St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada homered to center leading off the 10th inning, and the Yankees used a couple of spectacular defensive plays in the final two frames to beat Tampa Bay, 8-7, and move back into first place in the AL East.
Curtis Granderson saved an extra-base hit with a great diving catch to end the bottom of the ninth, and Greg Golson threw Carl Crawford out at third base to finish the contest.
One night after Reid Brignac blasted the winning home run in the 11th inning of a 1-0 Tampa Bay win, the Yankees hit three long balls and climbed into the division lead by a half-game over the wild card-leading Rays.
Posada, who had been held hitless since suffering a mild concussion during a September 7 game against Baltimore, sent a 2-0 pitch from Dan Wheeler (2-3) over the wall in center field. The homer, Posada’s 18th of the season, hit off an overhang of a restaurant.
Crawford singled off Mariano Rivera leading off the bottom of the 10th and then stole second just after Evan Longoria flied out to the warning track in center. Matt Joyce sent a fly ball tight to the line in right, and Golson made the grab. Crawford attempted to tag to third, but was thrown out on a perfect throw from Golson to end the game.
Robinson Cano homered and finished with three RBI, while Alex Rodriguez went deep and knocked in two runs for the Yankees, who snapped a season-high four- game skid.
The middle test of the three-game series featured a big change of momentum. The Yankees surged to a 6-0 lead, only to have the Rays score seven times in the fifth, with Willy Aybar capping the frame with a titanic three-run homer to left field.
Cano doubled in Granderson with the tying run in the sixth. Neither team threatened until Posada’s hit in the 10th, but in the inning prior Granderson made a diving catch on a laser to the alley in right-center to rob Ben Zobrist of extra bases.
It was a short outing for both starting pitchers, as New York’s Ivan Nova and Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza each lasted 4 2/3 innings, with both giving up six runs.
David Robertson (3-4) pitched one inning for the win, while Rivera nailed down his 30th save.
Derek Jeter walked and Granderson doubled to start the third. Mark Teixeira then lifted a sacrifice fly to center. Granderson went to third on a wild pitch and came home on a Rodriguez base hit to left. Cano followed with his 27th homer of the year, a blast to right.
Rodriguez homered with one out in the fifth, and Jake McGee walked Francisco Cervelli with the bases full later in the inning for a 6-0 Yankees lead.
The Rays batted around in the bottom half. Carlos Pena homered leading off and B.J. Upton doubled before scoring on John Jaso’s one-out single to center. Crawford walked with two outs, and Evan Longoria and Joyce followed with RBI base hits for a 6-4 game. Aybar then homered to left off Boone Logan.
Earlier Monday, the Rays recalled McGee from Triple-A Durham and optioned RHP Mike Ekstrom to Durham…The Yankees went 2-for-12 with men in scoring position and stranded 11 on base…Of the Yankees� 71 road games this season, 43 have been decided by three runs or fewer, including 17 of the last 20.