The Yankees entered Saturday on a hot streak. They were rolling through their west coast swing, sitting at 4-0 since they hit Seattle on Tuesday. Saturday’s game started off poorly before the first pitch was even thrown.
First baseman Mark Teixeira was a late scratch just 25 minutes before game time, with tightness in his left rib cage. With Kelly Johnson already slated to start at third and Yangervis Solarte at second to give Brian Roberts a night off, Brian McCann shifted from catcher to first, giving John Ryan Murphy the start behind home plate. Got all that? Good, because it gets stranger.
It was a rough night for Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda, coming off back-to-back nice starts, simply didn’t have it this evening. After issuing a couple of walks and hits in the bottom half of the second, Kuroda allowed a RBI single to A’s second baseman Eric Sogard. Sogard who was batting around the Mendoza Line, would drive in all that the A’s would need on the night. A couple of innings later, the lights would go out on Kuroda.
Quite literally. A thirty minute on-field delay occurred when the power went out in the stadium. Kuroda would return, but get banged up some more in the bottom half of the fifth. Two passed balls by Murphy, and a Kelly Johnson error later , Kuroda had allowed two more runs by the fifth. He would not make it through the fifth, going 4.2 innings pitched, walking three, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out three. It was Kuroda’s fifth loss on the season as the Yanks would lose 5-1.
The Yankees would score their lone run by means of an error in their half of the third. A throwing error by Oakland’s shortstop Andy Parrino on a Derek Jeter ground ball allowed Johnson to score. The Yankees couldn’t figure out Scott Kazmir all evening, registering three hits on the night. Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, and Johnson had one hit each for the Bombers.
Brian McCann, playing in his fifth game at first base Saturday evening, did very well in Teixeira’s absence. He did a great job on an in-between-hopper to first, dug a short-hop throw out of the dirt, and made a diving play to save a base hit. The effort didn’t lead to a victory, however, it was a promising output by the “new” first baseman.
The Yankees’ conclude the series and their west coast road trip tomorrow afternoon. Vidal Nuno (1-2, 4.97 ERA) takes on Jesse Chavez (5-4, 3.04 ERA) in the rubber match. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM.