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Yankees Start Road Trip In Oakland

(Sports Network) - The American League East-leading New York Yankees will head west for a seven-game road trip starting with tonight's opener of a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum.

The Yankees are 1 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the division standings and own the best record in baseball at 50-31. They have won three of four games and took the last two portions of a three-game series from the division-rival Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, including Sunday's 7-6 win in 10 innings.

Marcus Thames singled home the game-winning run with two outs in the 10th inning and Brett Gardner ended 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, while Mark Teixeira finished with three hits and two RBI for the Yankees, who got three hits from Nick Swisher.

"I've been playing for a while, and it's important to be ready whenever Joe (manager Girardi) wants me to hit," Thames said. "Coming up with a winner like that, and to come from behind, is always good."

Phil Hughes luckily did not record a loss after he was banged up for five runs on six hits and two walks over six innings of work. David Robertson earned the win with a scoreless 10th frame.

New York, which will also visit Seattle for four games, will hand the ball to Javier Vazquez Monday and he is 0-2 in his last three starts. Vazquez lost versus Seattle last Wednesday, as he surrendered three runs and six hits in six innings of his team's 7-0 loss.

Vazquez fell to 6-7 in 15 games (14 starts) this season to go along with a 5.11 earned run average. He will face the Athletics for a second time this season after he beat the A's back on April 20 this season. In the 7-3 victory at the Coliseum, the right-hander tossed 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball. He is 3-3 in eight career starts in this series.

Yankees All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez is still five homers shy of becoming the seventh member of the 600-homer club. A-Rod ended 1-for-5 with an RBI and three strikeouts on Sunday. New York second baseman Robinson Cano will start at second base in next week's All-Star Game and is second in the majors with a .343 batting average. Minnesota's Justin Morneau leads the way at .344.

Oakland has won seven of nine games and took two of three meetings with Cleveland over the weekend. In Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Indians, Adam Rosales homered and finished with two hits, while Mark Ellis went 2-for-3 with am RBI for the Athletics, who sit eight games off the pace in AL West.

Vin Mazzaro (4-2) allowed one run on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. Andrew Bailey threw a scoreless ninth to record his 17th save of the season.

"Definitely feel more comfortable," Mazzaro said. "Still in that zone, cutting down on the walks. Guys are making great plays behind me in the field and good stuff is happening out there."

The A's will also host the LA Angels of Anaheim for three games on the residency and will hand the ball tonight to Ben Sheets. The righty is 1-0 in his past two starts following a personal four-start losing streak and did not record a decision the previous time out last Wednesday in a 9-6 loss at Baltimore. Sheets was reached for four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and three walks through six innings of work.

Sheets lost to the Yankees back on April 21 at the Coliseum, as he pitched six innings of two-run ball. He is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in two career starts against the Bronx Bombers.

New York took two of three matchups with A's from April 20-22, and has won 14 of the previous 18 contests between the teams.