Yankees-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

Aside from a hard-luck loss to the New York Yankees, Tommy Milone has been brilliant in going unbeaten at his own ballpark.

Milone tries to avenge his only home loss of the season Friday night as the surging Oakland Athletics continue a four-game set with the Yankees.

Acquired from Washington during the offseason as part of the Gio Gonzalez deal, Milone (9-6, 3.54 ERA) continues to come up big for Oakland (48-44) in his first full major league season. He allowed a career-worst 10 hits Saturday but managed to limit the damage and defeat Minnesota, allowing two runs over six innings of a 9-3 victory.

The 25-year-old southpaw has been especially sharp at home, going 5-1 over seven starts while compiling a 1.03 ERA - the second-best mark in the majors. Opponents have hit .177 against him in Oakland.

The only time he allowed more than one earned run in a home start came against New York on May 27, giving up eight hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-0 loss.

"Their young left-hander threw a very good game today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told the team's official website. "He's got an outstanding changeup that he used at any time."

Milone will try to hold the major league-best Yankees (57-35) in check again after A.J. Griffin threw six strong innings during Thursday's 4-3, series-opening victory. Oakland had lost its previous nine home games to New York, getting outscored 51-14.

The A's have gone 11-2 in July to move four games above .500 for the first time since May 31, 2010.

"We're having a lot of fun right now," Griffin said. "I like to hear the music after games."

While no team has relied on the home run as much as the Yankees (147) this season, the A's have hit their fair share this month. Oakland has gone deep 20 times in 13 games, including Yoenis Cespedes' two-run shot Thursday.

Cespedes is hitting .542 with three homers and eight RBIs in six games since the All-Star break.

This will be his first look at New York's Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.18), who was hit hard in his first appearance following the break. The right-hander was tagged for a season worst-tying six runs and nine hits - three homers - over six innings Sunday in a 10-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"I feel like I can do better than this," he said.

Nova has thrived on the road, where he's gone 7-1 with a 3.36 ERA over 10 starts.

He won his only career appearance against the A's, yielding three runs over seven innings in a 6-3 victory May 25 in Oakland.

The Yankees received some bad news Thursday, as left fielder Brett Gardner - out since April 17 - will undergo arthroscopic right elbow surgery next week, likely ending his season.

"He has the ability to lead the league in stolen bases. It's tough to replace a world class speed guy," outfielder Nick Swisher said. "Nobody likes losing a teammate ... We have to pull it together. I think the guys have done a great job. We have guys who are capable."

Swisher's ninth-inning homer off A's closer Ryan Cook on Thursday extended New York's franchise-record streak of scoring at least three runs to 43 games. Swisher, who spent the first four years of his career in Oakland, is batting .381 with eight homers and 18 RBIs in his last 11 games against his former team.