Burnett finally wins again; Yankees sweep A’s
OAKLAND – Nick Swisher will find out Thursday whether his latest big week with the bat will land him a spot on the AL All-Star team alongside all the other New York Yankees.
Swisher homered and doubled among his three hits against his former team, and the Yankees completed a sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 6-2 victory Wednesday night.
Swisher is doing all he can to earn his first All-Star nod. Pitcher A.J. Burnett voted online, so did manager Joe Girardi and his kids. New York already has a majors-best seven representatives, and eight would be the club’s most since 2004.
“Last night of voting, send Swish,” the right fielder said with a huge grin afterward. “Obviously it would be an amazing honor for me. Crazy, man, I feel like a politician. It’s been kind of stressful. I’ve never been in a conversation for an All-Star game. I want to go.”
Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer to help Burnett win for the first time in more than five weeks.
Derek Jeter had a go-ahead single and Ramiro Pena also singled in a run in New York’s five-run fourth inning in which all of the runs were scored with two outs. The Yankees won their fifth straight and earned their first road sweep of the season.
Burnett (7-7) pitched seven strong innings to end a six-start winless stretch in which he was 0-5 since beating the Indians on May 30.
Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a walk a night after hitting two home runs, with a grand slam. He has 597 career clouts heading into a four-game series in his old Seattle stomping grounds starting Thursday night. A-Rod is looking to become only the seventh player to join the 600-club.
Girardi is happy to see Rodriguez and Teixeira producing with some power in the middle of the order.
“It’s great to see those two guys have big nights for us here,” the skipper said. “The middle of the order can be very productive, and they were.”
The Yankees are a season-best 22 games over .500 at 53-31 and hold a two-game lead in the AL East over Tampa Bay, which swept Boston to send the Red Sox to 4 1/2 back. New York finishes up its final West Coast trip of the year against the Mariners.
The Yankees won their fourth straight road game and 10th in 13 away from Yankee Stadium.
New York swept the A’s at the Coliseum in a series of three or more games for just the third time since 1980 and first since taking three in a row here from May 13-15, 2005.
“It seemed like the whole series we gave up almost all of our runs with two outs,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “It’s very unusual but it also tells you a little bit about the depth of the other team.”
The A’s trail the season series 1-5, the third straight year they’ve come up short to New York. The Yankees are 17-4 against Oakland over the past three campaigns. The A’s still must go to Yankee Stadium for a four-game set from Aug. 30-Sept. 2.
Burnett got back on track with this one, effectively working in his changeup more than he did his last time out. He allowed two runs on five hits, struck out three and walked two. Girardi called it Burnett’s best changeup since joining the Yankees.
“It always starts upstairs,” Burnett said of being mentally tough. “Not letting the little things bother you, other than what you can control. It’s just a matter of staying even keel out there.”
Gio Gonzalez (7-6) was done after equaling his season-low of four innings. He didn’t get much support from the offense, either.
The A’s took a brief lead on Coco Crisp’s RBI single in the third after the Yankees missed chances in each of the first three innings, but that was it until Jack Cust added an RBI single in the sixth.
Coming off a victory at Cleveland after going winless in his previous four outings, Gonzalez matched his season high with five walks. He was tagged for five runs and eight hits and he struck out five.
“You have to get ahead of the hitters, especially with this lineup. If I fall behind on them they’re going to do the job,” Gonzalez said. “When you fall behind it just spirals out of control. I should have taken a moment to step back, take a deep breath and attack the zone.”
NOTES: Swisher before the game on boosting his chances to be an All-Star: “Keep pushin’, keep pushin’.” … Yankees 2B Robinson Cano was held out of the lineup for the first time all season, a chance to rest his tweaked back that he hurt Sunday against Toronto. The team also decided to pull him from Monday’s Home Run Derby at the All-Star game in Anaheim. … The A’s called up RHP Ross Wolf from Triple-A Sacramento and optioned RHP Tyson Ross to Sacramento to develop him as a starter. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A’s transferred Eric Chavez to the 60-day disabled list. … It was 58 degrees at first pitch, yet another unseasonably cool summer night in the Bay Area. … New York’s Brett Gardner stole his 25th base in the fourth following a two-out walk.
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