OAKLAND, Calif. -- The game between the A's and Yankees on Tuesday shaped up as a likely pitcher's duel featuring a pair of former Cy Young Award winners, Oakland's Bartolo Colon and New York's CC Sabathia.
Colon held up his end of the bargain, blanking the Yankees for six innings on three hits, but Sabathia had a rough night before family and friends in his latest Bay Area homecoming at the O.co Coliseum.
A's catcher Derek Norris hammered a three-run shot off Sabathia in the fourth inning, and center fielder Coco Crisp lined a solo home run in the first, powering the A's to a 6-4 victory in the opener of their three-game series.
Norris drove in a career-high four runs as the A's beat the Yankees for the third time in four games and the eighth time in 11 games this season.
Sabathia, a native of the East Bay city of Vallejo, gave up six runs on eight hits over six innings as his record fell to 6-5 and his ERA rose from 3.74 to 4.07. He struck out three, walked one and threw a wild pitch in the sixth that brought Josh Donaldson home from third.
Colon, who survived a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and lacked his typical pinpoint control, won his fifth straight decision and improved to 8-2. He walked a season-high four and struck out three. During his winning streak, Colon has allowed just three runs over 36 innings, lowering his ERA from 4.56 to 2.92.
After falling behind 6-0, the Yankees scored twice in the eighth off Jerry Blevins, getting RBI singles from Mark Teixeira and pinch hitter Vernon Wells. They scored two more runs in the ninth. Both were charged to Ryan Cook, but Teixeira drilled a two-run single with two outs off closer Grant Balfour.
Balfour got his 34th straight save, as left fielder Seth Smith caught Travis Hafner's deep fly at the wall in left-center for the final out.
The A's took a 1-0 lead when Crisp lined Sabathia's second pitch of the game, a 1-0 fastball, over the left field fence for his eighth home run of the season. It was Crisp's third leadoff home run of the season and 11th of his career, nine of those with the A's.
Oakland increased the lead to 2-0 in the second on Norris' bloop double down the right field line that scored Josh Reddick all the way from first. Lyle Overbay, starting in right field for just the fourth time this season, couldn't get to the shallow fly in time to catch it, and the ball one-hopped off his glove. Reddick easily beat Overbay's throw home.
In the bottom of the fifth, Freiman and Chris Young hit back-to-back singles off Sabathia. Then with two outs, Norris lined Sabathia's first pitch over the left-center wall for a three-run homer, putting the A's ahead 5-0.
A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes left the game after the second inning because of tightness in his left hamstring. He appeared to be in pain after running hard to first on a ground out in the bottom of the first but remained in the game for one more inning. According to the team, Cespedes' exit was precautionary, and the slugger is day-to-day.
NOTES: Yankees 2B Robinson Cano was named American League captain for the Home Run Derby next month at Citi Field, home of the Mets. Cano won the event two years ago and was the AL derby captain last year at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. Captains choose their derby teammates, and Cano was loudly booed last year for not choosing Royals 1B Billy Butler to be on the four-man squad. Asked if he'd choose Butler this year, Cano laughed and said, "No chance." Cano said his father, Jose Cano, will pitch to him for the third straight year. "Right now we're .500, 1-for-2," he said. ... Yankees first-round draft pick Aaron Judge, a 6-foot-7, 255-pound outfielder from Fresno State, took batting practice at the Coliseum before Tuesday's game and impressed manager Joe Girardi. "He can hit some homers," Girardi said of Judge, the No. 32 overall pick last week. "The ball really jumps off his bat. Strong kid. He was pretty impressive today." ... New York SS Derek Jeter (fractured left ankle) is scheduled to be examined Thursday by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., and Girardi said he expects him to get "full clearance" for baseball activities. "But you never know," Girardi added. Jeter has been hitting off a tee, doing soft toss drills and taking "some light ground balls on the grass" at the Yankees' training complex in Tampa, Fla. ... The A's have faced a heavy diet of left-handed starting pitchers, but that's about to change. According to manager Bob Melvin, Oakland is likely to face right-handers in 18 of the next 19 games, beginning Wednesday against Yankees RHP Phil Hughes. That means the A's lineup often will be packed with left-handed hitters.