Yankees 4, Athletics 2

Once Nick Swisher got the signs down, he delivered the big hit

that helped the New York Yankees complete a three-game sweep.

Swisher hit a three-run homer after mistakenly thinking he was

supposed to bunt to help A.J. Burnett snap an 11-start winless

streak on the road as the Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics for

the 10th straight time, 4-2 on Wednesday.

The big blow came in the fourth inning when Swisher showed bunt

against Gio Gonzalez for the first two pitches with runners on

first and second and no outs. After consulting with third-base

coach Tony Pena during a mound visit, Swisher swung away at the

next pitch and delivered his fourth home run of the season.

”I thought I was told to lay one down,” Swisher said. ”So

finally after it got to 2-0 and the pitching coach came out I went

over to (Pena) and said, ‘Hey man, what do you want me to do right

here?’ He said, ‘I want you to let it loose.’ So I did.”

He hit the next pitch over the left-field fence to give New York

the lead for good. Derek Jeter added his 2,984th hit and Alex

Rodriguez also drove in a run for the Yankees, who have their

longest winning streak against the A’s since winning 14 in a row

from 1956-57.

”Any time you win 10 in a row against a club, it just doesn’t

happen very often,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ”They have

talent over there. They have a very good pitching staff. We just

kind of had our way. We were fortunate.”

Josh Willingham hit a two-run home run and Gio Gonzalez (5-3)

took his first loss since April for Oakland, which was swept by the

Yankees in a three-game series and has lost 23 of the last 26

meetings against New York.

Burnett (6-3) had not won a game away from Yankee Stadium since

last July in Cleveland, going 0-5 with a 5.64 ERA in his previous

11 road starts. He looked to be on his way to another rough day

when Willingham homered in the first inning, but didn’t allow

anything else.

Burnett gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings for the

fourth straight strong start from New York’s rotation, giving the

Yankees a season-long four-game win streak. Burnett allowed only

one hit after the first inning – a two-out triple by Coco Crisp in

the fifth – as he went to more two-seam fastballs instead of

four-seamers.

”The four-seamer was up early,” he said. ”I think in times in

the past, I would stick with it and maybe get beat up. I realized

the two-seamer kept me down in the zone today and Ii used that

more.”

Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless eighth, snaring a line

drive to start an inning-ending double play. Mariano Rivera

finished for his 14th save in 17 chances and first since May 10. It

was Rivera’s 1,002nd career appearance, tying Goose Gossage for

14th place all-time.

The A’s came into the series on a four-game winning streak with

their top three starters lined up to face the powerful Yankees. But

New York battered Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson and Gonzalez for 18

runs in the three-game sweep.

Gonzalez allowed four runs five hits and four walks in 6 1-3

innings in this game as the three starters fell to 1-10 with a 7.24

ERA in their careers against the Yankees.

”As a team you have to attack early and keep the pressure on

them,” Gonzalez said. ”You let them know right off the bat, you

are going to give them everything you got. You can’t cruise when

you think you have them down. They always seem quick to be able to

get a little rally going. When it’s going their way, it’s going

their way.”

For the third straight day, the A’s fell behind before even

coming to bat. After allowing two-run homers in the first inning

the past two days, Oakland managed to keep the deficit at one this

time: Jeter led off with a double – the third straight game he has

opened with a hit – and scored on Rodriguez’s two-out double.

That was the first hit allowed by Gonzalez in 22 at-bats with

runners in scoring position and two outs.

Oakland responded in the bottom half with a two-run homer of its

own. Willingham’s 10th of the season came with two outs and David

DeJesus on second, giving the A’s a 2-1 lead.

That ended a stretch of 60 straight innings that Oakland did not

hold a lead at the end of a frame against the Yankees.

The lead lasted only until the fourth inning, when Swisher

connected for a three-run shot off Gonzalez, one of the players the

A’s acquired when they dealt Swisher to the Chicago White Sox three

years ago.

”I just found out this morning that we were in the same

trade,” Swisher said. ”No one likes getting traded. You don’t

really pay attention to who’s on the other side of it.”

Notes: Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (shoulder inflammation) threw

about 50 pitches in a bullpen session the game and is scheduled to

face hitters Saturday in Anaheim. … Oakland reliever Joey Devine

has not allowed an earned run in 33 consecutive innings dating to

May 23, 2008.