After yesterday’s frustrating loss, the Yankees returned with a vengeance this afternoon. Even though the A’s scored first and attempted a late rally, the game just never felt within their reach. Instead they left New York dispirited — flying off to wherever they’re scheduled to play next with yet another series loss at the hands of the Yankees.
All those in favor of offense…say “I”
After stranding 11 runners yesterday, the Yankees came out “guns a blazin” today. In the bottom of the second with two outs, Russell Martin singled to center field. Martin then promptly stole second base. This worked out very conveniently as Andruw Jones then managed to hit a line drive to center field. Thanks to Russell’s speed and Cocoa Crisp’s noodle arm, the Yankees were able to grab their first run.
Later in the fourth inning (again with two outs) Gonzalez extended the inning after hitting Russell Martin with the second pitch (a rogue curveball) of the at bat. He then walked Andruw Jones on four fastballs. Two pitches later, Gonzalez would throw a hanging 81 mph curveball over the plate that Eduardo Nunez crushed into left field for a double, driving in two more runs in the process.
The Bombers weren’t done yet, though. As the fifth inning rolled around, after five fastballs and a changeup, Derek Jeter worked the walk. Curtis Granderson worked the count full and on the seventh pitch crushed the ball into the right field stands. The homerun was Grandy’s 27th of the year and a league-leading 11th homerun against lefty pitchers. Unfortunately for the Oakland faithful, Tex continued the inning with a bloop single to center field. Cano grounded out softly allowing Tex move to second. After Swisher struck out, Russell Martin came through with another line drive single which allowed Teixeira to move to third. Finally, Jones singled on a hard hit ball to Oakland shortstop, Cliff Pennington, who was unable to handle it (allowing Tex to score the Yankees sixth run of the day).
By this juncture, the Yanks were enjoying a four run lead and a 91.7% win expectancy; meanwhile, Geo Gonzalez, who had thrown a total of 111 pitches total (19, 17, 19, 24, 32 in each respective inning), was sent to the showers. The big criticism of Gonzalez this season is that he’s been known to get into a full count situation frequently. The Yanks took advantage of this inefficiency and made him pay.
Barty does his thing
Colon definitely made his pressence felt today as well. The only runs that the A’s could muster off Colon came in the top of the second. Kurt Suzuki hit a ball to left field which resulted in a hustling double. Pennington had a softly hit ball drop in front of Nick Swisher which allowed Suzuki to score. The very next at bat ended with Sogard doubling to center field, bringing Pennington home.
Overall, Colon pitched seven innings, struck out four, and walked one. Although the A’s managed eight hits, they were never really able to generate “the big inning” thanks in large part to some timely pitching, and a couple steller defensive plays. The biggest defensive moment of the game came in the fifth inning when Hideki Matsui doubled to center field. Curtis Granderson made a strong throw which was quickly relayed by Robinson Cano. Cano’s throw to Martin wasn’t particularly well aimed which forced Russell to jump in the air to catch it. As he landed, he managed to swipe Eric Sogard‘s leg for the final out of the inning. Later in the seventh, with Sogard batting, Martin victimized the A’s once again by throwing out Cliff Pennington as he attempted to steal second.
So when did the game become close in the boxscore?
Things did get a bit dicey in the eighth inning. For whatever reason, Girardi elected to go to David Robertson despite the fact that the Yanks had a four run lead and D-Rob had just pitched the day prior. Crisp managed a double. Matsui continued to flash a hot bat and doubled (bringing the score to 6-3). Josh Willingham walked. Kurt Suzuki doubled which allowed Matsui to score (6-4). With the lead cut down to two runs, the Sandman was beckoned and the situation was handled.
Fortunately, the Yanks managed an insurance run in the bottom eighth. Nunez singled, was sent to second on a sacrafice bunt from Laird, and then stole third. Derek Jeter grounded out, but the damage was done as the Yanks reclaimed a three run lead.
The A’s weren’t finished though. During the top of the ninth, Sogard, Weeks and Matsui all singled to load the bases. Josh Willingham singled to make the score 7-5. That’d be the closest the A’s would come to finding success as David DeJesus hit into a game ending double play.
Today marked the first four-out save situation of the season for Mariano. It also marked the 15th consecutive season that Mariano accumulated at least 25 saves. Simply put, one cannot overstate how dominant he’s been all these years. All hail Mo!
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