The Yankees beat the A’s 4-2 on the strength of seven strong innings of two-run ball from A.J. Burnett (five strikeouts, three walks), with the lone blemish coming in the first inning on a two-run Josh Willingham home run. That A.J. was able to settle down the rest of the way after immediately surrendering the 1-0 lead the Yankees had delivered to him on an Alex Rodriguez RBI double (his first extra-base hit since May 21!) in the top of the 1st is a nice step in the right direction for Burnett.
Though there’s no arguing with the team’s success — 1st place in the AL East; second-best record in the league — it’s still been a fairly odd season for the Yankees in a number of different ways. As noted after Bartolo Colon‘s complete-game shutout on Monday, the Yankees became the last team in MLB in 2011 to record a shutout with that victory; and after taking all three games from the A’s, this marked the furthest the team has gone into a season to pick up their first three-game sweep since 1997, when they didn’t notch their first sweep until June 6 through June 8 against the Brewers. That was so long ago Milwaukee was still in the American League. Additionally, the Yankees’ current four-game winning streak is their longest of the season.
The remainder of the Yankee offense was provided by a much-needed Nick Swisher three-run bomb off Gio Gonzalez, who went 6 1/3 and gave up four earned runs. Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera teamed up for one scoreless frame apiece, and just like that, the Yankees are riding high into an off day before embarking on the last leg of this west coast jaunt with a three-gamer against the Halos starting Friday night.