Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/15/12

WASHINGTON -- Curtis Granderson homered and drove in three runs, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher delivered consecutive third inning RBI singles and Philip Hughes finished with a season-high nine strikeouts as the New York Yankees defeated the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Friday night.

The Yankees improved their American League best record to 38-25 with their seventh straight win and improved to a season-best 13 games over .500 before the sellout crowd of 41,406 at Nationals Park.

Derek Jeter's RBI infield single against Nationals reliever Brad Lidge started the scoring in a four-run seventh inning. On the play, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond's wild throw skipped past first baseman Adam LaRoche, allowing a second run to score. Michael Gonzalez replaced Lidge and Granderson greeted him with a stinging extra base hit into the left field corner.

Hughes (7-5), winner of three straight decisions, scattered six hits over six innings, allowing one run with two walks. After Michael Morse's RBI single in the third, the right-hander retired nine consecutive batters -- five by strikeout.

Desmond's two-out single in the sixth ended the streak, but Hughes countered by striking out Danny Espinosa, his final batter of the night. He did not allow a home run for the first time in 13 starts this season.

New York proved unkind to its host, ending Washington's six-winning streak after the Nationals (38-24) returned home following series sweeps over AL East foes Boston and Toronto.

Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez (8-3) allowed three runs and five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over six innings. Now second in the National League behind teammate Stephen Strasburg with 97 strikeouts, Gonzalez has lost two of his last three starts.

Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada each followed Hughes with a spotless inning of relief. David Robertson permitted a Danny Espinosa RBI groundout in the ninth.

Granderson tacked on his 20th home run of the season with a ninth inning blast over the right field wall against reliever Tom Gorzelanny.

After Andruw Jones led off the seventh with a single, Lidge replaced Gonzalez but offered no relief, allowing three runs on one hit and two walks, one intentional.

Leading off the sixth, LaRoche drove a Hughes fastball deep to center, but Granderson chased it down, crashing into the wall for the catch.

The hyped series between the owners of the AL's best record and top team in the National League East began with a dazzling first inning. After Gonzalez struck out both Derek Jeter and Granderson on 3-2 pitches, 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper robbed Mark Teixeira with a diving catch in center.

Washington put two runners on with one out against Hughes, but he avoided damage by striking out consecutive batters.

Gonzalez struck out five batters thru two innings, but the Yankees scored twice against the left-hander in the third. Rodriguez's two-out seeing-eye single to right field scored Jeter and Nick Swisher followed with a base hit to left, driving home Teixeira.

Rodriguez's RBI was the 1,924th of his career, moving into a tie for sixth place all-time with Jimmy Foxx.

NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi rested the left-handed hitting Robinson Cano against the left-hander Gonzalez, allowing the All-Star second baseman two straights days off. ... Nationals manager Davey Johnson said RHP Drew Storen (right elbow) has "been throwing off the mound a couple of times" in extended spring training and will be in Washington this weekend, but imagines the team's closer is still "three weeks, a month away" from returning to the active roster. ... Entering the series, the Nationals are one of two teams with a winning all-time record (4-2) against the Yankees. ... The Nationals had their 2012 first round draft pick, 17-year-old Lucas Giolito, at Nationals Park on Friday. The right-handed pitcher and the 16th overall selection is reportedly weighing a decision to sign with the Nationals or accept a scholarship to pitch for UCLA. ... Dignitaries on hand included Supreme Court justice -- and established Yankee fan -- Sonia Sotomayor. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey threw out the first pitch.

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