HR off Hughes keys Yanks' loss to A's
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Yankees, after mowing down the lousy Mariners, are finding things far more difficult against one of the AL West's best.
Wednesday night the Bombers were mostly shut down by righthander Dan Straily in a 5-2 loss to the surging A's at O.co Coliseum, a game in which Phil Hughes failed to get out of the fifth inning.
Hughes, whose inconsistency the past two seasons has turned him into a fan un-favorite, allowed three runs and four hits in 41/3 innings, the outing coming six days after he got this 10-game trip started with a stellar outing in Seattle.
"It was tough,'' said Hughes, who walked a season-worst five. "I just felt like every single time I wanted to make a good pitch, it just wasn't there. That's what five walks looks like, just consistently not being able to find it . . . I just wasn't throwing strikes. Tonight I just felt out of whack.''
But the Yankees (37-28), who opened the trip by taking three of four in Seattle before falling here Tuesday and will try and avoid being swept Thursday afternoon, aren't doing much at the plate, either.
Wednesday night marked the fifth straight game in which they didn't hit a home run.
"We're not trying to hit them but it would be nice if we were," said Mark Teixeira, who drove in a run to give him 12 RBIs in 12 games since returning from the disabled list.
Said hitting coach Kevin Long: "We'll just stay at it, stay the course and I think at the end of the day these guys will come through."
The A's (40-27) have been doing that collectively for a while, now winners of 15 of 19, improving to 22-8 in their last 30 games.
Hughes (3-5, 4.89) got this trip off to a good start last Thursday when he allowed just an unearned run and three hits in seven innings of the Yankees' 6-1 victory over the Mariners.
In the outing Hughes snapped a streak of five consecutive games in which he allowed at least one homer.
He could not make it two straight games without being victimized by one.
After a scoreless first, Josh Reddick led off the second with a single. Brandon Moss followed by swinging at the first pitch and bashing Hughes' 83-mph changeup over the big wall in right-center for a 2-0 lead. Moss also hit a solo homer off Joba Chamberlain as part of a two-run eighth that made it 5-2 and gave Grant Balfour some breathing room. The Yankees did get the tying run to the plate in the ninth after walk to Kevin Youkilis and a single by Ichiro Suzuki, but Jayson Nix grounded out to end it.
"We got it to 3-2 and you hope you can tie the score up," manager Joe Girardi said. "Joba does a good job in the bottom of the seventh but in the eighth things got away from him a bit."
The homer off Hughes was the 13th he has allowed this season, one behind team leader CC Sabathia, who allowed two the previous night.
Girardi said Hughes struggled with his "offspeed stuff," but Hughes said it was worse than that.
"I didn't really have command of anything," Hughes said. "I really couldn't find anything to put guys away with."
After John Jaso's RBI double with one out in the fifth made it 3-0 and a walk to Seth Smith, Girardi pulled the plug on the pitcher. It was fifth time in 13 starts this season Hughes failed to complete five innings.
Straily came in 3-2 with an unimpressive 4.67 ERA but he was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his previous four starts. Wednesday night Straily allowed two runs and three hits in 62/3 innings.
After Ichiro two-out single in the second, Straily retired 11 straight.
Brett Gardner, who came in with at least one hit in 16 of his last 18 games, broke that string by working a one-out walk in the sixth and he went to third on Robinson Cano's single to right. Cano came in with five hits in his last 31 at-bats but was coming off Tuesday's game in which he went 2-for-3. He reached on an error and single Wednesday night.
Teixeira's sacrifice fly to right brought in Gardner to cut the Yankees' deficit to 3-1.
The Yankees pulled closer in the seventh, with Youkilis, 6-for-32 in nine games since returning from the DL May 31 coming in, starting the rally by getting hit by a pitch. Straily's wild pitch moved Youkilis to second and Ichiro's ground out moved him to third. Nix's ground single to left brought in Youkilis to make it 3-2.