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Yankees-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Yankees ended a frustrating run with a major offensive outburst by their standards.

Now they have to go to a building where they've been punchless during a seven-game skid.

The visiting Yankees get their first look at Oakland Athletics starter Sonny Gray on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.

New York (34-31) had gone 12 straight games without scoring more than four runs before Thursday's 6-3 victory capped a three-game sweep in Seattle. Red-hot Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer and Derek Jeter went 3 for 4 with two RBIs.

Ellsbury extended the longest hitting streak in the majors to 16 games, the longest for New York since Jeter's 19-game run two years ago. The center fielder, hitting .381 during his tear, exited the contest with right hip tightness but said he expected to be in the lineup Friday.

Jeter had seven hits in the series as he moves on to Oakland, where his .340 regular-season average is his second-highest at any current AL park.

''It feels good to come out here and win three games," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's not an easy place to win.''

It's not easy for his club in Oakland, where New York has totaled 18 runs during a seven-game slide - its longest there since dropping 10 straight Sept. 9, 1989-May 1, 1991.

New York could be in for a difficult night against Gray (6-2, 2.83 ERA), who is limiting opponents to a .222 average. He gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings in a 6-3 loss to Baltimore on Saturday to drop to 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his last three starts after going 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his first 10.

Still, the right-hander has been a big reason why Oakland (40-26) owns the majors' best ERA at 2.83.

"I just think it's the approach we've been able to take into every game," Gray told the Athletics' official website. "We keep it fairly simple. Like Curt (pitching coach Curt Young) said last year, 'Don't let a moment get too big.'"

New York starter David Phelps (1-4, 4.88) has lost his last four starts and has an 8.15 ERA in the last three. The Yankees have dropped all five of Phelps' road starts, with the right-hander going 0-3 with a 5.28 ERA. He surrendered seven runs over 5 2-3 innings last Saturday in an 8-4 loss at Kansas City.

Phelps has thrown five scoreless innings in three relief appearances against the A's but has never started against then. The Oakland hitter he has faced the most is Alberto Callaspo, who is 1 for 5 but away from the team on paternity leave.

Oakland starts a 10-game homestand after completing a 5-4 trip Wednesday with a 7-1 rout of the Los Angeles Angels, who could have pulled within 1 1/2 games of the AL West leaders had they completed a three-game sweep.

"It's always nice when you play over .500 on the road," manager Bob Melvin said. "That's why this was a big swing game for us too. And in the division to be 3 1/2 instead of 1 1/2 is big too. Now it's early in the season but some games are a little bit more important than others and this game certainly was."

Oakland took two of three in New York last week as Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss each homered twice.

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