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Yankees' Gardner leads off for second straight game

Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner batted leadoff against Oakland

Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner batted leadoff against Oakland for the second straight night on Tuesday. Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

OAKLAND, Calif. - Has Brett Gardner quietly taken over the leadoff spot from Derek Jeter?

No, Joe Girardi said, but last night, the Yankees manager did have Gardner leading off for the second straight game with Jeter hitting behind him.

Monday was the first time in 79 starts this season in which Jeter didn't lead off. Girardi said he made the move to split up his lefthanded batters with Jorge Posada out of the lineup, but Posada was back last night.

It had a lot to do, Girardi said, with righty Trevor Cahill starting for the Athletics and Gardner's numbers against righthanders. He was hitting .337 with a .415 on-base percentage against righties; he's hitting .263 with a .355 OBP vs. lefthanders. Gardner had a single in the five-run third inning in his four trips last night.

"If Gardy can hit up there, it would be great," Girardi said. "His on-base percentage against righthanders is tremendous and he creates problems for the defense."

He's less likely to bat Gardner leadoff against lefties but didn't discount it happening with more frequency against righthanders. "We'll just have to wait and see," Girardi said.

Slam, solo HR for A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez hit his 21st career grand slam in the third inning, tying Manny Ramirez for second place all-time behind Lou Gehrig's 23 slams. A-Rod also hit a solo homer in the sixth, the 597th of his career.

Jorge back

Wearing extra padding on the left ring finger he injured Sunday, Posada returned to the lineup. "I'm surprised the way it felt [Monday]," Posada said before the game. "It felt better than I thought it would." Posada said the finger doesn't limit him behind the plate or at bat. "It doesn't bother me to do anything unless I get a foul tip,'' he said, "and you can't control that."


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