Even though Phil Hughes wasn't at his best, the Yankees were able to slug their way to a 9-5 win over the Astros to complete the three-game sweep.
It was a weird start for Hughes, who didn't have his best stuff all and had trouble hitting his spots day, but still managed to hold the Astros to just a run on three hits and two walks over the first five. Meanwhile, the Yankees, who were shutdown over the first three, scored three in the fourth and four in the fifth to blow the game open and take a 7-1 lead.
Robinson Cano began the scoring with his 13th homer of the season, a solo shot to tie the game at one. Later, with two out in the inning, Ramiro Pena gave the Yankees the lead with a two-run bloop single to right with the bases loaded.
Jorge Posada followed up his grand slam on Saturday with another one on Sunday to extend the Yankees lead to six. It's the first time a Yankee has hit a grand slam in back-to-back games since Bill Dickey all the way back in 1937. Babe Ruth was the only other Yankee to achieve this feat, doing it twice, once in 1927 and again in 1929.
After being handed a 7-1 lead Hughes' lack of command finally caught up with him in the sixth. Carlos Lee led off the inning with a single. Hughes did retire the next two batters he faced on just four pitches, but the next three batters would be Hughes' last. Geoff Blum put runners on second and third with a double. Then Tommy Manzella battled through a 10-pitch at-bat to drive in both runners with a single. Then, former Yankee Kevin Cash capped off the rally, and ended Hughes' day, with a two-run homer to left. The five runs allowed in just 5.2 innings bumped his ERA over 3, but it was still enough for Hughes to pick up his league-leading ninth win of the year.
Damaso Marte came in to replace Hughes and struck out Michael Bourn to end the inning.
The Yankees didn't waste any time pushing that lead back to four, scoring twice in the bottom half of the inning. Nick Swisher drove in the first with a single. Two batters later, Brett Gardner picked up his second hit of the day and drove in the Yankees ninth run. Besides the two hits, Gardner also stole his 22nd base of the season, and he made a great leaping play in the seventh to rob Carlos Lee of a double.
Chan Ho Park pitched the seventh and needed just eight pitches to get through the inning. Joba Chamberlain followed Park with a 10-pitch, scoreless eighth. Then, even though they were up four, the Yanks went to Mariano Rivera to finish off the game. He struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth and the Yankees had their 40th win of the season. And with the Marlins beating the Rays, the Yankees also moved into a tie with the Rays for first in the division. Today's win also finishes off a 16-game stretch that saw the Yankees go 12-4.
Before I forget to mention it, Chad Huffman went 1-for-4 with a walk in his major league debut. His hit was a slow roller to short that he beat out for an infield single, and came in his first AB in the third.
Like I said before the Yanks have an off-day tomorrow before they start a three-game series with the Phillies on Tuesday in a rematch of last year's World Series. The pitching matchup in the opener is a good one, with CC Sabathia facing off against Roy Halladay. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and the game will be on MY9.