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Yankees beat Rays, close in on AL East title

Curtis Granderson drove in four runs and Ivan 0 win game series.

The win moves the Yankees six games over Boston for first place in the AL East and cuts their magic number to three. The Red Sox lost to the Orioles Tuesday night.

Nova (16-4) gave up just six hits and three walks while striking out three in 7 2/3 innings. He is unbeaten in his last 12 decisions and is the first Yankee rookie to win 12 in a row since Atley Donald in 1939. His last loss came on June 3 against the Angels.

"The distance and the no runs is what I like the most," said New York manager Joe Girardi about Nova. "He was outstanding and did a lot of things right out there."

Eric Chavez drove in the other run for the Yankees, who have won three of four.

Derek Jeter had two hits to move past Cap Anson for 19th place on baseball's all-time hit list with 3,082.

Sean Rodriguez had two of the six hits for the Rays, who came into the series having taken three of four from Boston. Wade Davis (10-10) was tagged for five runs on eight hits with five walks over just 4 2/3 innings.

Tampa is still two games behind Boston for the wild card lead.

"Obviously we would have liked to gain a game, but it didn't happen," said Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton. "But we also didn't lose any ground. We just have to come back out tomorrow and play a good game."

These teams will play a doubleheader on Wednesday with the first game scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. (et) and the second contest set for 7:05 p.m. (et).

The Yankees got all the runs they needed in the second inning. Nick Swisher led off with a double and Chavez followed with a single to bring him home. Russell Martin then singled and Brett Gardner reached on a bunt single to load the bases. After Jeter struck out, Granderson cleared the bags with a double for a 4-0 lead.

"I was just trying to get them around the bases," said Granderson. "We knew it was going to be one of those games where we weren't going to get many chances so we had to take advantage of our chances."

New York added a run in the fifth for a 5-0 lead. With one out, Gardner and Jeter singled and Cesar Ramos then took the mound in relief of Davis.

Granderson then punched a grounder to first that Casey Kotchman fielded, but was unable to get it over to Ramos, giving Granderson an infield single and scoring Gardner.

Upton doubled to leadoff the Tampa sixth and moved to third on an Evan Longoria groundout, but Johnny Damon popped out and Matt Joyce struck out following a Kotchman walk.

The Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but Desmond Jennings flied out to left and Upton hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.

After walking Kotchman with two outs in the eighth, Boone Logan took the mound and got Brandon Guyer to pop out.

Luis Ayala gave up a one-out walk in the ninth, but then induced a 4-6-3 double play from Dan Johnson to end the game.

Game Notes

The Yankees have won seven of the 12 games with the Rays this season...Nova improved to 2-0 in four starts against the Rays...Davis fell to 2-3 in six games against the Yankees...The Rays left nine men on base and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position...The Yankees stranded 18 men on base and left at least one runner on base in each inning. It was the most they had left on base in a nine-inning game since stranding a Major League record 20 men on base on September 21, 1956 at Boston.