YANKEES 5, ATHLETICS 4
Sometimes an insurance run in the late innings is just a meaningless addition to the score. Other times it ends up being the difference between winning and losing.
Stephen Drew’s two-out solo home run in the eighth inning on Wednesday off left-hander Fernando Abad proved to be in the latter category.
Mark Teixeira hit a pair of solo home runs and CC Sabathia pitched into the sixth inning but Drew’s home run proved to be the difference as New York edged Oakland in front of a paid crowd of 41,626 at Yankee Stadium.
Though the Yankees trailed 2-1 heading into the fourth inning, they got a break when left-hander Scott Kazmir was forced to leave the game with tightness in left triceps.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin sent in right-hander Evan Scribner and Teixeira greeted him by blasting a 1-2 high and outside fastball deep into the bleachers in right-center for his 21st home run of the season to tie the game at 2-2.
The Yankees were able to take the lead for good in the same inning when Chris Young drew a walk and John Ryan Murphy singled to left-center. After Young stole third and Murphy was able to advance to second on a wild pitch, Jose Pirela launched a one-out sacrifice fly to right to score Young.
The Yankees added to their lead in the sixth inning when Teixeira led off with almost a carbon-copy drive into right-center on a 2-2 high outside fastball from Scribner for his 22nd home run of the season. It also was his second two-homer game of the season.
Drew, who entered the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement at second base for Pirela, then added his 12th home run of the season in the eighth to give the Yankees a nice 5-2 cushion heading into the ninth.
But closer Andrew Miller, who was just activated from the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day after not pitching since June 9, show some rustiness in the ninth inning.
Mark Canha stroked a one-out single and Marcus Semien followed with a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers to bring the A’s to within a run.
After Stephen Vogt reached second on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Gregorio Petit, Miller retired Ben Zobrist on a groundout to Petit in which Teixeira had to make a long stretch that barely nipped Zobrist.
Sabathia (4-8) did have a rough second inning in which he was touched for five hits. Josh Phegley and Canha hit back-to-back one-out RBI singles to score Oakland’s only two runs until the ninth inning.
Sabathia was charged with two runs on seven hits and two walks with one strikeout in 5 1/3 innings for his first victory since June 7 against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium.
The bullpen trio of right-hander Bryan Mitchell, Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances held the Athletics hitless and scoreless for 2 2/3 innings before turning the game over to Miller in the ninth.
Despite Miller’s struggles in his first game back, he still was credited with his 18th save in 18 opportunities this season.
Scribner (2-2) took the loss after yielding three runs on four hits and one walk with three strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings. He leads all relievers in homers allowed this season with 11.
With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 45-38 and they remain two games ahead of the second-place Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. The Athletics dropped to 39-48.
- Teixeira’s potential American League Comeback Player of the Year run continues. His 22 home runs matches his total from all of last season and he still leads the league in RBIs with 61. In addition, Teixeira made several sparkling plays in the field. His selection to the American League All-Star team was well deserved. His is one of the main reasons the Yankees are in first place in the division.
- Give Drew some credit for a nine-pitch at-bat against Abad with two-out in the eighth. His 12th home run of the season proved to be the decisive run in the game. Drew may be hitting an anemic .179, but his 12 home runs and his steady infield defense have somewhat up for it.
- Betances was victimized on Tuesday by a 10th inning home run by Brett Lawrie that lost the game for the Yankees. But he got back on the horse in the eighth on Wednesday and looked very sharp. He struck out Billy Butler and Lawrie and retired pinch-hitter Josh Reddick on an outstanding fielding play by Teixeira.
There was not to much to complain about on this night. Sabathia was unable to get through six innings and Miller did look shaky in the ninth. But you have to give Miller a mulligan on this one. The Yankees are in first place and Teixeira is leading them.
In addition to Miller, 30, the Yankees also activated center-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury from the disabled list on Wednesday. Ellsbury, 31, started the game and was 1-for-4 with an infield single. He had been on the disabled list since May 20 with a strained ligament in his right knee. To make room for Miller and Ellsbury, the team optioned right-hander Nick Rumbelow and outfielder Ramon Flores to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Rumbelow, 23, was 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four appearances. Flores, 23, was hitting .219 with no homers and no RBIs in 32 at-bats. . . . Third baseman Chase Headley was held out of the game on Wednesday with inflammation in his right calf. Headley is listed as day-to-day. Petit started in Headley’s place and was 0-for-4.
The Yankees will have a chance to claim the rubber game of the three-game series against the A’s on Thursday.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (4-3, 3.94 ERA) will start of the Yankees. Tanaka pitched much better in a no-decision against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. He yielded three runs on six hits and one walk with five strikeouts in six innings.
The Athletics will counter with right-hander Jesse Chavez (4-8, 3.20 ERA). Chavez lost to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday after giving up four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
– cartoonist Walt Kelly, “The Pogo Papers,” published in 1953
YANKEES 10, ATHLETICS 9 (14 INNINGS)
If Martin Scorsee had submitted Saturday’s game to producers in Hollywood as a movie they would have thrown the script back at him and laughed him out of the office. After all, what team gets off the deck after trailing by four runs in the bottom of the 13th inning to tie it and go on and win it in the next frame on a bases-loaded error?
Well, obviously no other team but the New York Yankees, who did just that to the upstart Oakland Athletics.
Ichiro Suzuki scored the game-winning run at 6:51 EDT after five hours and 43 minutes of drama that turned – on all things – a bases-loaded error in the 14th inning by Brandon Moss on a ball off the bat of Eduardo Nunez. What was left of the paid crowd of 44,026 at Yankee Stadium erupted in delirium as much as disbelief as the Yankees managed to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat at the most opportune of times for themselves.
The Baltimore Orioles earlier in the day had defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-6 in 12 innings at Fenway Park and they no doubt saw the Yankees were down 9-5 heading into the bottom of the 13th inning, knowing a Yankee loss would mean a tie atop the American League East.
But the Yankees had an answer for both the O’s and the A’s in the bottom of the 13th.
Suzuki, who could not be any hotter than if he was Satan himself, opened the inning off left-hander Pedro Figueroa with a high-chopping single over Figueroa’s head that second baseman Cliff Pennington fielded but had no play on. Alex Rodriguez followed with a lined single up the middle and Robinson Cano then loaded the bases with an opposite-field single to left.
A’s manager Bob Melvin replaced Figueroa with right-hander Pat Neshek and Neshek promptly uncorked a wild pitch with Nunez at the plate to allow Suzuki to score and Rodriguez and Cano to advance into scoring position. Nunez then scored Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly to center.
Raul Ibanez then strolled to the plate having put the Yankees ahead 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning with a pinch-hit home run off reliever Jim Miller. It was his 16th home run of the season but it was his first since an Aug. 5 home game against the Seattle Mariners.
Ibanez again reached into the Yankees’ bag of improbable tricks by turning around a 3-1 Neshek pitch and depositing it into the second deck in right field to tie the score at 9-9. It was at this point that it began to dawn on the fans in the stands and those either watching or listening to the game they were now part of something very special. Perhaps a new Yankee Classic?
Cory Wade (1-1), the Yankees’ ninth pitcher of the afternoon, came in the top of the 14th and he retired the A’s in order to what later would be credited to him as his first victory of the season with the Yankees.
The A’s sent out tall, lanky right-hander Tyson Ross (2-10) to pitch the bottom of the inning.
Eric Chavez opened the inning with a single in the hole between first and second base into right-field. Manager Joe Girardi sent in rookie outfielder Melky Mesa in to pinch-run in what was his major-league debut.
Derek Jeter laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Mesa to second and the A’s finally got smart enough to walk Suzuki intentionally considering he was 5-for-8 in the series so far.
Misfortune had followed the Yankees like a persistent cloud all day. They were just 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position, they had stranded 14 baserunners and left the bases loaded in the first and 12th innings.
Rodriguez did come through with another hard-hit single into center-field on which Mesa should have scored easily. But, alas, Mesa in his haste to tally the winning run slipped rounding third base and he had to go back to third with his embarrassment splashed all over his face.
And it looked like it just going to be one of those days when Cano rolled a tapper back to Ross and Ross threw wide at catcher Derek Norris but Norris kept a toe on the plate to force Mesa for the second out.
That left the bases loaded and two out for Nunez, who only just entered the game in the as a pinch-hitter in the 12th inning but he did deliver that key run-scoring fly ball in the 13th.
On the second pitch, Nunez shot a Neshek slider the opposite way inside the first-base line. Moss moved two steps over to field it, the ball clanked off the bottom of his mitt and rolled past him to allow Nunez to reach first as Suzuki crossed the plate with the winning run.
The A’s did not exactly put on a pitching and fielding clinic all day and it ultimately led to their downfall. They committed three fielding errors, a passed ball, a balk and three wild pitches to help the Yankees’ cause. So if they are looking for someone to blame for the loss they should start by looking in the clubhouse mirror.
For the Yankees, who had entered the series on Friday with only two walk-off victories all season, it was their second in two days against a very overconfident bunch of young Athletics who swept the Yankees in four one-run games in Oakland in July.
The victory was the Yankees’ seventh in a row and their ninth in their past 10 games. They now have a record of 88-63. For the A’s this second devastating one-run loss in extra innings dropped their record to 85-66. They are 4 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West, two games behind the Orioles for the first wild-card spot and three games ahead of the Angels for the second wild-card spot.
For the A’s this loss was by far one big dagger to the heart. For the Yankees it was one big tribute to their own heart in the face of major adversity.
- Suzuki has seemingly turned back the clock on his 38-year-old body to his magical 2001 season when he won Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors. In his last five games, Suzuki is 14-for-20 (.700) with two home runs, five RBIs, seven runs scored and four stolen bases. He opened the first inning with his ninth home run of the season off Oakland starter Travis Blackley. He added two singles, two walks and a sacrifice bunt as he debuted in the second spot in the order against a left-handed pitcher.
- Ibanez’s bat had to be colder than a polar bear’s hindquarters when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the fifth. After hitting .196 in August, Ibanez was hitting .042 in September. He had only one hit in his last 28 at-bats. But he delivered a huge solo home run in the fifth that put the Yankees ahead and then an even bigger two-run shot in the 13th that tied the game at 9-9. He now has 17 home runs and 56 RBIs despite hitting .228 on the season.
- Steve Pearce has never gotten much mention since he was acquired but he is going to get one here. Pearce entered the game in the 10th inning after Chris Dickerson was used to pinch-run for Nick Swisher. Pearce never got a chance to bat in the game because he was pinch-hit for by Nunez in the 12th. But on a day that the A’s were kicking the ball all over the yard he came up with a real gem in the 11th inning. The A’s had the bases loaded and two out with Josh Reddick facing Freddy Garcia. Reddick lined a hot smash that was headed into right-field and would have scored two runs except Pearce dove headlong to his right and caught the ball a foot off the ground. That was the key play in the victory.
- Ivan Nova proved his command issues this season are not quite behind him. After an impressive start coming off the disabled list he struggled in in his second outing. He gave up three runs on five hits and two walks and struck out two in just 2 1/3 innings. Fortunately for him, Blackley was just as bad, surrendering four runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks in two innings. Nova likely lost any chance he may have had to make the postseason rotation.
- Garcia had not pitched since he gave up three runs to the Orioles in 3 1/3 innings in what was his last start before being demoted to the bullpen. Though he pitched three scoreless innings from the 10th through the 12th, he stumbled badly in the 13th. He gave up a two-run home run to Jonny Gomes and a then solo shot to Yoenis Cespedes. Girardi replaced Garcia with rookie left-hander Justin Thomas, who then gave up a solo home run to Chris Carter, which dug the Yankees a huge 9-5 hole from which they escaped – luckily. Garcia may not make the postseason roster and his days with the Yankees are numbered.
- Cano was 2-for-8 in the game. But it does not really illustrate how bad he has been lately. He had an RBI single in the first inning and reached on an error in the second. But he flied out to end the fourth. He hit into an inning-ending double play in the sixth after Rodriguez was walked intentionally in front of him. He flied out to center to start the ninth. He grounded out to second to end the 11th. After singling and scoring in the 13th, he failed to deliver with bases loaded in the 13th with a tapper back the pitcher. In all, Cano stranded seven runners in the game.
Mark Teixeira jogged in the outfield, took some ground balls and some swings in the batting cage at Yankee Stadium before Saturday’s game and experienced no issues with strained left calf. Teixeira will travel to Tampa, FL, on Monday to accelerate his workouts in hopes of returning before the regular season ends. Teixeira was originally injured on Aug. 27 and missed 10 games. He came back and reinjured it in his first game back. He since has missed the last 12 games. . . . The Yankees’ bullpen was down two pitchers because of the recent use of closer Rafael Soriano and David Robertson. Soriano reported a dead arm in the wake of Friday’s blown save against the A’s. Robertson had pitched in each of the previous three games.
The Yankees stand just one game away of the final step in what can be called the “Pay Back To The Punks” weekend series against the A’s.
Veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (14-10, 3.26 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Kuroda struck out the first six batters he faced and finished with 10 as he defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in his last start. Kuroda is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in his career against Oakland.
The A’s will start rookie right-hander A.J. Griffin (6-1, 2.45 ERA). Griffin allowed five runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers to take his first loss of the season. He was tagged for three home runs. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his one start against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 22, ATHLETICS 9
Tick, tick, tick.
You could almost understand how badly Oakland manager Bob Melvin wanted to get his team to Boston on Thursday before the Yankees’ offense exploded.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Too late, Bob.
The Bronx Bombers, who lost the first two games of the series to the A’s and trailed 7-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, lived up to their nickname by blasting a major-league record three grand slams in a game as they finally got tired of leaving runners on base and pounded Oakland in a wild and wacky game at Yankee Stadium.
After Russell Martin hit what seemed like a harmless solo home run in the fourth off A’s starter Rich Harden, Robinson Cano began the “slam-fest” by jerking a Harden 0-1 pitch into the bleachers in right-center in the fifth to bring the Yankees to within a run. After Nick Swisher doubled, Harden was removed after giving up six runs on 10 hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings.
Taking advantage of the wildness of lefty Craig Breslow and righty Fautine De Los Santos in the sixth, the Yankees again loaded the bases. Martin hit a 1-1 De Los Santos fastball to the opposite field on a line into the first row in the bleachers in right-center. Just like that the Yankees had turned what was a 7-1 deficit into a 10-7 lead. It was Martin’s fourth two-homer game of the season and it was his third career grand slam home run.
Martin, who began the day hitting .232, ended up with a career-best six RBIs and was a perfect 5-for-5 to raise his average to .243. The five hits were also a career best.
The Yankees continued to pour on runs in the seventh, sending 12 men to the plate and scoring six runs to extend their lead to 16-7. A’s rookie pitchers Jordan Norberto and Bruce Billings combined to give up three hits and walk seven batters in the inning.
An inning later, the Yankees scored another six runs, highlighted by Curtis Granderson’s bases-loaded shot to right-center off Billings that made baseball slam history. It was Granderson’s 36th home run of the season and his five RBIs in the game allowed him to overtake Boston’s Adrian Gonzlaez for the major-league top spot in RBIs with 103.
To add insult to further insult to the A’s, the next batter, Andruw Jones, belted a tape-measure home run deep into the second deck in left off reliever Brian Fuentes to complete the scoring for the Yankees.
The Yankees had opened the first two games of the series against the A’s by going a horrendous 2-for-23 (.087) with runners in scoring position, leading to a 6-5 loss on Tuesday and a 6-4 loss in 10 innings on Wednesday.
They even began this game as they did the first two games by leaving the bases loaded with only one out in the second and the fifth inning. On both occasions, it was Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter who failed to get a ball out of the infield to end the threats.
However, the Yankees parlayed 21 hits, a season-high 13 walks and a hit batsman to actually have 17 plate appearances with the bases loaded. They ended the game 10-for-21 (.467) with runners in scoring position.
It is good thing, too.
The game did not start well for Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes. Hughes did not have command of his fastball and he was lit up for a run in the first, a run in the second and he had given up a pair of runs in the third before he was removed with two on and two out. However, Cliff Pennington greeted reliever Cory Wade with a first-pitch home run to right to extend the A’s lead to seven.
Hughes gave up six runs on seven hits and no walks and fanned five in 2 2/3 innings. But the Yankees’ offense and the A’s generous relievers took Hughes off the hook.
Reliever Boone Logan (4-2), who faced four batters and fanned all four, was credited with the victory. De Los Santos (2-1), who won in relief on Wednesday, was tagged with the loss.
The game, which was delayed at the start by rain for an hour and 29 minutes, took four hours and 31 minutes to play in front of a sellout crowd of 46,389.
With the dramatic victory, the Yankees remain a game back in the American League East to the Boston Red Sox. Their season record is now 78-50. The A’s dropped to 59-71.
- After hitting .292 the first month and slumping for three months partially due to a back injury, Martin is having an August to remember. He is hitting a robust .318 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs. In May, June and July, Martin hit four home runs and drove in 21 runs. With the day of his career on Thursday, Martin has 17 home runs and 59 RBIs on the season.
- Granderson is also having a mega-month in August. He is batting .321 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs. What’s more, Granderson scored four runs in Thursday’s game and he is laying waste to the field in the runs-scored category. Granderson now has scored major-league-best 119 runs. His next-closest competitor is Jose Bautista of Toronto with 93.
- If you think Martin and Granderson are hot, how about Cano? Cano now has a 16-game hitting steak in which he is 24-for-68 (.353) with four home runs and 18 RBIs. Cano has raised his average to .304 and he has 22 home runs and 93 RBIs on the season.
- With CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon struggling, Freddy Garcia on the disabled list and A.J. Burnett getting lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the last thing the Yankees needed was a poor start from Hughes. Hughes entered the game with a 3-0 record and a 1.37 ERA in his last three starts. But he regressed badly in this start. The Yankees desperately need Hughes to pitch well down the stretch to have any hope of competing in the playoffs.
- Jeter is having a great month. With his three hits on Thursday, he raised his season average to a more Jeter-like .299. However, Jeter had four at-bats with the bases loaded in the game and he failed to deliver a run in three of them. He hit a comebacker to Harden in the second for the third out. He grounded out to second in the fifth to end another inning. And in the eighth he struck out swinging for the second out just before Granderson’s record grand slam. Jeter left a total of nine men on base in the game. He did walk with bases loaded in the seventh.
- Mark Teixeira was the only Yankee starter who did not have a hit in the game. He was 0-for-4 with two walks, he scored a run and drove in a run in the first inning on a groundout. Teixeira’s season average dropped to .246 and he is hitting .233 for the month. Teixeira is a career .282 hitter but he is gong to fall well below that mark this season.
The Yankees are in Baltimore to begin a five-game series over the next four days with the Orioles. However, Hurricane Irene is expected to disrupt the series with a day-night doubleheader scheduled for Saturday.
The Yankees will open the series on Friday with the Yankees’ version of baseball pinball, A,J. Burnett (9-10, 4.96 ERA). Burnett has tilted to the tune of a 1-4 record and a 6.93 ERA since June 29. He only lasted 1 2/3 innings in last start against the Twins on Saturday and left the game with some angry words directed at manager Joe Girardi. He is 12-5 with a 4.93 ERA against the Orioles in his career.
The Orioles will counter with newly acquired right-hander Tommy Hunter (1-1, 6.20 ERA). Hunter allowed six runs on 10 hits in 8 1/3 innings in a no-decision the Orioles lost 9-8 in 12 innings. Hunter is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.