NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner homered and had three hits, Mark Teixeira drove in a run and Jacoby Ellsbury brought home two as the Yankees topped the A's, 6-2, on Thursday afternoon to secure a series win before 40,084 at Yankee Stadium. Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka bounced back from a four-start winless stretch to pick up his fifth win of the season.
The A's were able to put together a two-run second inning on doubles by Billy Butler and Mark Canha to temporarily take the lead, but once the Yankees came back, the A's had no answer, collecting just a ninth-inning single after Canha's knock. Jesse Chavez took the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings. The right-hander has lost nine games this season despite owning a 3.40 ERA.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cincy-bound: Before the fifth inning, the Yankees' public-address announcer revealed to an ecstatic crowd that Gardner would be heading to Cincinnati for Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile. Gardner will be subbing for Alex Gordon of the Royals, who strained his left groin on Wednesday night and is expected to be out for eight weeks. Gardner had an All-Star-worthy game on Thursday, going 3-for-5 with two singles and a homer. More >
"It's great -- I'm really happy for him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Gardner. "He's so important for our team, what he's done for this club. I really believed he deserved to go, and now he's going."
"I don't want to say I didn't think it wasn't going to happen, but realistically, there's a lot of great outfielders in the American League," Gardner said. "To be mentioned up there with the top six, seven, eight outfielders in the league is pretty special."
A laboring act: Chavez endured several lengthy innings, including a 27-pitch third and a 25-pitch fourth. He sat at 93 pitches upon his exit after five innings, forcing three more innings from an A's bullpen that worked five frames in Wednesday night's 5-4 loss. The right-hander has allowed four runs in three of in his last four starts, bringing his ERA to 5.27 in his last seven outings, during which he has allowed 24 runs in 41 innings. He posted a 2.38 ERA over his first eight starts of the season.
"It's just a matter of keeping the pitches ahead of the count off the plate and the pitches behind in the count on," Chavez said. "That's the difference, and it's the only thing I see." More >
Back on track: After back-to-back no-decisions and a career-high four-start winless drought, Tanaka returned to top form and picked up his first win since June 9. The righty worked 7 2/3 innings, recording six strikeouts and allowing two hits and two runs, one of which was unearned.
"We needed some distance out of him, and then he had the quick first inning," Girardi said. "The second inning gets kind of long, and you start thinking about how you're going to use everyone. Then he was really economical after that." More >
Errors adding up: A's shortstop Marcus Semien recorded his Major League-leading 28th error of the season in the eighth inning, an errant throw to first base that led to two Yankees runs. He has seven errors in his last 11 games, and his total of 28 is already third most in Oakland history by a shortstop (Bert Campaneris made 34 in 1968, Alfredo Griffin 30 in 1985). Seventy-four games remain in the A's season.
"I want to just kind of build on this and take some days off for the All-Star break and build on this and have a good second half." -- Tanaka, on his first half coming to an end
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
A's outfielder Billy Burns saw his 18-game hitting streak on the road come to an end with an 0-for-4 day. It was the second-longest road hitting streak by an A's player in the last 11 seasons. Jemile Weeks hit in 20 consecutive road games over two seasons, from Aug. 24, 2011, to April 15, 2012.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: The A's will continue their six-game road trip in Cleveland on Friday with the opener of a three-game series against the Indians. Right-hander Kendall Graveman, 5-2 with a 1.78 ERA in nine starts since his return from Triple-A Nashville in late May, takes the mound for the 4:10 p.m. PT first pitch at Progressive Field.
Yankees: The Yankees travel to Boston for a three-game series with the Red Sox that opens on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Michael Pineda (8-5, 3.79 ERA) will get the ball for New York, looking for his ninth win of the season and his third career win over the Red Sox. As of Thursday, Pineda led the American League with an 8.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio.