OAKLAND, Calif. -- Toto, I don't think we're in Seattle anymore. The two cities bear no resemblance to one another, nor do their baseball teams. Seattle is picturesque and charming, Oakland industrial and homely. But while the Seattle Mariners are essentially harmless, the Oakland Athletics are anything but, and Tuesday night they put a whupping on the New York Yankees, 6-4, in the opener of this three-game series.
What it means: Just when you thought CC Sabathia had gotten over his early-season problems, he comes up ineffective again against the Athletics. With the Yankees' anemic offense, it takes them out of the game early.
Ace low: After two consecutive outstanding outings, a worrisome performance by Sabathia, who was hit hard and often Tuesday night, allowing six runs on eight hits in six innings. And once again, Sabathia lived in the 899091 zip code, his fastball loitering from 89 to 91 mph all game. Sabathia is now 6-5 with a 4.07 ERA, second-highest among Yankee starters (Hughes 4.80).
Missed opportunity: The Yankees loaded the bases in the first innings with a single and two uncharacteristic walks by Colon, but Kevin Youkilis fouled out to the infield and Lyle Overbay fouled out to left to strand the baserunners. Despite two more walks -- Colon had walked just six in all his previous starts this season -- the Yankees never got another runner to second base off him before Bartolo exited in the seventh, having shut them out on three hits.
Coco Pops: It took only two pitches for the A's to take the lead, when Coco Crisp lined Sabathia's second offering of the game into the left-field seats.
Lyl-E: Playing just the fourth game in the outfield of his major league career, Lyle Overbay looked quite professional tracking Josh Donaldson's fly to deep right to end the first. And he looked positively amateurish allowing Derek Norris' pop fly inside the right-field line to drop in front of him. He then kicked it away, enabling Josh Reddick to score from first for the A's second run of the game. Somehow, the play was scored a double and an RBI, but should have been an E-9.
Hanger steak: Sabathia hung a first-pitch curve to Norris with two on and two out in the fourth, and the ball wound up well beyond the left-field fence. The three-run bomb made it 5-0 Oakland and gave Norris the first four-RBI game of his career. Sabathia not only leads the Yankees in home runs allowed, he is tied with four others for third-most homers allowed in the AL with 14.
Into the Frei-ing pan: A's first baseman Nate Freinam has become a Sabathia nemesis, getting hits in each of his first five at-bats off the Yankees ace.
Make 'em sweat: The Yankees got runners to second and third with two out and Teixeira coming up in the ninth, forcing Bob Melvin to go to his closer, Grant Balfour. On a 1-2 pitch, Tex singled in both runners to cut the margin to two runs, but Balfour got Travis Hafner to fly out to the wall in center, just missing a game-tying home run, to earn his 16th save in as many opportunities this season.