Morning links: Yankees get that “same old Andy”

There’s plenty to talk about from last night’s action, as the Yankees now own a 1 1/2 game advantage in the American League East – the biggest gap between the Yankees and Orioles in 21 days.

According to the most recent numbers crunched by Baseball Prospectus, the Yankees have a 76.5 percent chance of winning the division and a 99.4 percent chance of making the playoffs.

New York’s magic number to clinch the division is eight, and the number to secure a postseason berth is five.

They have six more scoreless innings from Andy Pettitte to thank, as the lefty pitched them to a 6-3 victory over the Twins last night at Target Field — including pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning after the Yankees staked him to a three-run lead.

“Same old Andy,” was what Joe Girardi said last night. Pettitte still considers himself “a work in progress” (what else would you expect?), but said he was “able to stay out of the middle of zone, make some big pitches and get some big outs when I needed it.”

Curtis Granderson hit his 40th home run of the season in the win, one of four Yankees homers, as he became the fifth Yankee with back-to-back 40-homer seasons. He joins Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Jason Giambi in that group. If that doesn’t get Granderson to admit he – maybe, just maybe – has become a home run hitter, nothing will.

Down in Tampa, Fla., Mark Teixeira ramped up baseball activity as he hopes to shake off his left calf strain, though it doesn’t sound like the Yankees will have Teixeira for the four-game series in Toronto that begins Thursday. A setback at this point would likely be season-ending, so the Yankees are going to be as cautious as possible to have him ready for the postseason.

David Aardsma has joined the Yankees in Minneapolis, with eyes toward being activated today and completing his long road back from Tommy John surgery. The Yankees also expect to activate Brett Gardner for pinch-running and defensive duty before the Toronto series.

Major League Baseball announced yesterday that Ichiro Suzuki has been named the American League Player of the Week, well deserved after he went 15-for-25 in six games.

Phil Hughes (16-12, 4.05) goes for his fourth consecutive victory tonight as the Yankees and Twins play the second game of three at Target Field at 8:10 p.m. ET. Hughes last faced the Twins on April 19 in New York, getting the win despite allowing six runs (two earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Minnesota counters with right-hander Esmerling Vazquez (0-2, 6.75), who has never faced the Yankees as a starter.

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