OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Two pitches in an otherwise masterful performance by Phil Hughes were all it took to send the New York Yankees to another loss against one of baseball's most penny-pinching franchises.
Brandon Inge and Yoenis Cespedes homered against Hughes, Jarrod Parker shut down New York for eight innings and the A's beat the Yankees 2-1 on Saturday night for their fourth straight win.
``I just made one too many mistakes,' Hughes said. ``I thought my command was very good. It was just two mistakes.'
Parker (7-4) allowed only an RBI single to Raul Ibanez in the fourth inning to become the latest Oakland starter to baffle the Bronx Bombers. He struck out five and walked one to hand New York its third straight loss in the series.
Cespedes crushed a tying homer later in the fourth and Inge hammered the first pitch of the eighth from Hughes (9-8) for his 13th homer of the season. The Cuban defector also extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games.
``When you give up two solo shots, that doesn't usually beat you,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``We've been having a tough time scoring runs here.'
Sean Doolittle struck out the side in the ninth after Alex Rodriguez singled for his first save in two chances after All-Star closer Ryan Cook worked the last three games. He had the ball and the lineup card already shelved in his locker.
The low-budget A's have won 13 of 15 to climb into a tie with the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles for the final AL wild card spot.
``If the playoffs started tomorrow,' Cespedes said in Spanish, ``You better be careful against the Oakland A's.'
Inge, entering the game with a .198 batting average, ripped a fastball off the concrete facade under the seats high above the wall in right-center field for his ninth homer of the season. Hughes, who initially pointed up thinking it was just a fly out, only gave up three other hits in the game while striking out six in 7 2-3 innings for a hard-luck loss.
Rodriguez beat out an infield single to shortstop leading off the fourth. After Rodriguez reached third on consecutive groundouts, Ibanez singled up the middle to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Not the usual New York way.
Then again, that's the kind of week it has been in the Bay Area for the visitors.
The Yankees sent 99 batters to the plate over the first 23 innings of the series without a walk until Curtis Granderson took a close full-count pitch called outside leading off the sixth. Robinson Cano's 23-game hitting streak also ended. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, including the first out in the ninth after Rodriguez singled.
``He had a good changeup and he throws 95,' Cano said of Parker. ``You don't want to be late against a guy like that. The first two at_bats there were shadows but that was no excuse.'
Doolittle also struck out Mark Teixeira and pinch-hitter Andruw Jones to end the game as A's players streamed out of the dugout in celebration.
The first three games of the series have been a far cry from New York's first visit to Oakland in late May when the Yankees overwhelmed the A's in a three-game sweep to extend their winning streak at the Coliseum to nine games. That was part of a nine-game overall losing streak for the A's, who have recovered since then to post the second-best record in the majors to the Yankees since June 2.
New York entered Friday night with a streak of 43 consecutive games with at least three runs - the longest in the majors since Cleveland's 48-game run in 1994 - but has scored three total runs in the last two games.
``They have talented kids over there,' Girardi said. ``When you get good pitching, you're always going to have a chance to win.'
NOTES: Yankees OF Nick Swisher sat out the game with a strained hip flexor. An MRI exam confirmed the strain. He is not expected to play Sunday but is hopeful to return at some point during the team's series at Seattle beginning Monday. Dewayne Wise started in right field in Swisher's place. ... Athletics LHP Dallas Braden and RHP Brandon McCarthy each threw about 40 pitches during a bullpen session before the game. Manager Bob Melvin said the team is still deciding on the next step for both. ... Yankees ace CC Sabathia turned 32 years old Saturday. Sabathia (10-3, 3.27 ERA) will face Oakland's Bartolo Colon (6-8, 3.88 ERA) in Sunday's series finale.
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