Rodriguez Homers Twice, Yankees Top A's, 6-1

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A-Rod Within Three Homers of 600

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Alex Rodriguez hit his 21st career grand slam and CC Sabathia pitched 7 2/3 strong innings, as the New York Yankees defeated the Oakland Athletics, 6-1, in the middle installment of a three-game series.

Rodriguez, who also hit a solo homer, now has 597 career home runs and is tied with Manny Ramirez for second place on the all-time list for most grand slams. Only former Yankee Lou Gehrig, with 23, has more.

“I like RBIs, because that helps the team win,” Rodriguez said. “That’s for sure. Today they were big for CC. CC and [catcher Jorge Posada] both threw a terrific game. They had a great rhythm. And CC didn’t need much.”

Sabathia (11-3) allowed one run on seven hits with 10 strikeouts and improved to 7-0 in his last seven starts for the Yankees, who have won four straight and five of their last six games overall.

Kevin Kouzmanoff drove in the lone run for the A’s, who have lost 16 of their last 20 contests against the Yankees.

Oakland starter Trevor Cahill (8-3) was 7-0 over his last nine starts, but suffered the loss after he surrendered six runs on four hits over six innings.

“It’s fun going against a team, the defending world champs, they kind of set the bar,” Cahill said. “And I definitely wish I could have showed more. But things just didn’t work out today.”

Kouzmanoff’s RBI double in the bottom of the first opened the scoring, but the Yankees took control for good in the top of the third.

In the decisive third stanza, Curtis Granderson reached first base on a fielder’s choice and moved to second when Colin Curtis walked. Brett Gardner then singled to load the bases for Derek Jeter, who hit a hard grounder toward the right side of the infield. Gardner was out at second on the play, but the hustle of Jeter — who beat the throw on the attempted double-play — allowed Granderson’s run to count and extended the inning.

With runners on the corners, Mark Teixeira was plunked by Cahill in the back with a fastball and the bags were full again. That set the stage for Rodriguez, who unloaded a bomb over the wall in left-center field for a 5-1 New York advantage.

Rodriguez capped his big night with his second homer of the game and 14th of the season in the sixth inning, a solo blast to center.

Reliever David Robertson got the final four outs for New York.

After Wednesday’s series finale, New York will remain on the west coast and visit the Seattle Mariners for a four-game series leading into the upcoming All-Star break…Sabathia threw 118 pitches (74 strikes) and has not lost since May 23…Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has chosen not to participate in the All-Star Game due to several minor injuries and will instead rest.

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Mariano Rivera Withdraws From All-Star Game

Via Twitter, Mark Feinsand reports that Rivera says he has been battling side and knee injuries.

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Tonight's Yankees-A's Game Matches Two Hot Pitchers

(Sports Network) - Two pitchers riding extensive unbeaten streaks get together tonight by the Bay, where CC Sabathia and the AL East-leading New York Yankees take on Trevor Cahill of the Oakland Athletics in the continuation of a three- game series at the Coliseum.

Sabathia is 6-0 with a 2.00 earned run average in his last six starts and hasn't tasted defeat since May 23 against the New York Mets. He has lasted at least eight innings in each of his previous three outings and recently beat Seattle at home last Thursday.

The big lefty improved to 6-0 in eight home starts by limiting the Mariners to a pair of runs -- one earned -- and five hits in eight frames. He is 10-3 overall in 17 starts. Sabathia, who sports a 4-3 mark in nine road appearances this season, lost at Oakland back on April 22, when he gave up four runs -- three earned -- in eight innings of a 4-2 loss. In 19 career starts against the A's, Sabathia is only 5-8 with a 5.63 ERA.

Cahill is 7-0 with a 2.12 earned run average in his past nine trips to the mound and hasn't lost since May 16 at the LA Angels of Anaheim. He beat Baltimore the last time out in Thursday's 8-1 triumph with seven innings of one-run ball. Cahill, who is 8-2 with a 2.74 earned run average in 13 starts, will try to keep his unblemished mark at home intact. In five starts at the Coliseum, he is 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA.

The young right-hander has never faced the Yankees.

New York recorded its third straight win with Monday's 3-1 victory over the Athletics, as starter Javier Vazquezevened his record at 7-7 with seven innings of one-run ball. Joba Chamberlain threw a scoreless eighth inning before Mariano Rivera came on in the ninth to post his 19th save.

"I feel like if I go out there and throw quality innings, then I'm going to go deep in the games," Vazquez said on the team's site. "That's always important as a starting pitcher, that you can go deep."

Mark Teixeira belted his 14th home run of the season and both Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervellidrove in a run for the Yankees, who are two games ahead of Tampa Bay and 2 1/2 games in front of Boston in the AL East. The Yankees have also won four of their last five games and are 20 games over the .500 mark. They will also visit Seattle for four games on the trip.

Oakland scored its only run of the game on Coco Crisp's sacrifice fly in the third inning, but lost for the second time in three tries. Ben Sheets started for the A's and suffered the loss for giving up all three runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings of work.

"(Sheets) had a good start, he went deep in the game. I thought he was aggressive, threw strikes," said A's manager Bob Geren. "We just didn't get much offense for him tonight."

The Athletics recorded only three hits and entered the game with seven wins in its previous nine contests. They are eight games off the AL West lead and will also welcome the LA Angels of Anaheim to the Bay area for three games.

New York took two of three matchups with A's from April 20-22, and has won 15 of the previous 19 contests between the teams.

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