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On a night when the Yankees honored George Steinbrenner with a plaque in Monument Park, the team honored him with an 8-6 victory over the Rays. In doing so, they now own a 1 1/2-game lead in the division and dwindled their magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to 5. The MN to clinch the division is 12.

The hero of the game was Curtis Granderson, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs and drove in a career-high-tying five runs. It was his seventh career multi-homer game and third this season. Grandy has a seven-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .310 (9-for-29) with four homers and 11 RBI; he’s also scored a run in six straight games. Since he rebuilt his swing with Kevin Long, he’s been on pace to hit 49 homers.

Jeter also had a big night, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. He recorded hit number 2,909 and 2,910, so, obviously, he is 90 away from 3,000 for his career. On an emotional night, Jeet tied Mickey Mantle for third on the franchise runs scored list with his 1,677th tally.

Swish Dog recorded two hits and an RBI while Frankie Cervelli went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.

SuperNova pitched well for the first five innings but came apart in the sixth. He finished with a line of three runs on as many hits with four strikeouts to two walks in 5 2/3 frames. My biggest gripe about the game, if I’m allowed to gave one since they won, was that Girardi left SuperNova in for too long. Why would he not yank him after the first two guys got on base?

What’s even more baffling is why Girardi brought Logan and Gaudin in for the sixth. I assumed it was because D-Rob and Kerry Wood pitched yesterday, but then they both pitched in the seventh. WTF? Girardi scares me sometimes with the moves he makes. Oh well, they got the win.

Final thought: I’ve got a funny feeling that Mo is nursing an injury and not telling anyone. He blew two saves in the last nine days coming in and almost blew one today. That’s very un-Mo. I hope I’m wrong but I fear I’m not.

Post-game quotes:

Girardi on Nova:

He looks like he just lost the zone a little bit. You just have to remind him that the score is 0-0 because he does better when it’s like that.

Girardi on the ceremony:

It’s unfortunate that we’re going through it because we all wish the Boss was still here. It was good to see people come back. It was good to see Donnie, I’m happy for his opportuntity out in LA…It was a really nice event.

The Yanks got Philthy going tomorrow against Panty Shields. I’m going to the game looking to close out a perfect 7-0 season. If you’re there, stop by section 211 and say hi.

LET’S GO YANKS!!!

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Tags: Boone Logan Curtis Granderson David Robertson Derek Jeter George Steinbrenner Ivan Nova Joe Girardi Mariano Rivera Nick Swisher