The New York Yankees came into last night’s game against the Oakland A’s riding a three-game win streak and had previously won nine straight at Oakland Coliseum. But, the Athletics are rolling right now too and rookie A.J. Griffin kept the Bombers off the scoreboard for the first five innings, while his offense reached Freddy Garcia for four runs in the first three innings, on the way to a 4-3 victory over the Yankees to the delight of hundreds of barking dogs.
Garcia, who had won his previous two starts, said he “couldn’t find (his) stuff” last night and Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban defector who made the epic prospect video, made him pay with a first-inning two-run homer. Garcia then allowed a two-run single to Seth Smith in the third inning creating a four-run deficit for the Yanks. Garcia ended the game allowing four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings on nine hits, two walks and six strikeouts.
Griffin meanwhile held the Yankees at bay until a four-hit two-run sixth inning. As the Yankees began their third trip through the batting order, Derek Jeter began things with his second single of the night. Curtis Granderson struck out (he has 107 on the season), but Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano collected back-to-back singles to load the bases. Cano’s single extended his hit-streak to 22 games, the longest Yankees streak since Jeter’s 25-game run in 2006.
Mark Teixeira was the next batter in the frame and he lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in the Yankees’ first run. Nick Swisher singled home Rodriguez to bring the Yankees within two. But, Raul Ibanez struck out to end the threat. So, fans who think the Yankees hit too many homers; plenty of singles there huh, but wouldn’t a long ball have been nice?
The Yankees got their homer in the bottom of the ninth after being held in check by the A’s bullpen in the seventh and eighth. Swisher reached A’s closer Ryan Cook for a solo home run with one out in the ninth. Cook rebounded, getting Ibanez to strike out and Russell Martin, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, to ground out to second base to end the game. David Phelps, who just returned from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, had pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball with four strikeouts to give the Yankees a chance to comeback.
The Yankees (57-35) lost a game in the standings to the Baltimore Orioles, who are now nine games back in the American League East. The Athletics (48-44) are now just 1/2 game back for a wild card spot in the American League.
In tonight’s game the Yankees will look to being a new winning streak with Ivan Nova on the mound. Nova (10-4, 4.14 ERA) is hoping to bounce back after allowing six runs in six innings against the Angels in his last start. The Athletics counter with Tommy Milone, the second of three straight rookies the A’s will send to the hill in this series. Milone (9-6, 3.54 ERA) has a 1.03 ERA at Oakland Coliseum.