First we had an earthquake in New York City. Then all sorts of panic about a possible hurricane this weekend. And now, following their 6-4 victory last night, the A’s have won two games in a row and earned a series victory against the Yankees for the first time since 2007. I’ll let you decide which of these three is the truest sign of the apocalypse.
Kidding aside, this was a rather unfortunate game for the Yankees, as Trevor Cahill and his sinker finally figured them out, limiting the damage to two runs over six for his first-ever quality start against the Bombers. CC Sabathia was good too — ultimately going 7 1/3 innings and giving up three while striking out seven — but neither he nor the Yankee bullpen could retire Coco Crisp or Scott Sizemore, who combined to go 8 for 8 with a walk and all six of Oakland’s RBIs.
Truth be told, the Yankees didn’t even really lose to the Athletics in this one; they lost to Crisp — who hit two home runs in this game for only the second time in his career, and whose second jack broke a 3-all tie in the tenth to seal the win for Oakland — and Sizemore, who both had career games (this was Sizemore’s first-ever four-hit night), and were also once again stymied by Brian Fuentes and taken to school by flamethrowing rookie Fautino De Los Santos.
Speaking of De Los Santos, wow — that dude can throw a baseball. The average speed on his four-seamer was 97mph, and it took him all of 10 pitches to retire the Yankees in order in the bottom of the 9th, including two three-pitch strikeouts. Shades of 2007 Joba Chamberlain were dancing through my head.
Making this game that much more frustrating was the fact that the Yankees battled back to tie it twice. Derek Jeter drive Brett Gardner in in the third inning, while the first of Nick Swisher‘s two home runs on the night gave the Yankees a 2-1 edge that they kept through the seventh inning. Ordinarily you’d like the team’s chances with Sabathia on the mound that late in the game and a lead, but he coughed up a game-tying RBI double to (who else) Sizemore, one pitch after assuring Joe Girardi he could retire the righty. I have zero problem whatsoever with Sabathia staying in there, and if you replay that at-bat nine times out of ten he probably gets Sizemore, but he just got way too much of the plate on an 0-2 slider that probably should’ve been a curve buried in the dirt. A walk and a single later and David Robertson had let Sabathia’s inherited runner score, completing Sabathia’s line.
Mark Teixeira then gave us all hope that we might get to see the Yankees’ fourth walkoff of the season, tying it up with a solo shot off Grant Balfour in the eighth. Mariano Rivera set the A’s down in order in the ninth, but Rafael Soriano — so good since returning from the DL — put two runners on before surrendering the aforementioned three-run bomb to Crisp on a first-pitch slider right down the middle with two out.
Alas, despite yet another solo home run off A’s closer Andrew Bailey — this time courtesy of Swisher — the Yankees were once again in too deep a hole, having let the A’s (who average 3.88 runs per game) score six for the second consecutive game. This also marked the Yankees’ first series loss at home since that second straight ignominious sweep by the Red Sox back in early June, and just the fourth series they’ve lost at home all year (Kansas City, Boston, Boston, Oakland).