Results tagged ‘ Coco Crisp ’

Tanaka Notches 9th Win As Yankees End Skid

GAME 59

YANKEES 2, ATHLETICS 1

The last time the Yankees won a game, Masahiro Tanaka pitched eight innings to defeat the Minnesota Twins 3-1 on May 31 on his way to being named May’s American League Pitcher of the Month. So on Thursday all Tanaka did was pitch six gutty innings to defeat Oakland to begin June.

Tanaka weathered a home run from the second batter he faced, John Jaso, in yielding five hits and one walk while striking out four as New York ended its four-game skid to edge Oakland in front of a paid crowd of  44,346 at Yankee Stadium.

The A’s deliberately tried to press Tanaka (9-1) in the fourth and fifth innings after they could manage just Jaso’s homer off the right-hander. They decided to take pitches until they got to two strikes and shortened their swings on two strikes to foul off tough pitches.

Tanaka was forced to throw 26 pitches in both the fourth and fifth innings. The A’s did manage to post a pair of two-out singles in the fourth by Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes before Jed Lowrie struck out on nine pitches. In the fifth Tanaka yielded a leadoff single to Stephen Vogt and a two-out walk to Coco Crisp but Jaso popped out weakly to end the threat.

The strategy was clear: Get Tanaka’s pitch count up to attack him in a weakened condition or force him out of the game so the Athletics could attack the Yankees’ bullpen, which has been leaking like a sieve during the Yankees’ seven-game homestand.

But the strategy did not work.

Tanaka left after 104 pitches and six innings with the lead.

Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and David Robertson did not yield a run in the final three innings to give the Yankees a 2-5 record during the homestand. Both of the victories were Tanaka’s.

However, both Warren and Robertson had to complete their innings with the potential tying run standing on third base as they recorded the final out.

Warren began the eighth by giving up singles to Crisp and Jaso and even uncorked a wild pitch to allow both runners to advance. But he escaped any damage by striking out Josh Donaldson, retiring Moss on a liner to right and fanning Cespedes.

Robertson had to earn his 13th save in 15 tries this season after Vogt muscled a bloop one-out single to center and pinch-runner Craig Gentry stole second base.

Alberto Callaspo hit a hard grounder that ticked off Robertson’s foot and bounded toward first baseman Mark Teixeira. Teixeira alertly fielded the ball and was able to retire Callaspo with a toss to Robertson covering first base.

“I was probably the happiest guy in the stadium that the ball hit me,” Robertson told reporters after the game. “I felt even more fortunate that we get an out of it.”

Robertson then finished the game by striking out pinch-hitter Derek Norris.

Tanaka and the relievers were working within a slim margin of error because the Yankees’ offense again sputtered against left-hander Drew Pomeranz (5-3).

The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the second when Brian McCann singled and reached second when the left-fielder, Moss, allowed the ball to scoot past him to the wall for an error. Alfonso Soriano, who had been mired in an 0-for-16 slide with eight strikeouts dating back to May 25, then delivered an RBI single to right-center that scored McCann without a throw.

Brett Gardner later gave the Yankees a lead they ultimately would not relinquish with a leadoff home run in the third inning on Pomeranz’s first offering. The home run, a no-doubter that landed in the second deck in the right-field stands, was his fourth of the season and his first since May 17.

From that point on, the Yankees did absolutely nothing with Pomeranz for the rest of the afternoon.

The 25-year-old left-hander did not allow another base-runner until the sixth when Jacoby Ellsbury drew a one-out walk. The Yankees only “hit” off Pomeranz after the Gardner’s blast came with two out in the seventh when Crisp lost Soriano’s fly ball to center in the sun and it was scored a double.

Pomeranz was charged with two runs on six hits and one walk and he struck out seven in seven innings of work.

However, he could not outduel Tanaka, who lowered his American League-leading ERA from 2.06 to 2.02.

“I don’t think it was my best performance for the season,” Tanaka told reporters through a translator. “But given the fact that our team was in a little bit of a funk, and that we were facing one of the best teams in the league right now, I’m really happy to contribute to the team’s win.”

With the victory the Yankees climbed back over the .500 mark to 30-29. They are third place in the American League East and they trail the first-place Toronto Blue Jays by six games. The A’s are 37-23.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Tanaka has bristled at being called the team’s ace but he is proving in his first season in the major leagues that he is every bit the ace the staff has needed. “A true ace stops losing streaks. There’s not another guy we want out there after losing a few in a row than Tanaka,” Teixeira told reporters after the game. The Yankees are 11-1 in his starts and it is hard to imagine where they would be without him.
  • Soriano’s two hits, even though one was dubious, hopefully will get him out of one of his worst slumps in his 14 full major-league seasons. The Yankees always knew that the 38-year-old outfielder was a streaky hitter but Soriano has not really had a sustained hot streak this season. He is batting .233 with six homers and 2o RBIs a third of the way into the season. That is not what the Yankees were expecting from him.
  • There also may be hope that Gardner will get going again after slumping from May 22 through June 3 on a 9-for-48 (.188) slide. Gardner finished the final two games of the Oakland series 3-for-9. This team-wide hitting slump has been very frustrating to manager Joe Girardi and the pitching staff because it left them feeling they have to be perfect in every inning to every batter on every pitch. It is hard to pitch that way.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

Why dwell on the obvious offensive woes. Let’s chalk this one up as a victory thanks to Tanaka and the bullpen. The Yankees just have to hope the bats wake up before the Blue Jays run away with the division.

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees did get one potentially big bat back in the lineup when Carlos Beltran was activated from the disabled list prior to the game and he was inserted into the lineup into the fifth spot at designated hitter. Beltran, who missed 21 games while dealing with a bone spur in his right elbow, was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the game. To make room for Beltran on the roster the Yankees designated for assignment infielder Scott Sizemore.  . . .  Ellsbury had a two-run home run in the first inning taken away when a video review indicated that the ball struck about three inches below the top of the wall in right-field. Instead the umpires awarded him a double and placed Derek Jeter, who had singled with one out, at third base. Teixeira lined out and Beltran struck out swinging and the Yankees did not score in the inning.

ON DECK

The Yankees are off to Kansas City to open a wraparound four-game weekend series with the Royals beginning on Friday.

Rookie right-hander Chase Whitley (0-0, 2.37 ERA) will try to earn his first major-league victory in his fifth start of the season. Whitley held the Twins to one run on five hits while he struck out six in five innings on Sunday before Robertson blew his second save of the season and the Yankees lost the game.

The Royals will start veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (2.5, 4.00 ERA) who is 0-5 in his past 10 starts. Guthrie gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks while fanning five in seven innings in a loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday.

Game-time will be 8:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

 

Kuroda Becomes Road Warrior, Blanks Athletics

GAME $7

YANKEES 2, ATHLETICS 0

The Yankees’ weekend trip to Oakland should be called the  “Road to Redemption.”

First, Mark Teixeira’s long slumbering bat came to life and on Sunday the fabled right arm of Hiroki Kuroda started to pay dividends outside of the Bronx.

Kuroda pitched eight shutout innings to end a three-game losing streak and collect his first road victory of the season as New York blanked Oakland for a three-game sweep at o.co Coliseum.

Kuruda (4-6) entered the contest 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA away from Yankee Stadium this season, but he shut down the Athletics sputtering offense on just four hits and one walk while striking out three batters to win his first game since May 11 at home against the Seattle Mariners.

Meanwhile, the Yankees put up just enough runs against rookie left-hander Tommy Milone (6-4) to win their eighth consecutive game at o.co Coliseum, a streak that dates back to July 2011. Milone had entered the contest 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA at home this season.

Designated hitter Andruw Jones put the Yankees on the board early by blasting a first-pitch fastball from Milone over the wall in left-center to lead off the second inning.

That run stood up until the seventh inning, when the Yankees tacked on an insurance run with two outs. Curtis Granderson singled to right and Teixeira followed with a double off the wall in right-center that scored Granderson. Teixeira began the series in a terrible slump and was 8-for-14 (.571) with three home runs and eight RBIs in the series.

Milone gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks and he struck out three in 6 2/3 innings.

Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out Seth Smith swinging as the tying run at the plate, to earn his fifth save in as many opportunities on the season.

The A’s, meanwhile, suffered their fifth straight loss as the Yankees racked up their fifth straight victory.

The Yankees’ season record now stands at 26-21. The A’s fell to 22-26.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • For as bad as Kuroda has been in his last three starts, he was exceptional against the A’s. He faced the minimum through the first four innings and he did not allow a runner to reach second base until the seventh inning. He also pitched out of a jam in the seventh with Coco Crisp on third and Smith on first and one out by striking out Kila Ka’aihue and retiring Josh Donaldson on a routine fly ball. With his eight shutout innings, Kuroda lowered his ERA from 4.56 to 3.96.
  • Teixeira was 2-for-4 in the game with two doubles, including the one that padded the Yankees’ lead in the seventh inning. Manager Joe Girardi even entrusted him by batting him third in the lineup after he has spent most of the season batting fifth. Teixeira entered the series hitting .226 and he leaves with his average up to .254.
  • Jones’ home run was his fifth of the season and his first home run since May 11 against the Mariners. Oddly, that was the same game in which Kuroda won his last game. Perhaps it is something in the combination that is at work here.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • The Yankees loaded the bases in the first inning against Milone when Derek Jeter led off with a single, Granderson walked and, one out later, Alex Rodriguez singled sharply to right-field. However, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher popped up weakly to end the threat. The Yankees are one for the last 30 at-bats with the bases loaded.
  • In addition, the Yankees were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in the game. Swisher struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt with two on and one out in the third inning and he left a total of five runners on base in the game.
  • Advancing runners has also been a problem. In the second inning, Jayson Nix followed Jones’ home run with a double. However, Chris Stewart failed to advance him when he popped up a bunt. In the third, Teixeira led off with a double and Rodriguez grounded out to third and failed to move him up. This is why the Yankees struggle to get runs across.

BOMBER BANTER

Jeter’s single to lead off the game gave him 3,155 hits in his career and he passed Royals Hall-of-Famer George Brett to claim 14th place on the all-time hits list. Next up on the list is Cal Ripken, who is in the 13th place with 3,184 hits.  . . .  Starting catcher Russell Martin was held out of Sunday’s game with a stiff neck. Stewart caught Kuroda instead. The Yankees do not think the condition is serious and they hope Martin will be able to play on Monday.

ON DECK

Having swept Oakland, the Yankees head on to Anaheim for a three-game series that starts on Monday.

Phil Hughes (4-5, 4.94 ERA) will return to pitch in front of family and friends at Angel Stadium, which is near where he was born. Hughes has won three of his last four starts and beat the Royals on Tuesday, giving up just two runs on five hits in six innings. He is 3-2 with a 7.61 ERA in his career against the Angels.

He will face Angels right-hander Jered Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA). Weaver gave up just one run in eight innings against the Athletics on Wednesday, but he did not get a decision in what ended up as a Los Angeles victory. Weaver is 5-2 with a 4.79 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Game-time will be 9:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

 

Yankees Go West Then Go Deep To Down Oakland

GAME 45

YANKEES 6, ATHLETICS 3

In the 1850s, newspaper editor Horace Greeley coined the phrase “Go West, young man” and some 160 years later the struggling Yankees took his advice on a road trip to Oakland. They seemed to have left their troubles back East.

Sparked by home runs from Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher and getting a solid seven innings out of right-hander Ivan Nova, New York won its third game in row after dropping six of their previous seven games by downing Oakland at o.co Coliseum on Friday.

The Yankees shook off the remnants of a horrible hitting slump to pound Athletics starter Tyson Ross (2-5) for six runs (three earned) on 11 hits and two walks in just 4 1/3 innings.

Curtis Granderson started the scoring with a one out single off Ross in the third inning. One out later, Cano lined a ball into center-field that ticked off the glove of Coco Crisp for a two-base error that scored Granderson. Teixeira followed with a two-run blast into the right-field bleachers.

Two innings later, Cano opened the frame by blasting a high drive over the wall in center-field for his sixth home run of the season. One out later, Raul Ibanez doubled to left-center and Swisher clubbed a 3-2 pitch to the opposite field in left for a two -run homer and ended Ross’ evening early.

Meanwhile, Nova was able to limit the damage from the A’s.

He surrendered a one-out solo home run to Josh Reddick in the fourth inning and a leadoff home run to Kila Ka’aihue in the seventh. The A’s other run scored in the fifth on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kurt Suzuki after Josh Donaldson and Daric Barton led off the inning with a single and a double, respectively.

But Nova (5-2) managed to end a two-game losing streak, giving up the three runs on six hits and one walk while fanning four batters.

Boone Logan pitched a perfect eighth and Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fourth save in as many chances.

With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 24-21. The A’s fell to 22-24.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Teixeira’s home run was his sixth of the season but it was his first since May 14 at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Teixeira also doubled in the game in the fifth inning but was thrown at at third base trying to stretch it into a triple. It was his first multi-hit game since that same game on May 14. Could this be the turning point for the slumping slugger?
  • Swisher doubled in the second inning to break an 0-for-13 drought and then he homered in the fifth. Both hits were to the opposite field and the home run was Swisher’s first home run since he hit a solo shot against the Royals in Kansas City on May 6. Swisher is hitting only .194 this month and has been slumping even worse that Teixeira has.
  • Nova, other than giving up the two home runs, actually pitched quite well. He used his curveball effectively to keep the A’s off-balance and he let his defense help him out when he needed to get out of jams. He threw 101 pitches and 63 of them were strikes (62 percent).

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • During the 2011 season, Nova surrendered 12 home runs in 165 1/3 innings. This season, including the two home runs he gave up on Friday, Nova has allowed 12 home runs in 56 innings. At this pace, Nova would give up more than 40 homers. He has to do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard.
  • On May 4, Derek Jeter was hitting .404. On Friday, Jeter was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and his season average has dipped to .339. Jeter is only hitting .287 for the month and, more importantly, he has only one home run and three RBIs over the same period. Jeter has been swinging and missing at a lot of sliders off the outside corner and out of the strike zone low.
  • For those who might think the team’s runners in scoring position problem is a thing of the past, think again. The Yankees were 2-for-10 with RISP on Friday. They had the bases loaded and one out after Ross walked Granderson intentionally to face Alex Rodriguez in the fourth inning. Rodriguez promptly rapped into an inning-ending double play. If this problem is not fixed soon it will haunt this team for the rest of the season.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game weekend series with the A’s on Saturday.

On the mound for the Yankees will be nearby Vallejo, CA, native CC Sabathia (5-2, 3.78 ERA). Sabathia has lost his past two starts are starting the season 5-0. He is 7-8 with a 4.96 ERA in his 22 starts against Oakland in his career.

The A’s will counter with former Yankee right-hander Bartolo Colon (4-4, 4.09 ERA). Colon won his start Sunday against the Giants despite lasting only five innings. He struck out seven and he allowed only two earned runs. He is 3-5 with a 6.94 ERA in the last 10 seasons against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 4:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

 

Colon Back On Track As Yanks Escape A’s’ Rally

GAME 99

YANKEES 7, ATHLETICS 5

A victory is a victory. But there are some victories that expose what a team is missing.

Though New York defeated Oakland on Sunday, the mood at Yankee Stadium was relief the pesky A’s were leaving town.

Bartolo Colon (7-6) pitched seven solid innings and Curtis Granderson, Andruw Jones and Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs apiece as the Yankees staked their vaunted bullpen to a 6-2 lead to start the eighth inning. However, the usually reliable David Robertson and Mariano Rivera were tagged for three runs on seven hits and a walk to barely hold on to defeat the Athletics.

Robertson was pressed into service despite the fact he threw 25 pitches in an inning of work on Saturday. Robertson has been filling in the eighth inning role since the Yankees lost Rafael Soriano on May 14 with right elbow inflammation and Joba Chamberlain on June 6 for the season with Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. On Sunday, the heavy workload on the All-Star reliever Robertson showed.

The A’s battered Robertson for two runs on three doubles and a walk in 30 more pitches over two-thirds of an inning, prompting manager Joe Girardi to summon Rivera from the bullpen for a very rare four-out save. Rivera escaped the two-out, two on jam by inducing Cliff Pennington to ground out on his second pitch.

However, the A’s — trailing 7-4 after Derek Jeter drove in an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on an infield groundout — refused to go gently in the ninth.

With one out, the A’s strung together four straight singles — the last an RBI single by Josh Willingham — off Rivera to score a run to draw them within two runs with the bases loaded. Rivera and the Yankees escaped disaster when David DeJesus’ line drive headed into the right-field corner was stopped by first baseman Mark Teixeira, who trotted to first to double up Willingham for a game-ending unassisted double play.

What little was left of the crowd of 45,596 seemed to all exhale with a collective sigh of relief just before the P.A. system struck up Frank Sinatra singing his familiar “New York, New York.” Perhaps, in this case, it would have been more appropriate to play Sinatra’s “Luck Be A Lady Tonight.”

The Yankees had trailed 2-0 early to the A’s and their talented lefty starter Gio Gonzalez before the Yankees began chipping away in the bottom of the second inning. Jones followed a two-out single and a stolen base by Russell Martin with his first RBI single of the day to draw the Yankees to within a run.

Two innings later, Nunez laced a line-drive two-out double to the gap in left-center to score Martin and Jones, who Gonzalez had hit with a pitch and walked on four pitches, respectively. The Yankees took the lead at 3-2 and never did surrender it the rest of the way.

Granderson padded the lead to 5-2 in the fifth when he followed a leadoff walk to Derek Jeter with his 27th home run of the season and his 11th off a left-hander this season, which leads the major leagues. Later in the inning, Jones delivered a bases-loaded single to score Teixeira and chase Gonzalez (9-7) from the game. Gonzalez left having given up six runs on seven hits and three walks and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings of work.

Colon meanwhile, relied a bit more on his slider than his fastball in holding the A’s to just two runs on eight hits and a walk and he struck out four to win his first start since July 2 against the Mets. It also was his first post-All-Star break victory since the 2005 season.

Colon and the Yankees were able to hold on that victory for him despite the rocky eighth and ninth innings. Rivera got credit for his 25th save in 29 chances and extended his major-league record of consecutive seasons of 25 or more saves to 15.

With the victory the Yankees remain three games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The A’s dropped to 44-57 on the season.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Colon was not as sharp as he has been, but he was good enough to limit the opposition to two earned runs or fewer for the ninth time in 15 starts. The A’s only got to Colon in the second inning. With two out, Kurt Suzuki stroked a double to left. Cliff Pennington followed with a single to right that scored Suzuki when Nick Swisher’s throw from right-field skipped past Martin at the plate. Rookie Eric Sogard then doubled to right-center to score Pennington to give the A’s a 2-0 lead. Colon shut out the A’s from there thanks to a great defensive play by Granderson and Robinson Cano.
  • Granderson and Cano teamed up to deny the A’s what might have been a key run in the fifth. With Sogard at first and two out, Hideki Matsui, who was 5-for-5 in the game, stroked his first of two doubles on the day to center. Granderson retrieved the ball and, as Sogard headed for home, Cano relayed the ball high but right on the plate to Martin. Martin caught it over his head and brought his glove down to tag Sogard out as he blocked the plate. Despite an inconsequential error charged to Cano in the sixth, the Yankees played exceptional defense led by a spectacular play earlier by Cano, three excellent stops by Teixeira and Martin threw out a base-stealer in the seventh.
  • Granderson’s great season continues despite the fact he has been slumping of late and he has been striking out at an alarming rate. Granderson’s blast to right reached the second deck and was the key blow of the game. Granderson now has has 27 home runs, 74 RBIs and is hitting .265. Of course, he also leads the team in strikeouts with 107 and he fanned three times on Sunday, all on breaking pitches in the dirt.
  • Nunez filled in nicely for Jeter when he was on the disabled list and now he is doing the same with Alex Rodriguez on the DL. Nunez was 2-for-4 with a double and a single, he drove in two runs, stole a base and scored a run on Sunday. From June 14 through Sunday, Nunez is 31-for-105 (.295) with two home runs and 15 RBIs. He also has eight stolen bases.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Robertson entered Sunday’s game with a 3-0 record and 1.14 ERA and he had only allowed one earned run since June 9, a stretch of 15 appearances. So it is hard to fault Robertson for his poor showing on Sunday. But in this instance you have to blame Girardi for choosing to use Robertson after he threw so many pitches on Saturday when he loaded the bases on walks and struck out the final batter to escape without a run scoring.  In these situations Girardi will have to trust Cory Wade or Luis Ayala more. Of course, if the Yankees get a healthy Soriano back as expected this week, Robertson’s heavy workload can be lessened some.
  • Swisher entered the game as the hottest hitter on the team. But on Sunday he was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. After pushing his average over .261 for the first time this season, Swisher’s average has dipped back to .258.
  • When Rivera struggles to get outs it is news. Rivera escaped the eighth on two pitches but ran into trouble with out in the ninth. Jemile Weeks singled sharply to center. Coco Crisp then rolled a single just off Cano’s glove and Matsui lined a single to right to load the bases. Willingham singled to left to score Weeks and suddenly the Yankees were faced with the tying run at second, one out and the bases loaded. DeJesus’ line drive could have easily doomed the Yankees to either a tie or a one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth. Luckily, Teixeira bailed out Rivera and the Yankees by being at the right place at the right time.

ON DECK

The Yankees held on to win the rubber game their three-game home series with the A’s. They now will open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners, who have lost 14 games in a row.

The Yankees will start the series with veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia (8-7, 3.21 ERA). Garcia pitched 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball against the Rays for his 12th quality start of the season. Garcia fanned seven and walked none and looked dominant with his off-speed assortment. He is 4-3 with a 5.46 ERA in his career against the Mariners.

Seattle will counter with left-hander Jason Vargas (6-8, 3.94 ERA). Vargas was blasted by the Blue Jays for five runs on six hits over just three innings. Vargas, 28, has given up 10 earned runs in his last two starts. He is 0-2 with a 7.66 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

 

Swish’s Smash Gives Yankees Sweep Over A’s

GAME 54

YANKEES 4, ATHLETICS 2

With two runners on and nobody out in the fourth inning, Nick Swisher attempted to bunt twice thinking he had received the sign from third-base coach Rob Thomson. However, the bunt was not on and Swisher was told by Thomson to swing away while he was ahead in the count 2-0. It was a good thing he did not get a bunt down.

Swisher ripped room service fastball from Gio Gonzalez for a three-run home run that regained the lead for New York, which went on behind the solid pitching of A.J. Burnett to defeat Oakland on Wednesday and sweep the three-game series at Overstock.com Coliseum.

Burnett (6-3) gave up a two-run home run to Josh Willingham in the first inning but did not allow but one hit after that as the Yankees won their 10th straight game against the A’s. Burnett gave up just the two runs on three hits and three walks and he struck out five over seven innings.

Gonzalez (5-3) gave up a leadoff double to Derek Jeter to begin the game and three batters later Alex Rodriguez stroked an RBI double to give the Yankees another early lead on Oakland. After Willingham’s blast had given Gonzalez and the A’s their first lead of the series, Swisher quickly dashed their hopes with his home run following a leadoff infield single by Rodriguez and a walk to Robinson Cano.

Gonzalez ended up giving up four runs on five hits and four walks and struck out four over 6 1/3 innings. He is now 0-3 in his career against the Yankees.

Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless eighth and Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth to notch his 14th save in 17 opportunities this season.

With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 31-23. They have now won four games in a row and they extended their lead in the American League East to two games over the second-place Boston Red Sox, who were swept at Fenway Park by the Chicago White Sox.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • There are more than positive signs Swisher is returning to his 2009 and 2010 form after a two-month slump. Swisher has a six-game hitting streak in which he is 6-for-20 (.300) with two home runs and four RBIs. Swisher is now 4-for-8 in his career off Gonzalez. Oddly, in 2008 the A’s traded Swisher to the White Sox in exchange for three players including Gonzalez.
  • Rodriguez was 2-for-4 in the game and he now has at least one hit in 11 of his last 12 games. In that span he is 19-for-50 (.380) but he has only one home run and seven RBIs, which is very odd for the veteran third baseman. His season average of .292 leads the club.
  • Burnett bounced back from his five-inning no-decision against the Mariners on May 27. He had some early command issues with his fastball, which led to three walks in the second and third innings. But after, Willingham ended the third inning with a ground out, Burnett retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced. The only batter who reached was Coco Crisp on a two-out triple in the fifth inning. But David DeJesus grounded out to end the threat. It was Burnett’s sixth quality start among his 12 games this season. He is tied with CC Sabathia for the staff lead in wins. The victory also snapped a personal 11-game road winless streak for Burnett that dated back to Aug. 10, 2010.
  • Russell Martin has been nursing a sore big left toe for the past week but it did not deter him from stealing a base in the fourth inning after he drew a walk from Gonzalez. Martin is tied with Eduardo Nunez for third on the team in stolen bases with six. His career high in steals was 21 with the Dodgers in 2007.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • After his 3-for-5 game with a home run and four RBis on Tuesday, the A’s pitched Curtis Granderson tough on Wednesday and he was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. Granderson finished May with a .294 average, 10 home runs and 26 RBIs. He failed to get a hit in all but 10 games in that month.
  • Despite his walk, Martin extended his hitless streak to 16 at-bats. His last hit was an RBI single in the eighth inning in a 5-3 come-from-behind victory over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24. His average has dropped to .242.
  • Nunez, getting a start at third base while Rodriguez was the DH, was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and he did not get a ball out of the infield. After a hot start to the season, Nunez is now hitting .224.

BOMBER BANTER

In early voting for the American League All-Star team, the Yankees have six players in position to start. Mark Teixeira, Cano, Rodriguez, Jeter and Martin lead at their respective positions. In addition, Granderson is among the top three outfielders. Cano is the second leading vote-getter with 1,185,952 votes. Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista leads all vote-getters with 1.261,659 votes.  . . .  Phil Hughes threw a bullpen session on Wednesday in Oakland and now is on schedule to throw to live hitters on Saturday in Anaheim. Hughes has been on the disabled list since April 15 with shoulder weakness and inflammation.  . . .  With Jorge Posada struggling with a .169 average and six homers and 18 RBIs, manager Joe Girardi said he is not sure if Posada will ever start again as the DH against left-handers. Posada is 0-for-27 against lefties this season.

ON DECK

The Yankees have Thursday off and they will open a three-game weekend series in Anaheim with the Angels beginning on Friday.

The Yankees will open the series with 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova (4-3, 4.67 ERA). Nova lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his last start against the Mariners on Saturday. Nova gave up four runs on four hits and three walks but he left with a no-decision. Nova will be facing the Angels for the first time.

The Angels are countering with ace right-hander Jered Weaver (6-4, 2.10 ERA). Weaver held the Twins scoreless on two hits and two walks over nine innings but he ended up without a victory. He is 4-2 with a 5.88 ERA in his career against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 10:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

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