Robinson Cano’s seventh inning grand slam broke a 2-2 tie as the Yankees went on to edge the Angels, 6-5. Holding a 6-2 advantage heading into the ninth, things got a little dicey. Mariano Rivera inherited two Cory Wade base runners and gave way to a Russell Branyan three-run homer. Mo went on to retire the next two hitters to preserve the win, but Mo has given up a home run in each of his last three appearances. However, the Yankees held on and won this series, improving to 71-45, eight games ahead of the Angels in the AL Wild Card race.

Atta boy, Robbie.

Bartolo Colon got the ball for the Bombers and delivered another quality start (six innings, two runs), but did not factor into the decision. Colon has held the opposition to three earned runs or fewer in his last six starts, proving that he belongs in the rotation. His 8-6 record isn’t that impressive, but no one thought he’d have a 3.31 ERA in August, let alone still be on the team. Keep the burly righty in the rotation, Joe.

Rafael Soriano deserves a lot of credit as well. Since rejoining the Bombers in late July, Soriano has only given up one hit in six appearances. He’s the seventh inning guy and has provided a nice bridge to David Robertson, who has been sensational all season long.

I’m not that concerned about Mo, but I don’t think he’s ever given up homers in three straight appearances. It’s easy to get upset about it now, but Mo is still Mo and there’s no one else in baseball I’d rather give the ball to in the ninth.

Offensively, the Bombers pounded Angel pitching for ten hits. Derek and Robbie had six of the ten and Robbie’s grand slammer proved to be the difference in the win.

All in all, it’s a good series win for the Yanks. They took care of business at home. Granted, they did not face Jered Weaver or the rejuvenated Ervin Santana, but the Halos didn’t see CC, either. This team does scare me a bit in a short series, given their three arms, but the Yankees are a seasoned bunch. I won’t be surprised to see these two tangle in the first round of the playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Rays will now roll into the Bronx for a three-game weekend set. The Rays are 8.5 games behind the Yankees, but come into the Bronx riding a four-game winning streak. Time to put them firmly in the rear view mirror. Great pitching match-up tomorrow night.

Friday, 7:05 PM: David Price (9-10, 3.89 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (16-6, 2.81 ERA)