The Oakland Athletics shoot for their fifth win in the last six outings on Saturday afternoon as they tangle with the New York Yankees in the second of a three-game series in the Bronx.
A streaky team to say the least the A's, who began the campaign with nine wins in 11 tries, are trying to regain their footing after dropping eight of nine between April 19-27. Last night the club logged its first nine-inning shutout with a 2-0 victory in the series opener thanks to the efforts of A.J. Griffin.
In picking up his third win of the season, Griffin scattered six hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out four as he threw 98 total pitches. Grant Balfour faced just one batter in the ninth, yet still was awarded his fourth save.
Jed Lowrie and Nate Freiman both posted three hits for the visitors, while Adam Rosales added a pair, one of which was a solo home run, his first of the year in his first career start in the leadoff spot.
"My goal was to get on base," Rosales said of his first-inning at-bat. "Just saw that first pitch, jumped on it and it jumped off my bat and went out of the park."
Following the home run by Rosales, CC Sabathia proceeded to give up just one more run over six innings, but still suffered his third setback of the season. Overall, Sabathia scattered eight hits, walked two and struck out six.
"He only gave up two runs, and he gave up one before he got an out, so after the first hitter he gave up one," Joe Girardi said following his 1,000th game as a major league manager. "They fouled some pitches off. They got in some long counts, which made him throw a lot of pitches in the sixth inning, but I thought he threw OK."
Offensively, Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix both accounted for a pair of hits in an effort to spark the Yankees as they saw a two-game win streak snapped while being shut out for just the second time this season.
A Yankee himself back in 2011 when he produced a record of 8-10 for the Bronx Bombers, Bartolo Colon is set to take the mound for Oakland this afternoon. The right-hander, who has a career mark of 4-6 versus New York, is currently 3-0 this year even after being knocked around in his most recent outing on Sunday.
Up against the Baltimore Orioles at home last weekend, Colon was touched for five runs on nine hits, while striking out three over six innings of action. While he did not factor into the decision, the A's still pulled out a 9-8 victory, which means Oakland has won all five of the hurler's appearances thus far.
Meanwhile, countering for the home team will be Phil Hughes as he continues to search for his first win of 2013.
The right-hander opened the season with back-to-back defeats versus Baltimore and Detroit and has since been denied a decision, even though the Yankees have won each of his last two outings.
The most recent appearance for Hughes came last weekend versus Toronto as he gave up two runs on seven hits, fanning a season-high nine over six innings of action.
A California native himself, Hughes has a career record of 2-1, along with a save, in eight all-time games versus the A's.
New York, now sitting 2 1/2 games behind Boston for first place in the AL East, won the series with the A's in 2011 and 2012, but the teams then split their 10 encounters a year ago.