Girardi Says Team Focused On Winning, Not Retaliation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees have their eyes on a playoff spot, not retaliation.

New York, coming off a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox, has clawed its way back into contention in the American League. And look who’s on tap: the rival Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees have won 11 of 16 games since Boston starter Ryan Dempster plunked Alex Rodriguez on Aug. 18. A number of Red Sox players griped during that series about A-Rod being able to play while appealing a 211-game suspension for alleged PED use.

“I think that obviously we know what’s at stake and we have to go out and play the games and win the games, and that’s the most important thing,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

“I don’t expect there to be anything from Major League Baseball or the umpires,” he added. “We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to win.”

Dempster, who won’t start in this series, seemed to have ignited the Yankees, which is what Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was worried about when he denounced the drilling afterward.

“All I said was that I didn’t think that hitting A-Rod was right at the time and it was because that kind of woke him up and we ended up losing the game. Did I lie about that?” Ortiz said, according to the Red Sox’s official website. “I think it was what everybody saw. I didn’t say that I was mad at my teammates for hitting somebody, or I was mad that he hit A-Rod.”

The Yankees now trail the Tampa Bay Rays by 2.5 games for the second wild card spot. They’re eight games behind first-place Boston and have a great chance to narrow that gap in the AL East over the next four games at Yankee Stadium. Then New York will have a four-game set in Baltimore and three more against the Red Sox in Boston.

“We still have seven games against the Red Sox, so we have a good chance,” Yankees reliever David Robertson said, according to the New York Post. “I’d like to be little closer and we just want a spot, but you definitely want to win the division to guarantee a five-game series.”

“We go out to win a game on a given night. We can’t control what other teams have done,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “There’s some wins we’ve accumulated when some other teams have maybe met some challenges in their own way. I don’t think we take the field with any different mentality based on the spread between teams in the top part of the division. That would be focusing on something we have not a whole lot of control over.”

The Yankees will send Ivan Nova (8-4, 2.88 ERA) to the hill against the red-hot BoSox, who put 20 runs on the board Wednesday for their ninth win in 11 games. Nova is 2-1 with a 4.94 ERA in five career starts against the Red Sox.

Jake Peavy (11-5, 3.91) gets the start for Boston. He has lost all four career starts against the Yankees.

“You have to catch one team before you start thinking about anybody else,” Yankees captain Derek Jeter said.

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