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Oakland at New York

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Oakland (51-45)100000000191
N.Y. Yankees (51-45) «10320100x7100

Cano, A-Rod homer in support of Mussina

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Mike Mussina received plenty of support from the New York Yankees, and newcomer Richie Sexson was right in the middle of it.

Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer, Alex Rodriguez also connected and New York built an early cushion for Mussina in a 7-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.

Sexson hit an RBI single in his first at-bat with the Yankees, and Mussina (12-6) pitched six effective innings to tie Cleveland's Cliff Lee and fellow All-Star Joe Saunders of the Los Angeles Angels for most wins in the AL.

"We looked good today. If we can look like this every day, we've got a chance," Mussina said.

Mussina was left off the All-Star team for Tuesday night's showcase at Yankee Stadium, yet he's certainly pitched like one of baseball's best this season.

The 39-year-old right-hander allowed eight singles and a double, but pitched out of trouble and did not walk a batter for the eighth time this year. Relying on pinpoint control, he has 16 walks in 20 starts spanning 113 1/3 innings.

Mussina gave up an RBI groundout to Ryan Sweeney in the first, then settled in to finish with six strikeouts despite not throwing his deceptive changeup all game.

"That's just the way it evolved," Mussina said.

David Robertson struck out all three hitters in the seventh, Edwar Ramirez worked a perfect eighth and LaTroy Hawkins tossed a 1-2-3 ninth as New York pitchers combined to retire its final 14 batters -- seven on strikeouts.

Bobby Abreu added an RBI double for the Yankees and Rodriguez (three hits) had a run-scoring single off lefty Greg Smith (5-8), handed the ball when scheduled starter Joe Blanton was traded to Philadelphia on Thursday.

"I wasn't throwing on short rest or anything, so that was fine," Smith said after the shortest outing of his brief career. "There was a little bit of rust, but I'm not going to make excuses. I just didn't have it tonight."

The A's, who won six of their previous seven at Yankee Stadium, have lost three straight overall for the first time since dropping four in a row May 28-31.

New York, which began a stretch that includes 13 of 16 games at home, equaled a season high by winning its fifth consecutive home game.

Looking for another second-half surge to match last year, the Yankees scored six runs with two outs. They hope Sexson can provide some pop from the right side against left-handed pitching, and he delivered immediately with a two-out RBI single in the first that tied it at 1.

"It felt good," said Sexson, released by Seattle last week. "The hardest part was not seeing a pitcher for nine days."

That certainly didn't hinder him.

"He's a guy who's done a lot of good things in his career and we believe he's got a lot left," New York manager Joe Girardi said.

Cano followed with a single to right and Rodriguez barreled into catcher Kurt Suzuki -- a clean collision -- while trying to score. Suzuki, however, held onto Sweeney's strong throw for the third out.

Cano, hoping to rebound from a disappointing first half, put the Yankees up 4-1 by driving a 1-2 pitch to right-center with two outs in the third for his first homer since June 27.

It was his first shot at Yankee Stadium since May 8 against Cleveland.

"It should be a great second half for him," Girardi said. "He's a career .330-plus hitter after the All-Star break. Some hitters just take longer to get going."

That was more than enough for Mussina, who improved to 11-3 with a 3.00 ERA in his past 16 starts with career win No. 262. His 12th win of the season surpassed last year's total.

"We were swinging the bats well at the beginning, but then he started hitting spots and then they exploded on us offensively," said Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby, activated from the disabled list before the game.

Rodriguez's solo shot in the sixth was his 20th this season and the 538th of his career.

Notes

  • Oakland won the opener of its previous nine series, since a June 10 loss to the Yankees.
  • The A's play 41 of their final 67 games on the road.
  • It was Rodriguez's 40th homer against Oakland, most among active players.
  • Mussina improved to 18-10 in 35 career starts against the A's.
  • The Yankees improved to 10-3 against AL West teams.
  • After striking out six in three innings, New York relievers have a 1.51 ERA in their past 17 games with 53 strikeouts and 17 walks.
  • Sexson became the sixth player to start at first base for the Yankees this season.
  • Oakland scored one run or less for the 25th time this year, including three times in four games against the Yankees.
  • Cano's homer was the first Smith has allowed to a left-handed batter in the majors.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Richie Sexson makes a good first impression after driving in a run in his Yankee debut.  (AP)
Richie Sexson makes a good first impression after driving in a run in his Yankee debut. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Rodriguez
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
New York

M. Mussina
IP 6.0
H 9
ER 1
BB 0
K 6
 
Oakland Athletics
Mark Ellis, 2B4110033 .238
Kurt Suzuki, C4020010 .283
Ryan Sweeney, RF4011000 .300
Jack Cust, DH4010033 .230
Emil Brown, LF4010012 .255
Bobby Crosby, SS4010002 .260
Carlos Gonzalez, CF4010001 .273
Jack Hannahan, 1B3000012 .223
   a- Matt Murton, PH1000010 .208
Donnie Murphy, 3B3010021 .186
Totals35191012  
a-struck out for Hannahan in the 9th
Batting
2B - Mark Ellis (18, Mussina)
RBI - Ryan Sweeney (31)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ryan Sweeney 1
DP - Murphy-Ellis-Hannahan
E - Bobby Crosby (11, Throwing)
Oakland Athletics
Greg Smith (L,5-8) 3.2866511 3.79
Jerry Blevins 1.1100020 0.00
Dallas Braden 1111101 4.80
Andrew Brown 1000000 2.23
Lenny DiNardo 1000110 9.28
Pitches-Strikes - Greg Smith 88-49, Jerry Blevins 22-16, Dallas Braden 15-5, Andrew Brown 9-5, Lenny DiNardo 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Smith 3-6, Jerry Blevins 1-1, Dallas Braden 1-1, Andrew Brown 1-2, Lenny DiNardo 1-1
Batters Faced - Greg Smith 23, Jerry Blevins 5, Dallas Braden 4, Andrew Brown 3, Lenny DiNardo 4
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS3100202 .282
Bobby Abreu, RF5221001 .275
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4232111 .318
Jorge Posada, DH1100302 .270
Richie Sexson, 1B3011113 .220
Robinson Cano, 2B4123005 .249
Melky Cabrera, CF4020000 .245
Jose Molina, C4000012 .220
Brett Gardner, LF4000012 .150
Totals32710774  
Batting
2B - Bobby Abreu (23, Smith), Melky Cabrera (11, Blevins)
HR - Alex Rodriguez (20, Braden), Robinson Cano (7, Smith)
RBI - Bobby Abreu (60), Alex Rodriguez 2 (55), Richie Sexson (31), Robinson Cano 3 (41)
2-OUT RBI - Bobby Abreu (34), Alex Rodriguez (22), Richie Sexson (13), Robinson Cano 3 (15)
SB - Alex Rodriguez (14, 2nd base off Smith/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Cano-Sexson
New York Yankees
Mike Mussina (W,12-6) 6911060 3.49
David Robertson 1000030 2.00
Edwar Ramirez 1000020 2.65
LaTroy Hawkins 1000010 5.63
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Mussina 93-64, David Robertson 12-11, Edwar Ramirez 11-9, LaTroy Hawkins 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Mussina 7-4, Edwar Ramirez 1-0, LaTroy Hawkins 2-0
Batters Faced - Mike Mussina 26, David Robertson 3, Edwar Ramirez 3, LaTroy Hawkins 3
Game Information
Attendance - 54145
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 93
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Mike Estabrook, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt