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Granderson robs Longoria of extra bases

ST. PETERSBURG -- Sometimes the everyday nature of this game is what's so great about it. You can be a goat one day, then a hero the next.

Such was the case for the Yankees' Curtis Granderson and Boone Logan.

On Tuesday, the two were responsible for an ugly seventh inning that wound up handing the Rays a one-run victory. On Wednesday, Granderson's catch and homer, and Logan's strikeout, were critical in the Yankees' 4-0 win.

"It can be rough one day, and then the next day you can be the hero," Wednesday's winning pitcher, Freddy Garcia, said. "That's the way baseball goes."

For Logan and Granderson, their redemption came from one day to the next.

For Eduardo Nunez -- who committed his 13th error in the seventh, then gave the Yankees some much-needed cushion with a two-out, two-run single in the ninth -- it happened innings apart.

And for Garcia, it was from one start to the other.

The 34-year-old right-hander gave up six runs (five earned) to the Blue Jays on Friday. But on this night, Garcia bounced back -- in much of the same way veteran rotation mate Bartolo Colon did the previous night -- with 6 2/3 shutout innings to move his ERA to 3.21 and give him 12 quality starts in 17 tries.

Garcia has now gone a career-high 46 straight innings without allowing a home run.

"He's been really, really consistent for us, and has been outstanding for us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He did it for us again today."

But Garcia probably doesn't get his eighth win if not also for Granderson and Logan.

In the first, Granderson provided the only offense against Rays ace David Price; a two-run homer that gave him 26 on the year, and a Major League-leading 10 against left-handers, after getting only four versus southpaws last year.

"He's just all over the plate," said Price, who also unintentionally hit Granderson with a fastball in the back in the eighth. "It almost hits him if it's in. If it's not, he gets to it. It's a pretty good approach."

Ironically enough, Granderson provided a game-saving catch on Wednesday, in the fifth inning.

The Rays put runners on second and third with two outs after a Casey Kotchman double. Then, Evan Longoria drilled a Garcia fastball to deep center field that Granderson was able to reel in just before smashing his face into the padded wall and tumbling to the ground.

"Outstanding," Girardi said.

"Initially, when it was hit I thought right away I might have had a shot," Granderson added. "I didn't know how hard it was hit and how far it was hit. If anything, just continue to get back there and let's see what happens."

What happened was sweet redemption.

The previous night, Granderson had lost a Justin Ruggiano fly ball amid the white background of Tropicana Field's roof. With that, the Rays were able to load the bases with one out in the seventh. They then tied it after a chopper bounced off Logan's glove, and brought home the eventual winning run on a sac fly.

"The big thing is just reset," Granderson said. "No matter what ends up happening, good or bad, both yesterday and today, just forget about it, you move on, you get yourself ready to go for the next day."

Logan did just that.

After committing a critical error on Elliot Johnson's chopper 24 hours prior, Logan checked into the seventh inning Wednesday in a similarly tight situation and got a crucial out.

When the Rays put runners on the corners with two outs in a 2-0 game, Girardi took Garcia out with 92 pitches under his belt. Logan then rewarded his skipper's confidence by striking out the lefty-hitting Kotchman with a 3-2 fastball to get out of the jam.

"I felt just as good as I felt yesterday -- luckily he didn't hit the ball back to me," Logan said. "They're all big outs, and coming in after what I did yesterday, and coming out to get that big strikeout, I got pretty pumped up."

The Yankees have now taken two of their first three against the Rays as they head into the series finale on Thursday. With that, they remained 1 1/2 games back of the Red Sox in the American League East for the seventh straight day.

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