The Yankees won their 7th in a row, while the Red Sox lost their sixth straight, giving the Bombers a 6 1/2-game lead in the AL East, thanks to Johnny Damon’s game tying homer in the eighth, followed by Mark Texiera’s solo shot and a couple of manufactured runs, in a 5-2 win that capped a four-game series sweep in the Bronx.|
One swing of the bat late in the game, by newly acquired Victor Martinex, gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning — the first time they’d led in the series — after Alex Rodriguez’s long ball had put New York up 1-0.
But Damon evened things with a shot to right, and then Texiera followed with his league-leading 27th homer, the sixth time this season that two Bombers had gone back-to-back — and belly-to-belly — this season. Tex later said he held onto his bat as he headed to first “in case [the ball] hooked foul.”
“Emotions were up and down — that’s for sure,” manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game. “To come out and win these four games like we had, pitchers pitching the way they were pitching, and the hitting that we had… It’s a good feeling. Big players did big things.”
Speaking of Pettite, Girardi said: “This was as good a performance as he’s had…. Andy was as good as he’s been all year.”Girardi said he expects Boston to be in the race until the end. “We know how tough this division is,” he said.
“Is it comfortable? No,” the manager said. “We have a long way to go.”
Although the Yanks had won the first three of this series in the Bronx, this became a swing game that could help determine who wins the division. Tampa Bay is coming on strong, which conceivably could leave Boston on the outside looking in.
The Tampa Bay Rays are within a game and a half of the Sox, who are even with the Rangers for the wild card spot in the American League.The Toronto Blue Jays now come into the Bronx to play the hottest team in baseball.
“This club is very, very talented. It’s very resilient,” Girardi said of his team. The Yanks outscored the Sox 25-8 in the series. The true payoff tonight, Girardi said, was that he didn’t have to overuse the bullpen.
“Physically, you can wear them down, and you risk hurting them,” the manager said. “Their careers are too important than just one game.”
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