Yankees pull out to biggest division lead in nearly a month

The Yankees got another solid start from Andy Pettitte against the Twins last night as they beat them 6-3 at Minnesota in just his second start off the DL.

The win, combined with a split doubleheader by the Orioles against the Blue Jays increases the Yankees lead in the AL East to 1.5 games, their largest lead since Sept. 2.

Pettitte, who was limited to just 88 pitches, gave up his fair share of hits, but got tough when it mattered. He escaped a bases loaded jam in the first inning, got a pair of double plays, and benefited from a runner thrown out at the plate. In 11 innings since returning, he has not allowed an earned run.

The Yankees offense was powered by four home runs off the weak Twins pitching. Nick Swisher hit a two-run bomb in the first inning, Curtis Granderson added a solo shot in the fourth, and then Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez hit one each in the seventh inning that increased the Yankees lead to 6-0.

Ibanez is making a last minute effort to ensure he’s on the playoff roster. After hitting a pathetic .191/.278/.330 from June through Sept. 20, he has gone 7-for-12 with three home runs and two doubles in his last three games. It’s good to see, but hopefully he is still riding the bench come October.

The Yankees have just nine more games left this season with Phil Hughes going agaisnt the Twins at 8:10 tonight. None of the teams have a better than .500 record.

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