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Yankees can’t best Sonny Gray, Athletics in 6-2 loss

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The Yankees can’t best Sonny Gray, who holds them to two runs.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Yankees can’t best Sonny Gray, who holds them to two runs.


OAKLAND — Call it a case of role reversal. One team looks like a first-place squad, the other like a last-place club.

The basement-dwelling Athletics defeated the first-place Yankees for the second straight night as Sonny Gray pitched the home team to a 6-2 win on Friday in front of 23,540 at the Coliseum.

Gray (6-2) held the Yankees to two runs on four hits over eight innings, making Oakland’s four-run third inning stand up. Gray walked two and struck out five.

Chris Capuano (0-3) allowed all four of those runs, one of which was unearned due to Chase Headley’s 11th error of the season — the most of any third baseman in the majors.

Brian McCann homered for the fourth straight game, but his fifth-inning shot was the Yankees’ lone offensive highlight. Brett Gardner drove in the other run on a groundout in the sixth.

Brett Lawrie provided some insurance for Oakland in the eighth with a two-run homer to left off rookie Jacob Lindgren.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild talks to Chris Capuano after he gave up a two-run double to Billy Butler in the third inning.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild talks to Chris Capuano after he gave up a two-run double to Billy Butler in the third inning.

The Yankees — losers of 11 of their last 12 at the Coliseum — will try to avoid losing their third straight game as the series continues Saturday night. Nathan Eovaldi starts for the Yankees against righthander Jesse Hahn.

Gray, one of the league’s best pitchers this season, went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in April and had gone 2-2 with a 1.52 ERA through his first five starts in May while allowing one earned run or fewer in seven of his first 10 starts entering Friday.

“The kid’s got great stuff,” Joe Girardi said. “He didn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

Capuano stranded the bases loaded in the second inning to keep the game scoreless, but it didn’t remain that way for very long.

Oakland broke out against the lefty in the third inning, starting the rally with a double to left by Billy Burns and a Marcus Semien single to left, which put runners on the corners with nobody out.

Ben Zobrist hit a grounder to third base that appeared to hit the lip of the grass, zipping through Headley’s legs to score the game’s first run.

“It changes a lot of things,” Girardi said of Headley’s error. “The extra out hurt us. It opened up an opportunity for them.”

Billy Butler followed with an RBI double to left field, then Stephen Vogt doubled to right, bringing two more runs home for a 4-0 Athletics lead.

That lead felt a lot bigger thanks to Gray, who dominated the Yankees through the early innings. Gray walked Gardner to open the game, later erasing him on Alex Rodriguez’s inning-ending double play. Gray would go on to retire 11 in a row, facing the minimum 12 hitters through the first four frames.

McCann ended Gray’s no-hitter and shutout with one swing in the fifth, drilling a leadoff home run to center on an 0-2 slider. It was McCann’s second road homer of the season, both coming here in the past two nights.

The home run also marked the fourth straight game in which McCann has gone deep, making him only the second Yankees catcher since 1957 to accomplish that feat. The other? Mike Stanley in 1993.

Gray was unfazed by the home run, retiring the next three Yankees.

Capuano settled down after his horrific fourth, breezing through the next two innings.

The Yankees trimmed the lead to two runs in the sixth, using a Didi Gregorius double and a Gray wild pitch to set up Gardner’s RBI groundout.

Capuano got the first out in the sixth to make it 10 out of 11 batters, but Girardi pulled him after 89 pitches, bringing in Esmil Rogers. Capuano was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks, striking out four.

Rogers held Oakland in check with 1.2 scoreless innings, giving the Yankees a chance for a late comeback.

They actually mounted what could be considered a rally in the eighth, putting the tying runs on base as Gregorius drew a two-out walk and Gardner singled to right.

But Gray got Headley to ground out to first base on his 101st pitch.

After Lawrie’s homer in the bottom of the eighth made it a four-run game, the Yankees put runners on the corners in the ninth against Fernando Rodriguez, but Tyler Clippard came out of the bullpen with two out and got Stephen Drew to pop out to end it.

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Baseball – NY Daily News