Saturday, June 14, 2014
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Phelps helps Yankees win fourth straight

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[June 14, 2014]  OAKLAND, Calif. -- Right-hander David Phelps got back on track, and the New York Yankees kept rolling Friday night at the Coliseum.

Phelps allowed two hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings, snapping his career-high four-game losing streak and leading the Yankees to their fourth straight victory, a 7-0 win over the Oakland A's in the opener of a three-game series.

"I was attacking guys," Phelps said. "The last couple starts I was trying to be a little too fine, trying to be perfect with my pitches because I was digging myself into a hole and knowing I had to keep it there. But tonight they did a great job scoring early for me, let me kind of settle in knowing I could be a little more aggressive in the zone."

Shortstop Derek Jeter, left fielder Brett Gardner, second baseman Brian Roberts and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki each had two of the Yankees' 12 hits. The Yankees scored twice in the first inning and once more in the second off A's right-hander Sonny Gray.

Phelps (2-4) gave up a broken-bat single to catcher Derek Norris in the fifth inning and a two-out double in the seventh to shortstop Jed Lowrie, the final batter he faced. He struck out four, walked three and threw just 102 pitches.

"I think it's important for him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Phelps ending his skid. "I think he's been pretty frustrated with the last couple.

"I just thought he had better command tonight. That's important for him."

Right-hander Dellin Betances took over for Phelps and retired Norris on a pop fly to end the seventh inning, stranding Lowrie at second. Betances blanked the A's for 1 1/3 innings, and Jose Ramirez pitched a scoreless ninth to cap the shutout.

Gray (6-3) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings, throwing 103 pitches. He struck out seven, walked one and took his second straight loss. After going 5-1 in his first nine starts, Gray is 1-2 in his past five.

"He has great stuff," Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury said of Gray. "Anytime you go against a pitcher of his caliber, it's important to get on him early. I think that was the key for tonight."

The Yankees tacked on four runs in the seventh against left-hander Jeff Francis, using five singles and an error to take complete control.

Phelps had allowed 20 runs and 30 hits during his four-game slide. He was coming off his worst start of the season, allowing seven runs and 10 hits in an 8-4 loss to Kansas City.

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"I thought he did a good job," A's right fielder Brandon Moss said of Phelps. "He threw a lot of good pitches and he didn't really get himself into any trouble. For as well as he pitched he threw a lot of balls, and we couldn't take advantage of that. Anytime we would get the pitch count we would seem to have two strikes. And then we'd get a guy on and couldn't get anything going. I thought he pitched a good game."

The Yankees scored two runs in the first inning off Gray, taking a quick 2-0 lead. Gardner led off with a single, moved to second on Jeter's sharp single to left and scored when Ellsbury grounded a single to left. First baseman Mark Teixeira brought Jeter home with a sacrifice fly to center field.

The Yankees added a run in the second. Roberts grounded an infield single up the middle with one out, moved to second on a walk to third baseman Kelly Johnson and scored on Gardner's single to center.

The A's put two runners on in the fifth but came away empty. Lowrie walked with one out and move to second on Norris' broken-bat liner to left, the A's first hit off Phelps. But Phelps retired second baseman Andy Parrino on a fly ball to center field and then got first baseman Kyle Blanks to hit a fielder's choice grounder.

NOTES: Oakland INF Alberto Callaspo was placed on paternity leave Friday and will miss Oakland's three-game series against the Yankees. The switch-hitting Callaspo is batting .218 with 20 RBIs and three home runs in 59 games. To take Callaspo's spot on the roster, the A's recalled INF Andy Parrino from Triple-A Sacramento. Parrino, a switch hitter, was batting .344 with three home runs and 24 RBIs in 44 games with the River Cats. ... New York signed RHP Heath Bell to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 590 career relief appearances with the Mets, Padres, Marlins, Diamondbacks and Rays, Bell is 38-32 with a 3.49 ERA.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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