Yankees-Athletics Preview

The Oakland Athletics are enjoying their longest home win streak in seven seasons as well as their longest at home against the New York Yankees in 12 years.

The Athletics also have won seven of Dan Straily's nine outings as they look to extend both streaks and continue their outstanding starting pitching Wednesday night.

Oakland's run of nine consecutive home victories is its longest since a 10-game run Aug. 11-Sept. 1, 2006. The Athletics (39-27) have won five straight at home over New York (37-27) for their longest such run since going 6-0 in 2001.

The club is a major league-best 19-5 since May 17, and its starters have gone 14-3 with an AL-best 2.53 ERA in that span including a 1.37 ERA during this streak at home.

Bartolo Colon was the latest to contribute with six scoreless innings in Tuesday's 6-4 victory in the opener of this three-game set that gave Oakland its best 66-game start since 1992.

Closer Grant Balfour recorded his 16th save in as many chances, getting Travis Hafner for the final out on a leaping catch by left fielder Seth Smith.

"To me it was never going out," Balfour said.

Now the ball goes to Straily (3-2, 4.67 ERA), whose high ERA is deceiving since he is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four outings. His worst effort in that stretch was Friday's 5-4, 10-inning victory over the White Sox in which he gave up four runs over seven innings.

The right-hander did not receive a decision in his only career outing against the Yankees on May 5, allowing three runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-4 victory.

The Athletics have concerns about Yoenis Cespedes, who left after the second inning Tuesday with tightness in his left hamstring. Cespedes is day to day after appearing to hurt himself running out a groundout in the first inning.

His absence would be good news for right-hander Phil Hughes (3-4, 4.80) since Cespedes is the only Oakland hitter to homer off Wednesday's Yankees starter.

Hughes ended a four-start winless stretch Friday by allowing an unearned run over seven innings in a 6-1 victory at Seattle.

"I thought he mixed his stuff a lot better, used his curveball, slider and changeup more effectively and it made his fastball better," manager Joe Girardi said.

Hughes' best outing was a May 4 gem against the Athletics in which he struck out nine over eight scoreless innings to earn a 4-2 victory. The Yankees are 5-1 when he starts against Oakland even though he owns a 4.63 ERA in those outings.

Brett Gardner had two more hits Tuesday, and the center fielder is 15 for 30 during an eight-game hitting streak. Mark Teixeira drove in three runs as New York's rally from a six-run deficit through seven innings fell short.

Derek Norris homered and drove in four runs. He was coming off an 0-for-13 road trip and was hitless in 14 straight at-bats before he changed his hairdo on Oakland's off day Monday by getting a mullet.

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