Yankees welcome A's to the Bronx

The New York Yankees try to continue their home mastery of game set against them at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees have won two of three from the A's this season in the Bronx, but are a staggering 14-2 against them there since the start of the 2008 campaign. Overall, the Yanks have won 26 of the 31 meetings in that span.

New York enters tonight's opener a game up on the Boston Red Sox the American League East standings after taking three of four from the Minnesota Twins over the weekend.

On Sunday, Ivan Nova tossed seven strong innings to help the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 3-0, in the finale of a four-game series at Target Field. Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the seventh for New York, which has won eight of its last 11.

Nova (13-4), the leader among all rookies in wins, limited the Twins to five hits and wound up outdueling a collection of Minnesota pitchers following an injury to starter Nick Blackburn.

"He pitched great. His slider was really, really good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about Nova.

The Yankees actually picked up a half-game on the Red Sox on Monday when Boston was blanked by the Texas Rangers.

Hoping to extend that lead tonight will be right-hander Bartolo Colon, who is 8-7 with a 3.54 ERA. Colon lost for the first time in five starts on Wednesday in Kansas City, as he allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings. Billy Butler's controversial home run opened up the flood gates in that one, but Colon has pitched to a 5.13 ERA over his last eight starts.

"I feel good physically, but I gave up two home runs and we didn't win the game," Colon said through an interpreter following his last start.

Colon, though, is 2-0 in two starts against the A's this season and has allowed just two runs in 16 innings of work against them. For his career he is 8-5 versus Oakland with a 3.31 ERA in 18 games (17 starts).

The A's, meanwhile, come into tonight's opener in the Bronx following a split in their four-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. Oakland was denied a series win on Sunday when it was shut down by Luis Perez in a 1-0 loss.

Guillermo Moscoso (6-7) suffered a hard luck loss, as he struck out seven and allowed just three hits in eight sparkling innings for Oakland. Unfortunately one of the hits he allowed was a Jose Bautista home run.

"Both those guys pitched really well today," said Oakland skipper Bob Melvin. "You have to give them credit."

Getting the call for the A's tonight will be righty Brandon McCarthy, who is 6-6 with a 3.74 ERA. McCarthy won for the fifth time in his last six decisions on Thursday against Baltimore, as he held the Orioles to four runs and eight hits in six innings.

"On a personal level I wasn't really satisfied with the way I threw," said McCarthy, who had taken a line drive off his right knee in his previous start. "It was kind of the way things went. Just a little rusty. I wasn't sharp. The tweaks I had to make were small, so it just gave me something to work on this week. So it will be a good challenge on Tuesday, to see if I can put that into play and get right again."

He is 1-0 with a 7.36 ERA in four games (two starts) against the Yankees.