The New York Yankees are rolling right now.
They are dominating both on the mound and in the batter's box to the tune of a season-best 10-game winning streak, and have won every series so far in June.
New York will try for its sixth series victory this month when they resume a three-game interleague series versus the Atlanta Braves tonight from Yankee Stadium, and kept its winning ways intact with Monday's 6-2 victory behind CC Sabathia's first complete game of the season. The big left-hander struck out 10 Braves and gave up two runs to push his record to 9-3 this season.
The Braves had a 2-0 lead by the fifth inning until Russell Martin drove in a run with a ground-rule double and Derek Jeter later followed with a two-run single in the bottom half to give the Yankees the lead and, more importantly, Sabathia some breathing room.
"After the past couple starts, these guys have picked me up," Sabathia told the club's website. "After we got the lead, I just felt like if I got in a groove, I had a good chance to finish the game."
Yankees starters are 12-1 with a 1.97 earned run average this month, while the offense has collected 23 home runs in the last 14 games. Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano both went deep last night and Jeter finished 2-for-4 with three RBI to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Jeter is now seven hits shy of tying Hall of Famer Cal Ripken for 13th place on the all-time list.
The Yankees are 2 1/2 games ahead of Baltimore for the American League East lead and improved to 40-13 when going deep this season. They are 14-2 so far in June and a season-best 16 games over .500. New York, which has won 10 in a row and 18 of the past 21 interleague games, posted a 13-game winning streak against the National League from June 12, 2003-June 10, 2004.
Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher missed his second straight game Monday with a thigh bruise and could return this evening.
"It's a bone bruise. It's going to go away," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on the team's site. "Is it another day after [Monday]? Possibly. Do I expect to have him in the next couple days? I do."
The Bronx Bombers have won four in a row at home, are 20-12 as the host and are unbeaten (10-0) so far during a stretch of 15 straight games against NL East opponents. The last time the Yankees won 10 straight was May 7-17, 2005.
Hiroki Kuroda will make his second straight start against the Braves tonight and is 3-0 with a 1.29 earned run average in his last four. Kuroda took the hill in last Wednesday's 3-2 win at Atlanta and held the hosts to a pair of runs on nine hits in six innings, improving to 6-6 in 13 starts to go along with a 3.43 earned run average.
Kuroda, a right-hander, has lasted at least five innings in each of his previous seven outings and is 2-4 with a 2.23 ERA in six career starts against the Braves. The former Dodger has made six starts at Yankee Stadium this season and owns a 4-2 mark and a 2.79 ERA.
Meanwhile, the Braves opened a six-game road trip against the Yankees and Boston Red Sox on a sour note, losing for the third straight time and seventh in the previous eight tries.
Braves starter Mike Minor was staked to a 2-0 inning before falling apart, as he surrendered four runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings for the loss.
"You see it a lot with a young pitcher," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He's plenty good enough to get through that lineup. You see it in spurts, but now we have to get him to have four or five good outings in a row."
Michael Bourn and Martin Prado were each credited with an RBI for Atlanta, which fell to 4 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead. The Braves are still a solid 20-15 away from Turner Field this season.
First baseman Freddie Freeman hasn't been in the lineup since last Tuesday and is nursing a swollen left index finger. He is expected to return tonight and is hitting .250 with eight homers and 37 RBI this season.
"I'm going to have to play through pain the rest of the year," said Freeman, who received a cortisone injection. "But we've got to get it to a point where I can play through it."
The Braves also discovered that starting pitcher Brandon Beachy has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. An MRI revealed the magnitude of the injury and Beachy is slated to visit noted sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday to determine if he needs Tommy John surgery.
Taking the ball for the Braves tonight will be a healthy Tim Hudson. Hudson countered Kuroda last week in a one-run loss for Atlanta and was dealt the defeat for allowing three runs and six hits, including a home run, in six innings. His record dropped to 4-3 in nine starts with a 3.90 ERA.
Hudson was coming off a five-hit shutout at Miami on June 5. He has lost two of his last three decisions and is just 1-4 in 11 career starts against the Yankees. The veteran right-hander is 2-1 with a solid 2.12 ERA in four road outings this season.
Atlanta has lost six in a row to the Yankees. New York won two of three meetings the last time as the host in the series from June 26-28, 2006.