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yankees

The Yankees Get to Spend Their Off Day Alone in First Place

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16:  Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees (R) celebrates a three run home run with teammates Robinson Cano #24 and Alex Rodriguez #13 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 16, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images) Russell Martin celebrates his home run yesterday.

So the Yankees regained sole possession of first place this weekend, taking two of three from the Rays while the Orioles lost two of three to Oakland. In doing so, the Yankees also delivered a blow to Tampa Bay's postseason chances: The Rays are now five games out in the division and four games out of a Wild Card spot. (They're currently fourth in the Wild Card standings, a game and a half behind the third-place Angels. Tampa Bay hosts Boston tonight, the Orioles are in Seattle, and the Yankees are idle.) That's two straight series wins for the Yankees following their split at Camden Yards, and even if Baltimore is still right on their heels, this weekend also knocked three more games off the schedule with the finish line approaching: Both the Yanks and O's now have sixteen games remaining. The Yankees held on for a 6-4 victory yesterday, but perhaps the most encouraging development this weekend came on Saturday, when Ivan Nova returned to the rotation with six strong innings. On the other hand, CC Sabathia wasn't great on Friday night, so you can probably just remain as optimistic or pessimistic as you were on Friday afternoon.

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Photo: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images