NEW YORK — A.J. Griffin showed his Oakland teammates before facing the Yankees that he's quite an entertaining guitarist. Then he went out and reminded everyone he's a pretty good pitcher, too.
Griffin pitched six-hit ball into the eighth inning Friday night and Adam Rosales homered on CC Sabathia's first pitch, leading the Athletics to a 2-0 victory over New York.
"He's pretty much a free spirit," manager Bob Melvin of Griffin.
Derek Norris hit an RBI single in the sixth inning to help Oakland open its 10-game road trip with its fourth win in five games.
Griffin (3-2) serenaded his teammates in the visiting clubhouse with guitar and song in English, Spanish and French before preparing for his sixth start of the season.
"It's a good way to just to kind of clear your mind and just get ready to go out there and play a ballgame," Griffin said. "The one thing I just don't want is for people to just think I don't care. Obviously I care. That's kind of how I do it."
Most pitchers are stoic on the day of a start. Griffin never has been.
A's reliever Sean Doolittle, Griffin's roommate in Triple-A last year before they were called up, wasn't surprised by the impromptu concert. He's seen Griffin take his prestart fun a lot further — his minor league routine even included some sort of dancing.
"Without going into too much detail he's tightened it up considerably since his days in Midland and Sacramento," Doolittle said.
Coming off two losses in which he allowed 11 earned runs and 13 hits in 11 innings, Griffin was smooth on the mound, too.
The Yankees had two runners on base only once, in the third inning, and Griffin needed only nine pitches in the each of the fourth through sixth innings. He struck out four, walked one and was removed for Doolittle after Brett Gardner's bunt single to start the eighth.
"You expect him to have a good start all the time based on what we've seen since we called him up last year," Melvin said.
Grant Balfour got the final out for his fourth save this season and 22nd in a row since blowing one on April 29, 2012, securing Oakland's first nine-inning shutout of the year.
Rosales hit leadoff for the first time in his career because Coco Crisp is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He hit an 89 mph fastball from Sabathia (4-3) deep into the to left field stands.
"My goal was to get on base, Rosales said. "I saw that first pitch and it jumped off my bat."
The A's didn't threaten again until the fifth, when Nate Freiman, who had three hits, and Rosales singled. But Seth Smith hit a lazy fly to left field for the second out. Robinson Cano kept it a one-run game when he ranged far behind second base to field Jed Lowrie's bouncer and threw across his body to just nip Lowrie at first to end the inning. A's manager Bob Melvin briefly let his objection to the call be known to first base umpire Chris Conroy, filling in for Tim McClelland, who was delayed.