Washington, DC – Phil Hughes piled up a season-high nine strikeouts and the Yankees blew the game open with a four-run seventh inning in a 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Curtis Granderson homered and knocked in three runs for New York, which is riding a season-high seven-game winning streak. Friday's result between first- place teams also gave manager Joe Girardi his 500th career win.
The Yankees, who also broke Washington's season-best six-game victory surge, have won 15 of their last 18 interleague games dating back to last season.
Hughes (7-5) was charged with six hits and a run over six innings. The righty is 4-0 over his last five starts.
"(Hughes had) good command of his fastball and expanded with his breaking ball," Girardi said. "That's the key for him. He's done a good job of that, got some strikeouts when he needed to. For the most part, he executed his pitches."
Alex Rodriguez singled in a run in the third for his 1,924th career RBI, tying Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx for sixth-most on the all-time list.
Gio Gonzalez (8-3) had eight strikeouts, but surrendered five hits and three runs over six-plus innings.
The Yankees, who were playing their first-ever game at Nationals Park, began the scoring in this three-game series in the third. With men on first and second, Rodriguez reached out to tap a low pitch into right field to plate Derek Jeter. Nick Swisher followed with an RBI single to left.
Michael Morse singled to center with the bases full in the bottom of the inning, but the Yankees remained in front, 2-1, when Ian Desmond grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Hughes retired nine straight batters until Desmond singled in the sixth.
The Yankees then blew it open in the seventh, thanks in part to a crucial error from Desmond. With the bases full, Jeter hit a ball in the hole on the left side of the infield. Desmond ranged to his right, but his low throw to first base skipped past first baseman Adam LaRoche. The errant throw scored DeWayne Wise.
"We opened the door for them," Nationals skipper Davey Johnson said.
Mike Gonzalez entered from the bullpen, and Granderson doubled to the left field corner for the 6-1 cushion.
Granderson belted his 20th home run of the year in the ninth, a solo shot to right off Tom Gorzelanny.
Morse scored on Danny Espinosa's groundout in the bottom half.
Gonzalez fell to 1-5 lifetime against the Yankees...Rodriguez's next target on the RBI list is Stan Musial with 1,951...The Yankees are 18-0 this season when Rodriguez drives in at least one run...Andy Pettitte, who turned 40 on Friday, pitches Saturday afternoon against Washington righty Jordan Zimmermann.