Soaring A’s off to their best start since 1990

OAKLAND COLISEUM — Without Yoenis Cespedes or Coco Crisp in the lineup, who would provide the spark for the Athletics?

That would be Brandon Moss, who hit a pair of home runs and had three RBI in support of Dan Straily as the A’s beat the Yankees 5-2.

Moss hit a two-run homer over the right field scoreboard in the second inning and a solo shot to center field in the eighth for the A’s tenth-straight win at the Coliseum.

John Jaso added an RBI double in the fifth and drove in Eric Sogard with a single in the eighth for insurance.

Straily pitched 6-2/3 innings giving up only three hits and two runs, walking one and striking out three to win his third straight decision.

Manager Bob Melvin is really impressed by the second-year starter:

A’s manager Bob Melvin

Video: CSN California

“He’s been on a roll. … And boy he’s really rewarding us and you’re seeing the guy that we saw last year coming up and the talent level. He’s pitching with a lot of confidence right now, he’s been terrific.”

The Athletics’40-27 record is their best start after 67 games since they were 43-24 in 1990.

In some respects, the A’s were lucky to win the game. They walked nine times, four of those by Seth Smith but only one of those walks scored.

Oakland was also 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and they left ten men on base. But the only stat that matters is the team with the lead after nine innings.

The A’s are 27-8 when Crisp and Cespedes are in the lineup. But after Wednesday night’s victory, they’re just 13-19 when the pair don’t play. Crisp sat out with a right heel bruise and Cespedes is day-to-day with left hamstring tightness.

Moss is well aware how important it is for other guys to pick up the slack:

A’s first baseman Brandon Moss

Audio: Ryan Leong/SFBay

“They’re two of our impact players. As far as this year, the most consistent guys who are the MVP’s are (Josh) Donaldson and Coco and then Cespy’s been swinging the bat really well lately. To have two of those three guys out, it’s definitely something where the rest of the lineup has got to pick up the slack and to be able to do that tonight felt really good.”

They may not have all the star power, but the New York Yankees are nine games over .500 for a reason.

Even without the big names in the lineup, they’re still getting it done — except for this series.

The pinstripers haven’t hit a home run in their last five games, something that concerns slugger Mark Teixeira:

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira

Audio: Ryan Leong/SFBay

“Yeah that’s too much, I mean we’re the Bronx Bombers. But give them credit this is not a home run hitting ballpark, neither is Seattle but we’re just not getting it done.”

This is the final year for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. On his farewell tour in each of the visiting ballparks, Rivera meets with season ticket holders or employees from an opposing team.

Wednesday afternoon, it was long time A’s employee Julie Vasconcellos. Rivera delivered her pizza, took some photos, and thanked her for over twenty years of service with the team.

Video: CSN California

https://twitter.com/Athletics/status/344966137815117824/

The A’s go for the series sweep Thursday afternoon. Jarrod Parker (5-6, 4.68) opposes the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.84). Parker is 3-0 in his last three starts with a 1.77 ERA. First pitch is 12:35 p.m.

Notes

Grant Balfour is 17-for-17 in save opportunities and he has converted each of his last 35 save chances. … The last five hits for Moss (5-for-40) are all home runs. … The five games without a home run is the longest homerless streak for the Yankees since 2000.