Aug 25, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) is congratulated by catcher Austin Romine (53) after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays in eleven innings at Tropicana Field. New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees top Rays in 11-inning thriller to avoid sweep

It wasn’t quite the successful weekend that many fans of the New York Yankees would have hoped for, but they salvaged a respectable outcome by stealing a win in the late innings on Sunday.

The Yankees received a quality outing from Ivan Nova and a fine offensive performance from Robinson Cano, but it wasn’t until a sacrifice fly by Curtis Granderson in the 11th inning pushed across the winning run that things were settled. Nova pushed the Yankees through 6.2 innings of quality ball, allowing only 2 earned runs on 6 hits, but the interesting thing was that he avoided disaster despite issuing 6 free passes via the walk. Offensively, the aforementioned Cano went 3-for-5 on the day including a 4th-inning solo home run. Fittingly, however, the greatest closer in history, Mariano Rivera, slammed the door on just 6 pitches in the bottom half of the 11th, and with that, the Yankees stole a needed victory.

In the grand scheme, this was only one win in August for the greatest franchise in MLB history. However, the Yankees are desperately trying to stay within striking distance of both the AL East and Wild Card races, and with the win, they climbed within 6.5 games of the AL East lead and 3.5 games of the final Wild Card spot.

There is still quite a battle on the horizon for New York, but if they make a late-season run, it is a good bet that the momentum will be traced back to Sunday afternoon’s win.

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Tags: Mariano Rivera New York Yankees Robinson Cano Tampa Bay Rays