OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The New York Yankees miss the long ball. They miss consistent singles and those timely hits with runners in scoring position.
Even the hard-hit balls seem to be finding gloves, and that was the case again in a 5-2 loss to the surging Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night. Now, New York must win Thursday afternoon to avoid a sweep by the defending AL West champions.
``It's part of the game. You have to fight your way out of it,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``We know the guys are capable. We hit some balls hard, and it seems like their guys have been there.'
The Yankees haven't hit a home run in a season-high five straight games - the club's longest drought since also going five games from May 17-21, 2006.
Meanwhile, New York watched Brandon Moss clear the fences not once, but twice. Moss hit a two-run homer and a solo shot for his third career two-homer game, helping the A's win their 10th straight at home.
Moss hit his 10th homer in the second inning and 11th with a solo drive in the eighth. He also connected twice April 29 against the Angels. Of his five hits over 40 at_bats in his last 19 games, all are home runs.
``Last year in Triple-A, I did it at exactly this time. I had three weeks straight where the only hits I had were home runs,' Moss said. ``I'll take that. It's not where I want to be, obviously. I'd much rather be getting hits also.'
Moss' power stroke helped Dan Straily (4-2) win his third consecutive decision.
Moss, now batting .228, sent the first pitch he saw from Phil Hughes (3-5) over the right-field scoreboard in the second following Josh Reddick's leadoff single.
After a 1-2-3 fourth inning, Hughes issued a leadoff walk to Eric Sogard in the fifth. John Jaso's double one out later and another walk to Seth Smith ended the right-hander's night.
Hughes walked a season-high five and lost for the third time in four decisions. He allowed three runs on four hits and struck out three in 4 1-3 innings. He hadn't walked more than two batters all season.
``It's a bad feeling,' he said. ``You just try to make something happen, find something that's going to work. I didn't have good command of my slider, changeups, really anything. When I don't have my fastball, it's tough. Sometimes I can go to other things but tonight I really didn't have anything.'
Jaso had an RBI double and a run-scoring single for the A's (40-27), who won for the 20th time in 25 games and are off to their best start since 1990.
Brett Gardner drew a one-out walk in the sixth to end a stretch of 11 straight Yankees retired by Straily. Robinson Cano singled and Mark Teixeira hit a sacrifice fly.
But New York missed a scoring chance during an odd sequence in the seventh.
Jayson Nix hit a two-out RBI single and stole second. With Nix as the potential tying run, Lyle Overbay came out to pinch-hit with a 1-0 count already against Austin Romine. A's manager Bob Melvin then made his own switch, to reliever Sean Doolittle.
Chris Stewart came on to pinch-hit for Overbay, who never reached the batter's box but was credited for appearing in the game. Stewart struck out on a changeup to end the inning.
``I've never done that before. That was weird,' Doolittle said. ``I was like, `What's going to happen here?' ... I didn't really know what was going on. I've never, in my short time as a pitcher, come in in the middle of a count like that.'
Doolittle then pitched a perfect eighth before Grant Balfour finished for his 17th save of the season and 35th in a row dating to April 29, 2012. He retired Nix on a broken-bat comebacker to end it with runners on first and second.
The A's secured their first season series victory against the Yankees since going 4-2 in 2007.
Asked whether he would shake up the lineup, Girardi didn't rule out making some changes.
``Tomorrow's a day game after a night game,' he said. ``We'll see what we do.'
NOTES: Yankees RHP Michael Pineda, working his way back from shoulder surgery 14 months ago, threw a 75-pitch bullpen session. He had been set to pitch in a minor league game this weekend but instead will throw a simulated game Friday at the team's complex in Tampa, Fla. ``This way we can control it,' Girardi said. ``The other day he had one long inning. If Tampa would have been at home he would have pitched in that game.' ... A's CF Coco Crisp (bruised heel) and LF Yoenis Cespedes (tight left hamstring) both sat out. ... RHP Jarrod Parker (5-6) pitches the series finale for the A's on Thursday afternoon opposite Hiroki Kuroda (6-5). ... Gardner failed to get a hit for just the third time in 19 games since May 24.
The Associated Press News Service
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