Outstanding starting pitching has the New York Yankees on the verge of matching their longest winning streak of the season.
New York (59-37) has used this win streak to gain 5 1/2 games on Boston in the AL East race, opening a 2 1/2-game advantage atop the division. Through eight contests of a 10-game homestand, Yankees starters have won six games while pitching into the seventh inning six times and posting a 2.35 ERA.
Oakland (40-55) has scored six runs halfway through this four-game set after totaling 32 in its previous three games. The Athletics, who traded away three-time All-Star Matt Holliday(notes) to St. Louis on Friday, have seen two starters turn in solid efforts against them in this series.
The Yankees won a season-high nine in a row May 13-21.
New York also has won eight straight against the A’s, including four this year.
Pettitte (8-5, 4.62 ERA) has a 1.57 ERA in winning his last three starts against Oakland, including a 5-3 victory April 21 as he gave up two runs over seven innings.
The veteran left-hander improved to 11-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 20 career outings versus Oakland, and 7-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 10 home starts.
Pettitte allowed one run over 7 1-3 innings Monday and did not get a decision in a 2-1 win over Baltimore. He has struggled in six day starts this year, going 1-3 with a 6.14 ERA.
Besides the strong pitching for New York, first baseman Mark Teixeira(notes) has been swinging a hot bat on the homestand. The All-Star slugger is 10 for 30 (.333) with three homers and seven RBIs in his last eight games.
Jeter had three hits and two RBIs on Friday, and is 8 for 20 (.400) with four runs scored and four RBIs against Oakland this year.
The A’s are off to a bad start on a difficult road trip, having to follow this series with four games in Boston. They insist they will continue to compete without Holliday, who batted .390 (16 for 41) with three homers and 11 RBIs in his last 10 contests with Oakland.
“This is a resilient team,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “I think that it just gives someone else an opportunity to go out there and play.”
Gio Gonzalez(notes) (1-2, 9.33) will get the ball for Oakland after turning in the worst start of his short career Monday. He lasted 2 2-3 innings and gave up a career-worst 11 runs in a 14-13 win over Minnesota.
The second-year left-hander had been 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in his previous two starts this year. This will be his first appearance against New York.