Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Cruise to 4th in Row

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Cruise to 4th in Row

Article excerpt

OAKLAND, Calif. - Masahiro Tanaka's strong seven innings on Saturday helped elevate the Yankees to the clearer air of fourth place, no small achievement for a club that spent nearly a full month trapped in the AL East basement.

And for much of those four weeks, there didn't seem to be an easy way out.

"Getting back to .500, that's kind of the first goal," Chase Headley said after the Yankees' 5-1 win against the Athletics."From there, we just continue to work our way up. But it's a sign we're playing better."

Before an afternoon crowd of 26,356, Tanaka rebounded from two subpar starts and Rob Refsnyder's two-run double capped a four-run fourth inning as the Yankees (20-22) won their fourth straight, giving them 11 wins in their last 16 games.

"You try to keep climbing, keep winning series," manager Joe Girardi said after his club leaped a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays, a club widely considered as the division's team to beat.

Tanaka (2-0) started the momentum going Saturday, yielding one run on five hits and saying through his interpreter that his two- seam fastball might've been a bit improved against Oakland (19-25).

"I don't think I was much better from the last time out," said Tanaka, who had combined to yield 10 runs in his previous 12 innings in starts against the Royals and White Sox. "I think we just had a good offense going today. That's probably why I was able to win the game."

Against Oakland lefty Sean Manaea, the hot-hitting Carlos Beltran (2-for-4) opened the fourth-inning scoring with an RBI single and Starlin Castro (3-for-5) ended Manaea's day with an RBI double in the seventh.

Nick Goody finished what Tanaka started, enabling the Yanks' vaunted late-inning bullpen trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman a second straight day of rest.

And there was a degree of satisfaction for Refsnyder, who started in right field - his first game since being recalled Tuesday from Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. …

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