(SportsNetwork.com) – The Oakland Athletics will try to add to the American League’s best record when they invade the Bronx Tuesday for the opener of a three-game series against the New York Yankees.
The AL West-leading Athletics are 35-22 on the season and swept a three-game series from the LA Angels of Anaheim this past weekend. The A’s broke out the brooms with Sunday’s 6-3 decision and outscored the Angels, 26-11, during the Bay Area series.
Sonny Gray pushed his record to 6-1 by holding the Angels to three runs in 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and three walks. Gray benefited from a four- run third inning and three relievers closed the door for the A’s. Sean Doolittle struck out three in the ninth for his fifth save.
Jed Lowrie homered and hit an RBI single, while Josh Donaldson ended with two hits and two RBI for Oakland, which battered Angels ace Jered Weaver to the tune of six runs — five earned — and 11 hits across six innings.
“We made him work,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Weaver. “He’s always difficult. You never know what he’s going to throw. He’s as unpredictable as anyone in the league. … That was a good game for us against him.”
Alberto Callaspo had three hits in the win, as the A’s went 5-2 on the homestand and extended their AL West lead to 4 1/2 games over the Angels.
The A’s will begin a nine-game road trip against the Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Angels, and will send Scott Kazmir to the Yankee Stadium mound Tuesday night. Kazmir tossed a gem in last Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Detroit and allowed one run and six hits with eight K’s and no walks. It was his first complete game in eight years.
Donaldson backed Kazmir with a game-winning three-run homer.
Kazmir is 6-2 in 11 starts with a 2.36 earned run average and will try to stay strong on the road. In six away outings, he is 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA. Kazmir, a left-hander and former Tampa Bay Ray, has made 18 appearances (17 starts) against the Yankees, going 7-7 with a 3.50.
New York suffered a 10-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners Monday in a makeup game of an April 30 rainout and starting pitcher David Phelps was hammered for six runs in six innings. Reliever Alfredo Aceves gave up four runs and allowed two homers in two innings of work.
The Mariners had two four-run innings to power their way over the Yankees, who have lost two in a row and four of six games. The Yankees have been outscored 17-4 in the last two games.
“We’re not a club right now that’s hitting the ball out of the ballpark, so you have to put a lot of base hits together,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told the club’s website. “And we’re not hitting a lot of doubles either, so you have to put a lot of base hits together.”
Jacoby Ellsbury, Yangervis Solarte and Kelly Johnson had two hits apiece, while Ichiro Suzuki provided the two RBI in defeat. His two-run infield hit in the fourth inning pulled the Yankees even at 2-2, but the Mariners took over from there for the convincing win.
Girardi could get the help he needs soon with Carlos Beltran working his way back to the big league club. Beltran has been out with an elbow issue and is getting healthy down in Clearwater, Florida. He hopes to return to the Yankees for a 10-game road trip at the end of the week.
Hiroki Kuroda toes the rubber for the Yankees Tuesday and is unbeaten (2-0) in his past five trips to the mound. He was aided by his offense in last Wednesday’s 7-4 win at St. Louis and allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Kuroda has given up three or more runs in three of his last four starts.
The right-hander is 4-3 in 11 starts with a pedestrian 4.57 ERA and 3-2 in six starts at home. Kuroda has made four career starts against the A’s and is 1-2 with a 3.58 ERA in that time.
New York lost five of six meetings with the Athletics last season and is just 3-10 in the previous 13 matchups between the clubs. The Yankees are 5-6 in their last 11 home games versus Oakland.