Yankees-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

While the New York Yankees saw their bats break out in their last performance, the Oakland Athletics are searching for any semblance of offense.

The Yankees have won their last six road meetings against the Athletics as they begin a three-game set Friday night.

New York (23-21) totaled 15 runs in losing six of seven before winning the final two of a three-game home set against Kansas City. Alex Rodriguez ended a 14-game homerless streak by going deep twice in an 8-3 victory Wednesday.

The Yankees scored three times in the first inning, marking their first runs in the opening frame in six games.

"When we're rolling, it seems that we're a club that jumps on teams early and continues to add on," manager Joe Girardi said.

The Athletics (22-23) will have had a day off to contemplate totaling three runs in a three-game set against the Angels. Oakland is hitting a major league-low .210 after mustering one run and four hits in losing the final two contests.

"We're not stringing hits together and getting guys on base," manager Bob Melvin said. "We have to swing the bats better. We're going to face a lot of good pitchers. There's no excuse. We got four hits."

Both offenses could produce Friday against starters with similarly high ERAs. New York's Ivan Nova (4-2, 5.69 ERA) opposes Tyson Ross (2-4, 5.73).

Nova has not resembled the pitcher who won 16 games last year. He has yielded five or more runs in four of his last five starts, giving up that many over six innings with a career-high 12 strikeouts as he was charged with Saturday's 6-5 loss to Cincinnati.

While the right-hander has never faced the A's, Ross will be making his first start against the Yankees. Ross yielded one run over 3 2-3 innings in two 2010 appearances versus New York.

The right-hander has given up two runs over 12 innings in his last two starts after going 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA in his first five.

The Yankees travel west with several key hitters struggling. Mark Teixeira is in a 4-for-21 slump, Curtis Granderson a 9-for-43 rut and Nick Swisher a 3-for-32 skid.

Swisher had six homers and 14 RBIs to help New York take six of nine from Oakland in 2011.

"Even if they're not playing well, certainly their lineup gets your attention," Melvin told Oakland's official website. "You know you have to play good baseball regardless against them. For the most part, they're always going to put up some runs."

For Oakland, Jonny Gomes has four hits in his last 25 at-bats, Seth Smith has five in 29 and Kila Ka'aihue three in 24.

"Offensively, we have to get a lot better," Gomes said. "We're putting a lot of weight on our starting pitchers. We're not getting run out of the stadium every day."

The Yankees have lost three straight on the road ahead of this nine-game trip.

"It's just kind of you and the guys in a sense," Girardi said. "It's a bonding time and it can do a lot of good things."

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