Three three-game sweeps later, a season in which October baseball at Yankee Stadium seemed in doubt for some time will likely end no earlier.
The New York Yankees' sweep of the Washington Nationals--completed when they won 4-1 at Nationals Park on Sunday behind Ivan Nova's 7-2/3 innings of one-run ball--brought their winning streak to nine, record to 40-25 (best in the AL, second best in MLB) and divisional lead to 1.5 games over the Baltimore Orioles (39-27).
Timely hitting and terrific all-around pitching. New York has gotten great production in both respects en route to winning nine straight, from Rafael Soriano's five saves in as many opportunities and the pair of wins picked up by Nova, Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda, to Russell Martin's walk-off solo home run against the New York Mets on Sunday, June 10 and Mark Teixeira's go-ahead two-run double in a 14-inning, 5-3 victory over the Nationals this past Saturday.
Despite losing starter Michael Pineda and closer Mariano Rivera to season-ending injuries, the Yankees' team ERA entering their series finale vs. Washington on Sunday was 3.68, fourth lowest in the AL. And while left fielder Brett Gardner's speed is missing from their lineup, they've averaged 5.1 runs per game during the streak. They were averaging 4.77 runs per game overall in 2012 prior to Sunday (the AL's fourth highest average).
The Yankees are 13-2 in June and will open a three-game set on Monday night in the Bronx vs. an Atlanta Braves team they swept at Turner Field last week. Atlanta (35-31) wasn't able to gain much ground on Washington over the weekend, losing to Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday.
Monday's interleague matchup at Yankee Stadium features a pair of left-handed probables, as CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.70 ERA) and Mike Minor (3-4, 6.01 ERA) will start for New York and Atlanta, respectively.