WASHINGTON (AP) - Derek Jeter hit a slow grounder to Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh. As Jeter crossed first base, Desmond's throw sailed into foul territory, and two runs scored on the play.
Those were the first runs of a four-run seventh for the New York Yankees, who went on to beat the Nationals 7-2 on Friday night.
``He's made those plays all year long,' Washington manager Davey Johnson said of Desmond. ``He's got a cannon, and a good throw, he's out.
``You just can't mistakes on this club. It's a learning curve.'
Both teams entered with six-game winning streaks and leading their divisions. For the Nationals, the attention was unusual, the stands were packed, with many rooting for the Yankees.
``We all love to play in those kinds of atmospheres,' Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. ``I think we haven't had a chance to play in many of them in the seven years I've been here, but it's always fun when you get to get out there and play in what I think playoff baseball would feel like.'
Gio Gonzalez (8-3) allowed three runs and five hits in six-plus innings, walking two and striking out eight. He is 1-5 against the Yankees and left trailing 2-1 after allowing a leadoff single to Andruw Jones in the seventh.
Curtis Granderson drove in three runs, including two on a seventh-inning double, and Jeter had two hits. Phil Hughes (7-5) pitched six innings to win his fourth straight start. He allowed a run and six hits, walked two and struck out nine. Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada worked two scoreless innings. David Robertson allowed a run in the ninth.
Against Brad Lidge in the seventh, pinch-runner Dewayne Wise stole second, Russell Martin walked, and both advanced on Jayson Nix's sacrifice bunt. Robinson Cano was intentionally walked to bring up Jeter.
Michael Gonzalez relieved Lidge and allowed Granderson's two-run double to make it 6-1.
Granderson hit his 20th home run with one out in the ninth.
The Yankees scored two runs in the third. Jeter doubled with one out. After Mark Teixeira walked with two outs, Alex Rodriguez singled to score Jeter. The RBI was A-Rod's 1,924th, tying him with Jimmie Foxx for sixth place on the all-time list. Nick Swisher followed with an RBI single. Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper began the bottom of the third with singles off Hughes. With one out, Adam LaRoche walked to load the bases. Michael Morse's single scored Lombardozzi.
NOTES: The win was New York manager Joe Girardi's 500th in the major leagues. ... Robertson made his first appearance after missing a month with a strained oblique muscle. ... Cano did not start. He is 0 for 9 against Gonzalez. He had been spiked in the left leg on Tuesday in Atlanta. ... Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, who dislocated his right ankle bouncing on a trampoline with his son on March 22, said he could face hitters for the first time in about 10 days. ... Johnson said that RHP Henry Rodriguez (right index finger), will begin a rehab assignment in a day or two. Rodriguez is eligible to come off the DL on June 21. ... RHP Drew Storen is still several weeks away from returning, Johnson said. He hasn't pitched this season due to a right elbow injury ... New York LHP Andy Pettitte celebrated his 40th birthday on Friday. He'll start Saturday against Washington RHP Jordan Zimmermann. ... Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Yankees fan, chatted on the field with Nationals OF Jayson Werth and Johnson. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, threw out the first pitch.
The Associated Press News Service
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