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The Yankees finally took a step in the right direction this weekend, shutting out the Oakland A’s 6-0 and winning their first series at home since they took two of three from Boston to start the season. Much-maligned Kevin Brown pitched seven shutout innings a day after Mike Mussina pitched the first complete-game shutout for the Yankees in nearly two years. Alex Rodriguez, Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada all had home runs, and for two days at least, the Yankees looked like the Yankees.

Brown’s and Mussina’s gems could not have come at a better time. Mussina snapped a four-game losing streak that included three losses to Tampa Bay (Tampa Bay!) and a sloppy 6-3 loss to Oakland on Friday night. Still, Gothamist needs to see more. The A’s line-up is hardly potent, especially with Eric Chavez, its best hitter, hitting .190. Still, Tampa Bay’s line-up is not fearsome, yet it still managed to torch Brown in his previous start. These starts are baby steps for the Yankees. For a team that is now six games under .500, those are the only steps they can take.

Pitching will determine whether the Yankees can climb out of this hole. If healthy, Brown still can be dominant at times and effective at others. Mussina, despite his detractors and age, has pitched well since August of last year, a few starts excepted. Their hitting should improve, and when they look up sometime in June, Hideki Matsui will not be hitting .242 like he is today. With more starts like Brown and Mussina gave the Yankees this weekend, the Yankees could climb out of the hole quickly. Without them, who knows. The Yankees host Seattle for a three-game series starting
Monday.

Photo by AP/Kathy Willens via ESPN