On Sunday, the New York Yankees were able to split the straight double-header with the Pittsburgh Pirates although they had their opportunities to win both games and sweep the three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
But by winning their first game against the Pirates and with the Baltimore Orioles losing their game against the Kansas City Royals, it allowed the Yankees to re-claim sole possession of first place in the American League East.
In the first game, it was Hiroki Kuroda getting the win and improving to 3-3 on the season. Despite allowing a first-inning home run to Neil Walker and allowed the Pirates to go up 1-0, he settled down to pitch six innings, allowed three runs on five hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Mark Teixeira continued his hot hitting by knocking in a two-run single to put the Yankees up 2-1, Brian McCann's RBI single made it 3-1 and Brett Gardner's RBI double made it 4-2 against Pittsburgh Pirates starter Charlie Morton; who struggled in the first two innings but settled down in the later innings. David Robertson notched the save, his eighth of the season.
In the second game, the Yankees faced off against former draft pick Gerrit Cole, who struck out eight over six innings and picked up his fourth win of the season. Vidal Nuno also pitched six innings and struck out five in that span, but he also allowed the Pirates to get the lead back in the sixth inning when Starling Marte hit a two-run home run.
Yangervis Solarte tied the game with a towering solo home run, his fifth of the season, but it was Josh Harrison who hit the go-ahead solo home run off Alfredo Aceves, who took the loss for the Yankees in the second game. Former Yankee reliever Mark Melancon got the save for the Pirates as they won 5-3 in Game 2.
With the Orioles loss and the Yankees splitting the double header, the Yankees are now a half-game ahead of Baltimore at 23-20 while Baltimore is 22-20. Both teams will be off on Monday, so the Yankees will hang onto first place for at least another day heading into their travel day.
On Tuesday, the Yankees will head to the Windy City to kick off a two-game set with the Chicago Cubs, a team they swept and shut out earlier in the season when they played in the Bronx. Masahiro Tanaka (6-0, 2.17 ERA) will look to improve to 7-0 on the season as he will oppose Jason Hammel (4-2, 3.06 ERA.)
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