Swisher's three-run homer lifts Yankees

Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees celebrates

Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees celebrates his three-run home run in the eighth inning with teammates Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. (June 19, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty

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CHICAGO - CHICAGO -- Nick Swisher maybe, finally, just might be on track.

The rightfielder, in a horrendous slump much of the season, has shown signs of his 2010 self -- most recently Sunday night, when he hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning to lead the Yankees to a 10-4 victory over the Cubs in front of 41,828 at Wrigley Field.

The Yankees scored nine unanswered runs to erase a 4-1 deficit, including three in each of the last two innings. They wound up outhitting the Cubs 13-10, picking up two home runs, a triple and three doubles.

The series, taken by the Yankees two games to one, drew 126,283, the largest three-game series total in the history of Wrigley, which opened in 1914.

Swisher's blast, a shot about three-quarters of the way up the bleachers in right, came off righthander Chris Carpenter, who had been brought in to face him, and gave the Yankees a 7-4 lead. It was his seventh homer of the season.

"In a situation like that, he doesn't want to get behind 3-0,'' Swisher said. "Just looking for a fastball. He throws super-hard. I was just trying to find the barrel.''

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Swisher ended May hitting .213 and still was hitting that as recently as June 4. But he has a .341 batting average (15-for-44) and .466 on-base percentage dating to his last at-bat June 5, when he homered.

"I feel good,'' Swisher said. "Definitely know I dug myself a little hole early in the season, but either way, I've been battling, fighting, putting the time in and just having fun. Finally laughing again, smiling, enjoying the game again like I know how.''

Regarding Swisher's resurgence, Joe Girardi said, "Both sides are starting to come together for him . . . I just think his mechanics are better. I think he's taking a lot of the balls that are down below the zone. He's squaring balls up.''

Girardi added, "It adds a lot to our lineup, and you get Jorgie [Posada] in the mix there, too, swinging the bat really well. It adds a lot because we know how dangerous Swish can be.''

Swisher's father, Steve, caught for the Cubs from 1974-77. Referring to Father's Day and his dad's connection with the Cubs, he said, "I think it's great. Can't wait to call him after this. I love him. He's my hero, my idol. To be able to give him this gift today was just a great day for me.''

Alex Rodriguez singled to lead off the eighth against lefthander Sean Marshall and easily reached third on Robinson Cano's line-drive single to right-center. Carpenter then came in to face Swisher. Needless to say, the move worked out in the Yankees' favor.

The Yankees began the ninth with four straight extra-base hits, as Brett Gardner doubled, Curtis Granderson tripled and Mark Teixeira and Rodriguez doubled. That made it 10-4.

Swisher had three hits and four RBIs, Gardner had three hits, including a home run to lead off the game, and Rodriguez added three hits and scored three runs.

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Aramis Ramirez had four hits and Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th home run, a three-run shot, for the Cubs.

Since being swept by the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium June 7-9, the Yankees have gone 8-2, with the only losses by 1-0 and 3-1 scores.

CC Sabathia (9-4) wasn't sharp, allowing four runs and eight hits in seven innings. But after Soriano's three-run homer in the third made it 4-1, the Cubs didn't score again. Said Sabathia, "I couldn't throw a ball inside tonight to save my life. These guys found a way.''

Gardner gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first, swatting Randy Wells' 0-and-2 pitch into the seats in right for his fourth home run of the season and first of his career from the leadoff spot. It was his first home run since April 28. He is hitting .359 (51-for-142) in his last 49 games.

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Reed Johnson doubled and eventually scored on Jeff Baker's groundout to short in the bottom of the inning, tying it at 1-1.

Sabathia retired Johnson to start the third but Starlin Castro, 2-for-4 in each of the first two games of the series, singled. After Baker flied out, Ramirez singled -- but not before cracking catcher Russell Martin on the side of the head on his follow-through on a 1-and-0 pitch.

That caused a short delay as Girardi and trainer Gene Monahan came out to check on Martin, who was run over by Carlos Peña the day before.

Ramirez lined the next pitch to center for a single and Soriano followed with his 14th homer of the season and sixth in 38 career at-bats against Sabathia. That's the most home runs Sabathia has allowed to any hitter.

Swisher's RBI single and Eduardo Nuñez's run-scoring grounder made it 4-3 in the fourth. Singles by Rodriguez and Cano and Martin's line-drive sacrifice fly to right tied it at 4-4 in the sixth.

A-Rod: I'm OK.A report on ESPNnewyork.com Sunday night said Rodriguez has been playing with a "strained" left shoulder the last couple of weeks, but A-Rod and Girardi said it was nothing more than the typical wear and tear players absorb during the season.

"You go through regular bumps and bruises in a long season," Rodriguez said. "That's just another small example of it. But for the most part, it felt pretty good."

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