|N.Y. Yankees (36-25) «||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||6||0||6||9||0|
ATLANTA -- Alex Rodriguez took a grand swing into the record books Tuesday night, and now stands shoulder to shoulder with Lou Gehrig.
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The Yankees had been only 10 for 67 (.149) with the bases loaded this season before Rodriguez hit his tying shot. Minutes later, Rodriguez paused to savor his shared place with Gehrig in baseball history.
"It means a lot," Rodriguez said. "It's very special. This game is very, very difficult. If you're not going to enjoy these great moments, then it's not any fun. Lou Gehrig is not only one of the all-time greats, but he's one of ours."
The Yankees matched their season high with a fifth consecutive victory and moved into sole possession of first in the AL East when Tampa Bay lost to the Mets.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it was "absolutely incredible" for Rodriguez to equal Gehrig's mark.
"It's hard to fathom what he's been able to do in his career," Girardi said. "To be mentioned with Lou Gehrig, that's special."
CC Sabathia (8-3) left trailing 4-0 after seven innings but was the beneficiary of the rally. The big lefty gave up four runs on a season-high 10 hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Rodriguez was aware of the Yankees' struggles with the bases loaded.
"I almost felt like it was a swing for the team," Rodriguez said. "I felt like everybody needed that hit. We've all been waiting for it, but it definitely feels good to pick up our big man CC and to give our team a win."
The Yankees have won 10 of 12.
"What a game, right?" a giddy Swisher said. "It just goes to show you, you've got to play all 27 outs. We're that type of team. I think we're very resilient. We don't back down from any challenge regardless of what we're up against.
"Rod with that grand slam, that will tell people how we hit with the bases loaded," Swisher said. "It was awesome."
Rafael Soriano, who pitched in Atlanta from 2007-09, retired the Braves in order in the ninth for his 10th save of the season and the 100th of his career.
The Braves, who wasted a strong start by Mike Minor, have lost three straight.
Rodriguez had been 1 for 10 this season with the bases loaded before he lined the full-count pitch from Venters over the left field wall. Braves left fielder Martin Prado barely moved as he watched the home run clear the wall.
"I made a bad pitch and he crushed it," Venters said. "I have no excuses. I felt great mechanically. I felt great physically. I just fell behind some hitters. ... I threw a pitch right down the middle, 3-2, to one of the best hitters in the game.
"I feel bad I let my team down," he added.
Rodriguez's home run was his 10th of the season and first grand slam.
Minor gave up five hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings. He was pulled after giving up a one-out single to Derek Jeter in the eighth.
"You feel comfortable with a four-run lead and five outs to go," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who revealed that another left-hander in his bullpen, Eric O'Flaherty, was not available due to a sore arm.
"I think we pushed [Minor] as far as we could push him, really," Gonzalez said. "And he did a hell of a job. It's a shame he didn't get the 'W.' "
Venters, who did not record an out, then gave up a single to Robinson Cano and was lifted. Swisher followed with his 10th home run for a 6-4 lead.
Matt Diaz hit a three-run double in the first to give the Braves the lead they kept until the eighth.
Sabathia faced a similar jam in the seventh. With one out, Prado hit a soft single to right field and moved to third on McCann's double. Sabathia issued an intentional walk to Uggla, loading the bases for Heyward, who replaced Diaz in the seventh. Heyward drove in Prado with a groundout to second base.
|Alex Rodriguez's 23rd career grand slam ties the game and ties him with Lou Gehrig for the most in MLB history. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|New York Yankees|
|Derek Jeter, SS||5||1||2||0||0||0||1||.316|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||5||1||2||0||0||1||2||.254|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B||2||1||0||0||3||0||1||.250|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||5||1||1||4||0||0||3||.276|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.299|
|Nick Swisher, RF||4||1||2||2||0||1||0||.250|
|Andruw Jones, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.224|
|Dewayne Wise, PR-LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.125|
|Chris Stewart, C||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.245|
|a- Eric Chavez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.261|
|Clay Rapada, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Rafael Soriano, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|CC Sabathia, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|b- Russell Martin, PH-C||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.208|
|a-flied out for Stewart in the 8th|
|b-flied out for Sabathia in the 8th|
|2B - Nick Swisher (17, Minor)|
|HR - Alex Rodriguez (10, Venters), Nick Swisher (10, Gearrin)|
|RBI - Alex Rodriguez 4 (29), Nick Swisher 2 (39)|
|SB - Dewayne Wise (4, 2nd base off Gearrin/McCann)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|New York Yankees|
|CC Sabathia (W,8-3)||7||10||4||4||2||6||0||3.80|
|Clay Rapada (H,5)||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||3.50|
|Rafael Soriano (S,10)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||2.01|
|IBB - Uggla by CC Sabathia|
|Pitches-Strikes - CC Sabathia 109-69, Clay Rapada 19-10, Rafael Soriano 12-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - CC Sabathia 8-7, Rafael Soriano 1-0|
|Batters Faced - CC Sabathia 33, Clay Rapada 4, Rafael Soriano 3|
|Michael Bourn, CF||5||1||1||0||0||2||3||.317|
|Martin Prado, LF||5||1||1||0||0||0||3||.318|
|Brian McCann, C||5||1||2||0||0||2||0||.239|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||1||1||0||2||1||0||.265|
|Matt Diaz, RF||3||0||1||3||0||0||0||.254|
|Jason Heyward, RF||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||.245|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||0||3||.306|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.250|
|Andrelton Simmons, SS||3||0||2||0||1||0||1||.257|
|Mike Minor, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.042|
|Jonny Venters, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Cory Gearrin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- David Ross, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.241|
|Cristhian Martinez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-lined out for Gearrin in the 8th|
|2B - Brian McCann 2 (7, Sabathia, Sabathia), Dan Uggla (14, Sabathia), Matt Diaz (4, Sabathia), Andrelton Simmons (2, Sabathia)|
|SH - Mike Minor (2)|
|RBI - Matt Diaz 3 (12), Jason Heyward (30)|
|SB - Michael Bourn (17, 2nd base off Sabathia/Stewart)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Jonny Venters (L,3-3)||0||3||4||4||1||0||1||4.50|
|HBP - A. Jones (by Cory Gearrin)|
|WP - Cory Gearrin (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 100-68, Jonny Venters 19-8, Cory Gearrin 18-9, Cristhian Martinez 21-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 8-10, Cristhian Martinez 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Mike Minor 28, Jonny Venters 4, Cory Gearrin 4, Cristhian Martinez 4|
|Attendance - 41452|
|Game Time - 3:04|
|Temperature - 84|
|Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez|