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Kuroda Masterful As Yanks Beat A’s

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OAKLAND, CA - MAY 27: Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrates after defeating the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on May 27, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 27: Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrates after defeating the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on May 27, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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By JOSH DUBOW
AP Sports Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ All it took to change the mood around the
New York Yankees was a five-game winning streak that featured
plenty of production from their big bats and a strong run through
the rotation.

Hiroki Kuroda pitched eight scoreless innings and Andruw Jones
hit a solo homer that gave the Yankees their longest win streak of
the season with a 2-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

“You’re going to have good stretches, you’re going to have bad
stretches,” captain Derek Jeter said. “When things are going
poorly it’s usually not as bad as it looks. When things are going
good, you’re always that good.”

Jeter singled to lead off the game for his 3,155th career hit,
breaking a tie with Hall of Famer George Brett to move into sole
possession of 14th place all-time.

“He’s been the backbone of this organization for a long, long
time and when a guy like that passes you, I’d like to shake his
hand and look him in the eye and say congratulations,” Brett said
in a statement released by the Yankees.

It’s the fourth Hall of Famer that Jeter has passed this month,
following Tony Gwynn, Robin Yount and Paul Waner. Next up on the
list is Cal Ripken at 3,184.

“It’s humbling when you hear those names because any name you
pass is a Hall of Fame guy,” Jeter said. “It’s pretty special but
I’m not thinking about it.”

The Yankees got off to a strong start to their nine-game road
trip by sweeping the three-game series in Oakland, extending their
winning streak at the Coliseum to nine games. That is tied for the
second-longest winning streak ever by a road team in Oakland,
trailing only Baltimore’s 13-game run from 1976-79.

Mark Teixeira added an RBI double in the seventh, giving him
three homers and eight RBIs in the series as he has put the
bronchial illness that slowed him earlier this season in the past.

“I’ve been waiting for that hot streak and I found it the last
few days,” Teixeira said. “Sometimes that’s the name of the game,
getting hot. As a team we’re winning games, which is great.”

The A’s managed just four hits off Kuroda (4-6) to wrap up a
horrid homestand in which they went 1-5 and scored just eight runs
against the Los Angeles Angels and Yankees. Oakland batted .157 for
the homestand and lost the final five games for its longest skid of
the season.

The A’s get Brandon Inge back from the disabled list on Monday
and hope injured Yoenis Cespedes and suspended Manny Ramirez will
follow soon. Manager Bob Melvin said the team might have to speed
the timetable for Ramirez because of the offensive woes.

“We’re beyond pressing at this point,” Melvin said. “We have
to try to relax. We’re trying too hard. We’re going to try a little
easier.”

The lack of hitting wasted another strong home start from rookie
Tommy Milone (6-4), who escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the
first and limited New York to Jones’ second-inning homer before
tiring in the seventh.

Milone allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings, leaving
after Teixeira’s double made it 2-0. This was the first time in
five home starts that Milone allowed more than one earned run and
that proved to be far too much to overcome as the A’s were shut out
for the eighth time this season.

“Obviously the team is struggling a little bit and you want to
keep the team on top,” Milone said. “Sometimes it’s hard because
you feel like you have to make the perfect pitch every pitch, and
sometimes it gets away from you. You’ve got to go out and pitch
your game and hopefully it works out.”

After allowing a leadoff single to Jemile Weeks, Kuroda retired
the next 11 hitters. The A’s got two hits in the fifth but Kila
Ka’aihue hit into a double play after Seth Smith’s leadoff single.

The only real trouble Kuroda faced came in the seventh when the
A’s put runners on first and third with one out. But Kuroda struck
out Ka’aihue and got Josh Donaldson to fly out to end the threat.

“He just got a little rushed,” catcher Chris Stewart said.
“He was trying to force pitches instead of just throwing them. I
just wanted to calm him down and let him know he doesn’t have to
try to overdo anything. Just trust his stuff and do what he did in
the beginning of the game. Once he was able to take a breath and
knew his stuff was good enough, he made some big pitches.”

Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many
chances.

NOTES: New York improved to 26-11 in games with a homer. The
Yankees are winless in 10 games when they do not go deep. …
Yankees C Russell Martin sat for a second straight day with a stiff
neck. … Oakland OF Coco Crisp stole two bases in the seventh to
give him 29 straight successful steals, breaking Stan Javier’s
Oakland record of 28. … Travis Blackley will make his first major
league start for Oakland since 2007 in the opener of a three-game
series in Minnesota on Monday. … Orange County native Phil Hughes
(4-5) takes the mound for the Yankees on Monday when they open a
three-game series in Anaheim against the Angels.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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