Published July 24, 2011
NEW YORK – Bartolo Colon pitched seven effective innings to end a three-start losing streak and Curtis Granderson connected for a two-run homer, leading the New York Yankees over the Oakland Athletics 7-5 on Sunday.
Eduardo Nunez hit a two-run double and catcher Russell Martin was in the middle of everything for the Yankees. They beat All-Star lefty Gio Gonzalez and returned to their winning ways against the A's when Mariano Rivera staved off a rally in the ninth with a bit of good fortune.
Hideki Matsui's fifth hit, which matched a career high, loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Josh Willingham cut it to 7-5 with an RBI single, the only run Rivera has allowed in 22 outings at home this season.
A one-run loss Saturday snapped New York's 11-game winning streak against Oakland. But the Yankees rebounded behind Colon, taking two of three meetings over the weekend. The Athletics have lost 10 straight series to New York, an Oakland record against any club.
Matsui tormented his former team again, going 5 for 5 with two doubles and an RBI for the A's. The day before, he homered and scored twice in a 4-3 victory.
The broiling heat subsided a bit, with a game-time temperature of 85 degrees following readings of 93 on Saturday and 100 on Friday night.
A brief shower in the eighth cooled off the crowd of 45,586, just as Oakland mounted a comeback attempt with three doubles off All-Star setup man David Robertson. Kurt Suzuki's second two-bagger of the game cut it to 6-4, but Rivera retired Cliff Pennington on a broken-bat grounder to end the inning.
Rivera finished up to reach 25 saves for the 15th consecutive season, extending his major league record.
Nunez manufactured an insurance run in the eighth, scoring without a throw on Derek Jeter's RBI groundout against a drawn-in infield. That came against an erratic Joey Devine, who appeared to have trouble gripping the ball again, just as he did while sweating profusely Friday night.
Andruw Jones had a pair of RBI singles for New York, a big league-best 29-6 in day games. The Yankees have won 16 of 18 against Oakland and 26 of 31 matchups overall since the start of the 2008 season.
The A's are 7-26 in their last 33 road games.
Colon (7-6) allowed two second-inning runs and scattered eight hits for his first win since July 2 against the Mets. The 38-year-old right-hander had dropped three straight starts since winning four in a row.
Gonzalez (9-7) lasted 4 2-3 innings, the second time in three starts he's failed to get through five. Before that, he had pitched into the sixth in every outing this year.
Nunez's two-run double over Willingham's head in left put the Yankees ahead 3-2 with two outs in the fourth. An athletic play by Martin helped them protect that slim lead in the fifth.
With a runner on first and two outs, Matsui doubled into the right-center gap. Granderson cut the ball off just in front of the warning track and started a long relay. Second baseman Robinson Cano's throw home was high, but Martin made a leaping grab and came down in time to tag a sliding Eric Sogard on the hip.
Colon clapped his approval, and New York was out of the inning.
Jeter drew a leadoff walk from Gonzalez in the bottom half and Granderson drove a full-count pitch into the second deck in right for his team-leading 27th homer.
Jones added an RBI infield single with two outs to make it 6-2.
Martin also singled twice, stole a base and threw out a runner attempting to steal. He scored on Nunez's double and Jones' two-out single in the second.
Pennington had an RBI single for the A's in the second and Sogard added a run-scoring double.
NOTES: Oakland RHP Tyson Ross, on the disabled list since May 20 with a strained left oblique, was slated to throw 65-70 pitches in a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento. But interim manager Bob Melvin wouldn't commit to putting Ross back in the rotation once he's healthy. "We'll see how it plays out. We have five guys right now," Melvin said. "These things have a way of working themselves out. But certainly there's some time before we get there and once we get there, we'll see where we're at." ... Matsui also had five hits for the Yankees on July 22, 2007, against Tampa Bay. ... Oakland tied a season high with 15 hits. ... 3B Scott Sizemore was rested and replaced in the lineup by Sogard, who gave up on a very playable popup with a shift on against Teixeira in the sixth. ... New York reliever Rafael Soriano (right elbow inflammation) was scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as part of his rehab assignment. If he comes out of that outing OK, he could pitch again Monday. And if the Yankees are happy with his stuff, he could be activated soon after that. ... Jeter was the DH, with Nunez starting at SS. ... Sunday was the 28th anniversary of the famous "Pine Tar game" between the Royals and Yankees.