Mazzaro done in by Yanks' homers
Yanks' early damage against NJ native puts A's below .500
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira may not realize it, but the Yankees slugger-turned-A's nightmare is doing his best to help out his former Rangers team.
The power-hitting first baseman, who began his career with Texas, continued his season-long dominance over the A's on Tuesday with a two-hit night that included a three-run homer. His efforts, combined with a poor outing from Vin Mazzaro, led to a 9-3 A's loss to New York that stalled Oakland at 8 1/2 games behind Texas -- which lost to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday -- in the American League West.
Teixeira has gone a combined 5-for-6 with two homers and four RBIs in the first two games of this four-game set, and he's now 9-for-29 with five home runs and nine RBIs when facing the A's this year.
"He's had a great series so far," A's manager Bob Geren said of Teixeira. "We're just going to have to try to slow him down somehow. We'll turn him around to the right-handed side the next few days, since we're throwing two lefties out there, and see how things go."
"The last two games have been good," Teixeira said. "I've been getting some pitches to hit, and I give Robinson Cano a lot of credit for that. Guys don't want to walk me or anyone in our lineup. Our lineup has been clicking on all cylinders."
The A's know all about it. Teixeira's three-run blast in the fourth inning, followed by a walk to Cano, put an end to Mazzaro's short but seemingly long night. The A's righty, looking to help his club bounce back from Monday's 11-5 pounding absorbed by Trevor Cahill, surrendered a season-high-tying seven earned runs -- nine total -- in just 3 2/3 innings.
And, just like Cahill, Mazzaro gave up three of those nine runs in the first frame -- only one of which was deemed earned, though. Brett Gardner led off with a single, and after Mazzaro walked Derek Jeter and hit Teixeira with a pitch, he allowed a run on a double-play grounder hit by Cano. Then, what appeared to be out No. 3 turned into a fielding error by second baseman Mark Ellis that allowed Jeter to score. A Jorge Posada triple brought home Nick Swisher and capped off the eventful first.
"I thought I made good pitches in that first inning, but when you get a guy 1-2, you can't hit him," Mazzaro said of plunking Teixeira. "You can't give up an easy baserunner like that."
The A's hurler garnered a 1-2-3 second inning, but the long ball proved troublesome the rest of the way, beginning in the third, when Swisher belted a two-run homer to the second deck in right field. A solo shot by Curtis Granderson in the fourth preceded a Ramiro Pena single and a walk to Gardner, and both made their way around the bases thanks to Teixeira's three-run shot, his 30th of the year.
"He's a good hitter," Mazzaro said of Teixeira. "His whole approach is good. I tried to go in on him, and I left it up and he got to it. He put a good swing on it.
"I battled. I fell behind a lot, and when you fall behind on those guys, they'll punish you. I tried too hard at times and left the ball over the zone."
"There's nothing really to say," A's catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "They pretty much did what they always do. When they get good pitches, they hit them far. They keep battling you and fouling you off until they get that pitch. I thought [Mazzaro] did a good job. He didn't have the command he would have liked, but you've got to give that lineup some credit."
Meanwhile, the A's offense did little to combat New York's unstoppable run-scoring ways. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Suzuki against starter Phil Hughes put the A's on the board in the third inning, and an RBI groundout from Rajai Davis in the fourth rewarded a leadoff single by Kevin Kouzmanoff, who scored on the play.
Hughes went five innings for New York, giving up two runs on four hits while walking five and striking out one. His work was enough to land him his 16th victory of the season, while New Jersey native Mazzaro fell to 6-7 in front of a handful of family members and friends.
"It would have been nice to come out on top and have a good performance," said Mazzaro, who has allowed 14 earned runs in 13 career innings against the Yankees. "Just a tough outing."
Mazzaro's departure was met with the entrance of Boof Bonser, who provided the A's 4 1/3 shutout innings of relief, marking something of a bright spot for an Oakland team that lost its fourth game in the past six contests and closed out August with a 13-15 record. For Mazzaro, the month resulted in four losses, and he's now winless over his past seven starts.
Oakland's final run came in the seventh inning against former A's righty Chad Gaudin, who surrendered a solo shot to Daric Barton, his eighth of the year and third in his past five games. But the three runs did little against the impact of New York's three home runs off Mazzaro, a career high for the right-hander. The Yankees have 168 homers on the season, good for third in the Majors.
Fourteen of those homers have come against the A's, who fell below .500 on Tuesday at 65-66 and have now been outscored by the Yankees, 47-20, this season while compiling a 1-7 record against New York, with two games remaining. Oakland starters have a 3.47 ERA on the season, which ranks second best in the Majors, but it jumps to 7.41 against New York this year.
"The Yankees are a good-hitting team, but we just faced some good-hitting teams in Texas and Minnesota and pitched well against them," Geren said. "You just have to shake it off. Brett [Anderson] will be ready for his start tomorrow, and we'll turn the page."