OAKLAND, Calif. — Brian McCann made a few subtle changes to his swing, and the results have been tremendous for New York’s veteran catcher.
If only the rest of the Yankees lineup could follow his lead.
McCann homered for the fourth consecutive game but New York couldn’t muster much else off Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray and two relievers, losing 6-2 to the Athletics on Friday night.
“I’ve been making small adjustments here and there,” said McCann, who is batting .391 (9-for-23) over his past seven games. “Honestly, I feel like I’ve been swinging the bat well all year. Now I’m kind of getting more lift in my swing and the ball’s leaving the ballpark.”
The rest of New York’s lineup was held in check most of the night. The Yankees managed just six hits and had just three runners get past first base.
Gray pitched eight innings for his sixth win of the season, Stephen Vogt drove in two runs and the A’s made several stellar defensive plays on the way to their fifth win in seven games.
Gray (6-2) retired 11 straight after walking Brett Gardner to lead off the game. McCann ended the streak with a leadoff home run in the fifth — his eighth of the season — and the Yankees scored again the sixth but managed little else.
“He’s got four pitches and sits at 95 mph, sinks it and four-seams it,” McCann said of Gray. “He’s got everything you want. He’s a No. 1 (and) showed it tonight.”
It was a sharp bounce back for Gray, who struck out five, walked two and allowed four hits and two runs.
New York starter Chris Capuano wasn’t as fortunate. Capuano (0-3) gave up four runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings en route to losing his third straight start for the first time since 2012.
“I’m still missing too many spots,” Capuano said. “I’m working really hard between starts trying to get my arm to bounce back and feel good.”
Alex Rodriguez singled in the ninth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games for the Yankees. New York has lost two straight after sweeping Kansas City on the road.
Brett Lawrie hit a two-run home run for Oakland.
The A’s went into the game leading the majors with 51 errors but made several stellar plays, including a diving stop and throw by third baseman Lawrie to rob Chris Young of a hit in the eighth.
McCann led off the fifth with his eighth homer of the season to trim Oakland’s lead to 4-1. He joins Mike Stanley (1993) as the only players in franchise history to hit a home run in four consecutive games.
Gardner’s RBI grounder in the sixth made it 4-2. Lawrie homered off Esmil Rogers in the eighth.