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Thursday, June 13, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Athletics 5, Yankees 2

By Wallace Matthews

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Lots to be concerned with Wednesday night -- Phil Hughes' ineffectiveness, Joba Chamberlain's ineffectiveness, David Robertson's unexplained absence (so far) -- but maybe nothing more troubling than this: Over their past five games, the Yankees have scored a total of 12 runs. Somehow, they've managed to win two of them, but not Wednesday night, as the A's slugged their way to a 5-2 triumph.

What it means: That after a triumphant visit to Seattle, the Yankees need a win in tomorrow's series finale to avoid going "Oh-for-Oakland."

Branded: A's first baseman Brandon Moss crushed the Yankees, hitting a two-run bomb off Phil Hughes in the second inning and an even more impressive shot off the back wall well beyond the center-field wall off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth.

Strafed: A's starter Dan Straily, in his second career start against the Yankees, held them to two runs on just three hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Had his Phil: Yankees manager Joe Girardi saw enough of Hughes after he walked Seth Smith with one out in the fifth after having just given up an RBI double off the wall to John Jaso. Too many walks and deep counts had Hughes up to 95 pitches, and his penchant for allowing the long ball added up to a short night for Hughes, who failed to get out of the fifth inning for the second time in his past three starts.

Nice try: And the Oscar for Best Actor in an Outfield Role goes to Ichiro Suzuki, who faked out everyone in the ballpark into thinking he would catch Moss' drive to right field in the second. Everyone that is with the exception of Moss, who knew he had hit the ball into the seats. But Ichiro almost got Moss to pass Josh Reddick, who fell for the act and was headed back to first, on the base paths. But not quite. The shot gave Oakland a 2-0 lead.

Ribbie Machine: Mark Teixeira's sixth-inning line out to right scored Brett Gardner from third for his 12th RBI in the 12 games since he came off the disabled list. Tex is batting just .186 but strange as it sounds, has had his share of productive ABs.

Watch and learn: Girardi's decision not to start Lyle Overbay in right field Wednesday night was clearly the correct call, especially when Ichiro was called on to make two sliding catches, one of which bailed out Hughes in the fifth and another that bailed out Shawn Kelley in the sixth. With Overbay out there, A's would have probably scored at least two more runs.

Binders gone wild: Girardi used three players on one at-bat in the seventh, allowing Austin Romine to see one pitch from Straily, then lifting him in the middle of the at-bat for Lyle Overbay, at which point Bob Melvin removed Straily in favor of LHP Sean Doolittle. So of course, Girardi then replaced Overbay with Chris Stewart, who struck out to end the inning.

Close call: The Yankees appeared to get the benefit of a tough call at first when umpire CB Bucknor called Josh Reddick out on a bang-bang 3-1 play, ending the seventh with two A's on base. Replays showed Reddick and Joba Chamberlain arrived at the bag virtually simultaneously.

Null and void: The 3-thru-6 hitters in the Yankees lineup -- Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Kevin Youkilis -- went 0-for-13 with an RBI (Tex sacrifice fly), a hit batsman and a walk (both to Youkilis).

Bad Joba: In addition to Moss' homer, Chamberlain allowed two more hits, including an RBI single by John Jaso, to give the A's a 5-2 lead and some breathing room heading into the ninth.

Had to happen: When Preston Claiborne, on in relief of Joba, walked Seth Smith in the eighth, it was his first walk of the season in 19 1/3 innings.

Where's D-Rob? David Robertson, the "Eighth-Inning Guy," was not brought in to pitch the eighth with the Yanks trailing by a run. Instead, Girardi went to Joba, and the Yanks came out trailing by three runs.

What's next: Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.84) gets the ball for Thursday afternoon's series finale, facing RHP Jarrod Parker (5-6, 4.68), first pitch at 3:35 p.m.