OAKLAND, Calif. -- If Hiroki Kuroda was going to get on track, Oakland's dead-wood brigade presented an excellent opportunity. And the struggling righthander took advantage.
Kuroda, back in the state in which he had so much success with the Dodgers the previous four seasons, pitched a gem as the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Athletics with a 2-0 victory Sunday in front of 25,078 at O.co Coliseum.
Kuroda (4-6, 3.96) entered the game with three losses in his previous four starts and was 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA on the road. But he allowed four hits and a walk in eight innings against the A's, who entered the game ranked last in the AL in a slew of offensive categories, including batting average (.210), on-base percentage (.285), slugging percentage (.335) and runs (158).
Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth and improved to 5-for-5 in save chances.
"I was aware that I hadn't won any games on the road, but that didn't really concern me,'' Kuroda said through his interpreter. "What did concern me was I hadn't had a win in a long time [May 11], so I'm relieved I was able to get that.''
The Yankees (26-21) won a season-best fifth straight game -- it was their ninth straight victory in Oakland -- and couldn't have asked for a better start to their nine-game, three-city trip that continues Monday night in Anaheim against the resurgent Albert Pujols and the Angels.
"We talked about putting a streak together,'' Joe Girardi said. "We haven't had a long streak. We're going to see some tough pitchers on this trip. We're playing better. I still don't think we've hit on all cylinders, I think we can even get better, but we're playing better and winning games, and that's the most important thing.''
The A's (22-26), who have lost five straight, did not get a runner in scoring position until the seventh, when they had runners at the corners with one out. But Kuroda struck out Kila Ka'aihue and got Josh Donaldson to fly to right to end the inning.
A's rookie lefthander Tommy Milone pitched well, allowing two runs and eight hits in 62/3 innings. Andruw Jones provided the Yankees' first run with his fifth homer, a long drive to left-center on Milone's first pitch of the second inning. With two outs in the seventh, Curtis Granderson singled and Mark Teixeira -- coming off a 4-for-5, two-homer game Saturday -- lined his second double of the game on one hop off the wall in right-center for a 2-0 lead.
Teixeira's hit made him 8-for-14 with eight RBIs in the three-game series and knocked out Milone.
"I've been waiting for that hot streak,'' Teixeira said, "and I've found it the last few days.''
Said Girardi: "We're not 3-0 on the trip without him.''
The Yankees were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in the game, including 1-for-10 in the first three innings, an area that still needs improvement. With the bases loaded and one out in the first, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher popped up, and the Yankees couldn't take advantage of none-out doubles in the second and third. Still, the past week is by far the best they have looked all season.
"It always feels better when you're winning, but like I told you a week ago, it's a long season,'' Jeter said. "Take the good with the bad. You're going to have good stretches, you're going to have bad stretches. When things are going poorly, you're usually not as bad as it looks.''
He paused. "When things are good, you're always that good,'' he said to laughter. "Obviously, it feels better to win games. But we just want to play well. If you play well, then the wins will be there.''