NEW YORK -- A.J. Griffin scattered six hits in seven-plus innings and the Oakland Athletics opened a 10-game road trip with a 2-0 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
Griffin (2-2) won for the first time in four starts with an efficient 98-pitch outing. He allowed more than one runner on base just once, held the Yankees hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position and allowed just one runner to reach third base.
The 25-year-old right-hander threw first-pitch strikes to 17 hitters while striking out four and issuing one walk.
Griffin came into the game with a 9.00 ERA and a .277 batting average against him in his last two starts against Boston and Baltimore but was even more effective against the Yankees than last July when he had a shutout going through five and allowed three runs in six-plus innings.
The performance by Griffin was among the better ones by Oakland's starting staff this season. The Athletics' rotation had produced a 6-11 record with a 5.87 ERA in the last 22 games since April 9 and the American League's third-highest ERA this year.
Griffin allowed two more hits after Jayson Nix led off the fifth with a single to left. He retired the next nine hitters before Nix doubled to left with two outs in the seventh. The Yankees sent Brennan Boesch to hit for Chris Stewart, but Griffin struck out him swinging on a full-count fastball.
Griffin's biggest challenge was getting through the top of the order in the eighth. He started by allowing a bunt single to Brett Gardner. A's manager Bob Melvin brought in Sean Doolittle, who retired Robinson Cano on a flyout and got Vernon Wells to hit into a double play.
Doolittle also retired the first two hitters in the ninth on four pitchers before giving way to Grant Balfour, who ended the Athletics' second shutout by striking out Eduardo Nunez for his fourth save in as many opportunities.
Adam Rosales led off the game with a home run and Derek Norris had an RBI single for Oakland, which won for just the fifth time in its last 15 games since a 12-4 start.
C.C. Sabathia (4-3) failed to reach the seventh inning for the first time in six starts as he allowed two runs and eight hits, one shy of his season high. He threw a season-high 118 pitches but limited Oakland to two runs by getting of trouble in every inning.
Oakland struck on the first pitch of the game when Rosales lined a fastball over the left-field wall and quickly trotted around the bases.
After allowing Rosales' first career leadoff home run, Sabathia grew stronger and had his first perfect inning in the fourth. Sabathia, however, put two on with one out in the fifth and reached a full count on Jed Lowrie with two outs before Cano ranged far to his left behind the second-base bag, made a throw on the run and retired Lowrie to end the inning.
The Yankees had second and third with two outs in the third after Cano hit a ground-rule double down the left-field line. The threat ended when Wells popped out to first base -- one of two instances the Yankees had a runner in scoring position through five against Griffin.
The other time was with one out in the fifth when Nix led off with a single to left field and was sacrificed to second by Stewart. Nix stayed at second when Gardner flied out to medium center and was stranded when Cano lined out to right.
NOTES: The Yankees replaced right-hander Joba Chamberlain (oblique) with right-hander Preston Claiborne, a 17th-round pick in the 2010 draft. With Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Claiborne converted three saves in as many opportunities in eight outings. Claiborne also pitched well during spring training, going 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA in 10 appearances. Since the Yankees had to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Clairborne, right-hander Cody Eppley, a side-arming, ground-ball pitcher, was designated for assignment. ... The Yankees also said right-hander David Robertson will be out until next week's three-game series at Colorado. Robertson injured the area where the hamstring meets the quadriceps on his left leg covering first base in Wednesday's win over Houston. "I'll do whatever they let me do," Robertson said. "That's pretty much all I can do, wait a couple of days and see what happens. I was hoping I'd be able to throw today if they'd let me, but (it's) not gonna happen." ... Oakland outfielder Chris Young ran in the outfield to test the left quad that he strained during Monday's 19-inning victory over the Angels, but he was held out of the starting lineup for the third straight game. ... New York first baseman Mark Teixeira did tee and toss work with his swing and thinks full batting practice can happen in a few days, likely at the team's minor-league facility at Tampa. If there are no issues, he could appear in simulated games before progressing to extended spring training.