(Sports Network) - Oakland Athletics starter Dallas Braden won't have to worry about Alex Rodriguez running across his pitching mound this afternoon due to the slugging third baseman currently being on the disabled list.
Braden, making his first appearance against the Yankees since his verbal spat with A-Rod, will have plenty of other concerns in today's finale of a four- game series as New York's CC Sabathia aims to become baseball's first 19-game winner and extend his 20-start home unbeaten streak.
The 26-year-old Braden got the best of the Yankees at home on April 22 with six innings of two-run ball, Oakland's lone victory in nine meetings with New York this year, but his victory was overshadowed by his jawing with Rodriguez after the former MVP jogged across the pitcher's mound following a fouled-off pitch.
Braden said he felt Rodriguez violated an unwritten rule in baseball.
"You don't run across a pitcher's mound in between an inning or during a game," Braden said. "I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind. If he wants to run across the pitcher's mound, let him go run laps in the bullpen."
Braden and Rodriguez won't rematch tonight as the New York third baseman has been on the DL since Aug. 21 due to a strained left calf.
"He just told me to get off his mound," Rodriguez said. "It was a little surprising, I never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career."
Perhaps motivated by Rodriguez's comments, Braden threw a perfect game three starts after the Yankees win versus the Rays on May 9. He hurled his second career shutout and fifth complete game of the season last time out on Friday in Texas, a four-hitter in which he did not walk a batter.
The left-hander improved to 3-1 over his last four starts and is 9-9 with a 3.28 earned run average this year. Braden, though, is just 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA in five games versus the Yankees, two starts.
Braden will find it tough to pick up a win at Yankee Stadium today given that Sabathia hasn't lost on his home mound in over a year. He is 15-0 with a 2.17 ERA over his 20-game home unbeaten streak that dates back to July 18, 2009 and is the longest for a New York pitcher since Ron Guidry posted 16 straight winning decisions at home in 1985-86.
The 30-year-old Sabathia has won his last five starts overall, but was a little off in his last win at the White Sox on Saturday as he allowed five runs over seven innings in a 12-9 triumph. The left-hander still became baseball's first 18-game winner and has a 3.14 ERA on the season.
After losing to Braden back in April, Sabathia struck out 10 batters over 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball to best hosting Oakland on July 6. He improved to 6-8 with a 5.36 ERA in 20 career starts against the A's.
While Braden is starting opposite one of the top pitchers in baseball, he also has to deal with a red-hot Mark Teixeira, who is 8-for-10 in this series with two homers and seven RBI. New York's first baseman had three hits and three RBI in last night's 4-3 victory, helping A.J. Burnett earn his first victory since July 28.
"It is a good win for me, but my numbers are not important. I'm trying to get some good momentum in this last month," said Burnett after allowing three runs over six innings.
New York's fifth straight win -- its longest since a seven-game run from July 3-9 -- maintained a one-game lead over the Rays at the top of the American League East standings.
Brett Anderson took the loss for Oakland despite allowing a single earned run and eight hits in six innings. However, it was the lefty's throwing error that ultimately led to three Yankee runs in the second.
Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run homer in the setback, which dropped Oakland to 4-5 on a 10-game road trip and 9 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Texas.
New York has won six in a row over Oakland and has won 19 of the past 22 meetings between the clubs.