OAKLAND (AP) — One mistake in the field proved to be too much for the struggling Oakland Athletics hitters to overcome against the powerful New York Yankees.
Mark Teixeira homered after Coco Crisp dropped a line drive to center field and the Yankees used three unearned runs to win for the seventh straight time in Oakland, beating the Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.
"Those three runs, that's the difference in the ball game right there," Crisp said. "We are playing a team of high caliber. You want to go out there as solid as possible. From the defensive end, we've been doing a great job. You get a couple of plays that don't end up the way they're supposed to, they can play a big part in the game."
Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher also homered and Ivan Nova (5-2) allowed three runs in seven innings to give the Yankees their third straight win following a stretch of six losses in seven games. The Yankees have hit six homers in the past two games.
"The last few games have been good for us," Teixeira said. "We're used to scoring that many runs. It's kind of more normal for us. ... We're a team that's used to hitting a lot of them and we'd like to hit a little bit more."
Tyson Ross (2-5) allowed the three long balls which proved to be too much for Oakland's struggling offense to overcome as the A's lost their third straight game. Josh Reddick and Kila Ka'aihue hit solo homers for Oakland.
The Yankees have overwhelmed the A's of late, especially in Oakland. Their last loss at the Coliseum came on April 22, 2010, in a game remembered for the dustup between Alex Rodriguez and Dallas Braden over A-Rod's jog across Braden's mound after a foul ball.
There were no such controversies this game as the Yankees bats show signs of waking up after scoring just 15 runs during that recent seven-game stretch. But some of their struggling high-priced stars have come through of late. Rodriguez homered twice in a win Wednesday against Kansas City to give him seven homers and Teixeira connected against the Athletics.
"These guys are too good for this to continue to go on," manager Joe Girardi said. "All clubs go through it at times and it's no fun when you're going through it. It feels like, 'When is it going to end sometimes.' We're starting to swing the bats better."
Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his fourth save in as many opportunities.
New York scored three unearned runs in the third thanks to Crisp's error. Cano's drive with two outs and a man on first hit off Crisp's glove for a two-base error that scored Curtis Granderson. Teixeira followed with his sixth homer to make it 3-0.
"Looked like it fooled him off the bat but then he recovered to get to it, and I don't know if the ball sailed or what it showed," manager Bob Melvin said. "It's a ball that, unless it took off at the last minute, he usually makes a play on. At the time it's one run. As a pitcher you try to pick your player up if he makes an error."
After Reddick hit a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth for Oakland, the Yankees broke it open in the fifth with a solo shot by Cano and a two-run homer from Swisher to make it 6-1 and knock out Ross.
Ross allowed six runs — three earned — and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings as his struggles against lefties continued. He allowed nine hits in 15 at-bats against lefties and has allowed an AL-worst .425 average against them this season.
"I think they just see the ball a little bit better against me," Ross said. "The split-change is something I need to keep working on to disrupt their timing and get them off all the hard stuff that's coming in there. I'm just going to keep working and try to mess around with that grip a little bit and take some more velocity off that."
NOTES: The A's hope to get 3B Brandon Inge (strained right groin) back on Monday after he plays two games in Sacramento this weekend. OF Yoenis Cespedes (strained left hand) will try to take BP on the field Saturday and could start a rehab assignment next week if that goes well. ... Eric Chavez, who played with Oakland from 1998-2010, returned as a visitor for the first time. He lamented how close the A's were to winning it all in the early 2000s and then looked over at teammate Derek Jeter and said "they didn't practice that play," referring to Jeter's famous relay flip that helped the Yankees beat Oakland in the first round in the 2001 playoffs. ... Former Yankee Bartolo Colon (4-4) will start the middle game of the series for Oakland against Bay Area native CC Sabathia (5-2).