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Yankees Look To Keep Creating Separation In AL East

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
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Entering last weekend, the New York Yankees sat atop the American League East to begin a crucial stretch in this young 2013 season, with 12 of their next 16 games against all 4 divisional foes. The team started with two convincing wins on Friday and Saturday against the Blue Jays, only to see Mother Nature postpone the potential sweep on Sunday. So with just 5 games of separation from Boston, Tampa Bay and Baltimore (all of which have records over .500), it was time for the Yankees to start an 8-game road trip – the first 6 taking place against the Orioles and Rays.

In last night’s series opener in Baltimore, CC Sabathia looked like anything but an ace against the Orioles, surrendering 4 runs on 11 hits over the course of 6 and a third innings. This was the first time in Sabathia’s career that he gave up 10-plus hits during less than 7 innings of work in back-to-back starts.

The Yankees trailed 4-3 entering the top of the ninth, when the normally dominant Orioles closer Jim Johnson came into the ballgame. Johnson had blown his last two save opportunities, so the Yankees couldn’t have asked for a better time to see him on the mound, and Travis Hafner took full advantage by blasting a solo HR to tie the game.

In the top of the 10th, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells started things off with consecutive doubles, giving the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Hafner would come through again later in the inning, driving in Wells with a two-out single, extending the lead to the eventual final score of 6-4. David Robertson would earn the victory for pitching a scoreless 9th inning, making him 3-0 on the season, with Mariano Rivera shutting the door to pick up his 17th save.

Tonight, the Yankees enter the second game of their 3-game set in Baltimore as one of the hottest teams in the American League, having won 3 in a row and 7 of their last 10 overall. Phil Hughes will take the mound, looking to bounce back from the worst start of his career, when he failed to make it out of the first inning last Wednesday against Seattle by allowing 7 runs. He will oppose Miguel Gonzalez, who is making his first start since coming off the disabled list and will try to stop Baltimore’s 6-game losing streak.

You can catch all of the action on “The Team,” starting with our Coors Light Pregame Show at 6:15, hosted by Mike Lindsley. Then we’ll join the Yankees Radio Network coverage with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman at 6:30, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05.

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