Yankees flex muscle in 6-3 victory over A’s
The New York Yankees received a power boost from Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher in an easy 6-3 victory over the Oakland A’s. Ivan Nova allowed two solo home runs, but was never really pressed as he worked seven innings and earned his fifth win of the season.
The Yankees, who began their six-game West Coast swing, part of a nine-game road trip with a chip on their shoulder. They had won their last two games but question marks still remained.
Teixeira has been battling a bronchial infection for a better part of the season and it has sapped his strength. Cano had a poor April by his standards, but has come on strong in May and Swisher who sprinted out of the gate with a terrific April had slowed significantly since returning from a hamstring injury. They all played a part in yesterday’s power display which could signal the teams collective offensive woes are beginning to subside.
After trading zeroes for the first two innings, Cano reached on an error by center fielder Coco Crisp which allowed Curtis Granderson, who had singled, to score all the way from first base. With Cano on second, Teixeira hitting from the left side, drilled a 2-1 changeup from Tyson Ross just over the high wall in right field. The homer was Teixeira’s sixth of the season and gave the Yankees and Nova a 3-0 lead.
Nova was pitching well, keeping the A’s at bay until the bottom of the fourth inning when he allowed a solo homer to Josh Reddick. Reddick who came over to the A’s in the offseason from the Boston Red Sox, is one of a couple players on the A’s having success at the plate. The homer was his team leading 12th and upped his RBI total to 25, also tops on the team.
The Yankees would push further ahead in the top of the fifth as they began to knock Ross around. Cano, led off the inning, launching his sixth home run of the season over the center field wall. Teixeira was next and lifted a fly ball toward the left field line. A’s left fielder Seth Smith tried to make a sliding play but the ball hoped over his glove. Teixeira decided, for some inexplicable reason, to try to stretch the double into a triple, but Smith gunned him down at third base. Raul Ibanez was next and lined a double to center. Swisher, who was in a 3-for-32 slide heading into the game, got just enough of a Ross fastball lining it just beyond the left field fence. It was Swisher’s first home run since May 6th and eighth for the season.
With the Yanks now up 6-1, Nova had plenty of breathing room against an A’s team that flat out has a hard time scoring runs. He gave one back in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Kurt Suzuki and allowed another solo home run to Kila Ka’aihue in the bottom of the seventh. Nova finished with seven innings, three earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out four. Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth, striking out two batters and working around a two-out double to notch his fourth save of the season.
The win moved the Yankees into 3rd place in the AL East, still 4.5 games back of the Baltimore Orioles.
- Eric Chavez was booed by some of the Coliseum crowd in his first game in Oakland since leaving after the 2010 season.
- Joe Girardi told MLB.com reporter Bryan Hoch that he fully intends to stick by catcher Russell Martin despite his .177 batting average as he is encouraged that Martin is still getting on base. Girardi may be onto something as Martin’s .190 BABIP (average of balls in play) signals some bad luck.
- David Robertson reported feeling “pretty decent” after playing catch on Thursday. He is aiming for a return on June 1st, but the Yankees have not committed to a time table as of yet.
CC Sabathia hopes to keep building on the team’s recent success on the mound as he faces off against former Yankee Bartolo Colon.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth the series against the A’s is a big one for the Yankees. Sitting 4.5 games back of the Orioles, who do not seem to be letting down, the Yanks need to take advantage of an A’s team that has trouble scoring runs.
Nova did his part last night and Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda need to do theirs today and tomorrow respectively. The reason being, they travel to Anaheim to play the Los Angeles Angels next and typically have trouble in their park. Additionally the road trip ends in Detroit, where despite the Tigers early season struggles, still pose a threat in their home park.
Anything less than a sweep in Oakland will put added pressure on the Yankees facing tougher foes before getting back to Yankee Stadium. It won’t get easier once they return to New York as they host the Tampa Bay Rays and then a tough inter-league schedule against the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. The point is the road does not get simpler anytime soon, so the Yankees must take advantage of weaker teams.
It is possible Yanks’ hitters are getting hot at the right time and can build some momentum. But these next two games sit roundly on the Yankees’ starters. It is up to them to take advantage of the soft Athletics offense and hope this is indeed a resurgence of the Yankees’ lineup. Getting positive performances from both the offense and starting pitching will build confidence heading into the tough schedule ahead.