If Joe Girardi could draw up a blueprint for the prototypical Yankee performance, this would be it: Seven solid innings out of his starter, one from his set-up man, one from his closer. Throw in a timely hit or two, maybe a bomb for dramatic effect, stir well and savor.
That is the game he got Monday night in Oakland, as the Yankees executed a tidy 3-1 victory over the Athletics in the opener of a seven-game West Coast swing that will take them from the Bay Area to Seattle to the All-Star break.
Starter Javier Vazquez (7-7) threw seven innings of three-hit, one run ball, followed by an overpowering inning by the eighth-inning coronary known as Joba Chamberlain, and a return to form in the ninth by Mariano Rivera after a rare meltdown Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees got all the scoring they needed in the second inning, when Curtis Granderson tripled home Nick Swisher for the first run, and Francisco Cervelli, starting at catcher in place of a nicked-up Jorge Posada (sprained left ring finger) singled home Granderson.
After the As got on the board on a Coco Crisp sacrifice fly that drove in Cliff Pennington, who had tripled off the right-field wall, the Yankees added an insurance run on Mark Teixeira’s home run to center with one ou tin the sixth, his 14th of the season.
Minus Posada, whose status is day-to-day, Girardi pulled a mini-shakeup on his lineup, dropping Derek Jeter, who had led off in every game he played this season, to second in the order and elevating Brett Gardner to the leadoff spot. He also gave Nick Swisher a DH day and started rookie Colin Curtis in right.
Posada’s status is said to be day-to-day. It is unknown whether he will be available to catch or pinch-hit Tuesday night. Ten-game winner CC Sabathia, one of six Yankees named to the AL All-Star team so far (Swisher is one of five players in contention for the final roster spot, as determined by fan voting), will start against RHP Trevor Cahill (8-2, 2.74), the lone Oakland representative on the squad.