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Yankees can't solve Griffin in 2-0 loss to Athletics

05/03/2013 10:44 PM ET
By The Associated Press

Athletics' starter A.J. Griffin threw seven scoreless innings against the Yankees, who lost 2-0 on Friday night.(AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- A.J. Griffin showed his Oakland teammates before facing the Yankees that he's quite an entertaining guitarist. Then he went out and reminded everyone he's a pretty good pitcher, too.

Griffin pitched six-hit ball into the eighth inning Friday night and Adam Rosales homered on CC Sabathia's first pitch, leading the Athletics to a 2-0 victory over New York.

''He's pretty much a free spirit,'' manager Bob Melvin of Griffin.

Derek Norris hit an RBI single in the sixth inning to help Oakland open its 10-game road trip with its fourth win in five games.

Griffin (3-2) serenaded his teammates in the visiting clubhouse with guitar and song in English, Spanish and French before preparing for his sixth start of the season.

''It's a good way to just to kind of clear your mind and just get ready to go out there and play a ballgame,'' Griffin said. ''The one thing I just don't want is for people to just think I don't care. Obviously I care. That's kind of how I do it.''

Most pitchers are stoic on the day of a start. Griffin never has been.

A's reliever Sean Doolittle, Griffin's roommate in Triple-A last year before they were called up, wasn't surprised by the impromptu concert. He's seen Griffin take his prestart fun a lot further - his minor league routine even included some sort of dancing.

''Without going into too much detail he's tightened it up considerably since his days in Midland and Sacramento,'' Doolittle said.

Coming off two losses in which he allowed 11 earned runs and 13 hits in 11 innings, Griffin was smooth on the mound, too.

The Yankees had two runners on base only once, in the third inning, and Griffin needed only nine pitches in the each of the fourth through sixth innings. He struck out four, walked one and was removed for Doolittle after Brett Gardner's bunt single to start the eighth.

''You expect him to have a good start all the time based on what we've seen since we called him up last year,'' Melvin said.

Grant Balfour got the final out for his fourth save this season and 22nd in a row since blowing one on April 29, 2012, securing Oakland's first nine-inning shutout of the year.

Rosales hit leadoff for the first time in his career because Coco Crisp is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He hit an 89 mph fastball from Sabathia (4-3) deep into the to left field stands.

''My goal was to get on base, Rosales said. ''I saw that first pitch and it jumped off my bat.''

The A's didn't threaten again until the fifth, when Nate Freiman, who had three hits, and Rosales singled. But Seth Smith hit a lazy fly to left field for the second out. Robinson Cano kept it a one-run game when he ranged far behind second base to field Jed Lowrie's bouncer and threw across his body to just nip Lowrie at first to end the inning. A's manager Bob Melvin briefly let his objection to the call be known to first base umpire Chris Conroy, filling in for Tim McClelland, who was delayed.

The Yankees lost for just the second time in eight games on a 10-game homestand. They mustered only six hits in Joe Girardi's 1,000th game as a big league manager.

With Joba Chamberlain having gone on the disabled list before the game with an oblique strain and David Robertson unavailable this series because of soreness in the area where the knee meets the hamstring, Girardi was counting on Sabathia to go deep in the game. He was at 93 pitches through five innings, though, and showed signs of fatigue in the sixth.

Yoenis Cespedes walked leading off and went to third base on a line drive by Josh Donaldson that right fielder Ichiro Suzuki appeared to lose in the lights. Suzuki stopped tracking the ball as it zipped by and hit off the wall. Donaldson was nailed trying to stretch at second base for the first out.

Sabathia took exception with what he thought was unfair treatment by plate umpire Jordan Baker in the third inning on a 2-2 pitch and Girardi had to make a mound visit to calm his ace.

''I think he thought he was being shown up. That wasn't the case,'' catcher Chris Stewart said. ''The pitch before was close, and then (Baker) heard CC talking to himself. I can see where the miscommunication can happen.''

Sabathia ''told him that he didn't like being yelled at,'' Stewart said.

Sabathia gave up eight hits and two runs in six innings. He walked two and struck out six.

''I thought I made good pitches but there were good at-bats by Oakland,'' Sabathia said. ''I had good stuff but they kept fouling off pitches. Getting my curveball and changeup for strikes helped.''

NOTES: Oakland INF Hiro Nakajima (strained left hamstring) was scheduled to play seven innings for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday night. ... Yankees CF Curtis Granderson (broken right forearm) worked out on the field at the team's complex in Tampa, Fla., but the extended spring training game was canceled by weather. ... The Yankees purchased the contract of RHP Preston Claiborne from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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