Desperation seems to be setting in for the New York Yankees .
Perhaps a return home can provide a lift, particularly at the plate.
While the Yankees attempt to solve their offensive woes, CC Sabathia attempts to extend his home winning streak to four games Friday night against the San Francisco Giants .
New York (80-73) is 3 1/2 games back of Tampa Bay and Texas for one of the AL's two wild-card spots, and it must also overtake Cleveland, Baltimore and Kansas City to reach the playoffs.
The Yankees have nine games left, starting with three games each at home against San Francisco (71-82) and Tampa Bay before visiting Houston to finish the season.
"We've got to run the table, there's no way around it," infielder Mark Reynolds said. "We've got some tough games coming up. The Giants have good pitching, Tampa's got good pitching. We've got to have a good homestand and hopefully go into Houston with a chance.
"There's only so many 'Get 'em tomorrows' left."
That mantra is ending since the Yankees have dropped five of six while batting .184 with 13 runs. Their offensive futility continued with five hits in Thursday's 6-2 loss at last-place Toronto.
"It's frustrating," manager Joe Girardi said. "We haven't swung the bats that well for the last week."
They have at home, hitting .285 with 22 homers and averaging 6.0 runs while winning 16 of 22 there.
Sabathia (13-13, 4.90 ERA) has also found some success at home, winning three straight starts despite a 4.74 ERA. He's lost his last two outings - both on the road - while giving up nine runs in 13 1-3 innings.
"It's very frustrating, because everybody keeps telling me I'm close, but I don't see it," Sabathia told the team's official website. "I want results and I know the team wants results. I know the fans want results. It's just tough not being able to deliver."
He's won both career starts versus the Giants with a 1.59 ERA, and is facing them for the first time since a road win with Milwaukee in 2008.
The Giants will counter the two-time Cy Young Award winner with one of their own in Tim Lincecum (10-13, 4.40).
Unlike Sabathia, Lincecum is putting together a strong stretch, going 4-0 with a 3.77 ERA in five starts. It's the right-hander's longest winning streak since going 6-0 over nine games bridging 2009 and 2010.
He got a great deal of help in order to keep his streak going Saturday, allowing three runs with six strikeouts in six innings of a 19-3 road victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers .
Facing the Yankees for the first time, Lincecum is 1-5 with a 5.93 ERA over eight interleague starts in two years.
He's two strikeouts shy of becoming the seventh pitcher to get 1,500 with the Giants, and the first since Gaylord Perry in 1971.
San Francisco has won five of six following Thursday's 2-1 victory over the New York Mets . Rookie Juan Perez , who went to high school in New York, had a season-high three hits, a walk and an RBI in four plate appearances in front of family and friends.
He's looking forward to doing it again in front of even more relatives in the Bronx.
"That will be a crazy series for me, tickets-wise," the outfielder said.
Buster Posey is in a 1-for-21 slump over his last six games after going 0 for 10 in three versus the Mets.
The Giants will be the first team to finish with a losing record the season after winning the World Series since St. Louis in 2007.
|San Francisco Giants|
|August 23, 2013||Matt Cain||15-Day DL||Right forearm contusion|
|August 23, 2013||Matt Cain||15-Day DL||Right forearm contusion|
|August 22, 2013||Andres Torres||60-Day DL||Surgery, left Achilles - out for season|
|August 20, 2013||Pablo Sandoval||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|August 17, 2013||Chad Gaudin||15-Day DL||Carpal tunnel syndrome|
|August 15, 2013||Sandy Rosario||Day-to-Day||Bruised sternum|
|New York Yankees|
|September 14, 2013||Alfonso Soriano||Day-to-Day||Sprained right thumb|
|September 12, 2013||Brett Gardner||Day-to-Day||Left game - Oblique|
|September 08, 2013||Derek Jeter||60-Day DL||Left ankle soreness|
|September 08, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - left foot contusion|
|September 07, 2013||Vidal Nuno||60-Day DL||Strained left groin|
|September 07, 2013||Derek Jeter||Day-to-Day||Left ankle|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez 's record-breaking grand slam was a big one for the Yankees, who can only hope it came in time for a last-gasp run at the playoffs.
Rodriguez set a major league mark with his 24th career slam, passing Lou Gehrig with a tiebreaking shot in the seventh inning that sent New York to a 5-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.
"It means I'm getting old," said Rodriguez, 38. "It's hard to think about things like that right now. We're really on a sprint to the end here and every win is huge for us."
A-Rod's drive helped CC Sabathia (14-13) beat Tim Lincecum in a matchup of former Cy Young Award winners having subpar seasons.
More importantly for the Yankees, it carried them to their second win in seven games as they cling to faint playoff hopes.
New York, which has eight games remaining, pulled within three of the second AL wild card - with three other teams in between. The Indians' 2-1 rain-shortened win over Houston, moved them a half-game ahead of Texas, which began the day tied with Tampa Bay atop the standings but lost 2-1 to Kansas City. The Rays beat Baltimore in 18 innings to keep the lead.
"It's an unbelievable accomplishment and it's a big one for us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't know if we can afford to lose any more games."
Alfonso Soriano also homered and New York opened its final homestand with a much-needed victory, hours after pitcher Andy Pettitte announced his plans to retire - again - following this season.
The news about Pettitte hardly came as a surprise, but the 41-year-old lefty put to rest any speculation he might be back next season. Pettitte, who stepped off the mound for a year before returning in 2012, is scheduled to start the series finale Sunday - the same day the Yankees will honor retiring closer Mariano Rivera in a pregame ceremony.
Rookie outfielder Juan Perez , back home in the Bronx, hit an RBI double for the Giants. The defending World Series champions have spent all week in New York - they took two of three from the Mets at Citi Field, where a large throng of vocal San Francisco fans made them feel right at home.
Giants rooters came out in the Bronx, too, easy to spot in their orange or black jerseys. An audible chant of "Let's go Giants!" quickly drew boos from Yankees fans in the crowd of 41,734.
"There's a lot of Giants fans here. I noticed that. They travel well," Rodriguez said.
With the score tied at 1, Eduardo Nunez grounded a single through the right side to start the seventh. Lincecum (10-14) hit Brendan Ryan with a pitch and walked Ichiro Suzuki with two outs, loading the bases and ending the right-hander's night.
Rodriguez, hampered by a sore leg lately, reached out and lofted a 2-1 pitch from George Kontos toward the hitter-friendly dimensions in right field for his 654th career homer and seventh this season.
"Just tough to watch and tough to put somebody in that kind of situation," Lincecum said. "Just wasted a lot of pitches that inning, didn't attack the zone as much as the previous six, and I felt like I could've gotten out of that better than what happened."
The hit snapped a 1-for-25 slide for A-Rod, who returned Aug. 5 from hip surgery. It was his 14th slam for the Yankees, moving him ahead of Joe DiMaggio for second place on the franchise list behind Gehrig.
"I'm a huge fan of Lou Gehrig , everything he's done, going back to his college days in New York," Rodriguez said. "He's kind of the gold standard for a Yankee. Special moment. I'll think about it someday."
Sabathia was pulled after a leadoff single in the eighth and walked off to a warm ovation. David Robertson got Perez to ground into a double play, and Rivera worked a perfect ninth.
But it was Rodriguez who delivered the big blow.
"Unbelievable - especially at that moment. He came up big for us again," Sabathia said. "Hopefully we can just keep getting big hits like that and keep winning games."
Lincecum, who had won four straight decisions, was looking for his first five-game winning streak since early in the 2010 season. He was charged with four runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He threw 66 of 121 pitches for strikes.
"He pitched great," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's some tough luck there in that last inning."
NOTES: Giants CF Angel Pagan was rested in favor of Perez. ... DH Buster Posey singled in the sixth to end a 1-for-23 skid on the road trip. ... Rodriguez's previous slam came in Atlanta on June 12 last year. ... Looking to spark his struggling lineup, Girardi moved a slumping Suzuki into the leadoff spot, partly because he had faced Lincecum several times in the past few years. ... LHP Boone Logan (elbow) was available, Girardi said. ... After the Yankees got in late following Thursday night's loss at Toronto, C Chris Stewart was rested in favor of rookie J.R. Murphy. "Physically, I just think it's too hard," Girardi said.