During the first four games of the Yankees’ current homestand, Manager Joe Girardi often referred to the dearth of power hitters in his lineup as the team scored only eight runs and lost three times.
At 34, even with a balky right wrist, Mark Teixeira remains one of the few imposing players who can alter the Yankees’ offensive makeup. Despite having missed 18 games this season, Teixeira leads the team in homers and runs batted in.
On Tuesday, Teixeira returned to the lineup after missing the last two games, and he drove in two runs. But the rest of the lineup could not bunch together the hits Girardi has been searching for, and the Yankees lost to theOakland Athletics, 5-2, in 10 innings.
The loss was the Yankees’ third straight and their fifth in their last seven games.
“You just gotta keep running them out there, and they gotta get the job done,” Girardi said after his team registered only one extra-base hit, a solo home run by Teixeira in the sixth inning.
After Friday’s 6-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins, Girardi suggested his team would need to “hit doubles and steal some bases” to score runs. Three days later, after an embarrassing 10-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners, Girardi reiterated his point, saying, “We’re not a club right now that’s hitting the ball out of the ballpark, so you have to put a lot of base hits together.”
Brandon Moss led the A’s on Tuesday with two home runs, including a tiebreaking shot in the 10th inning off Adam Warren. Jed Lowrie and Kyle Blanks added run-scoring hits off Warren, leaving him with a most undesirable pitching line: three runs in a third of an inning.
While Teixeira looked comfortable at the plate, other sluggers were lackluster. Alfonso Soriano was 0 for 3, striking out each time at bat.
Soriano, whose batting average dropped to .226, said he needed to do work in the batting cage to get his timing and confidence back.
“It’s very tough,” he said, adding that he had experienced “nothing like this” current slump.
Teixeira’s return, at least, was a welcome sight for the Yankees. In his first at-bat, he singled to drive in Brett Gardner with the game’s first run. In the sixth inning, Teixieira broke a 1-1 tie with a solo home run, his 10th homer of the season, off A’s starter Scott Kazmir.
But the Yankees could not take advantage. They were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and they left eight runners on base.
The Yankees’ offensive futility squandered Hiroki Kuroda’s best outing at home this season. Kuroda limited the Athletics to a run and two hits in six and two-thirds innings.
Before Tuesday’s start, Kuroda had not lost a game in more than a month, but his five starts since were less than impressive.