Posada returns, hits slam in Yankees winAug 14, 2011 - 5:56 AM
It was a curtain call almost a week in the making.
Posada hit a grand slam and drove in six runs Saturday to lead the Yankees to a 9-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, building his best offensive game in almost five years after spending the last five games on the Yankees bench.
"It's tough to sit around," Posada said.
Struggling mightily, Posada had been taken out of the lineup last Sunday by manager Joe Girardi. But he batted eighth in the order on Saturday and went 3- for-5, with his 10th career grand slam highlighting a five-run fifth.
"We liked the at-bats he had off (Rays starter Jeremy) Hellickson before and we decided that we were going to play him today," said Girardi. "Low and behold, you look up and it's the bottom of the fifth and we're ahead 7-0 and he's got six of the RBI."
He sparked a 15-hit outburst by the Yankees, who won for just the third time in seven games. Curtis Granderson also homered and the top five players in the New York lineup each had two hits.
Phil Hughes (3-4) started for the first time in 11 days and pitched six innings for the win, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out six.
The Yankees bounced back after losing the opener of this three-game series, 5-1, on Friday night. The Rays hit five solo homers off CC Sabathia in eight innings, but had just five hits total in this one as their five-game winning streak came to an end.
New York moved within a game of Boston for first place in the AL East after the Red Sox lost to Seattle on Saturday.
Hellickson (10-8) took the loss -- his first to the Yankees -- after being charged with four runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
He surrendered Granderson's 33rd homer of the season leading off the fifth inning, but the 24-year-old right-hander was taken out two batters later when Robinson Cano doubled.
"It was the wrong team to not have your fastball command with you today," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Brandon Gomes came in and walked Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez, bringing Posada to the plate for the third time.
The designated hitter worked a 2-0 count, then belted a 91 mph fastball into the seats behind right-center field for his 10th homer of the season and a 7-0 Yankees lead.
A prolonged standing ovation brought him out of the dugout for the curtain call.
"They've been so supportive. The fans are a big reason that I love playing the game. They deserve a lot of credit," said Posada, who singled in his first two at-bats, knocking in two runs with a hit in his first plate appearance in the second inning.
Posada was batting .230 with 31 RBI -- and was just 3-for-18 in August -- entering the game, a season-long offensive slump that forced Girardi to drop Posada to ninth in the order before a game in May.
Posada, who will turn 40 on Wednesday, took himself out of the lineup that night -- an infamous move that cast a long shadow over his season, culminating in his benching for a game against the Red Sox last Sunday.
"This guy is a beloved Yankee and we all love him. At times it's been a struggle for him but he's never stopped working," said Girardi. "For that, I'm extremely proud of him."
Desmond Jennings homered to lead off the sixth for the Rays and Johnny Damon followed with a triple, scoring later on Ben Zobrist's ground out for the second Tampa Bay run.
Mark Teixeira hit an RBI double and scored a run in the sixth to give the Yankees their 9-2 lead.
The last time Posada had six RBI was September 6, 2006 at Kansas City. His career high is seven...The Yankees improved to 6-5 against the Rays this season...Girardi said after the game that Freddy Garcia would miss his scheduled start in Sunday's series finale because of a cut on his finger. A.J. Burnett will go instead...Prior to the game, the Yankees presented Derek Jeter with a sculpture commemorating his 3,000th hit. Jeter donated the helmet and gloves he was wearing when he hit the home run for No. 3,000 on July 9 to the Hall of Fame...Hellickson lost for the first time in six starts (3-1)...Hughes is 3-3 in seven appearances since coming off the disabled list last month. His start was pushed back because he appeared in relief against the Red Sox last Sunday.
- TAMPA BAY: 2
NEW YORK: 9
Aug 13 7:13 PM
- Eric Chavez grounded into a fielder's choice, pitcher to short scored Mark Teixeira. Nick Swisher out at second. Runner on first with two outs and Jorge Posada due up.
Rays 2, Yankees 9 Bot 6, 2 OutsAug 13 6:32 PM
- Mark Teixeira doubled to left scored Curtis Granderson. Runner on second with none out and Robinson Cano due up.
Rays 2, Yankees 8 Bot 6, 0 OutsAug 13 6:26 PM
- Ben Zobrist grounded out to first scored Johnny Damon. None on with two outs and Casey Kotchman due up.
Rays 2, Yankees 7 Top 6, 2 OutsAug 13 6:20 PM
- Desmond Jennings lead-off Home Run (4) to left. Johnny Damon due up.
Rays 1, Yankees 7 Top 6, 0 OutsAug 13 6:15 PM
- Jorge Posada one-out, Grand Slam (10) to right scored Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez. Russell Martin due up.
Rays 0, Yankees 7 Bot 5, 1 OutAug 13 6:07 PM
- Curtis Granderson lead-off Home Run (33) to right. Mark Teixeira due up.
Rays 0, Yankees 3 Bot 5, 0 OutsAug 13 5:53 PM
- Jorge Posada singled to right scored Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano. On the play, Nick Swisher advances to third. Runners on first and third with one out and Russell Martin due up.
Rays 0, Yankees 2 Bot 2, 1 OutAug 13 4:51 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 0
NEW YORK: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Aug 13 4:12 PM
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