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Yankees Alone at the Top

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By CHARLES ODUM   AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) _ Alex Rodriguez hit his 23rd career grand slam,
matching Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig’s record, and the New York
Yankees scored six runs in the eighth inning to rally for a 6-4 win
over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

Nick Swisher hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Cory Gearrin
two batters after Rodriguez connected against Jonny Venters.
CC Sabathia (8-3) left trailing 4-0 after seven innings but was
the beneficiary of the rally. The big lefty gave up four runs on a
season-high 10 hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

The Yankees matched their season high with a fifth straight win
and moved into sole possession of first in the AL East when Tampa
Bay lost to the Mets. The Yankees have won 10 of 12.
Rafael Soriano, who pitched in Atlanta from 2007-09, retired the
Braves in order in the ninth for his 10th save of the season and
the 100th of his career.

The Braves, who wasted a strong start by Mike Minor, have lost
three straight.

Rodriguez had been 1 for 10 this season with the bases loaded
before he lined the full-count pitch from Venters over the left
field wall. Braves left fielder Martin Prado barely moved as he
watched the homer clear the wall.

Rodriguez’s homer was his 10th of the season and first grand
slam.

Minor gave up five hits and one run in 7 1-3 innings. He was
pulled after giving up a one-out single to Derek Jeter in the
eighth.

Venters (3-3) loaded the bases, allowing up a single to Curtis
Granderson before walking Mark Teixeira to set up the tying grand
slam by Rodriguez.

Venters, who did not record an out, gave up a single to Robinson
Cano. Swisher followed with his 10th homer for a 6-4 lead.
Matt Diaz hit a three-run double in the first to give the Braves
the lead they kept until the eighth.

Diaz started ahead of Jason Heyward in right field for the
second time in three days when the team faced a left-hander. Diaz
had two hits off Toronto’s Ricky Romero on Sunday.

Michael Bourn led off the first with a single and moved to third
on the first of two doubles by Brian McCann. Sabathia walked Dan
Uggla to load the bases.

Sabathia faced a similar jam in the seventh. With one out, Prado
hit a soft single to right field and moved to third on McCann’s
double. Sabathia issued an intentional walk to Uggla, loading the
bases for Heyward, who replaced Diaz in the seventh. Heyward drove
in Prado with a groundout to second base.

NOTES: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said Tuesday’s surgery to
repair his torn right ACL “went perfectly.” Manager Joe Girardi
said “I think we’re all expecting to see Mo pitch next year.”…
Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez said RHP Brandon Beachy will be given
extra rest, with his next start pushed back to Saturday, due to
soreness in his right elbow. Beachy said “I feel fine” after
throwing in the bullpen before the game. RHP Tim Hudson, who had
his last start skipped due to bone spurs in his left ankle, is
returning to start Wednesday’s final game of the series against the
Yankees. Following an off day on Thursday, RHP Tommy Hanson will
pitch on Friday against Baltimore, followed by Beachy. … Hiroki
Kuroda, who is 1-4 with a 2.10 ERA in five career starts against
the Braves, will face Hudson on Wednesday night.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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