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OAK@HOU: Straily strikes out 11 Astros over 6 2/3

A shutout for one, a bit of a nail-biter for the other, and now both the A's and Yankees head into Sunday's game with intentions of closing out their three-game set on a winning note, regardless of the score.

After the Yankees avenged Friday's blanking by the A's with a victory Saturday, it will be 40-year-old veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte on the mound against 25-year-old Dan Straily in the finale, as both teams look to continue to forge ahead into May over .500.

With Phil Hughes doing the honors with eight shutout innings Saturday for the home team, Yankees manager Joe Girardi likes where his starting pitchers are headed as the second month of the season begins.

"I think he's further along, like a lot of our starters. They have more arm strength," Girardi said.

Pettitte will be making his sixth start of the season and is coming off his worst one of the year. He allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits in just 4 1/3 innings of work against the Astros his last time out. The last time he faced the A's was in 2009.

Straily, who debuted in 2012 with seven strong starts down the stretch, will be making his third start this season. After striking out 11 in his season debut against the Astros, he allowed six earned runs to the Angels his last time out.

Neither team is in first place, but A's manager Bob Melvin feels like his club has righted the ship.

"I think any time at this time of the year you're a few games over .500, it's not bad, as long as someone in your division isn't 20-2," Melvin said. "We have a long way to go but we're comfortable with where we are."

Athletics: Taylor likely in Sunday mix
Called up Saturday in place of Chris Young, outfielder Michael Taylor is expected to be in the starting lineup against Pettitte and the Yankees. Not only that, but Melvin said he's inclined to start Taylor against left-handers for now, especially with Seth Smith slumping.

"I would think so," Melvin said. "Seth is a guy that I've been reluctant to take out against lefties, but he's struggling a little bit here as of late, so there's an excellent chance Taylor will be in there [Sunday]."

Taylor was batting .329 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 18 games with Triple-A Sacramento prior to his callup, his second of the season. Taylor spent only three days his first 2013 stint, going 0-for-6 at the plate.

Yankees: Nelson makes his debut
Third baseman Chris Nelson, acquired from the Rockies earlier in the week, made his first appearance in pinstripes Saturday, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts while batting in the No. 6 spot in the order.

"We want to get him in the mix. That's why we went and got him. He'll get a chance," Girardi said.

Nelson batted .242 in 21 games for the Rockies with a double, two triples and four RBIs before being designated for assignment last weekend.

Worth noting
• The Yankees now have won 11 of their last 16 home games against the A's, and 18 of 24. 

• Robinson Cano reached a franchise milestone Saturday, stroking his 344th career double to tie Mickey Mantle for eighth place on the team's all-time list.

• The A's lead the Major Leagues in runs scored, with 166. Comments