NEW YORK — A.J. Burnett bounced back from an awful August by pitching six effective innings and the New York Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 Wednesday night for their fifth straight win.
The Yankees held their one-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East. They'll go for a four-game sweep Thursday with CC Sabathia on the mound.
Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run homer for Oakland and Brett Anderson only allowed one earned run, but the A's fell to 1-8 against New York this season.
Burnett (10-12) went 0-4 in five starts since his last win, July 28 at Cleveland. He came off a particularly rough outing in which he lasted 3 1/3 innings and tied a season high with eight earned runs, leaving him with a 7.80 ERA in August.
Burnett got September off to a stronger start, allowing three runs and striking out eight.
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 28th save. He struck out Kurt Suzuki with a runner on second to end it.
Joba Chamberlain allowed a pair of two-out singles in the seventh, but Suzuki flied out to end the threat.
Kerry Wood also put two runners on with two outs, retiring Rajai Davis to end the eighth.
Anderson (3-6) has lost four of his last five starts. He gave up eight hits in six innings.
Mark Ellis had three hits for the A's, who gave up 20 runs in the first two games of the series against New York, but couldn't capitalize when they held the Yankees to four.
Coco Crisp's RBI groundout that made it 4-3 in the fifth was possible because Davis stole third base after he doubled.
The Yankees got a couple of breaks in their three-run second inning that made it 4-0.
Curtis Granderson and Eduardo Nunez both hit one-out singles just over shortstop Cliff Pennington's glove.
Granderson came home as Derek Jeter was safe at first when Anderson bobbled the catch while covering the bag on a grounder to second. Mark Teixeira's two-run single to left bounced just to the left of third baseman Kouzmanoff's glove and just to the right of Pennington's.
Teixeira hit a long RBI double to left-center in the first inning. The Yankees scored three runs in the first the night before and have scored in the first inning in 10 of their last 15 games.
Jorge Posada pinch-hit for Yankees C Francisco Cervelli in the eighth and was ejected after plate umpire Dana DeMuth called strike three on a pitch that appeared to be outside. Posada took his bat and drew a line in the dirt, showing where the ball was wide. Chad Moeller, called up earlier in the day when rosters expanded, trotted in from the bullpen and caught the ninth. … Yankees switch-pitcher Pat Venditte was promoted from Class A Tampa to Double-A Trenton. … Davis got his 40th steal of the season in the fifth. The only other A's to have 40 in a season are Rickey Henderson, Bert Campaneris and Billy North. … Yankees DH Lance Berkman was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list. He batted for Nunez in the eighth, doubled to center on his first pitch and was lifted for a pinch-runner. … RHP Javier Vazquez will rejoin the Yankees' rotation on Saturday against Toronto, returning two successful appearances in long relief. … New York LHP Andy Pettitte (groin) had another successful bullpen outing. He has been out since July 18. He says he expects to pitch another bullpen and make a rehab appearance before he can rejoin the Yankees. … Yankees OF Austin Kearns singled in the third for his first hit in 20 at-bats. … Jeter had been 1-for-25 before he led off the bottom of the first with a single.
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