Robinson Cano's Home Run Lifts New York Yankees to 5-4 Win in Tampa

Patrick Au Yeung@@Cubs_sportsdeskContributor IAugust 1, 2010

CLEVELAND - JULY 28:  Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees rounds third base after hitting a fourth inning home run while playing the Cleveland Indians on July 28, 2010 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Robinson Cano had another MVP performance again tonight. 

His home run in the top of ninth inning gave the New York Yankees a 5-4 victory over the Tamp Bay Rays.  And more importantly, the Yankees will maintain their AL East division lead when leaving St. Petersburg after tomorrow’s game.

Tonight’s match was filled with playoff atmosphere as a sellout crowd of 36,973 witnessed an exciting game.  A victory by the Rays would bring them back to share the AL East lead with the Yankees.  Nevertheless, the Yankees regain a two-game lead over the Rays in the standings.

The Rays was the team to initiate the first run.  In the bottom of the first inning, third baseman Evan Longoria hit a sacrifice fly to score the designated hitter John Jaso who led off with a double. Jaso went 3-for-4, including a triple with two runs scored this evening.

The Yankees played catch-up baseball throughout the game until their winning run came.  

With New York trailing by 1-0 in the second, Rays starting pitcher Matt Garza walked Alex Rodriguez, who advanced to second base on Robinson Cano’s double.  One out later, Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly to sent Rodriguez home. 

Down 3-1in the sixth, with Derek Jeter on second base, first baseman Mark Teixeira connected as his 21st home run tied the game up 3-3.

Right-fielder Matt Joyce contributed for the Tampa Bay Rays when they regained the lead for the third time.  At the bottom of the sixth, he sent starting pitcher Javier Vazquez’s curveball far into the right-field bleachers.  It was his second home run in many nights.

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But it did not take long before the Yankees found the equalizer.  This time, it was Nick Swisher’s solo shot off Garza in the seventh to make it 4-4.

Matt Garza and Javier Vazquez went deep tonight but were pulled when the game was still tied.  Both bullpens did a good job shutting down the opponent until Rays closer Rafael Soriano served up Cano’s home run. 

It happened in the ninth inning.  Soriano (2-1) relieved Joaquin Benoit to face the middle of the Yankees lineup.  Rodriguez was popped out to shortstop for the first out.  Cano, who already had two doubles tonight, hit Soriano’s fastball out of field for his 21st dinger of the season.

Yankees reliever Dave Robertson (2-3), pitched the scoreless eighth and became the winning pitcher of the game.  Mariano Rivera gained his 22nd save, blanking the Rays in a one-hit ninth inning.

Lance Berkman, acquired by the Yankees yesterday, had his first game wearing the new uniform.  He was penciled as the designated hitter by manager Joe Girardi but went hitless in four plate appearances.

Going 0-for 3, Alex Rodriguez did not hit his 600th career home run tonight.  He has to wait until tomorrow afternoon as his milestone search continues facing the Rays starter James Shields (9-9, 4.79) in the rubber game of this three-game series.  CC Sabathia (13-4, 3.15) will start for the Yankees.