OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oh, those schizophrenic Yankees. Lose three of four to the Tampa Bay Rays and get swept by the Texas Rangers, then bounce back to sweep the Kansas City Royals, who at the time were the best team in the American League.
And now, lose the first two to the Oakland Athletics, who are only the worst team in the American League.
You know, Suzyn, you just can't predict baseball.
Then again, maybe you could have predicted this one. It didn't look promising from the start, not with Sonny Gray going for the A's and Chris Capuano for the Yankees, but with Capuano knowing he was probably pitching for his rotation spot, there was the chance of a big performance from him on Friday night.
Alas, not a good chance. Capuano got thoroughly outpitched, the Yankees' hitters were generally outclassed, and the Athletics went up 2-0 in this four-game series with a 6-2 victory at O.co Coliseum.
Sonny day: The Yankees chipped away at, but couldn't crumble, A's right-hander Gray, who pitched out of an eighth-inning jam by getting Chase Headley to ground out to first, stranding runners at first and second and preserving Oakland's 4-2 lead. Gray allowed just four hits over eight innings, walked two and struck out five in running his record to 6-2. His ERA is a tidy 1.82.
Four jacks: Brian McCann's homer in the fifth inning was his fourth in the past four games, tying Mike Stanley's mark for a Yankees catcher set between July 20 and 25, 1993. The bad news? The solo shot only cut the A's lead to 4-1.
Capital punishment: The roof fell in on Capuano in the third as the A's scored four times on four hits, three of them doubles, and a costly error by Headley, his 11th of the season. Headley let a routine grounder by Ben Zobrist go through his legs, bringing home the first run. Capuano collected himself to strike out Brett Lawrie and get the two hitters after him to ground out, but not before Billy Butler and Stephen Vogt doubled, Vogt's driving in the final two runs of the inning. Capuano's final line: 5 1/3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 walks and 4 Ks. Not terrible, but not a good enough presentation for a pitcher trying to hold onto a job.
The Butler didn't: Capuano worked out of a second-inning bases-loaded jam caused by a pair of walks to Butler and Josh Reddick and an opposite-field single by Josh Phegley by getting Mark Canha to fly out to left. But Capuano was helped tremendously by the fact that the portly Butler was the runner at second when Phegley singled, and he was held, probably wisely, by A's third-base coach Mike Gallego, much to the surprise of Reddick, who was barreling around second only to put the breaks on hard and turn back.
Roger that: Esmil Rogers pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Capuano, allowing only an infield hit to Phegley that easily could have been scored an error (see below).
Over and out: The A's put this one out of reach when Lawrie, whose two-run HR off CC Sabathia on Thursday tied the game, did the same to Jacob Lindgren in the eighth, belting an 0-2 sinker over the left-field fence with a runner aboard to give Oakland a 6-2 lead.
Best of Didi, worst of Didi: Didi Gregorius' double over CF Billy Burns' head in the sixth led to the Yankees' second run, when Brett Gardner drove him in from third. That was the good. The bad came in the bottom of the inning when he fumbled and misplayed Phegley's grounder, which was somehow scored an infield hit. No harm done, however; Rogers retired the next two A's to end the inning.