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Over their previous nine games with the Rays in Tampa, the Yankees tried all sorts of things to win games without any success.
They built up huge leads early and then frittered them away with relievers competent and otherwise. They fell behind early before mounting futile comebacks and they had games where they barely showed up long enough to keep your attention on the game.
Nine games provided them with nine ways to lose and turned the Trop from an eyesore to a pain in the other end of the body as the Yankees kept failing to find ways around their divisional rivals. That finally changed on Wednesday afternoon and Kyle Farnsworth was the secret to their success.
That's not a sentence that was ever written when Farnsworth pitched for the Yankees, even if the rest of his performance was pretty familiar to anyone who watched him hand away leads when he was part of the bullpen in the Bronx. Farnsworth has had greater success since arriving in Tampa, but there must have been something about seeing those Yankee road grays that made him want to come up with a vintage performance.
Farnsworth walked four of the five batters he faced in the eighth inning to fritter away the lead built behind David Price's strong start. If this was a story of his Yankee days, the next batter would have hit a grand slam and that would have been that.
Joe Maddon is a bit more aware than many of your big league managers, though, so he decided to give his team a fighting chance. He went with Jacob McGee, a move that might have been successful if Robinson Cano wasn't the next man up.
A grand slam would have been more dramatic, but a two-run single gets the job done just as well. Cano delivered, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano did their business and the long losing streak came to an end.
Cano has now driven in runs in eight straight games and in 14 of the last 17, a run that has lifted him into the MVP discussion and, most likely, into the nightmares of pitchers around baseball.
It's the kind of run that we once saw from Alex Rodriguez, one of the few other hitters who has been able to carry an offense for a week or more at a time. Cano is doing that now, which is a pretty nice thing to have in your pocket as you head up to Boston.
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