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A’s open home series with Yankees

( – The Oakland Athletics try to continue their recent home mastery of the New York Yankees on Friday when the two clubs open a three-game series at Coliseum.

Oakland has won 12 of 16 overall from the Yankees, including a series win last week in the Bronx, but its dominance has been even more pronounced at home, where the Athletics have taken the last seven meetings.

In fact New York hasn’t won at the Coliseum since sweeping a three-game set from May 25-27, 2012.

“(The A’s) do things the right way,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “They pitch extremely well, their defense is good. From an offensive standpoint, they hit the ball out of the ballpark. They run the bases. They make you work as a pitcher. They do a lot of things right.”

Getting another win may be tough to come by for the Yankees on Friday as they go up against righty Sonny Gray, who is 6-2 on the year with a 2.83 ERA. Gray lost for the first time in eight starts on Saturday in Baltimore, as he was hit for five runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He also walked four batters and struck out seven in the 6-3 loss.

“I felt really good early in the game,” Gray said. “And four or five hitters there, the game just kind of blew up on me. I started throwing balls, and I don’t know why. I got behind a lot of hitters that inning. I basically just wasn’t throwing enough quality strikes.”

Gray will now be tasked with slowing down a suddenly hot Yankees lineup, specifically center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who is riding a 16-game hitting streak.

Ellsbury hit a two-run homer and made a great catch in center field to help New York beat the Seattle Mariners, 6-3, on Thursday and complete a three-game sweep.

However, he left in the seventh inning with right hip tightness and is expected to play tonight.

Derek Jeter went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored for the Yankees, who have won five of seven.

“Fans have always been good to me here,” said Jeter, who made his final career appearance at Safeco Field. “Even when they get on you a little bit, they still respect you. They were awesome.”

New York starter Chase Whitley (2-0) allowed two runs on five hits while striking out six over 7 2/3 innings.

Getting the call for the Yankees on Friday will be righty David Phelps, who is 1-4 with a 4.88 ERA. Phelps lost his fourth straight start on Saturday in Kansas City, as he was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

This will be his first start against the A’s, but he has faced them three times out of the bullpen without allowing a run.

Oakland will be starting a 10-game homestand on Friday after going 5-4 on its most recent road trip. The Athletics salvaged the finale of the trek with a 7-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday to move 3 1/2 games in front of the Halos in the AL West.

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