NEW YORK -- For one night at least, all seems right in the Yankee universe again. CC Sabathia pitched reasonably well (5⅓ innings, seven hits, two earned runs), Jacoby Ellsbury legged out a hit, Dellin Betances bounced back from his horrific Tuesday night and Andrew Miller closed the show, although not without an anxious moment when No. 9 hitter Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer in the ninth and Gregorio Petit committed a two-base throwing error to turn what should have been a comfortable victor into a sweaty-palms special.
But most of all, Mark Teixeira showed not only why he's an All-Star this year -- the injury to Miguel Cabrera notwithstanding -- and why once again he is the most dangerous hitter in the Yankees lineup. It all added up to a 5-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics, with a chance for the Yankees to pull out a series win in Thursday's finale.
Leaving his Mark: The second of Teixeira's two home runs, a towering fly into the right-field seats leading off the sixth inning, gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead. It was also Teixeira's 22nd home run of the season, matching his season total for 2014, and his league-leading 61st RBI, one shy of his total for all last season. Teixeira also turned an unassisted double play in the first, made an outstanding catch of a foul pop while hanging over the rail of the Yankees dugout in the seventh and made a sensational diving stop of what would have been a double up the right-field line by pinch-hitter Josh Reddick in the eighth.
Back on the hill: Returned to his old job as set-up man for Miller, Dellin Betances bounced back from back-to-back disastrous outings -- he allowed the game-winning home run to Brett Lawrie in Tuesday's 4-3 10-inning loss -- to throw a 1-2-3 eighth, striking out the first two hitters he faced and getting that sparkling play from Teixeira to end the inning.
Stephen B leavin': Stephen Drew, inserted into the game as a defensive replacement for Jose Pirela, crushed a hanging curveball from reliever Francisco Abad in the eighth into the right-field seats to widen the lead to 5-2. Despite his .179 batting average, Drew's 12 home runs are more than all but three Yankees (Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann).
Scott free: Oakland starter Scott Kazmir left the game after three innings with triceps tightness, and the Yankees celebrated his departure by scoring twice in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. Teixeira greeted Kazmir's replacement, Evan Scribner, with his 21st home run, a shot into the right-field seats on a 1-2 pitch. Scribner then walked Chris Young, who moved to second on an infield single by John Ryan Murphy, stole third and scored on Pirela's sacrifice fly to right.
Laser show: Seven of the first eight Athletics hit the ball hard off Sabathia, and only some incredible luck -- and incredibly bad baserunning -- kept the A's from scoring more than two runs in the first two innings. The Yankees caught a break when, after leadoff hitter Billy Burns reached on a hit that caromed off Sabathia's leg, Stephen Vogt's line shot was hit right at Teixeira, who completed an unassisted double play. And in the second inning, designated hitter Billy Butler ripped a double into the left-field corner and went to third on Lawrie's infield single off Didi Gregorius' glove. But the portly Butler foolishly tried to score on a bouncer to third and was caught in a rundown, erasing one man from the base paths. It also cost Oakland a run as both Josh Phegley and Mark Canha singled hard, driving in Lawrie and Smolinski. The No. 9 hitter, Marcus Semien, then scalded one right at second baseman Pirela for the second out. Sabathia did not get a swinging strike until his 25th pitch of the game.
Oh, Didi!: Didi Gregorius had a good news/bad news at-bat in the second inning. The good news was that he ripped a double over center fielder Burns' head with one out, scoring Young, who had reached on an error, with the Yankees' first run of the game. The bad news is Gregorius couldn't leave well enough alone; he was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a triple after the A's failed to get Young at the plate, depriving the Yankees of a runner in scoring position with one out.
Tomorrow: Series, and season, finale as Masahiro Tanaka (4-3, 3.94) tries to make it 2 of 3 over the last-place A's, facing RHP Jesse Chavez (4-8, 3.20), who shut them out in Oakland in May. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. (YES/MLB Network).