- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - It seems like nothing has been going right for the Yankees lately.

Early in Thursday night’s game, it looked like their fortunes might be changing. In the end it was just more of the same, as New York lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Khris Davis and Coco Crisp homered on consecutive pitches, backing Rich Hill’s six strong innings, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Yankees 7-3 to complete a three-game sweep.

“I really believe there’s a lot of talent in that room and we’ll turn it around,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re just going through a hard time right now and you got to fight through it.”

Aaron Hicks snapped an 0-for-17 stretch with a bloop single to center that drove in Mark Teixeira and gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the second. It was Hicks’ first hit from the right side of the plate this year.

Oakland opened the top of the fourth with three straight hits, including Jed Lowrie’s single that drove in Josh Reddick to tie the score. Yankees starter Luis Severino escaped further damage, thanks to an acrobatic catch against the wall in foul territory by a leaping Hicks followed by two strikeouts.

“Think it was going to be a little farther into the crowd,” Hicks said. “It ended up coming back into play a little more than I expected.”

New York regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on an unearned run. Following a one-out walk, Alex Rodriguez broke for second and advanced to third after an errant pickoff attempt by Hill sailed past first. Two batters later, Austin Romine singled on a soft dribbler up the third base line, driving in Rodriguez.

“In a time like this you gotta force the issue a little bit,” Rodriguez said. “Take the extra base, take the walk, hit behind runners. Whatever it takes.”

Mark Canha, who drove in the winning run in the 11th inning on Tuesday, tied the score at 2-2 with a two-out home run in the fifth.

However, Davis greeted reliever Chasen Shreve (1-1) to start the seventh by sending his first pitch deep over the center-field wall. Crisp then lined the first pitch he saw into the second deck in left for the A’s first back-to-back home runs of the season.

The 36-year-old Hill (2-2) used a big, sweeping curve to limit the Yankees to just two runs and three hits while striking out 10.

“I was able to keep the ball angled down and just mix speeds,” Hill said. “That’s a great lineup so you have to continue to stay aggressive on them and pursue the strike zone.”

Liam Hendriks allowed two runners in the bottom of the ninth, but closer Ryan Madson retired Starlin Castro and Carlos Beltran for his sixth save.

Oakland won its fifth straight and remained the only team in baseball with a perfect road record. It was the first time the A’s swept a series in the Bronx since 2006 and only the second time over the last 21 seasons.

“Hopefully it’s one of those things where we can look back in a few months and it’s one of those times where it makes us come together and be stronger,” the Yankees’ Brett Gardner said.

Pinch-hitter Gardner led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk against A’s reliever Fernando Rodriguez and later scored on Castro’s RBI single. John Axford then retired Beltran, stranding runners on first and third.

Chris Coghlan had a two-run homer to right-center off rookie reliever Johnny Barbato to make it 6-3 in the eighth.

Hicks threw out Lowrie at second base trying to stretch a single in the top of the sixth, much to the delight of Severino. The 22-year-old righty shouted, smacked his hand into his glove and pointed emphatically in the left fielder’s direction.

After struggling in his first two outings, Severino pitched six strong innings, giving up two runs and seven hits.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: 3B Danny Valencia, who left Wednesday’s game early after straining his left hamstring while trying to score, was placed on the disabled list after the game. The A’s will announce a corresponding move Friday. … RHP Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder surgery) is scheduled to throw three innings, or roughly 45 pitches, for Triple-A Nashville on Monday.

Yankees: SS Didi Gregorius, whose blunder on the bases cost the Yankees at least one run on Wednesday, was out of the starting lineup. This was due to Oakland’s lefty starter and not his mistakes the night before, Girardi said before the game. Gregorius entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and remained in the game at shortstop.

GONE TOO SOON

An on-field ceremony was held prior to the game honoring The Michael Nolan Scholarship Fund. Nolan, a native of nearby Yonkers, was an 18th round draft pick of the Athletics in 2014. The 23-year-old left-hander died in October from injuries suffered during a drive-by shooting that took place a month earlier in his hometown. Melvin presented Nolan’s family with Michael’s Athletics jersey while Girardi gave them an autographed baseball and jersey.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (2-1, 2.33 ERA) opens the weekend series at Toronto against RHP Aaron Sanchez (1-0, 1.35 ERA).

Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (1-1, 5.06 ERA) starts against LHP Matt Moore (1-0, 2.95 ERA) in the series opener against the visiting Rays.


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