- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Was Rafael Soriano's blown save on Friday a result of a dead arm?
Joe Girardi thinks so. Soriano disagrees.
Soriano allowed a pinch-hit game-tying homer to Brandon Moss with one out in the ninth Friday night. It was just his fourth blown save in 46 opportunities on the season -- and his second against the A's. Fortunately for Soriano and the Yankees, Russell Martin hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the tenth to lift New York to a 2-1 win.
Afterward, Joe Girardi was asked what went wrong with Soriano.
"His arm was maybe a little dead today," Girardi said.
If so, it's completely understandable.
After all, Soriano was called upon to save both games of the Yankees' double-header sweep against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Soriano, though, insisted his arm wasn't dead on Friday. The closer said he felt a little soreness in his arm, but didn't want to use it as an excuse.
"I go in and tried to make a pitch and that happened and I'll come back tomorrow," said Soriano, who has done a tremendous job filling in for the injured Mariano Rivera.
To his credit, Soriano bounced back after the home run and, after two walks (one intentional), got out of the inning by striking out pinch-hitter Seth Smith.
"He gave us a chance to win the game," Girardi said.
After the game, Soriano said he felt badly for taking a win away from CC Sabathia.
After a string of four so-so starts, Sabathia looked like an ace again against the A's. He struck out 11 over eight shutout innings but he didn't get the win.
Soriano noted that he also blew a save for Sabathia against the A's on July 22.
"I feel bad. ... I think that's the first time in my career I did it two times to the same pitcher," the closer said.
JOE ON PULLING CC: Girardi could have stuck with Sabathia in the ninth. The lefty's velocity remained strong through eighth innings and he had thrown just 113 pitches heading into the ninth. But, the manager decided to pull Sabathia in favor of Soriano. He said that Sabathia had labored in the previous two innings and he wanted to give the next reliever the opportunity to start an inning, rather than enter in the middle of one.
ICHIRO STAYS HOT: How do you know when you're on a roll? When you reach base the way Ichiro Suzuki did on Friday night.
Suzuki's bouncer back to the mound got lost in A's hurler Jarrod Parker's jersey. Parker couldn't pull the ball out of his jersey and Suzuki ended up with a single. It was Suzuki's 10th hit in his last 13 at-bats.
"I don't think they're will ever be a play like that (again). Ever," Suzuki said with a smile.
Suzuki also had a hit in the sixth but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Overall, he has 11 hits in his last 15 at-bats. He also stole a base on Friday, giving him five steals in the last four games.
CAPTAIN CONTINUES TO ROLL: Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to a season-high 15 games with a 1-for-4 night on Friday. Jeter is batting .388 (26-for-67) in the stretch. He has 13 single-season hitting streaks of at least 15 games in his career, one shy of Suzuki (14) for the most among active players.
1dDanny Knobler, Special to ESPN.com
2dESPN Stats & Information