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09/01/10 5:44 PM ET

Yanks hope Jeter's turnaround comes vs. A's

The race for the top spot in the American League East is heating up, and the Yankees are hoping their top man in the batting order can catch fire again.

Entering Thursday's series finale against the A's, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, a career .314 hitter, is batting .266. In his last 10 games, the Yankees' captain is hitting .081.

Jeter and the first-place Yankees lead the Rays by one game in the division.

"His average is down a little bit, but he's on pace to score 115 runs, which is not too bad for a leadoff guy," Yankee manager Joe Girardi said. "I just think people are so used to seeing him have such great years offensively that when you're having a little bit of a down year and you're older, people's eyebrows go up."

Jeter went 1-for-5 with a strikeout in the Yankees' 4-3 victory Wednesday. He has struck out seven times in his last eight games but Girardi said he is not moving the veteran out of the leadoff spot.

Oakland starter Dallas Braden hopes otherwise. The left-hander tossed his second shutout of the year on Saturday against the Rangers in Texas. He allowed only four hits.

"What can you say?" Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "A shutout in the heat in Arlington against a lineup like that. What else can you say? That's about it."

The Yankees will counter with CC Sabathia, who is seeking his 19th win of the season.

Athletics: Davis swipes milestone bag
Rajai Davis stole his 40th base in the fifth inning Wednesday to become the fourth player in franchise history with multiple seasons of 40 stolen bases. Rickey Henderson, Bert Campaneris and Billy North also accomplished the feat. ... Kevin Kouzmanoff is hitting .344 with 10 RBIs and seven extra-base hits on the current road trip. ... Daric Barton has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games.

Yankees: Teixeira red-hot vs. A's
Mark Teixeira is 8-for-10 with one walk and one hit by pitch against the A's this series. ... The Yankees have scored in the first inning in 10 of their last 15 games, including five of their last six games. ... Reliever Boone Logan has retired 27 of the last 31 left-handed hitters he has faced, the streak includes a stretch of 20 consecutive hitters.

Worth noting
The Yankees are 8-1 against the A's this season, marking their most wins in a season against them since winning eight games against Oakland in 1998. ... The Yankees now have five pitchers with at least 10 wins for the first time since 1999.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.