The Yankees beat the A's 4-3 Wednesday night, and in doing so not only secured a series victory -- with a sweep a possibility tomorrow afternoon -- but picked up their fifth straight win, marking their first five-plus win stretch since mid-July, a streak that also coincidentally included three victories against Oakland.
A.J. Burnett tossed six innings of three-run ball, enough to pick up his first win since July 28. Despite a season-high eight strikeouts, it's way too soon to know whether this will be something he can build on or if he'll revert right back to awful A.J., especially given that the performance came against the noodle-bat A's. Heck, even Javier Vazquez was able to throw nearly five innings of one-run ball against Oakland.
A.J. also nearly gave the game back after being staked to a 4-0 lead after two innings on three Mark Teixeira RBIs and a costly Oakland error. The molten-hot Tex picked up three more hits, giving him eight in the past three games. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run bomb to halve the lead in the fourth, while Rajai Davis manufactured a run in the fifth after doubling, stealing third and scoring on a groundout. After Burnett departed with a one-run lead, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera combined for three more scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
If not for the aforementioned throwing error in the second inning -- which ultimately led to three unearned runs -- this night might have turned out very differently for the Yankees, as Brett Anderson went six and only gave up one earned run. Of course, errors are as much a part of the game as anything else, and I'll happily take a win any which way it wants to come.
Though Derek Jeter singled to lead the game off and scored two runs, he went 0-4 in his subsequent four plate appearances and is now hitting .266. Lance Berkman announced his return to the team by smoking a double off the fence in a pinch-hit at-bat in the eighth. Welcome back, Lance. More of that, please.
The Yankees are in great position to sweep this four-game set from the A's with CC Sabathia on the hill tomorrow afternoon, kicking off a stretch of five straight 1:05pm starts for the Yanks. Sweeps are always wonderful -- especially four-game sweeps -- but winning tomorrow would be even sweeter with Dallas Braden toeing the rubber for the A's.