#Yankees Sweep Birds
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 23- Thursday afternoon’s 9-3 victory over the Orioles gave the Yanks a sweep of the three-game series.
They ended their latest homestand with a mark of 5-1, and raised their record at home to 21-7 (.750) in their last 28 games at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks are a season high 12 games above .500 (53-41) and are increasing the distance between themselves and the other four clubs in the American League East. They have been in sole possession of first place in the division for the past three weeks.
The result of Thursday’s contest was decided in the bottom of the first frame when the Yankees put four runs on the board off Ubaldo Jimenez in four hits and two walks. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the second with a home run to right. Yankees batters have taken advantage of their home park by belting 76 homers in 47 games for the highest average of homers per game in the majors. The home run was the 14th in their last 13 games.
Three hits in the third and three in the fifth netted two additional runs in each of those innings. The offensive onslaught of 13 hits and 9 runs was coupled with an outstanding performance on the mound by Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.
The Japanese native tied his season high of pitching with 7.2 innings. He yielded only four hits, but three were solo home runs that accounted for the three runs he surrendered. Chris Davis led off the second with his 21st dinger of the year; J.J. Hardy (5) and many Machado (21) each homered in the eighth.
Yankee skipper Joe Girardi was very pleased with Tanaka’s third straight win, “I thought he used his slider and his split extremely well. He kept ahead of the hitters and made them hit his pitches.” Cather John Ryan Murphy also spoke favorably of Tanaka’s control, “Unbelievable. All day long he was strike one.”
Tanaka also was in agreement of his pitching, “I think I had good command of the pitches. I could throw strikes with both pitches (slider and split).” He felt he was “gradually getting better, but you can always get much better."
The Yankees now begin a 10 game road trip and will return to the Bronx on August 4 to play three games each with division rivals, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.