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By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, September 21- Buoyed by an impressive offensive output, the Yankees won their fifth straight game on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. The 10-7 Yankees win while Baltimore was idle moved the Yankees one game in front of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.
Ichiro Suzuki followed his superlative performance during Wednesday’s day/night doubleheader by crashing a homer to right in his first trip to the plate in the third inning on Thursday. Suzuki also played an important role in the seven run outburst by the Yankees in the next inning. Two walks and an error filled the bases to start the inning. Suzuki followed with a two run double, his seventh straight hit.
Jayson Nix then walked to again fill the sacks. Derek Jeter then upped his consecutive game hitting streak to 14 with a run scoring single. Nick Swisher cleared the bases with the record tying 10th grand slam of the season for the Bronx Bombers. That mark had only been reached by the Yanks in three previous seasons, 1987, 2010 and 2011.
The seven run inning that broke up the game had only been done three times earlier by the team in 2012.
Doubles by Curtis Granderson and Nix and a single by Jeter netted two additional runs for New York in the fifth.
Yankee starter Phil Hughes lasted the requisite five innings to be credited with the win, his16th this year.
Doubles by Adam Lind and Kelly Johnson scored the first Toronto run in the second.
Lack of control by Hughes in the third led to two runs. During that frame, he walked two and hit two batsmen.
A two-run homer by Moises Sierra on the first pitch he saw gave the Blue Jays two runs in the fifth.
Hughes did tie a major league record by fanning four batters in the fourth. Adeiny Hechavarria reached first on a passed ball after striking out, thus, creating the need for a fourth batsman. Hughes was only the second Yankee hurler to accomplish this feat. It was previously done by AJ Burnett on June 23, 2011. David Robertson obtained his second save by striking out all three batters he faced in the ninth.
The two hitting heroes of the game, Swisher and Suzuki commented on the recent performance of the team. The outspoken and energetic Swisher said, “I feel that we’re getting that inner confidence back that we lost there for a little bit. Regardless of whatever the situation is, whatever team we’re playing, we feel like we’re going to go out there and get the job done.”
The quiet veteran from Japan, who is batting .321 since joining the team and is batting .362 against lefties, expressed his opinion through a translator, “Having this momentum come at this point in the season, O think that’s the Yankees. And I think that’s what makes this team special.”
The Oakland Athletics come to the stadium for a three game weekend series that will have bearing on the race for the playoffs in the American League.
On Friday night, CC Sabathia (13-6) will start for the yanks against Jarrod Parker (11-8) of the A’s.