David Phelps effective as Yankees beat A's, 7-0
OAKLAND, Calif. - Whatever David Phelps' issues, for one night, he figured them out.
In his most impressive start since being put in the rotation in early May, the righthander shut down the powerful A's in his 62/3 innings Friday night, leading the Yankees to a 7-0 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 36,067 at O.Co Coliseum.
"One of the best starts of my career, probably," Phelps said.
The Yankees (35-31), winners of four straight, improved to 5-2 on this nine-game, three-city trip.
Phelps (2-4, 4.32), who was 0-4 with a 6.57 ERA in his previous four starts, did not allow a hit until Derek Norris' one-out single in the fifth.
"I was attacking guys," said Phelps, who allowed two hits and three walks with four strikeouts in winning for the first time since May 17 against the Pirates. "The last couple of starts, I was trying to be a little bit too fine, was trying to be perfect with my pitches."
The outing left his teammates impressed. "That's as good as I've seen him pitch," said Mark Teixeira, who went 1-for-4 with a sacrifice fly.
The Yankees had 12 hits, two each by Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter (9-for-16 in the last four games), Ichiro Suzuki and Brian Roberts. Ichiro, Roberts and Kelly Johnson had RBI singles in a four-run eighth that made it 7-0.
"We have very good hitters, 1 through 9," said Jacoby Ellsbury, whose RBI single in the first gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead and extended his hitting streak to 17 games. "It's fun when guys are swinging the bats well, putting some good at-bats together."
A's righthander Sonny Gray (6-3, 2.93) settled down after allowing three runs in the first two innings, but on this night, he could not match Phelps.
It was an impressive performance by Phelps, and the Yankees, against an Oakland team that took two of three in the Bronx last week and came into the game ranked second in the majors in runs (336) and on-base percentage (.333) and third in home runs (77).
"I think we've pitched and I think we've had timely hitting," Joe Girardi said of his club, which looked dead in the water after losing two of three in Kansas City to start this trip. "We've scored a few more runs each night. We're swinging the bats better and we're pitching extremely well."
Phelps walked Coco Crisp to start the sixth but got John Jaso to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. The A's (40-27) collected their second hit of the game on Jed Lowrie's two-out double in the seventh. With Phelps at 102 pitches -- his season high was 109 May 27 in St. Louis -- Girardi called on Dellin Betances to face Norris.
The 6-8 righthander, who had a 0.45 WHIP in his previous 14 games, needed two pitches to get Norris to pop out in foul territory to Teixeira.
Notes & quotes: Though Michael Pineda (strained teres major muscle) might start throwing again next week, Girardi said the righthander likely will have to go through the equivalent of another spring training before being ready to pitch again. "I would think August is probably realistic,'' Girardi said . . . The Yankees signed righthanded reliever Heath Bell to a minor-league contract, taking a flyer on the Padres' former star closer, who has fallen on hard times. Bell, 36, posted a 7.27 ERA in 13 games with the Rays this season before being released. He had a 4.22 ERA for the Orioles' Triple-A Norfolk team before opting out of his contract earlier in the week.