Yanks Win Season-High Sixth in a Row
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Robinson Cano moved up in the batting order when the Yankees reshuffled their lineup because of drizzly weather, then hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning that sent New York over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7–4 last night.
The Yankees won their season-high sixth in a row and cut their magic number to six for clinching their ninth consecutive AL East title.
Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 23 games, Hideki Matsui lined his first home run since missing more than 100 games because of a broken left wrist and Alex Rodriguez had a two-run single.
Rocco Baldelli homered twice and tripled for the Devil Rays in their fourth straight loss. He also flied out to deep center as Tampa Bay dropped to 2–25 on the road since July 1.
With light rain falling and showers in the forecast, Yankees manager Joe Torre scratched starter Chien-Ming Wang and picked rookie Jeff Karstens to pitch.
Outfielders Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu also were given a rest, rather than playing on the damp turf. Abreu was originally scheduled to bat third; instead, Cano was shifted from seventh into the third spot, where he’d never hit in his major league career.
The late switches prompted Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon to say the Yankees were bringing their “mudder” lineup for the wet track.
The Yankees did have a player injured, though it had nothing to do with conditions. Jorge Posada was hit by a pitch that he swung at, and left the game. Melky Cabrera resumed the atbat with a 1–2 count and struck out, but it was charged to Posada.
Devil Rays starter James Shields left before the sixth because of cramping in his right hamstring.
It was 4-all when Kevin Thompson singled with one out in the Yankees seventh off Ruddy Lugo (2–3). After Bernie Williams singled, Shawn Camp relieved and struck out Jeter. Cano followed with a hard grounder through the hole at shortstop and hustled for an RBI double.
Down 4–1, the Yankees tied it in the fifth. Jeter hit an RBI single with two outs and Cano followed by slicing a liner that bounced out of left fielder Carl Crawford’s outstretched glove near the wall and fell for a two-run double.
Matsui homered off the facing of the upper deck in right field in the second.