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Yankees Win Emotional Weekend Series

The New York Yankees got a scare early on, but hung around just enough to outlast the Tampa Bay Rays in a 9-5 win on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium with 46,969 watching.

With emotions running high over the past few days in the Yankees organization, things got back to normal with a hard earned victory. But the win did come with a price, as Andy Pettitte left the game in the third inning due to a left groin injury.

“I've pitched through a lot of stuff, but there was no way. No way," said Pettitte. "Normally, I can pitch through anything but I was hurting pretty bad."

The 38 year old All Star will be missing about a month of action, but was proud of his team’s achievement during his absence.

"Great win for us today, for the guys to battle the way they did after I put us in the hole early," said Pettitte, who exited with one out in the third.

During his brief presence, Pettitte felt another kind of pain after the Rays got off start.  Carlos Pena's three-run first-inning homer marked the second time the Rays scored three off the southpaw in the first this season.

But the former world champs did not panic and New York returned the favor to the American League's All-Star starting pitcher in David Price, scoring twice in the bottom of the frame on a two-out, opposite-field triple from Robinson Cano.

"The bounce-back inning, when we get two in the bottom of the first, just changed the feeling of the game," said manager Joe Girardi. "When you get those two, the game has a different feeling all of a sudden."

The Yankees fed off that momentum and broke the game wide open off Price in the fifth inning. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each delivered RBI singles before Jorge Posada struck a two-run double into left-center for a 7-3 lead.

The Yankees’ last three runs of the inning were scored with two outs. This was a problem for the Rays during the course of the entire game as Tampay Bay could not find a way to close out innings. The Yankees' nine runs on the afternoon crossed the plate with two away.

"This has been a tough week for all of us," Girardi said. "There were a lot of emotions this week, but our guys toughed it out. Today's [hot weather] conditions weren't easy either ... but we came out on top."

Alex Rodriguez helped with the game’s outcome provided some insurance with his 598th career home run in the seventh. With his seventh-inning solo homer to center field, Rodriguez moved closer to history and is only two home runs away from 600.

While the focus will certainly turn toward him during the next couple of weeks as the world awaits for him to blast two more homers to be just the seventh man to ever hit 600, Rodriguez insists his focus is on winning.

"We have so much going on right now, so many team goals, my focus is on think small, drive in big runs, not worry about too much," Rodriguez said. "Really, my focus is on what we are trying to do as a team."

The weekend series win places the World Series champions Yankees three games ahead of the Rays for first in the American League East.

New York have won their fourth consecutive series and seventh in the past eight. They are playing at a high level and are crushing teams as of lately.

Still, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon expects the race in the AL East to remain competitive all season. For this to transpire, his team must start playing better as they set to begin nine-game road trip.

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