Alex Rodriguez’s eighth-inning two-run homer off Mariners closer David Aardsma helped the Yankees salvage the finale of a three-game series and avoid a possibly crushing defeat thanks to Jorge Posada.

The catcher, who is one of the worst defensive backstops in the American League, was charged with a passed ball in the top of the eighth when he whiffed on CC Sabathia’s 2-1 offering to Russell Branyan.

The blunder allowed Josh Bard to move to third and the speedy Ichiro Suzuki to advance into scoring position as the tying run.

On the next pitch, Branyan laced a two-run single into right to tie the game at 2 and put Sabathia’s great outing into jeopardy of resulting in a no-decision.

A-Rod dashed those worries, however, with his 595th career blast in the bottom of the inning, propelling the Yanks to a 4-2 victory on Thursday afternoon in the Bronx.

Let’s take a look at the grades from this game.

CC Sabathia, SP: (A+) The big lefty won his sixth straight start—his 10th victory of the year—by allowing just two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks, while striking out four. Following two poor outings by Phil Hughes and Javier Vazquez, Sabathia once again played the role of stopper.

Joe Girardi, Manager: (A) On a different day, Girardi may have pulled Sabathia when he appeared to lose the strike zone in the seventh or again in the eighth when the southpaw got into trouble. But the skipper let CC work through the jams and toss a season-high 117 pitches, which was wise because bringing in the bullpen probably would’ve gotten the Yankees into a deeper hole.

Derek Jeter, SS: (C) After a poor June, during which he hit .243, the captain started July with a slightly better day at the plate, going 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Nick Swisher, RF: (C) Swisher doubled in four at-bats.

Mark Teixeira, 1B: (A) Teixeira extended his hitting streak to 12 games and is now batting a season-high .234.

Alex Rodriguez, DH: (A+) A-Rod is tied for fourth in the American League with 56 RBIs.

Robinson Cano, 2B: (A) Just another MVP-type day for Cano. He picked up his 16th homer and a walk, but because he only went 1-for-3, his average dropped to .353.

Jorge Posada, C: (C-) Posada is tied for the second-most passed balls in the AL with four and those have come in just 30 starts behind the plate.

Curtis Granderson, CF: (F) Granderson left the bases loaded in the sixth and went 0-for-3 to drop his average to .235. He’s hitting .209 versus lefties. By the way, Austin Jackson is batting .308.

Brett Gardner, LF: (F) Gardner was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Ramiro Pena, 3B: (F) Pena found his way into the lineup again. His 0-for-3 drops him to .176. Maybe it’s time to send him down?

Mariano Rivera, RP: (A) Rivera worked a perfect ninth for his 18th save.

Yankees Overall Grade: (B+) Getting shut down by Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez is understandable, but scoring just two runs in six innings off Ryan Rowland-Smith, who entered the game 1-7 with a 6.18 ERA, is a little scarly. The Yanks need to hope their bats wake up this weekend and A.J. Burnett turns things around this weekend against Toronto.

Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at,, and

Jordan can be reached at

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