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Austin Powers, CC Pitches Yankees to Victory

First of all, we'd like to point out that we (more or less) correctly predicted John Sterling's personalized home-run call for Austin Kearns — "Austin powers his first Yankee home run." Not that this one wasn't obvious, but still, we trust our royalty check is in the mail. And speaking of giving and taking credit, whatever Kevin Long did to Curtis Granderson's swing this week appears to be working so far: The center-fielder collected two hits — both off a lefty, no less — in the Yankees' 4-3 win over Kansas City last night.

The game wasn't as close as that score indicates until the ninth, when, after sweating (literally, not figuratively) through eight innings, CC Sabathia allowed two runners to reach base. With two outs and an escalating pitch count, Joe Girardi removed him for David Robertson, offering another terrifying glimpse of life without Mariano Rivera, who was unavailable after pitching the previous two days. A bases-clearing double by Willie Bloomquist promptly brought the Royals to within one, and a cheap infield hit moved the tying run to third before Robertson escaped by striking out Jason Kendall to end the game.

One other Yankees note: Andy Pettitte was supposed to pitch a simulated game yesterday, but stiffness in the hip-flexor tendon near his injured left groin has pushed that simulated game back to today. (Pettitte told Girardi that he felt the stiffness after getting off a couch Wednesday. This is not a young man we're talking about.) The Yankees, however, don't seem overly concerned. Meanwhile, Pettitte's replacement in the rotation, Dustin Moseley, goes tonight against Kyle Davies.

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Photo: G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images