Yanks encouraged as Pineda shows progress

Righty earns first win since April 6 with quality start

Yanks encouraged as Pineda shows progress

OAKLAND -- The Yankees think that they still have more work to do with Michael Pineda, but pitching coach Larry Rothschild described his performance as "better" on Sunday, and that was good enough for the right-hander to walk out of the Oakland Coliseum with his first win since April 6.

Pineda worked six innings of three-run ball in New York's 5-4 victory over the Athletics, continuing a run that has seen the Yankees squeeze solid performances out of each of their starters during a five-game winning streak.

"The last couple starts, that's what I'm looking for, to make adjustments to be better in the game," Pineda said. "I know I'm a better pitcher, so that's what I'm looking for. To be better all the time."

Rothschild has hammered away at Pineda's problems, which have largely come out of the stretch position and revolved around his hanging sliders. Rothschild said that Pineda's slider could still be more consistent.

"I thought he was better," Rothschild said. "I thought he made some strides today and we just need to keep making more strides."

Sunday's performance lowered Pineda's ERA from 6.60 to 6.34, which is still the highest in the American League among all qualified starters. Only the Brewers' Wily Peralta (6.99) has struggled more.

"If you look back, it's 1 1/2 months," catcher Brian McCann said. "We're just getting started here. He's going to get going here and build off what he did today."

Pineda said that one tweak has him standing taller prior to his delivery, which they believe will help him keep the ball down in the zone.

"I was encouraged," manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought there was more consistency in his stuff today and that's the most important thing."

The first inning has also been an issue, and there was undoubtedly concern in the visiting dugout as Pineda allowed another first-inning run: Billy Burns singled, stole second base and then took third base unchecked by Pineda, scoring on a Stephen Vogt groundout.

His 13 runs and 22 hits allowed in the first inning are both the most in Majors, but Pineda clamped the damage to work effectively into the fifth.

With two outs in the fifth, Vogt pounced on a 95 mph fastball and belted it over Brett Gardner's head in left field for a two-run double. Pineda flashed his frustration, barking before raising his pitching arm violently.

"This is adrenaline for the game," Pineda said. "We're really fighting."

A visit from Rothschild cooled Pineda's temper and restored his form, as he retired the next four hitters before handing the game over to the bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.

"They have a lot more work to do," Pineda said. "I want to continue my routine, work hard and try to be better all the time."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.