Notes: Wells loses duel, Claiborne debuts

Vernon Wells didn't make any excuses.

He just tipped his cap to Grant Balfour for striking him out to end the game, with the tying and winning runs on base, in the A's 5-4 win on Sunday.

"He won that battle," Wells said. "I'm sure there will be plenty more. You give the the guy on the mound credit this time and hopefully next time won't have the same outcome."

With two outs in the ninth, Brett Gardner singled up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch during Robinson Cano's at-bat. Instead of pitching to Cano, the A's decided to walk him, put the winning run on base, and take their chances against Wells.

Wells battled to a 2-2 count before striking out on a high fastball. He finished 1-for-5 on the day with a single. Going into that at-bat, Wells had been 6-for-12 with two home runs against Balfour.

"Those are the moments you love to be in and it was shaping up to be one of those memorable Yankee Stadium moments," Wells said. "I didn't come through that time. I'll have to wait for next time for that moment to happen."

IMPRESSIVE DEBUT: Reliever Preston Claiborne had a great major-league debut on Sunday, throwing two perfect innings in relief. Claiborne was called up Friday after Joba Chamberlain (oblique) was placed on the disabled list.

"It was incredible," Claiborne said. "I was extremely excited and happy I got it out of the way."

Claiborne entered in the sixth inning and worked quickly and efficiently, navigating the bottom of the A's order, and then the top of the order in the seventh. His family was in attendance. Manager Joe Girardi praised him for using all his pitches and throwing strikes.

"I'm happy with the results and just happy I got out of there unscathed," Claiborne said. "Got away with a couple."

He added: "It's a huge step for me, and obviously a confidence booster. Just build on it and go from there."

NICE HOMESTAND: The Yankees went 7-3 on this homestand, sweeping four from the Blue Jays before going 3-3 against the Astros and A's. Girardi was pleased with the overall result.

"I thought we had a good homestand. We were 7-3, won two of the three series -- obviously we would have loved to have won today and win three out of three and be 8-2," Girardi said. "Overall, you get a long homestand, you have to take advantage of it and I thought we did a good job."