(Sports Network) - With Alex Rodriguez still on the verge of reaching one of baseball's most exclusive milestones, the New York Yankees will wrap up a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians tonight at Progressive Field.
Rodriguez remains one home run shy of becoming only the seventh player in major league history to hit 600 for his career. The superstar third baseman has now gone six games and 26 at-bats since belting No. 599 in a 10-4 win over Kansas City on July 22.
The three-time MVP still made a significant contribution to the Yankees' 8-0 rout of the Indians last night, going 2-for-5 and knocking in his team's first run with a first-inning single.
Robinson Cano did deliver a solo home run for New York, while Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner each went 2-for-4 with two RBI to help back a strong effort from starting pitcher A.J. Burnett.
Burnett (9-8) scattered seven hits and struck out seven Cleveland batters over the first 6 1/3 innings to win his second straight start and lead the Yankees to their sixth victory in their past eight contests. New York owns the best record in the majors at 64-36, two games better than fellow American League East member Tampa Bay.
"He was locating his fastball to the corners as well as I've ever seen it," Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner said of Burnett. "Then late in the count he was throwing the curveball and getting some strikeouts. He was good [Wednesday]."
Fausto Carmona (10-8) was far less effective for Cleveland, as the 2010 All- Star was hammered for seven runs and 10 hits before being lifted after only 2 2/3 innings.
"I think the key for us was swinging at strikes," said Rodriguez. "After the first two innings [Carmona] had 40-plus pitches. That's always a key for us is to make him throw as many pitches as we can. Even when we make outs, make productive outs."
Rodriguez will be taking his swings tonight off Mitch Talbot in the Cleveland rookie's second-ever encounter with the Yankees. The young right-hander was dealt a loss in an 11-2 road setback to New York on May 31 after allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings, with Rodriguez coming through with an RBI single in two official at-bats against the Indians starter.
Talbot enters tonight's clash mired in a lengthy slump, as he's dropped five of six decisions since a surprising 7-4 beginning to the season and has posted a mediocre 5.01 ERA over his last seven starts. He served up two homers and was tagged for five runs in 5 2/3 innings of a home loss to Tampa Bay last Saturday, despite registering a career-best eight strikeouts.
The 26-year-old has recorded a respectable 4.08 ERA in his first season with the Indians, however. Talbot was acquired by Cleveland from the Rays in a trade this past winter.
New York will give Dustin Moseley his first start of the year tonight as the team searches for a temporary fill-in for the injured Andy Pettitte. The right-hander has made four relief appearances for the Yankees since being called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre earlier this month, including a excellent 4 2/3-inning stint against Kansas City on Saturday in which he yielded no runs and only a single hit.
Moseley took over in that game for Sergio Mitre, who was rocked for seven runs (five earned) and seven hits over the first 4 1/3 frames and sent to the bullpen as a result of that shaky showing.
The 28-year-old Moseley does have major-league starting experience, having begun 23 games during a four-year tenure with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from 2006-09. He also has good lifetime numbers against Cleveland, sporting a 3-0 record with a 4.35 ERA in three starts and two relief outings versus the Tribe.
New York took three of four games from the Indians in a late-May series at Yankee Stadium and has prevailed in nine of the last 12 clashes between the teams. In their only visit to Cleveland last season, the Yankees won three of four tests from the Tribe.