Baltimore at New York

Scoreboard
Baltimore (41-53)000000202490
N.Y. Yankees (57-37) «40100001x6111

Swisher backs A.J. with bat, glove work as surging Yanks top O's

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- A.J. Burnett and the New York Yankees are turning into the $201 million juggernaut they were supposed to be this season.

Burnett won his fourth straight decision and Nick Swisher had a big game with his bat and glove, leading New York over the Baltimore Orioles 6-4 on Wednesday for its sixth consecutive victory.

"It's the best we've been and we need to continue that. We need to continue to grind out these games," manager Joe Girardi said. "It has been very professional the way these guys have gone about their business. Every day you come in and expect to win."

The Yankees (57-37) woke up alone in first place Wednesday, the first time that's happened this late in a season since they won the division in 2006.

They played as though they plan to stay there.

Jorge Posada homered and drove in two runs, Alex Rodriguez had an RBI single and Mariano Rivera earned his fifth save in six days. The AL East leaders scored four times in the first inning and sent rookie Jason Berken (1-8) to his eighth loss in a row.

The Yankees are 6-0 since the All-Star break after opening 8-0 in the second half last year. They've won 19 of 26 to move 20 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 94-68 in 2007 and have opened a season-high, two-game lead over second-place Boston in the AL East.

New York is poised to extend the surge, too. Next up, a four-game series against another last-place team (Oakland) to conclude this 10-game homestand.

"I think we're right where we need to be," Swisher said. "We're all feeling really good right now."

Swisher capped the early outburst with a two-run single and made three fine plays in right field, making up for a third-inning error. Baltimore botched a key defensive play, when second baseman Brian Roberts mishandled Robinson Cano's RBI infield single with two outs in the first.

Adam Jones, the Orioles' lone All-Star, homered and had four hits. He and Nick Markakis connected for consecutive solo shots with two outs in the ninth off Brian Bruney, prompting Girardi to call on Rivera.

The 39-year-old closer threw a called third strike past Aubrey Huff to convert his 24th consecutive save and 28th in 29 chances this season.

"Personal success has its place, but I'd rather have won the series," Jones said. "Some of the mistakes we made, they're not making. They've definitely turned their season around from the first month."

Derek Jeter got New York started with a leadoff double, and Posada's RBI double in the eighth made it 6-2. It appeared the four-run cushion would provide Rivera with a well-deserved rest, but Bruney couldn't close it out after fanning his first two hitters.

Burnett (9-4) took a four-hit shutout into the seventh, improving to 9-1 in 11 career starts against Baltimore. The right-hander is 4-0 in his past five outings overall and 7-2 with a 2.31 ERA in his last 10.

Converted starter Phil Hughes, emerging as a reliable setup man, worked a scoreless eighth that included a strikeout and a double-play grounder.

"He's been very good," Posada said. "Finding him to do that setup role is the reason why we're here."

Baltimore stranded seven runners through the first four innings and lost its 10th straight in the Bronx. The Orioles dropped to 1-14 in road games against division opponents this year and 2-25 dating to last season.

Making his first start against the Yankees, Berken fell to 0-8 in 10 outings since beating Toronto 7-2 in his major league debut May 26.

"After that first inning, things went well and that was a step in the right direction," he said.

Swisher missed Roberts' fly ball for a two-base error to start the third. But with runners at second and third, Burnett struck out Huff before Swisher ran down Ty Wigginton's drive into the right-field corner.

The fun-loving Swisher, adorned with tattoos and a semi-mohawk, scaled the wall with his spikes after making the grab. Appreciative of the effort, Burnett pointed to him with both hands.

"I was just happy as hell I caught it," Swisher said. "I just think with every win that we get, the fun is building up and building up."

Swisher also held Luke Scott to a second-inning single on a shot off the wall and mini-jumped at the fence to catch Scott's drive in the sixth.

Notes

  • Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he'll probably speak Friday in Boston with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail before deciding whether to remove struggling LHP Rich Hill from the rotation.
  • The Yankees are 26-9 at home since Rodriguez returned from hip surgery.
 
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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While A.J. Burnett pitches strong on the mound, the righty defers all props to Nick Swisher, who ...
 
While A.J. Burnett pitches strong on the mound, the righty defers all props to Nick Swisher, who ... (AP)
 

Players of the Game
New York

J. Posada
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Baltimore

A. Jones
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B5000023 .280
Adam Jones, CF5241010 .307
Nick Markakis, RF4112002 .295
Aubrey Huff, 1B5000033 .254
Ty Wigginton, 3B4000013 .257
Luke Scott, DH3010110 .290
Gregg Zaun, C3020111 .261
Felix Pie, LF4000004 .225
Robert Andino, SS3110112 .230
Totals36493310  
Batting
2B - Adam Jones (18, Burnett)
HR - Adam Jones (14, Bruney), Nick Markakis (11, Bruney)
SF - Nick Markakis (6)
RBI - Adam Jones (52), Nick Markakis 2 (63)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Jones (19), Nick Markakis (18)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Huff
Baltimore Orioles
Jason Berken (L,1-8) 6755211 6.55
Cla Meredith 1100010 4.06
George Sherrill 1311130 2.52
IBB - Swisher by George Sherrill
HBP - Gardner (by Cla Meredith)
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Berken 88-54, Cla Meredith 12-9, George Sherrill 30-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Berken 9-7
Batters Faced - Jason Berken 26, Cla Meredith 4, George Sherrill 7
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS5110025 .317
Johnny Damon, LF4010001 .278
    Melky Cabrera, LF0000000 .274
Mark Teixeira, 1B4110002 .277
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4121000 .257
Hideki Matsui, DH4100022 .260
Jorge Posada, C3222100 .282
Robinson Cano, 2B4021011 .310
Nick Swisher, RF2012201 .235
Brett Gardner, CF3010003 .278
Totals33611635  
Batting
2B - Derek Jeter (19, Berken), Jorge Posada (13, Sherrill)
HR - Jorge Posada (12, Berken)
RBI - Alex Rodriguez (55), Jorge Posada 2 (42), Robinson Cano (49), Nick Swisher 2 (50)
2-OUT RBI - Jorge Posada (16), Robinson Cano (20), Nick Swisher 2 (11)
SB - Alex Rodriguez (5, 2nd base off Sherrill/Zaun), Brett Gardner (19, 2nd base off Meredith/Zaun)
CS - Brett Gardner (5, 2nd base by Berken/Zaun)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Jeter-Teixeira
E - Nick Swisher (6, Dropped line drive)
New York Yankees
A.J. Burnett (W,9-4) 7622360 3.74
Phil Hughes (H,7) 1100010 3.63
Brian Bruney 0.2222022 5.71
Mariano Rivera (S,28) 0.1000010 2.18
WP - A.J. Burnett (14)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 104-68, Phil Hughes 16-12, Brian Bruney 12-10, Mariano Rivera 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 7-10, Phil Hughes 1-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 32, Phil Hughes 3, Brian Bruney 4, Mariano Rivera 1
Game Information
Attendance - 47134
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Jim Wolf