The next step? Taking the series.
If April 2010 seems like a long time ago, Oakland hasn't taken -- or even tied -- a series at home against the Bombers since April 2007. Tommy Milone will take the hill for the A's on Friday with hopes of guaranteeing at least a split.
Milone has a 1.32 ERA in his last five starts and is 5-1 with a 1.03 ERA overall at home. He faced the Yankees on May 27, but took the loss despite allowing only two runs in 6 2/3 innings. With a win, he'll become the ninth player in Oakland history to win 10 games in his rookie season.
Manager Bob Melvin has stressed the importance of keeping things simple on the mound, especially against a surging team like the Yankees. Milone is the second of three consecutive rookie starters for the A's for the first three games of their series against New York.
"You go out there and try to just make your pitch and not get too far ahead of things," Melvin said. "It's something that we stress, don't get too far ahead of yourselves."
Ivan Nova will get the nod for the Yankees having lost just once in his last 18 road starts dating back to June 20 of last year. In that span, Nova has gone 13-1 with a 3.15 ERA.
Nova made his first and only career start against the A's in May and earned the win in a 6-3 Yankees victory in Oakland. He allowed three earned runs in seven innings, but scattered six hits, including two home runs.
"I'm still [giving up] home runs, still making mistakes," Nova said following that start. "But you know, I have to forget about that today. We won, and I've got to enjoy the win and keep working hard and try to do better next time."
Since that outing on May 25, Nova has delivered a quality start in all but two of his eight starts.
Oakland: Walk-off specialists
Brandon Hicks' walk-off home run against the Rangers on Wednesday was impressive, but fell right in line with what is becoming a recurring trend in Oakland.
Hicks' blast -- the first home run of his career -- marked Oakland's Major League-leading ninth walk-off win of the season, and the A's fourth in their past seven home games.
"It's pretty impressive to me to see the quality of at-bats we get late in the game and the intensity of the at-bats, and I've told them that before," Melvin said. "Once you've had success and you've had a couple walk-offs -- we've had quite a few here recently -- we get into the game, whether it's the ninth or extra innings or something like that and it's tied, we really feel like based on the results we've had that we can do it again."
Oakland had just three walk-off wins in 2011.
Yankees: Surgery for Gardner
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right (non-throwing) elbow next week.
Doctors James Andrews and Timothy Kremcheck reviewed the outfielder's MRI after Gardner's third setback came at the start of the week. Gardner has not played since making a diving catch on April 17 at Yankee Stadium in an 8-3 win over the Twins.
The procedure, which will be performed by team doctor Christopher Ahmad, is intended to remove inflamed tissue.
Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez will continue to fill in for the Yankees in left field, and will likely be mixed and matched based on opposing pitching. The left-handed-hitting Ibanez started in left Thurdsay against A's righty A.J. Griffin, but the right-handed Jones will likely get the nod on Friday against the lefty Milone.
"That's kind of what you do," Girardi said. "Until someone's back, you really can't say, 'Well, we're counting on this guy.' You know, it's unfortunate, because I think we've missed some of the things he brings to our club."
Robinson Cano extended his career-high hitting streak to 22 games with a sixth-inning single on Thursday night.