Once Nick Swisher got the signs down, he delivered the big hit that helped the New York Yankees complete a three-game sweep.
Swisher hit a three-run homer after mistakenly thinking he was supposed to bunt, to help A.J. Burnett snap an 11-start winless streak on the road as the Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics for the 10th straight time, 4-2, yesterday.
The big blow came in the fourth inning when Swisher showed bunt against Gio Gonzalez for the first two pitches with runners on first and second and no outs. After consulting with third-base coach Tony Pena during a mound visit, Swisher swung away at the next pitch and delivered his fourth home run of the season.
"I thought I was told to lay one down," Swisher said. "So finally after it got to 2-0 and the pitching coach came out I went over to [Pena] and said, 'Hey man, what do you want me to do right here?' He said, 'I want you to let it loose.' So I did."
He hit the next pitch over the leftfield fence to give New York the lead for good. Derek Jeter added his 2,984th hit and Alex Rodriguez also drove in a run for the Yankees, who have their longest winning streak against the A's since winning 14 in a row from 1956-57.
"Any time you win 10 in a row against a club, it just doesn't happen very often," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "They have talent over there. They have a very good pitching staff. We just kind of had our way. We were fortunate."
Josh Willingham hit a two-run home run and Gonzalez (5-3) took his first loss since April for Oakland, which has lost 23 of the last 26 meetings against New York.
Burnett (6-3) had not won a game away from Yankee Stadium since last July in Cleveland, going 0-5 with a 5.64 ERA in his previous 11 road starts.
He looked to be on his way to another rough day when Willingham homered in the first inning, but didn't allow anything else.
Burnett gave up two runs and three hits in seven inning for the fourth straight strong start from New York's rotation, giving the Yankees a season-long four-game win streak. Burnett allowed only one hit after the first inning.
Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless eighth, snaring a line drive to start an inning-ending doubleplay. Mariano Rivera finished for his 14th save in 17 chances and first since May 10. It was Rivera's 1,002nd career appearance, tying Goose Gossage for 14th place all-time.
In other games:
* At Detroit, Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the third inning and Rick Porcello (5-3) pitched into the seventh, lifting the Tigers to a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Detroit swept the three-game series and has won four straight, while the Twins have lost 10 of 12, falling to 17-37 for the worst record in baseball.
Drew Butera hit a two-run homer in the seventh to pull Minnesota within two, but the Twins failed to take advantage of loading the bases later in the inning.
Twins designated hitter Jim Thome left in the sixth inning after straining his left quadriceps and his status is day-to-day.
* At Boston, Paul Konerko hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning and a two-run homer in the ninth as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Red Sox, 7-4, to sweep the three-game series.
Gavin Floyd (6-5) allowed four runs in 6 innings. Sergio Santos pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 10 opportunities.
* At St. Petersburg, Fla., Colby Lewis (5-5) scattered four hits over eight innings and Elvis Andrus had two RBI to lead the Texas Rangers to a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
* At Seattle, Adam Jones had three hits against his former team, including the go-ahead homer into the upper deck in the eighth inning, to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 2-1 win over the Mariners.
* At Kansas City, Billy Butler hit a game-winning, two-run homer in the ninth inning to lift the Royals to a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.