New York Daily News

Tops ballot, drives Yanks


HOURS AFTER Robinson Cano overtook Ian Kinsler in All-Star voting, the second baseman went out and proved he was worthy of such an honor.

Cano homered and drove in three runs to pace the Yankees in a 7-1 win over the Indians in the first of three games at the Stadium. The win vaulted the Yan

kees over the Rangers by three percentage points for the best record in the majors at 44-28.

“I think it’s just Robbie being Robbie, in a sense,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s another guy that can carry your club. You can hold him down for a while, but eventually he’s going to get hot. That’s who he is; he’s just too good a hitter not to. He has just turned it around.”

Dewayne Wise and Nick Swisher also went deep for the Bombers, who have won three straight games after losing three in a row for the first time in a month. Cano has homered in six of his last eight games, hitting 13 in his last 30 games after homering only four in his first 42 games this season. He’s hitting .329 with nine home runs and 16 RBI in June. “He’s really got that home run stroke going,” Swisher said. “Maybe he’s getting ready for the Home Run Derby.”

Hiroki Kuroda (77) won for the third time in four starts, holding the Indians to one run on five hit s a nd two walks over seven-plus innings, striking out seven.

Kuroda is 4 -1 with a 1.93 ERA over his past six starts, lowering his ERA from 4.56 to 3.40.

“I thought he had real good command of his fastball and his slider tonight,” Girardi said. “Those were his two key pitches, and that’s kind of been his M.O. the last seven or eight starts or however many it is that he has been on a roll.”

Getting staked to a six-run lead after three innings allowed Kuroda to work quickly and efficientl­y. He let his fielders do their thing, as the Yankees put their sloppy weekend at Citi Field behind them.

“We made some great plays; Derek made some great plays. Robbie made a great play, Tex made a good play as well, and that’s what you want to see,” Girardi said. “I love the defense.”

Cano entered the game with a .154 average with runners in scoring position, going 10-for-65 over the first 2 ½ months of the season.

But the second baseman gave Kuroda early run support, lining a double into right-center in the first inning, scoring Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira to give the Yanks a 2-0 lead.

“Any time you can come up like that in a big situation, it’s big for me,” Cano said. “It feels good. Everything is connecting.”

The Yankees doubled the lead against Josh Tomlin (3-5) in the second, getting an unexpected power boost from Wise, whose first home run of the season gave the Bombers a 4-0 advantage.

That wouldn’t be the end of the Yankees’ power display, however.

Cano took Tomlin deep with two out in the third, his 17th of the season and seventh in his last 12 home games. Swisher followed with a home run of his own, the fourth time this season the Yankees have hit back-to-back homers, twice by Cano and Swisher.

“Everyone talks about the runners in scoring position, but a solo shot is just as good as an RBI single with a runner on second,” Swisher said. “For us, we feel good; everything’s just real chill right now, everything is real mellow. We’re having a good time, and we just want to keep this roll going.”

Kuroda posted a scoreless first for the sixth straight game. He faced his first trouble of the game in the fourth after he walked the first two batters. A ground ball and a pair of popups helped him escape, preserving the shutout and starting a run of nine straight outs for Kuroda, who breezed through seven innings.

“That was Hiro’s game today,” Swisher said.

Swisher provided the final excitement of the night, tracking down three line drives in the eighth after Kuroda put runners at second and third before being lifted for Clay Rapada.

“I don’t know if I’ve made three outs in an inning like that — and the place was going crazy, man!” said Swisher, who high-fived two cops on his way off the field. “It was great, man. What a good game.”

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