After suffering through a season of injuries and inconsistency, the New York Yankees are starting to get all the breaks and rarely lose.
Coming off a stirring win, the Yankees will look to maintain their share of the AL wild card lead when they try for a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals.
The Yankees were four runs down and three outs from relinquishing their portion of the wild-card lead on Saturday, before staging the most unexpected of comebacks. New York was given a second life when Kansas City reliever Jeremy Affeldt through away a potential game-ending double-play grounder and went on to score five runs in an 8-7 victory.
“The bottom line is it’s never over until the last out,” said Derek Jeter, whose two-run single in the ninth pulled New York within a run. “If you’ve done something before, you always think you can do it again.”
New York, which remained tied with Oakland for the wild card lead and trails Boston by just 1 1/2 games in the AL East, moved a season-high 16 games above .500. The Yankees, 61-37 following an 11-19 start, have come from behind in 32 of their wins and have won 12 of 16 overall.
Jeter has spearheaded the recent surge, batting .354 (23-for-65) with 16 runs scored over his last 15 games. Jeter is now batting .313 with a league-leading 99 runs.
“I’ve never played in a playoff game, never played in a meaningful game in September,” Lawton said prior to the game. “To walk into this clubhouse, I’m sweating like crazy already.”
Mike Sweeney went 2-for-5 with three RBIs for the Royals, who have lost a franchise-record 10 straight games at Yankee Stadium.
Sweeney is 6-for-13 in the series, and has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. However, prior to Saturday, Sweeney had just seven RBIs in 21 games this month.