MLB

Yankees-Athletics Preview

The New York Yankees have stifled the Oakland Athletics so far in this four-game series but expecting something similar out of Michael Pineda may be wishful thinking.

Pineda is winless in his last seven starts with five defeats as he looks to get on track Sunday and help the Yankees complete a four-game road sweep.

New York (20-22) has captured 11 of 16 to move out of last place in the AL East while Oakland (19-25) is sliding closer to the cellar in the West by going 6-13 this month to match baseball's second-worst record.

The Yankees can complete their first four-game road sweep in this series since July 6-8, 1979. Their starters have each yielded one run in the first three games, with Masahiro Tanaka going seven innings in Saturday's 5-1 victory.

Saturday marked the second straight contest that New York rested top relievers Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. There's little doubt manager Joe Girardi will go right to the dominating trio if he gets an opportunity in this contest with an off day Monday.

The issue will be getting six effective innings out of Pineda (1-5, 6.60 ERA), whose losing streak of five is a career worst. His ERA in his last seven outings moved to 6.05 after he gave up five runs in five innings with nine strikeouts in Tuesday's 5-3 loss at Arizona.

''I know I am better than that,'' Pineda said. ''I am struggling again. I need to keep working hard and be better.''

The right-hander faced the Athletics three times in his 2011 rookie season with Seattle and never again until he yielded two runs over six innings April 19 in a 3-2, 11-inning home defeat. Billy Butler is 1 for 12 against him, Danny Valencia is 2 for 10 and Coco Crisp 0 for 8.

One factor against Pineda is that the Yankees have totaled 10 runs of support for him in his last seven outings.

Oakland, though, has some banged-up hitters. Stephen Vogt sat out Saturday after he was hit by a pitch on his left wrist the day before by CC Sabathia while Khris Davis left Saturday in the seventh with tightness in his right forearm.

The Athletics got a much-needed 6 2/3 innings Saturday out of starter Sean Manaea to rest their bullpen.

"We needed a deep outing out of him today, we had very few guys available today," manager Bob Melvin said. "That's why we're using (John) Axford and (Sean) Doolittle in a game where we're behind so in that respect he did get us deep enough into the game so we didn't have to go to somebody we didn't want to use."

Melvin should have a stronger bullpen Sunday to back right-hander Jesse Hahn (1-1, 3.38), who yielded three runs in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision Tuesday in an 8-5 victory over Texas.

Hahn's lone start versus New York was a 5-3 loss May 30, 2015, in which he allowed four runs in six innings.

Carlos Beltran is 7 for 14 with a homer, four doubles and seven RBIs in this series for New York while Mark Teixeira is hitless in 17 at-bats.

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