(Sports Network) - Coming off an emotional win, the New York Yankees will now try to put even more distance between them and the Tampa Bay Rays, as the two AL East foes continue a three-game set today at Yankee Stadium.
Last night, Nick Swisher hit the game-tying home run in the eighth inning and singled in the winning run in the ninth, lifting the Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the Rays on an emotional night in the Bronx.
"I thought the club played like Mr. Steinbrenner expected," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "Fought back twice, tied the score twice, and then we won it in the end."
Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada added back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning for the Yankees, who honored late team owner George Steinbrenner and former public address announcer Bob Sheppard before and throughout the game.
Steinbrenner passed away Tuesday of a heart attack at the age of 80, while Sheppard died Sunday at age 99.
The Yankees held a pre-game ceremony, at which they played a video tribute to Steinbrenner, and closer Mariano Rivera laid roses at home plate. Shortstop Derek Jeter, introduced by the voice of Sheppard, spoke prior to a moment of silence for both icons.
CC Sabathia started the game for the Yankees and allowed four runs - three earned - over seven innings, while Rivera (3-1) picked up the win with a scoreless ninth inning.
James Shields got the nod for Tampa Bay and he yielded three earned runs over six innings. Randy Choate (2-3) took the loss for the Rays, who fell three games back of the Yankees for the top spot in the AL East.
The Rays will try to bounce back today behind Jeff Niemann, who is 4-0 with a 3.15 ERA in eight starts on the road this season. In his last start against Cleveland on July 11th, Niemann gave up three earned runs and six hits over five innings. He did not receive a decision in the team's 6-5 home win.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA in three lifetimes starts versus the Yankees, but this is his first appearance of the campaign against them.
A.J. Burnett will counter for New York and he is looking to build off two straight solid starts. In his last showing on July 7th, Burnett allowed two earned runs and five hits over seven innings of a 6-2 win over Oakland. It was his first win since May 30th.
In 23 career starts against Tampa Bay, Burnett is 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA. The right-hander last faced the Rays on May 19th, surrendering six runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 10-6 loss at home.
Tampa and the Yankees have split six meetings this season.