After a rough May for the Yankees' pitching staff, New York is using subpar competition to right itself at the beginning of June.
CC Sabathia's three-run, seven-inning victory over the Orioles on Thursday afternoon completed a 5-0 run for Yanks starters during the most recent turn through the rotation.
A.J. Burnett got things started against the Indians on Sunday, when he allowed just one earned run on five hits over eight innings, and Andy Pettitte followed with a seven-inning, one-run performance versus Cleveland.
In the Baltimore opener, Javier Vazquez repeated Pettitte's effort, as did Phil Hughes on Wednesday.
The sweep of the last-place Birds isn't anything to celebrate, but New York has won five in a row and eight of 10, while getting its pitching back in order.
Here are the grades from the Yankees' 6-3 win over the Orioles in the series finale.
CC Sabathia, SP: (B)
The big lefty was breezing through the humid afternoon until he surrendered a two-run homer to Luke Scott in the seventh before issuing his only walk of the game to Garrett Atkins. Sabathia finished with seven strikeouts, but he allowed two more home runs, bringing his season total to a bloated 12 in as many starts.
This was his first win since beating the O's on May 3, and he is now 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA against Baltimore, but 2-3 with a 4.29 versus everyone else.
Joe Girardi, Manager: (A)
Derek Jeter may have been going on his own, but I'll give the skipper credit for sending the captain from second with nobody out and the shift on Mark Teixeira in the first. The steal allowed Jeter to score on a balk by Kevin Millwood.
I'm usually not in favor of pulling Sabathia, or any starter for that matter, with less than 100 pitches if he's only given up three runs in seven innings, but the southpaw was laboring in the heat during that seventh frame, so I didn't have a big problem with Girardi pulling Sabathia after 94 deliveries.
Derek Jeter, SS: (B-)
The shortstop was 1-for-4 with a walk, a run, and that theft of third. Since bottoming out at .266 on May 19, Jeter is 24-for-59 (.407).
Nick Swisher, RF: (C+)
Swisher was also 1-for-4 with a base on balls and a run scored. The right fielder is also in the midst of an extended good hitting stretch, batting .374 in May and 4-for-12 (.333) so far in June.
Mark Teixeira, 1B: (A)
Teixeira is starting to finally swing the bat better. He went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run, and was robbed of another extra-base hit on a tremendous diving stop by Miguel Tejada at third. The first baseman is 10 for his last 33 (.303).
Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (A+)
A-Rod, who is now the active home run leader after Ken Griffey Jr. retired on Wednesday, smacked No. 591 with a two-run, opposite-field blast in the third.
Robinson Cano, 2B: (A)
Cano continued his ridiculous hot run with an RBI double in the first that extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Over his last nine contests, the league's leading hitter is batting a hysterical 20-for-36 (.556) to bring his season average up to .373.
Jorge Posada, DH: (C-)
Posada went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. For the second straight game, he started as the DH with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, which is the lineup the Yanks should go with for at least three out of every five games the rest of the season. Posada is not nearly as good of a defensive catcher as Cervelli, and with the youngster hitting so well this year, there is no reason to stick the veteran back behind the plate.
Curtis Granderson, CF: (A)
Granderson was 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the third and is 10-for-24 (.417) since coming off the disabled list on May 28.
Francisco Cervelli, C: (C-)
Cervelli was the only Yankee not to collect a hit, and he grounded into a double play, but he walked once and caught a good game.
Brett Gardner, LF: (A+)
Gardner was 2-for-4 with a homer and a steal.
Joba Chamberlain, RP (A+)
Mariano Rivera, RP: (A-)
Rivera walked Nick Markakis and hit Ty Wigginton before escaping the jam to not allow a run and preserve a three-run lead against the worst team in baseball.
Yankees Overall Grade: (B+)
Another ho-hum victory over the Orioles, but you need to beat up on the bad teams in order to get your win total up, and that is exactly what the Yankees have been doing as they pull within two games of the Rays for first place in the American League East and the best record in baseball. A three-game set in Toronto is up next.
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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 amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org