Yankees slug three homers to overwhelm A's

Yankees slug three homers to overwhelm A's

Yankees slug three homers to overwhelm A's
OAKLAND -- The Yankees have no problem with thinking of themselves as a team that leans on the home run. When their lineup is able to get their power game on track, the results usually wind up being favorable.

It worked that way on Friday, as Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher homered to help the Yankees open a long road trip in style, outslugging the Athletics 6-3 on Friday at O.co Coliseum for their third straight victory.

"Home runs are great," said Teixeira, who hit one of the Bombers' three blasts off Oakland starter Tyson Ross. "You're going to go through stretches where you're not going to get hits with runners in scoring position.

"You're going to hit balls at people. That's the name of the game sometimes. But home runs don't get caught and we're a team that's used to hitting a lot of them. We'd like to hit a little bit more."

Beginning a nine-game trek that also takes them to Anaheim and Detroit, the Yankees boosted starter Ivan Nova by shrugging off the offensive woes that plagued their last homestand, when hits with runners in scoring position proved difficult to come by.

"It's nice. It feels like we're all getting locked in," Swisher said. "But it starts with that good pitching. Nova did such a tremendous job, and we jumped out to that lead early."

Nova pitched a solid seven innings of three-run ball to post a victory for the first time in three starts, logging just his second win in his last six efforts.

"He's won a lot of games for us the last two years, and we want to get him on a roll," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We think it's important for him to get on a roll the way he was last year. It was a good start for him tonight."

Nova served up a pair of home runs, solo blasts to Josh Reddick and Kila Ka'aihue, but remained unbeaten in his last 12 starts away from Yankee Stadium, faring 9-0 with a 3.35 ERA over that span.

"I'm still [giving up] home runs, still making mistakes," Nova said. "But you know, I have to forget about that today. We won, and I've got to enjoy the win and keep working hard and try to do better next time."

New York got to Ross, making his first career start against the Yankees, for three unearned runs in the third inning. Cano laced a liner to center field that Coco Crisp misplayed for an error, with the ball ticking off his glove as Curtis Granderson scored.

Teixeira made the A's pay for the miscue one batter later, as the slugger unloaded on a 2-1 pitch for a two-run homer. The blast was the sixth of the year for Teixeira, who has vowed to go back to his old swing and forget about hitting for average following a sluggish start.

"We've talked about that, just swinging hard and not worrying about trying to guide the ball anywhere," Teixeira said. "I'm letting it go, got a good one up in the zone tonight and that home run was big for us and big for me."

Ross escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth by inducing an Alex Rodriguez double play, but he wasn't long for the game, permitting 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"They're a good-hitting team, and they showed that tonight," Ross said. "I felt like I was throwing the ball well early, and then I left some pitches up, and they made me pay for it."

Cano blasted a solo shot, his sixth, to open the fifth and Swisher knocked Ross out with a two-run shot on a full-count offering, his eighth homer.

"That felt great," Swisher said. "I just had a different approach today, just trying to drive the ball a little more. Like my grandma always said, 'Just hit the damn ball.' I said, all right, that's what I'm going to try to do."

The Athletics, the American League's lowest-scoring offense at 3.70 runs per game entering play on Friday, threatened against Nova in the fifth.

Nova, who battled a tight right hamstring in his preparation for the start, was able to escape with just one run scoring, opening the frame permitting a Josh Donaldson single and Daric Barton's double.

Kurt Suzuki teed off on a long sacrifice fly to center field that Granderson ran down, but Nova got the next two outs to hold the damage there.

"I have to try to do better every time I go out there," Nova said. "I liked the way I threw the ball today. I was more down [in the zone], especially early in the game."

The Yankees have won their last seven games in Oakland dating back to July 2010, their longest streak since the building opened in 1968. But more importantly for the Yankees, they could be primed for a big week ahead.

"That's what you want, you want them to get on a roll and feel good about themselves," Girardi said. "It can lead to big things."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.