OAKLAND, Calif. — The Yankees got three straight hits with two outs in the second inning and claimed a 3-1 victory over the A’s on Monday night.
Mark Teixeira homered to center against losing pitcher Ben Sheets who pitched well enough for a win.
Sheets (3-8) pitched 7 1/3 innings allowing eight hits, three runs, no walks, and four strikeouts.
His Achilles’ heel has been the home run ball. Sheets has allowed 17 home runs in 106 2/3 innings.
“I couldn’t see the sign real well (when the count was 2-1) and I threw a ball and then I just threw one over the middle of the plate,” said Sheets, who has lost five of his last six decisions. “(Teixeira) is a big boy and hit it to the big part of the park. He’s strong and he earned that one.”
Javier Vazquez was a little better though, allowing just a run on three hits in seven innings. Vazquez (7-7) made his 400th start, the seventh pitcher to reach that plateau as a Yankee, joining Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Mike Mussina, Herb Pennock, Andy Pettitte, and Red Ruffing.
“Every time you get a win it’s good but I try not to get too excited about a win because I have a lot of starts to go,” Vazquez said.
In the second inning with two outs and nobody on base, Nick Swisher doubled to right field and he scored on a triple to right by Curtis Granderson. Francisco Cervelli singled to center, scoring Granderson.
Oakland scored its only run in the third inning. Cliff Pennington hit a one-out triple to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly by Coco Crisp.
“A good start, (Sheets) went deep into the game,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “I thought he was aggressive, I thought he threw strikes and a pretty good offensive team over there and he held them to a limited amount of runs. We just didn’t get him much offense tonight.”
Although the A’s only had three hits, the Yankees robbed them of three hits. In the bottom of the sixth, Kurt Suzuki hit a grounder to third. Alex Rodriguez made a diving play to stop the ball and then double-clutched on the long throw to first base, still getting the A’s catcher by a full step.
In the seventh, Gabe Gross flied out to shallow center. Although Granderson initially misjudged the ball, he recovered to make a diving catch. Colin Curtis also made a foot-first sliding catch to rob Mark Ellis of a potential base hit as Vazquez retired the final nine batters he faced.
Joba Chamberlain pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Mariano Rivera closed it out in the ninth for his 19th save.
The A’s have not fared well against the Bronx bombers, having lost three of four games played in 2010 and each of the last six series. Oakland needs a win on Tuesday to prevent making it seven series losses in a row.
“We feel confident with every game we go into,” Suzuki said. “It’s definitely exciting to play in front of a lot of people. We’re playing against the Yankees, defending World Champions. It puts a little bit extra adrenaline in your body but we’re ready. We just want to win.”
Listen below to post-game sound bites from the clubhouse from A’s manager Bob Geren talking about Ben Sheets, and catcher Kurt Suzuki, who says the Yankees proved why they are the best team in baseball.
On the Yankees side: Manager Joe Girardi on their 51-31 first half record and how they can improve on it. Curtis Granderson says Ben Sheets pitched well but he fell behind in the second inning. Mark Teixeira on the pitching of Javier Vazquez since April. Javier Vazquez on the team’s record.