NEW YORK(AP) A.J. Burnett and the
New York Yankees
are turning into the $201 million juggernaut they were supposed to be this season.
Burnett won his fourth straight decision and
had a big game with his bat and glove, leading New York over the
6-4 on Wednesday for its sixth consecutive victory.
''It's the best we've been and we need to continue that. We need to continue to grind out these games,'' manager
said. ''It has been very professional the way these guys have gone about their business. Every day you come in and expect
The Yankees (57-37) woke up alone in first place Wednesday, the first time that's happened this late in a season since they
won the division in 2006.
They played as though they plan to stay there.
homered and drove in two runs,
had an RBI single and
earned his fifth save in six days. The AL East leaders scored four times in the first inning and sent rookie
(1-8) to his eighth loss in a row.
The Yankees are 6-0 since the All-Star break after opening 8-0 in the second half last year. They've won 19 of 26 to move
20 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 94-68 in 2007 and have opened a season-high, two-game lead over second-place
Boston in the AL East.
New York is poised to extend the surge, too. Next up, a four-game series against another last-place team (Oakland) to conclude
this 10-game homestand.
''I think we're right where we need to be,'' Swisher said. ''We're all feeling really good right now.''
Swisher capped the early outburst with a two-run single and made three fine plays in right field, making up for a third-inning
error. Baltimore botched a key defensive play, when second baseman
's RBI infield single with two outs in the first.
, the Orioles' lone All-Star, homered and had four hits. He and
connected for consecutive solo shots with two outs in the ninth off
, prompting Girardi to call on Rivera.
The 39-year-old closer threw a called third strike past
to convert his 24th consecutive save and 28th in 29 chances this season.
''Personal success has its place, but I'd rather have won the series,'' Jones said. ''Some of the mistakes we made, they're
not making. They've definitely turned their season around from the first month.''
got New York started with a leadoff double, and Posada's RBI double in the eighth made it 6-2. It appeared the four-run cushion
would provide Rivera with a well-deserved rest, but Bruney couldn't close it out after fanning his first two hitters.
Burnett (9-4) took a four-hit shutout into the seventh, improving to 9-1 in 11 career starts against Baltimore. The right-hander
is 4-0 in his past five outings overall and 7-2 with a 2.31 ERA in his last 10.
, emerging as a reliable setup man, worked a scoreless eighth that included a strikeout and a double-play grounder.
''He's been very good,'' Posada said. ''Finding him to do that setup role is the reason why we're here.''
Baltimore stranded seven runners through the first four innings and lost its 10th straight in the Bronx. The Orioles dropped
to 1-14 in road games against division opponents this year and 2-25 dating to last season.
Making his first start against the Yankees, Berken fell to 0-8 in 10 outings since beating Toronto 7-2 in his major league
debut May 26.
''After that first inning, things went well and that was a step in the right direction,'' he said.
Swisher missed Roberts' fly ball for a two-base error to start the third. But with runners at second and third, Burnett struck
out Huff before Swisher ran down
's drive into the right-field corner.
The fun-loving Swisher, adorned with tattoos and a semi-mohawk, scaled the wall with his spikes after making the grab. Appreciative
of the effort, Burnett pointed to him with both hands.
''I was just happy as hell I caught it,'' Swisher said. ''I just think with every win that we get, the fun is building up
and building up.''
Swisher also held
to a second-inning single on a shot off the wall and mini-jumped at the fence to catch Scott's drive in the sixth.
NOTES: Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he'll probably speak Friday in Boston with president of baseball operations Andy
MacPhail before deciding whether to remove struggling LHP
from the rotation. ... Hughes has a 0.81 ERA in 16 relief appearances this year. He has thrown 20 straight scoreless innings
and not allowed a run in his past 14 outings.