After a miserable June, A.J. Burnett has apparently returned to form.
Burnett limited Oakland to two runs over seven innings as New York topped Oakland, 6-2, Wednesday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
New York won their fifth straight while sweeping a three-game series in Oakland for the first time since May 13-15, 2005. Oakland only totaled four runs and 16 hits as they suffered their fourth three-game sweep of the season.
Coming off 6.2 scoreless innings last Friday against Toronto, Burnett (7-7) allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out three and walked two and earned his first victory since defeating Cleveland on May 30.
Gio Gonzalez (7-6) suffered the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and five walks in four innings. He entered the game only allowing one earned run over his last 19.2 innings.
The game did not start well for the Yankees, however, as New York was unable to take advantage of early scoring opportunities.
In the top of the first, the Yankees loaded the bases with one out, but Gonzalez struck out Jorge Posada and Marcus Thames. Derek Jeter hit into an inning-ending double play with runners at first and second in the second inning. With Nick Swisher at third, and one out in the third inning, Alex Rodriguez and Posada struck out to end the inning.
While the Yankees struggled to take advantage of scoring opportunities, Oakland grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third.
Burnett retired the first two hitters before walking number nine hitter Cliff Pennington. After a wild pitch, Pennington scored on Coco Crisp’s RBI single. Crisp entered the at-bat 1-for-14 in his career against Burnett.
After Francisco Cervelli hit into a double play in the top of the fourth, Brett Gardner walked and then stole second. Gardner came around to score on Ramiro Pena’s RBI single.
After a wild pitch advanced Pena to second, Jeter delivered his second RBI in as many days. Prior to Tuesday’s game, Jeter had not driven in a run in 19 consecutive games.
Swisher then walked to keep the inning alive with runners at first and second. Mark Teixeira followed with a homer over the center field wall. This was Teixeira's second home run of the series (15th of the season) and it gave the Yankees a 5-1 advantage.
New York increased their lead in the top of the sixth on Swisher’s solo home run. It was the 14th home run of the season for Swisher, who finished the game 3-for-4, a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He entered the game only hitting .211 (15-71) against his former team.
Oakland answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth. With runners at first and second and two outs, Jack Cust’s RBI single cut the Yankees lead to 6-2. Cust had been 1-for-15 in his career against Burnett prior to his run-scoring single.
New York will start their final series before the All-Star break in Seattle on Thursday. Andy Pettitte (10-2, 2.82) will start the first game of the four-game series.
The Mariners will counter with Jason Vargas (6-4, 3.22). First pitch is set for 10:10 p.m. ET.
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