The Yankees went into Seattle with a 8.5 game lead over Boston and came out with a 10.5 lead over the Red Sox. Right now the Yankees are in full cruise control, coasting into the playoffs. Resting the injured, setting up the rotation and taking advantage of the big cushion.
On Friday night the Yankees bats exploded for eleven runs. Bernie Williams continued his hot hitting, launching his 15th homerun of the year. Ruben Sierra hit a grand slam and Jorge Posada added a solo shot. The game was 10-0 going into the bottom of the fourth inning. Jon Lieber was able to hold on to the ten run cushion and go eight innings for his ninth win of the year. Lieber allowed seven hits, 3 earned runs and zero walks while striking out 4 in the 11-3 win.
On Saturday the Yankees broke out to a 2-0 lead on two-out back-to-back homeruns by Gary Sheffield (27) and Bernie Williams (16). Loaiza took the hill and struggled again. He went five innings and one-third, allowing seven hits, four earned runs, and four walks. He left the game losing 4-3. The Yankees were able to tie the game in the seventh and then take the two run lead in the eighth. John Olerud had two RBI in his return to Seattle to help the Yankees to a 6-4 victory.
In Sunday's series finale, the Yankees were down early 1-0 due to a bomb by Ichiro Suzuki leading off the game. Kevin Brown, however, pieced it together and was pitching well into the seventh inning. In the seventh inning with a 3-1 lead, the wheels came flying off. The Mariners but a six on the board in the seventh and were able to shut the Yankees down the rest of the way to take a 7-3 win.
This week the Yankees are in Minnesota for a three game set, and then travel back to New York for a three game series with Anaheim. both series are crucial for the other teams. Right now the twins have a two game lead over the Indians in their division and the Angels are tied with Boston and Texas for the wild card. Tomorrow night the Yankees send Javier Vasquez (13-6, 4.12) against Brad Radke (7-6, 3.64) at 8:10pm.