CHICAGO (AP) — Nick Swisher hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning and the New York Yankees routed the Chicago Cubs 10-4 on Sunday night in the finale of their first series at Wrigley Field in eight years.
Brett Gardner added his first career leadoff homer for the Yankees, who have won eight of 10 since they were swept by Boston in a three-game series at home. Swisher finished with four RBIs and Alex Rodriguez helped spark New York’s offense with three hits and a walk.
Another boisterous crowd packed Chicago’s longtime home for the third straight day, and there were more “Let’s go Yankees!” chants from pockets of New York fans, followed by the inevitable boos from the majority of the paid attendance of 41,828. The crowd for the rubber game brought the weekend total to 126,283, setting a Wrigley Field record for a three-game series.
Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th homer and Aramis Ramirez had four hits for Chicago, which dropped the last two games of the series after winning four of five. Sean Marshall (3-2) pitched a perfect seventh, but failed to record an out in the eighth and was charged with two runs.
Soriano’s three-run shot off CC Sabathia (9-4) made it 4-1 in the third inning, but that was it for the Cubs.
Russell Martin had a tying sacrifice fly in the sixth for New York and Swisher hit a 2-0 pitch from Chris Carpenter deep into the bleachers in right to make it 7-4.
That was enough for an uneven Sabathia, who allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings to improve to 6-1 in his past seven starts. David Robertson worked around two walks during a scoreless eighth and Jeff Marquez got Soriano to fly out with the bases loaded to end the game.
Randy Wells gave up four runs and five hits in six innings for Chicago, hurt by a costly fielding mistake by shortstop Starlin Castro in the fourth.
With one out and Rodriguez on first, Robinson Cano hit a dribbler in front of the plate. Catcher Geovany Soto pounced on the ball and threw to second, but Castro took his foot off the bag early while trying to complete the double play and both runners were safe.
Swisher responded with a run-scoring single into right field, trimming Chicago’s lead to 4-2. After Martin walked, Eduardo Nunez drove in Cano with a groundout. Wells then got Sabathia to fly out to left to end the inning.
The damage might have been worse if not for Ramirez’s diving grab on Mark Teixeira’s leadoff liner to third. Ramirez, who turns 33 this month, also made a nice barehanded play to take a hit away from Martin in Chicago’s 3-1 victory in Friday’s series opener.
Soriano connected on a 1-1 pitch, hitting a drive to left for his second homer since he came off the disabled list Wednesday after being sidelined with a strained left quadriceps.
Soriano, who played for New York for five seasons before he was traded to Texas in the A-Rod deal, has six career homers against Sabathia, the most for any player against the Yankees ace.
New York added three runs in the ninth, making for an early exit for much of the big crowd. Curtis Granderson hit an RBI triple and scored on Teixeira’s double. Rodriguez added another run-scoring double.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (shoulder inflammation) struck out seven in a rehab appearance with Class A Staten Island, yielding one run and three hits in 4 1-3 innings. … Yankees manager Joe Girardi got up at 6 a.m. and drove two hours to visit his father, Jerry, just outside of Peoria. Girardi’s father suffers from Alzheimer’s. “Morning was very good. Better than I expected after what I had heard,” Girardi said. “His eyes were open. He was moving. He ate well, so it was all good.” … The Cubs and White Sox play for the first time this season on Monday night, opening a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. “I always look forward to these series but getting too high or low probably isn’t a good thing for us,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said. … Castro fouled a ball off his left leg in the third but remained in the game after visiting with a trainer. … Yankees RHP Carlos Silva, sidelined the past couple weeks by right shoulder tightness, allowed two runs