NEW YORK -- A hot and cold A's offense fell into the latter pattern Saturday, failing to muster anything against Yankees righty Phil Hughes in a 4-2 loss in New York.
After shutting out the Yankees less than 12 hours prior to their second meeting in the Bronx, the A's were given the same treatment by Hughes in the middle game of the weekend series, collecting just four hits while striking out nine times in eight innings against the righty in the matinee.
Oakland is averaging 7.9 runs in its 17 wins, next to just 2.2 in 14 losses.
"We've faced some pretty good starters that have shut us down," manager Bob Melvin said. "Certainly Hughes was really good."
The lack of offense didn't leave much room for error for Bartolo Colon, who was responsible for three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks in 5 1/3 innings, marking just the first time in six starts he hasn't completed at least six frames.
Colon offered up two home runs in the process -- the first to Chris Stewart in the third, and the second a solo shot off the bat of Lyle Overbay in the fifth -- after having given up two total in his first five outings. But he was otherwise reliable, his only other run allowed coming on Travis Hafner's RBI bloop hit with one out in the sixth, which would end his day.
The Yankees added a run in the seventh off right-hander Chris Resop, who has allowed seven runs in his last eight appearances, after maintaining a zero ERA over his first seven outings.
"I think I only made one mistake," Colon said through translator and A's coach Ariel Prieto. "The pitch [to Stewart] was supposed to be outside and it was inside. Everything else was good."
"He didn't pitch bad," said Melvin. "He gave up two home runs and a bloop hit. Most days that will keep you in the game and give you a chance to win."
But for as many strikes as Colon was throwing, Hughes was matching him.
"He threw strike one," said Josh Donaldson, hitless in four at-bats. "He was ahead of everybody and works really fast. It's tough to get settled in on him, just because he was going so fast the entire time. He located his heater all day, pretty much, and the couple times he missed over the plate, we didn't make him pay for it."
Said Hughes: "When I'm getting ahead of guys, it makes it a lot easier to do what I want to do during the course of the at-bat. I was aggressive with my fastball, I was able to get ahead and, for the most part, did what I wanted to do."
The A's, who had won four of their last five games, did not, and they again saw a hitless performance from Josh Reddick, though he did walk once and beat out a potential double-play ball at first base.
Oakland's right fielder, still looking for his first hit at Yankee Stadium after 33 at-bats without one, is carrying around a .138 average after Saturday's game. Of all Major League players with at least 75 at-bats, only Minnesota's Aaron Hicks has a lower mark (.123).
"You have to find the positives," Melvin said. "He hasn't lost his fight. He hustles down the line. He's still playing hard, just searching for anything he can to be positive. Hopefully a couple good games will get him rolling."
Reddick's RBI groundout led to one of two runs scored by the A's in the ninth, when Yoenis Cespedes led off with a single against Shawn Kelley. The Yankees then called on Mariano Rivera, who allowed Kelley's run to score on Seth Smith's RBI knock, before inducing the groundout from Reddick and a flyout off the bat of Adam Rosales.
By day's end, it was too little, too late.
"That's the name of the game, getting hot all together," said catcher John Jaso. "Get a walk or two in there and a hit. We didn't really do that much."