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Yankees lead AL East, hold off Royals 9-7

In a back and forth contest, the New York Yankees eventually held off the Kansas City Royals to win their third straight game, this time by the score of 9-7. More importantly, the Yankees are back in sole possession of first place in the American League East for the first time since August 5. This game may not have been pretty, but a win is a win. The Yankees improved to 74-46 with the victory, while the Royals fell to 50-73. 

Ivan Nova was less than stellar, going 5.1 innings while allowing seven runs on nine hits. He issued merely one walk, but only struck out two (his only strikeouts in his last two starts). I'm curious as to the reception A.J. Burnett would have received after a start like this. 

Before the jump, here's the umpire's strike zone from tonight. It's fairly humorous. 



In the first inning, Nova served up a double to deep right center to Eric Hosmer and a single to Jeff Francoeur that each knocked in a run to give the Royals a brisk 2-0 lead. 

New York would battle back to take the lead in the third inning behind an RBI single by Robinson Cano and a bases loaded, two-run single by Russell Martin

Kansas City would then provide their own answer to claim the lead again in the bottom half of the third. After an Alcides Escobar leadoff triple, Alex Gordon would hit a groundout that allowed the tying run in Escobar to score. Melky Cabrera would then hit his 16th home run of the season deep to right to give the Royals a 4-3 lead. Francoeur would later double home Butler to extend the lead to 5-3. 

Top of the fourth would prove to be a fun time. Brett Gardner set the tone with a leadoff bunt, which allowed Derek Jeter's double roped down the left field line to bring the Bombers back within one run. Mark Teixeira's RBI single would tie the game. With Curtis Granderson and Teixeira on base, Cano stepped to the plate for an epic thirteen pitch at bat. Pitches six through 12 were all fouled off before Cano finally crushed the thirteenth pitch deep into right-center field to give the Yankees the lead for good, 8-5. 

Nova allowed a two-run double in the sixth and that would be it for him. 

Boone Logan entered the game, striking out Moustakas and inducing a fantastic play by Teixeira to end the inning. 

The last run of the game came in the top of the seventh. Gardner's two-out triple set up Jeter's RBI single to give us the final of 9-7. 

Because this isn't Philadelphia, I refuse to give a foolish nickname to a set of pitchers. Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera did their jobs well tonight: 2.2 innings, five strikeouts, and no hits or walks. 

Play of the game: Cano's three-run bomb

Comment of the game: WhatwouldJeterdo

Yankees look to break out the brooms tomorrow night. 

In tomorrow morning's news, look for fun with small sample sizes (sort of) and some Alex Rodriguez updates. See you all in the AM! 

Follow me on twitter @csm5206