Nick Swisher exchanges words with umpire Mike Estabrook during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium. It was one of several occasions in which Yankees batters questioned the home plate ump. Oakland won 5-4. (Image: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees lose to A's; win streak snapped at seven

The New York Yankees did not have another dramatic comeback left in them Sunday afternoon as they lost to the Oakland Athletics 5-4, ending their seven-game win streak.

The loss was not detrimental to the Yankees push for the American League East crown, as the Baltimore Orioles were defeated by the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Yankees (88-64) maintain a one-game lead over the O’s with ten games left to play.

While the Yankees did not lose ground in the division race, they did have opportunities to put more space between them and the Orioles, but they were held off the board by the A’s bullpen after chasing starter A.J. Griffin who lasted only 4 1/3 innings. Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda was mostly ineffective in his outing which ended after just 5 2/3 innings in which he allowed all five runs (four earned) to take the loss.

Kuroda allowed the A’s to take the lead with one run in the first on a wild pitch and two in the second on Cliff Pennington‘s two-run homer, part of a 3-for-4 day with two runs and three RBI. However, the Yankees managed to take the lead with an explosive fourth inning.

Robinson Cano reached on a one-out single and scored on Nick Swisher‘s 22nd home run of the season to move to within one run. Raul Ibanez continued to heat up with a run-scoring double and he came around to score on an Eduardo Nunez ground out to give the Yankees a short-lived lead.

Kuroda, who has struggled to a 6.75 ERA over his last four starts, immediately gave up the tying run on a RBI-single from Yoenis Cespedes. In the sixth the A’s took the lead for good on Pennington’s run-producing single, which came after a crucial error by Nunez at shortstop.

The Yankees chased Griffin in the fifth and had runners on first and second with one out, but Swisher and Curtis Granderson struck out to the end the mini threat. The Yankees had the tying run on base in each of the next three innings; twice the runner was in scoring position, but they couldn’t get the big hit. Grant Balfour tossed a 1-2-3 inning for his 20th save of the season for the Athletics.

The Yankees jumped on a plane and headed to Minnesota to face the Twins who swept the Tigers in a double-header yesterday. The Bombers have Andy Pettitte (4-3, 2.97 ERA) on the mound for his second start since returning from the disabled list. He’ll face young righty Liam Hendriks (1-7, 5.88 ERA) who recorded his first Major League victory in his last outing.

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