Yankees get outslugged by A's in Oakland
Hughes falls as New York's homer drought hits five games
OAKLAND -- You can often hear chatter in the clubhouses that the ball does not seem to fly as well during night games at the O.co Coliseum. It may be true, but it only seemed to be reality for the Yankees on Wednesday.
Brandon Moss homered twice to lead the Athletics to a 5-2 win over a punchless Yankees lineup that managed just four singles and has now been unable to put the ball over the wall in its last five contests.
"That's too much. We're the Bronx Bombers," said Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira. "But give them credit; this is not really a home run-hitting ballpark anyway. Neither is Seattle, for that matter. We just haven't gotten it done."
The heart of the order was silenced by A's starter Dan Straily and two relievers, as New York's Nos. 3-6 hitters combined to go 0-for-13 with a walk, four strikeouts and an RBI.
Ichiro Suzuki was the only player with more than one hit for the Yankees, who fell to 3-3 on their 10-game road trip.
"You need those guys to produce and pick up RBIs and big hits, and right now that's not happening," Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long said. "But we're still in a pretty good position and we've been pretty good thus far this year. We've just got to stay at it, stay positive, and this thing will turn around."
Yankees starter Phil Hughes served up the first of Moss' homers, a two-run shot in the second inning that came on a first-pitch changeup. Hughes was chased after allowing three runs and four hits in just 4 1/3 innings.
"I didn't really have good command of anything," Hughes said. "Their approach was to be patient tonight, and on a night when I didn't have good command. I was in a lot of bad counts and couldn't really find anything to put guys away with."
A propensity to serve up the long ball has been a justified topic with Hughes, but his control was more of a problem on Wednesday. The right-hander issued a season-high five walks and acknowledged that the command issues made his body language look "terrible."
"That's something that he's going through right now," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He needs to figure that out for us. That's important that you put good starts together and get on a roll. Right now he's struggling doing that, for whatever reason."
The A's added a fifth-inning run as Eric Sogard worked a leadoff walk, stole second base uncontested when Hughes failed to check the runner and came home as John Jaso pelted the padded wall in right-center for a run-scoring double.
Hughes walked the next batter, Seth Smith, and Girardi trudged from the dugout to retrieve the ball after 95 pitches.
"Every time I really needed to make a big pitch, I couldn't execute it. It was tough," Hughes said. "I just felt like every single time I wanted to make a good pitch, it wasn't there. That's what five walks looks like, consistently not being able to find it."
Hughes left with New York still in the ballgame, trailing 3-0, but they were struggling to piece together any kind of attack as Straily retired 11 straight through one stretch.
Teixeira drove in Brett Gardner with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly and Jayson Nix grounded a run-scoring single to left field in the seventh, driving home Kevin Youkilis.
Nix stole second to move the tying run into scoring position, and Girardi sent Lyle Overbay to the plate as a pinch-hitter. The A's countered with lefty Sean Doolittle, nudging Girardi to call back Overbay and send up Chris Stewart, who struck out on a 3-2 changeup.
"I thought Stew had a pretty good at-bat against Doolittle last night," Girardi said. "He swung the bat pretty good and I made the move. It was either [Austin] Romine against Straily or Stew against Doolittle, and I was going to take that."
Joba Chamberlain recorded two key outs in the seventh but ran into trouble in the eighth, serving up Moss' second homer -- a towering blast to center field -- and Jaso's run-scoring single to make it a three-run game.
"It was a fastball, a little bit more down than the ones I was fouling off," Moss said. "He was making tough pitches, obviously. You can look at the radar gun to see what kind of stuff he had. He throws hard and he has a really good slider."
Preston Claiborne, who had not permitted a walk in his first 14 Major League appearances spanning 19 1/3 innings, issued the ninth and final free pass by a New York pitcher in the eighth after he relieved Chamberlain.
The loss did not look good, and Long suggested one potential fix in having Robinson Cano work more against left-handed pitching in batting practice. That might help, and if not, the Yankees will work to find other ways to jump-start the lineup.
"We need more guys on base," Teixeira said. "The old walks and home runs -- [they're] not really coming. You hate to say it again, but we don't have home runs right now. It's tough to string together a whole lot of hits against good pitching."