|N.Y. Yankees (40-25) «||1||0||0||0||1||0||2||0||0||4||10||0|
WASHINGTON -- The New York Yankees are used to big crowds, used to so-called "playoff atmospheres" in the regular season. The clubhouse is stocked with players who know what it's like to be in first place.
Those are relatively new sensations for the on-the-rise Washington Nationals, who received a lesson or two in the Yankees' first trip to the nation's capital in six years. New York swept the series between division leaders, capping the three-game set Sunday with another solid performance from starter Ivan Nova in a 4-1 victory.
"When you're playing as well as we are, no matter what the situation is, you feel like you're going to get it done," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
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Both teams entered the series riding six-game winning streaks. The Yankees are now up to nine, their longest since May 2009. The series drew the eighth, ninth and 10th largest crowds in the 4½-year history of Nationals Park, with fans in pinstripes trying to outshout the locals in red.
"I think that's the one good thing that came this weekend," said first baseman Adam LaRoche, whose second-inning homer accounted for Washington's lone run Sunday. "That's about as close to a playoff atmosphere as you're going to get. ... You get the place packed, people going crazy and obviously it draws a lot of media attention. It'll be good for these guys, especially the young guys, to get used to that."
Nova (9-2) gave up seven hits and a run in an efficient, mostly trouble-free 7 2/3 innings to win his fifth consecutive start. He is also unbeaten in his past 15 road starts -- a streak that has been going for more than a year. He is 12-0 away from Yankee Stadium since losing to the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on June 3, 2011.
The offense, as usual, came from the long ball. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano hit the 98th and 99th Yankees home runs of the season -- both solo shots -- to make up for another abysmal day (0 for 12) with runners in scoring position. New York is hitting a mere .216 with men on second and third this season.
"We're still not happy about that," said Mark Teixeira, who went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. "I wish I could tell you the issue. We just have to be better at hitting with runners in scoring position. We can talk about offense all we want; the fact is our pitching staff is why we are here today."
Granderson conected off Edwin Jackson (3-4) in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie. Cano made it a two-run cushion in the seventh off Tom Gorzelanny. Another run came in the seventh on a passed ball by Nationals catcher Jhonatan Solano, who had another passed ball later in the inning.
The Yankees maintained a 1½-game lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. The Nationals also remain in first -- four games clear of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East -- but they hit a buzz saw, getting swept at home for the first time this season and scoring only six runs in the three games.
"We've got to play better than that," Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said, "if we want to beat teams like that."
In particular, Zimmerman needs to hit better. He went 0 for 4 Sunday and 1 for 13 in the series to drop his average to .229.
"What really concerns me is we've got to get Zim going," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "We've got to get Zim to a happy place."
|The New York outfield comes together in celebration of the Yanks' victory over the Nationals -- their ninth straight. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|New York Yankees|
|Derek Jeter, SS||5||1||1||0||0||1||4||.314|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||4||1||2||1||1||0||2||.257|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||5||0||0||0||0||1||3||.269|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||3||1||2||1||2||0||0||.300|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B||4||1||3||1||0||0||1||.252|
|Raul Ibanez, LF||5||0||0||0||0||0||7||.239|
|Dewayne Wise, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.138|
|Andruw Jones, RF||3||0||0||0||2||0||1||.217|
|Chris Stewart, C||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.259|
|Ivan Nova, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.200|
|Boone Logan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Rafael Soriano, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|2B - Curtis Granderson (9, Jackson), Mark Teixeira 2 (16, Gorzelanny, Burnett), Chris Stewart (2, Jackson)|
|HR - Curtis Granderson (21, Jackson), Robinson Cano (12, Gorzelanny)|
|SF - Mark Teixeira (4)|
|SH - Ivan Nova 2 (2)|
|RBI - Curtis Granderson (40), Robinson Cano (31), Mark Teixeira (39)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|DP - Cano-Jeter-Teixeira|
|New York Yankees|
|Ivan Nova (W,9-2)||7.2||7||1||1||1||4||1||4.32|
|Boone Logan (H,8)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.28|
|Rafael Soriano (S,13)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.78|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ivan Nova 97-64, Boone Logan 4-2, Rafael Soriano 11-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ivan Nova 10-8, Rafael Soriano 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Ivan Nova 30, Boone Logan 1, Rafael Soriano 3|
|Stephen Lombardozzi, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.268|
|Bryce Harper, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.294|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.229|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||4||1||2||1||0||0||1||.264|
|Michael Morse, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.211|
|Ian Desmond, SS||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.264|
|Danny Espinosa, 2B||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.230|
|Jhonatan Solano, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.385|
|Edwin Jackson, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.160|
|Tom Gorzelanny, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Ryan Mattheus, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Roger Bernadina, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.237|
|Mike Gonzalez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Sean Burnett, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Mattheus in the 7th|
|2B - Bryce Harper (10, Nova), Adam LaRoche (16, Nova)|
|HR - Adam LaRoche (12, Nova)|
|SH - Edwin Jackson (2)|
|RBI - Adam LaRoche (43)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|PB - Jhonatan Solano 2 (2)|
|E - Ian Desmond (11, Misplayed grounder)|
|Edwin Jackson (L,3-4)||6||7||2||2||3||1||1||3.02|
|IBB - Cano by Edwin Jackson|
|Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 110-65, Tom Gorzelanny 17-10, Ryan Mattheus 10-4, Mike Gonzalez 17-7, Sean Burnett 12-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 9-9, Tom Gorzelanny 1-0, Ryan Mattheus 1-0, Sean Burnett 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 29, Tom Gorzelanny 4, Ryan Mattheus 2, Mike Gonzalez 4, Sean Burnett 4|
|Attendance - 41442|
|Game Time - 3:11|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Tim Timmons|