league start since Sept. 15, 2007. It was his first win since July 29, 2007.

After winning each of the last three games 2-1 for the first time in franchise history, the Yankees raced out to a 6-2 lead in the fourth. Rodriguez picked up two RBIs with a two-out single off Rich Hill in the third and Cano went deep after Nick Swisher led off the fourth with a walk.

Johnny Damon added an RBI single to finish the scoring in New York’s three-run fourth.

Alfredo Aceves then came in the 6th inning and got Matt Wieters to fly out to end the inning. Aceves also worked a perfect seventh, Phil Coke pitched the eighth and Mariano Rivera got three outs for his 27th save in 28 opportunities.

AJ Burnett will take the mound for the Bombers Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. as they go for their seventh straight win against the O’s. The Yanks last lost to the O’s on May 9.

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Andy Pettitte pitched a big game tonight for the Yankees. He went 7.1 innings, allowing only one run and fannung 7 batters. His final line was 7.1IP 6H 1R 1ER 2BB 8K. With Pettitte’s up-down season, it was a good way for him to start the second half. Phil Coke pitched an inning of scoreless ball in relief. Alfredo Aceves picked up the last two outs of the 9th inning, and picked up the win. He now has a record of 6-1 on the season.

The offense didn’t produce much last night. The only run they scored before the 9th inning was a solo HR by Eric Hinske. Hinske has gone 5-for-15 since joining the Yankees with 4 HR’s and 5 RBI’s.

The real story of the night was Hideki Matsui’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th inning. For that, he earned a pie in the face from A.J. Burnett.

The Red Sox lost again tonight to the Texas Rangers, which means both New York and Boston tie for first place in the AL East. The Yankees have now won 4 in a row since the All-Star Game. Last year they went on a tear, winning 8 straight. Perhaps this can happen again?

Although many teams are just short of or just past the 81-game mark (halfway through the 162 game season) the Yankees played, and won, their 81st game Sunday afternoon with a 10-8 comeback win against the Toronto Blue Jays.  Since the only team that really matters, the Bronx Bombers, are at the halfway mark, its time to give out grades for the best and worst of the American League East Division.

Boston Red Sox – 49-32 – 1st in A L East, 2nd Best Overall – A- The 2009 Red Sox are in first for one reason and one reason alone – divisional dominance.  They are 8-0 against the rival Yankees, 6-1 against Baltimore and 4-2 against Toronto.  Only Tampa Bay has a winning record against the Sox, taking 6 of 9 games against Boston.  The Yankees and Boston typically split their season series.  If that was the case, the Yankees would hold a a three game lead on them.  Pitching is average, batting is below average.  Somehow though, they are on pace for 98 wins.  Figure that.

New York Yankees – 48-33 – 2nd in AL East, 3rd Best Overall Record – B+ Watching the Yankees this season has been a pleasure, especially lately.  Since getting off to a not-so-hot start to the season, the Yankees have been the best team in the majors since May 15.  They have two glaring weaknesses: starting pitching and head-to-head competition with the hated Red Sox.  The Yankees team ERA is ranked 23rd in the majors – horrible.  And 0-8 vs Boston?  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  With the streak the Yankees are on, I would have ranked them an A- had they not lost 8 in a row to Boston.

Tampa Bay Rays – 44-39 – 3rd in AL East, 10th Best Overall – B The Rays have it a little harder this year – people are expecting them to play hard and well – the Rays can no longer surprise people.  Despite a bad record against the crappy teams of the American League, the Rays did well in Interleague play (13-5) and against Boston (6-3).  They seemed destined to finish third in the toughest division in baseball.

Toronto Blue Jays – 42-41 – 4th in AL East, 18th Overall – C- When this team got off to a hot start, it seemed as if this might be a 4-team divisional race.  Then they started playing good teams and started losing.  The Yankees (6-1), Boston (4-2), Baltimore (3-0) and Tampa Bay (2-1) all seem to have little trouble beating up on the Jays.  Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in the AL this season, but he can only go out there every 5 days.  To get to the playoffs in this division you have to beat the other teams in head-to-head.  Period.

Baltimore Orioles 36-46 – 5th in AL East, 4th Worst Overall – D- I just plain feel bad for the fans of this team.  Its been 11 seasons since this team has had a winning record.  Ouch.  They suck at pitching, and are average at batting and fielding.  There are some bright spots to this team that they can build around and they have to in order to be competitive in this tough division.  Someone once told me that a fish stinks from the head down.  Its time to cut off the head.  Get a new owner, GM and manager in there to turn it around.

Even with an unexpected injury to Joba Chamberlain, the Yankees still found a way to win yesterday. As has been over the last several games, the Yankees’ offense exploded in a dramatic series of events last night en route to a 7-4 win and series sweep of the Baltimore Orioles.

Chamberlain got two outs in the first inning before being hit by an Adam Jones line drive to the right knee. He walked two batters before Joe Girardi yanked him out. In came the Mexican Gangster and he proceed to pitch 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball at its finest, allowing only three hits and one walk and striking out one. In came Jon Albaladejo (why not Brett Tomko?) who was pretty bad, allowing five hits, four runs, and walking two while striking out two. Jose Veras pitched 1.2 innings and only allowed two hits, paving the way for Enter Sandman and his 11 pitches taking down the top of the ninth for his ninth save on the year.

Now on to the nice part of the game — the offense.The Yankees gave Aceves and the rest of the Yankees relievers all the runs they’d need with four runs in the first and another two in the second. Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira each doubled to start the game and three batters in the Yanks were already up 2-0. Later in the inning Nick Swisher would walk and Melky Cabrera would drive home both Swisher and Teixeira with a two-run double and the Yanks were up 4-0 after one. Cano would add a two-run homer in the second to extend the lead to 6-0. The Yankees added their seventh run on a Hideki Matsui solo homer the bottom of the fifth.

What I am impressed about is how the offense is finally clicking. A-Rod’s back, giving Tex the protection he needs. Damon is super-hot as of late, Swisher is producing power numbers (but not patience at the plate), and usual spring-slow-starts Cano and Cabrera are producing as well. This is true baseball.

The Yankees welcome the world champion Philadelphia Phillies into town for the start of interleague play this season. AJ Burnett takes the mound in aim for the Yankees’ 10th straight victory.


AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Jeter, SS 4 1 1 0 1 1 1 .273
Cano, 2B 4 2 3 3 0 0 0 .317
Teixeira, 1B 3 1 2 1 1 0 0 .250
Rodriguez, A, 3B 4 0 0 0 0 0 5 .171
Matsui, DH 4 1 1 1 0 1 1 .252
Swisher, RF 2 1 1 0 2 0 0 .238
Cabrera, M, LF 4 0 1 2 0 0 2 .319
Cervelli, C 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .323
Gardner, CF 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 .235
Totals 32 7 9 7 5 4 10
BATTING
2B: Jeter (9, Eaton), Cano (11, Eaton), Teixeira (9, Eaton), Cabrera, M (6, Eaton).
HR: Cano (8, 2nd inning off Eaton, 1 on, 2 out), Matsui (5, 5th inning off Eaton, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Jeter 2; Cano 7; Teixeira 3; Matsui 4; Swisher; Cabrera, M 2.
RBI: Cano 3 (25), Teixeira (32), Cabrera, M 2 (18), Matsui (14).
2-out RBI: Cabrera, M 2; Cano 2; Matsui.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Rodriguez, A 2.
Team RISP: 4-for-7.
Team LOB: 6.

IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Chamberlain 0.2 2 0 0 0 1 0 3.70
Aceves, A (W, 3-0) 3.1 3 0 0 1 1 0 1.32
Albaladejo 2.1 5 4 4 0 2 2 6.00
Veras (H, 3) 1.2 2 0 0 0 0 0 6.00
Rivera (S, 9) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.89

A break-out offensive barrage in the eighth inning in tonight’s game gave the Yankees their eighth straight victory, defeating the Baltimore Orioles 11-4 behind a decent outing by Phil Hughes.

Led by three straight home runs in the second inning by Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera and a double by Mark Teixeira bringing home Derek Jeter in the first inning, the Yankees had a comfortable 4-0 lead in the second inning. Phil Hughes was good, going 5 innings, allowing six hits and three runs while walking one and striking out nine. He is now 2-2 on the season.

The spotlight of the night was the bottom frame of the 8th inning as Mark Teixeira was the one who opened and closed the inning. He struck out for the first out and after that the flood gates opened. Alex Rodriguez walked, Hideki Matsui then singled to right, advancing A-Rod to second. Nick Swisher walked to load the bases up and up came Robinson Cano, who singled to left, bringing home A-Rod. Danys Baez was replaced by Javon Walker, who allowed a single to left by Melky Cabrera, bringing home Ramiro Pena (pinch running for Matsui).

Kevin Cash registered the second out of the inning, a sac fly bringing home Swisher. The Captain then doubled to deep right, bringing home Cano and Cabrera. Then finally, Johnny Damon hit an infield single, and Jeter scored on that. Finally, it went back full cycle as Mark Teixeira was up again. He grounded out.

6 hits, 6 runs. 11-3 Yankees. Easy-cheesy.

The back-to-back-to-back homers in the second inning was the 11th time in franchise history that the Yankees did that.

Hughes struck out a career-high nine in five innings, limiting a Baltimore lineup that tagged him for eight runs and eight hits in 1 2-3 innings on May 9. It was an important start for Hughes, whose big league future is uncertain because Chien-Ming Wang appears close to coming off the disabled list and rejoining the rotation.

But this outing should only boost confidence in Hughes, who had plenty of zip on a riding fastball that was particularly effective up in the zone.

Alfredo Aceves followed Hughes with two scoreless innings, Phil Coke recorded two outs and Mariano Rivera got four for his eighth save in nine chances.

The Yankees send Jobamania to the mound tomorrow for the final game in this three-game series against the O’s. First pitch is 7:05pm.

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