Rapid Reaction: A's 5, Yankees 4 (12)
July, 22, 2012
By Jeff Fletcher | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: That you just saw something you haven't seen in nine years. The New York Yankees hadn't been swept in a four-game series since the Toronto Blue Jays did it to them in May 2003. The Oakland A's last swept a four-game series from the Yankees in 1972, and never at the Coliseum. Oh, and the Yankees had won nine straight games in Oakland. The Yankees seemed to have this one well in hand, with a 4-0 lead in the fourth, but it melted away throughout the afternoon and vanished in the ninth.
The end: Cody Eppley gave up a one-out infield single to catcher Derek Norris, whose sharp grounder deflected off the glove of Derek Jeter. Norris went to second on a bunt, and then Coco Crisp singled into right, driving in Norris. It was the A's major league-leading 11th walk-off win of the year. Eppley was on the wrong end of one on Friday night.
Blown save: Closer Rafael Soriano took the mound with a one-run lead in the ninth. With one out, Seth Smith blasted a 3-1 pitch over the fence in dead center. It was Soriano's second blown save in 26 tries, and his first since June 10. It was the first homer Soriano has allowed this season.
Pop, pop, pop: The Yankees had a great chance to take the lead in the top of the 12th, when Josh Reddick lost Mark Teixeira's fly ball in the sun and dropped it. Teixeira was at second with no outs, but Robinson Cano hit a fly out to center. After an intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez both popped out.
Sabathia's day: CC Sabathia gave up three runs in seven innings. He gave up a couple solo homers, to Brandon Inge and Kurt Suzuki. Sabathia threw only 98 pitches, well below his normal workday. Manager Joe Girardi certainly could have left him out for the eighth, but he may have taken the cautious route because this was just Sabathia's second start since coming off the disabled list.
Escape in the eighth: David Robertson immediately got into trouble by giving up a leadoff hit to Crisp on an 0-2 pitch. Crisp then stole second base, giving the A's three shots to drive him in with the heart of the order up. But Robertson struck out Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes, the A's best hitters, and then he got Chris Carter on a grounder, thanks to ...
The play of the game: Carter hit a bouncer to third baseman Chavez, who actually backed up on the ball. He fielded it to his right and then made a quick release and a one-hop throw to Teixeira, who picked it. Carter was out by inches. It was a huge play because Crisp never stopped running around third, and he would have scored the tying run if Carter had been safe.
One at a time: The Yankees mounted a very un-Yankee-like rally in the third inning, with four consecutive singles to score a run. Then Rodriguez supplied a double off the wall in left-center to drive in two more.
Grandy slams: Curtis Granderson hit a couple rockets to right field. In the third he hit a line-drive single that got to Reddick so quickly that he almost threw Chris Stewart out at second. In the fourth, Granderson hit a no-doubt homer into the right-field seats. Granderson had been in a 3-for-19 slump in the previous five games.
Cuban cool down: Cespedes torched the Yankees for seven hits, including two homers, in the first three games of the series, but the Yankees got him this time. He went 0-for-3 against Sabathia and struck out against Robertson and David Phelps.
Oops: Jayson Nix, playing shortstop with Jeter having the day off, did not have a good day. He made an error that turned out to be inconsequential in the fifth inning. But in the sixth, he was too slow on the feed on a potential double-play ball, allowing the A's to score a run. Jeter came in for defense with a one-run lead in the ninth.
What's next: The Yankees head to Seattle for a three-game series, starting Monday. Hiroki Kuroda (9-7, 3.46) faces Kevin Millwood (3-7, 4.15) in the opener, at 10:10 p.m. ET.
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