Update, 7:25: Nick Swisher’s invaluable bat has made another contribution. That solo shot here in the first off James Shields was his 27th homer. Hopefully for his sake and the Yankees’, that left knee will hold up from here.
Update, 7:32: Good start for the Yankees. Jorge Posada’s RBI single makes it 2-0.
Update, 7:35: They’re teeing off on Shields. Lance Berkman’s two-run double over B.J. Upton’s head in center makes it a four-run margin already.
Update, 7:37: Curtis Granderson continues to hit, RBI single, 5-0.
Update, 7:46: That was quite a drive by Matt Joyce off Phil Hughes, into the second deck in right. So it’s 5-1 in the second.
Update, 8:06: Bad job by Hughes with his control, with two walks and a wild pitch leading to a run. But good job to get out of the inning against Dan Johnson, who hurt him in the last start at Tampa Bay. So it’s 5-2 heading for the bottom of the third.
Update, 8:26: Not a good play by Robinson Cano. The Yankees could have been out of the fourth on a 1-6-3 double play. But Cano and Derek Jeter both covered the bag. Cano caught it for the force and had no throw as he came together with Jeter. But Jeter had the momentum striding toward first. Jason Bartlett singled, so it’s first and second, two outs.
Update, 8:29: Now Hughes has issued his fifth walk, bases loaded for Ben Zobrist.
Update, 8:30: Hughes gets out of it on a grounder to first. Lot of traffic on the bases against him, but he’s only cracked for two runs.
Update, 8:48: Johnson is 0 for 3 now after grounding out for the last out in the fifth. So Hughes has a 5-2 lead after 4 1/2.
Update, 8:53: Shields has settled down. The Yankees have no hits since Derek Jeter’s single to open the second. It’s 5-2 heading for the sixth.
Update, 8:58: A 1-2-3 sixth for Hughes. That’s probably it for him. I believe he’s at 106 pitches. All in all, good work outside of the five walks. He allowed two runs and three hits. If this holds up, it will be win No. 17 with two starts to go. But we have a ways to go.
Update, 9:04: Shields is done with runners on first and second and one out in the sixth. Lefty Jake McGee is the new pitcher.
Update, 9:13: Joe Girardi left Hughes in to start the seventh surprisingly and Jason Bartlett greeted Hughes with a single. Javier Vazquez is warming.
Update, 9:16: Now Hughes is done, 6 1/3, two runs, four hits. There’s a runner on second. Vazquez will get his first work since his start on Sept. 10.
Update, 9:23: Make that three runs and four hits. Carl Crawford’s bloop single makes it 5-3. Vazquez holds them there, though.
Update, 9:27: Chad Qualls is on to pitch the seventh for the Rays.
Update, 9:36: First and third, two outs. Qualls is out, and ex-Yankees lefty Randy Choate is in to face Cano.
Update, 9:40: Well, this game appears in good shape for the Yankees. Cano’s bloop two-run double down the left-field line means it’s 7-3. Cano went to third on the throw home. Choate is out and Lance Cormier is in.
Update, 9:51: Vazquez has given up two singles to start the eighth. Joba is warming.
Update, 9:54: One out later, Vazquez is out and Joba is in.
Update, 10:22: Yankees win, 8-3. They’re up by 2 1/2. The magic number to clinch a postseason berth is four, pending the Red Sox’s game against the Orioles, and Boston is losing in the ninth.