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Homers Doom Sox Against Yanks

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 17: Jayson Nix #17 of the New York Yankees connects on an RBI single to right field scoring in teammate Casey McGehee in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankees Stadium on August 17, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 17: Jayson Nix #17 of the New York Yankees connects on an RBI single to right field scoring in teammate Casey McGehee in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankees Stadium on August 17, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)

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By RONALD BLUM
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Derek Jeter stood by his locker and smiled with
satisfaction. He hit his 250th home run, and it helped the New York
Yankees pick up a win. Over the Boston Red Sox.

“I always see all the time: He doesn’t hit home runs. Blah,
blah, blah,” he said. “I think it’s a lot. I’ll take it.”

Jeter hit a tying drive in the fifth inning, one of five solo
home runs by the Yankees that backed Phil Hughes in Friday night’s
lightning-filled 6-4 victory.

Willie Mays and Jeter are the only players with 3,000 hits, 250
homers, 300 steals and 1,200 RBIs.

“He’s an amazing player,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
“He’s 38 years old. He’s played 15 days in a row. There aren’t too
many 38-year-old guys who play 15 days in a row.”

Nick Swisher connected twice as the Yankees won for the eighth
time in 10 games. Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and
Jeter homered off Franklin Morales (3-4), and Swisher added another
solo shot in the seventh against Clayton Mortensen. Jeter’s homer
gave the Yankees 10 players with 10 or more this season, tying the
club record set in 1998, and gave him double digits for the 16th
time.

Swisher homered in the first, and Granderson and Martin
connected during a three-pitch span in the second, just before a
bolt of lightning flashed beyond center field and thunder cracked.

“The way the game started, man, it’s raining, two teams
battling it up and the field’s getting all nasty _ it just felt
like a Yankee-Red Sox rivalry game,” Swisher said.

Hughes (12-10) survived his own throwing error that led to four
unearned runs during a rainy third inning. Down 3-0, the Red Sox
went ahead on Dustin Pedroia’s three-run homer, the 28th long ball
off Hughes this year.

“We let Hughes off the hook. We had him on the ropes earlier:
77 pitches in four,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “Hit
some balls real early in the count and got him back in the game.”

Hughes had a curious outing, retiring 19 of 21 batters not
counting the third inning. Throwing more changeups than he had in
any four-five starts combined the rest of the year, he allowed four
hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked one.

Play turned as sloppy as the field in the third. Mike Aviles
singled and Hughes threw Scott Podsednik’s potential double-play
comebacker into center for an error that left runners at the
corners. Pedro Ciriaco hit an RBI grounder, Jacoby Ellsbury walked
and, with two outs, Pedroia hit a no-doubt drive to left _ on his
29th birthday.

“I just didn’t get a grip on it,” Hughes said of the
comebacker. “Instead of doing the smart thing, just getting the
out at first, I really wanted the double play and tried to throw it
with basically a palm grip.”

David Robertson pitched the eighth, when Granderson ran down
Pedroia’s one-on drive just in front of the wall in left-center,
the deepest part of the ballpark. Rafael Soriano finished for his
30th save in 32 chances, completing a five-hitter.

New York, which has led the AL East since mid-June, improved to
7-3 against the Red Sox this season. Boston, outhomered 12-5 at
Yankee Stadium this year, has not won consecutive games since Aug.
5-6.

“This is definitely a park where they hit a lot of home runs,”
Carl Crawford said.

Morales gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He also
allowed four home runs against the Yankees on July 7 _ making him
the first pitcher to allow four to them twice in a year since Ted
Lyons of the Chicago White Sox in 1937. But he has given up just
three homers to other teams this season.

“When you miss a pitch with that team, somebody (is) going to
pay,” he said.

Swisher homered in the first, and Granderson and Martin combined
for a three-run lead. Jayson Nix was at the plate when the
lightning flashed, prompting the grounds crew to work on the mound
as rain fell.

Jeter’s homer tied it in the fifth, and the Yankees went ahead
in the sixth. One-out singles by Casey McGehee and Granderson
chased Morales, and Nix’s two-out single off Mortensen put New York
ahead 5-4.

After the game, Jeter said the Yankees already had retrieved the
home run ball for him.

“If you do it long enough, good things happen,” he said. “I
consider it’s a good number. Other people might not. But for me
it’s a lot of homers.”

NOTES: Swisher also homered twice April 28 vs. Detroit. It was
the 12th time he homered from both sides of the plate, one behind
teammate Mark Teixeira’s major league-leading total. “I feel like
I’ve been trailing Tex for a while,” Swisher said. It also was
Swisher’s 19th multihomer game. … Teixeira sat out to rest his
sore left wrist. … The crowd of 49,422 was the Yankees’ ninth
home sellout this year. … Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, out since he
got hurt July 24, will have his broken left hand X-rayed again
Sunday. … The only previous time Soriano reached the 30-save mark
was when he had 45 for Tampa Bay in 2010. … New York has raised
its season average with runners in scoring position from .217
through play on June 23 to .258.

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

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