OAKLAND -- There might be some hope for this Yankees team after all.
First, they go to Seattle and sweep three games from the improving -- and maybe even good -- Mariners. Then they go to Oakland and blow out the best-in-the-AL Athletics in the first game of a three-game weekend series. And the O.co Coliseum is usually a house of horrors for them; the Yanks had lost their previous seven games there.
They did it with pitching (David Phelps) and timely hitting (you read that right) and without the benefit of a single home run. In fact, they did it with 12 singles, often strung together, and took advantage of some raggedy playing by the A's.
Now, suddenly, they have won four in a row and are once again four games above .500, after having dipped to the mediocrity line on Sunday. Maybe there will be something to watch this summer after all, now that the Rangers are finished.
Unhittable: Phelps took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Derek Norris muscled one off the handle into left field for the Athletics' first hit of the game. Phelps had previously walked two hitters, including Jed Lowrie just before Norris' hit, but got the next two batters to keep Oakland off the board. Phelps wound up going 6 2/3 and allowing just two hits. The second was a long double by Lowrie, which then ended his night with two out in the seventh. It was Phelps' second-longest -- and best -- outing of the season.
Son down: The Yankees jumped all over A's starter Sonny Gray in the first two innings and opened the game with three singles (Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury), an RBI and a run off him, and they got a second run on Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly. They added another on three singles and a walk in the second and could have had more if Kelly Johnson had been able to score on Jeter's second hit of the game. Instead, he stopped at third and was forced out at home on Ellsbury's grounder to first. But once again, the Yankees, who had been hard-pressed to score more than two runs a game the previous week, were able to run up an early 3-0 lead.
Son rise: After Jeter's second-inning single, Gray settled down to retire the next 13 Yankees, until Ichiro Suzuki reached on an infield hit with two out in the sixth.
Tack ons: The Yankees added an eighth-inning run on hard singles by Teixeira and Brian McCann and an infield hit by Ichiro that went off the pitcher. Two more scored when Brian Roberts singled home McCann, with Suzuki following after A's catcher Norris mishandled the throw home and the ball scooted far enough away for Suzuki to score from third. Finally, Roberts came home on Johnson's single to center to make it 7-0.
Hitting machine: Jeter singled in his first two at-bats for his fourth straight multi-hit game. Jeter was hitting .258 when this road-trip began a week ago; he is now at .275.
Say what, now?: The Yankees were 6-for-13 with RISP tonight. That is not a typo.
Get used to it: Brendan Ryan got booed, loudly, when he was sent up as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning. Why? He was hitting for Jeter, whom most of the crowd, apparently, came to see. To add injury to insult, Ryan wound up taking a Jim Johnson pitch off his left elbow and, despite being in obvious pain, remained in the game.
Cuckoo for Coco: Here's a first: Dellin Betances apparently hit Coco Crisp on the foot with a pitch -- and got a strikeout out of it when 3B umpire Dan Iassogna ruled that Crisp's flailing bat (he was trying frantically to get out of the way) was actually a swing and miss. The ruling was so bizarre Crisp could only sit at home plate and laugh.