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For the first time this season, the New York Yankees are in first place. The Yankees beat the Astros, 9-5, which earned them a sweep, and a tie for the top spot in the AL East.
Phil Hughes earned his ninth win of the season, while Jorge Posada gave the Yankees a big déjà vu.
Posada lifted the Yankees with a grand slam in the fifth inning, his second grand slam in as many days. That grand slam put Posada in elite company as only one of three Yankees to hit grand slams on back-to-back days. Another member of that group is Babe Ruth.
The Astros jumped to an early lead, but that would soon be forgotten. Robinson Cano tied the game in the third inning with a home run, and then Ramiro Pena would drive in a pair of runs with an RBI-single.
Posada’s slam extended the Yankee lead to 7-1, which seemed insurmountable at the time.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Astros would earn four runs back. Tommy Manzella singled to left field, which scored a pair of runs. After that, catcher Kevin Cash hit a two-run homer, and the Yankee lead was cut to five. That would end Hughes’s day.
The Yankee starter pitched 5 2/3 innings, while allowing five runs, and earning his AL leading ninth win of the season (tied with Tampa Bay’s David Price).
In the bottom of the inning, the Yankees would earn a pair of runs back, as Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner each hit an RBI-single. Those would extend the Yankee lead to 9-5.
The bullpen shut down the weak Astros lineup after Hughes was yanked. Damaso Marte finished the sixth inning for Hughes, then Chan Ho Park, Joba Chamberlain, and Mariano Rivera each pitched one inning of work. The four relievers combined for 3 1/3 innings of work, while only allowing one hit.
The Yankees finished the week with a 5-1 record, and with the Rays going 3-3 including losing two of three to Florida, the Yankees have tied the Rays at the top of the division with a 40-23 record.
Heading into an off day on Monday, the Yankees will prepare for a World Series rematch. Game 1 of the three game set with Philadelphia features a battle of titans on the mound.
Roy Halladay (8-4, 1.96) will challenge Yankee starter CC Sabathia (6-3, 4.01). That game is set for 7:05 ET. at Yankee Stadium.
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