Injuries have hardly been able to slow the New York Yankees, and on Friday they turn their attention to the visiting Oakland Athletics for the opener of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.
Both teams had Thursday off, but the Yankees may not have minded lacing up the cleats given the way they have been playing of late. They are 6-1 so far on their 10-game homestand after topping the Astros on Wednesday, 5-4.
A heads-up baserunning play by Lyle Overbay allowed Eduardo Nunez to score the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, and Mariano Rivera later closed it out for his 11th save. Ichiro Suzuki led off and went 2-for-4.
After a slow start, Ichiro has hit .419 (13-for-31) over his last eight games.
The injury-plagued Yankees are scrapping to get by with the likes of Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Kevin Youkilis all currently on the disabled list, among others. Nine of the team's last 11 wins have been by two runs or fewer.
Meanwhile, the A's are beginning a 10-game road trip that includes stops in Cleveland and Seattle. They are coming off Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Angels, which snapped a three-game win streak. The A's rallied with two runs in the eighth inning but stranded a pair of baserunners in the ninth.
Also on Wednesday, Oakland placed outfielder Coco Crisp (strained left hamstring) and starting pitcher Brett Anderson (sprained right ankle) on the 15-day disabled list. Both injuries occurred during Monday's marathon victory over the Angels that lasted 19 innings.
Taking the mound for Oakland on Friday will be A.J. Griffin, who struck out seven batters against the Orioles on Saturday but was done in by a four-run fourth inning.
"He pitched well pretty much every inning but one," manager Bob Melvin said. "When you only score two runs and give up four in one inning, it's gonna end up costing you. It shouldn't, one bad inning."
Griffin gave up seven runs at Boston in his previous start.
CC Sabathia gets the nod for the Pinstripers after finishing the month of April with four victories, his winningest April ever. The left-hander has pitched seven innings or more in five of his six starts. In his last outing, Sabathia held the Blue Jays to three runs in eight innings despite giving up nine hits. He retired each of his final nine batters faced.
"The way he competes when he doesn't have his (best) stuff is probably as impressive as anything," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's how you become a 20-game winner."
New York and Oakland split 10 meetings last season.