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Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Robbie red hot since A-Rod's return

By Ian Begley



NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez may not play like a guy making $275 million anymore.

But he's been pretty valuable for Robinson Cano.

Cano is hitting .453 in the 14 games since Rodriguez made his season debut on Aug. 5, according to numbers compiled by ESPN Stats & Information. That's the highest batting average in the big leagues over that span. It includes Cano's 4-for-4 day in Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader against Toronto.

"You can see that it's a different lineup when you have [Alfonso] Soriano, you have [Curtis] Granderson, you have Alex," Cano said. "You can see the difference over the last 10 to 15 games."

Can you ever.

In the 14 games before A-Rod's return, Cano was hitting just .189. Since then, he's hit safely in 13 of 14 games with 10 RBIs and five doubles.

Cano chalked up his success, in part, to A-Rod's return. CC Sabathia agrees.

"It's just made the lineup that much better," Sabathia said. "I think it takes the pressure off of Robbie. He's been able to swing the bat good."

Cano looked carefree in the third, when he belted a three-run homer to cut the Yankees' 4-0 deficit to one run. It was Cano's 200th career homer. He's the 16th player in franchise history to reach that plateau.

Catcher Chris Stewart completed the Yankees' comeback by belting a three-run homer of his own in the bottom of the sixth to put the Yanks up 6-4.

It was Stewart's first homer since May 15, snapping a homerless drought of 173 at-bats.

"It's not an everyday thing," Stewart said. "Hell might freeze over now."

Cano added a run-scoring double in the seventh to give the Yankees an insurance run. It was his third four-hit day, and second since A-Rod returned.