OAKLAND, Calif. -- With the score tied in the bottom of the eighth inning, Brandon Inge sought out starter Jarrod Parker in the dugout for a few choice words before the Oakland Athletics slugger headed to home plate.
"He told me, 'I'm going to get you one here,' " Parker said.The way the A's have played lately, perhaps nobody should have been surprised by what followed.
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Inge homered on the first pitch from Phil Hughes after Parker shut down one of baseball's best lineups for eight innings, and the A's beat the New York Yankees 2-1 on Saturday night for their fourth straight win."What you guys see right now is what we feel," Inge said, surrounded by music blaring in the clubhouse from his smiling teammates. "As far as things in this clubhouse, we're having a blast. I think that's leading to a lot of wins."Parker (7-4) allowed only an RBI single to Raul Ibanez in the fourth to become the latest Oakland starter to baffle the Bronx Bombers. He struck out five and walked one to hand New York its third straight loss in the series.Yoenis Cespedes crushed a tying homer in the fourth off Hughes (9-8) for his 13th long ball of the season. The Cuban defector extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games.Sean Doolittle struck out the side in the ninth after Alex Rodriguez singled for his first save in two chances after All-Star closer Ryan Cook worked the last three games. He had the ball and the lineup card already shelved in his locker.The low-budget A's have won 13 of 15 to climb into a tie with the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles for the final AL wild card spot."If the playoffs started tomorrow," Cespedes said in Spanish, "You better be careful against the Oakland A's."Inge, entering the game with a .198 batting average, ripped a fastball off the concrete facade under the seats high above the wall in right-center field for his ninth homer of the season. Hughes, who initially pointed up thinking it was just a fly out, only gave up three other hits in the game while striking out six in 7 2/3 innings for a hard-luck loss."I just made one too many mistakes," Hughes said. "I thought my command was very good. It was just two mistakes."Rodriguez beat out an infield single to short leading off the fourth. After Rodriguez reached third on consecutive groundouts, Ibanez singled up the middle to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.Not the usual New York way.Then again, that's the kind of week it has been in the Bay Area for the visitors.The Yankees sent 99 batters to the plate over the first 23 innings of the series without a walk until Curtis Granderson took a close full-count pitch called outside leading off the sixth. Robinson Cano's 23-game hitting streak also ended. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, including the first out in the ninth after Rodriguez singled.Doolittle also struck out Mark Teixeira and pinch-hitter Andruw Jones to end the game as A's players streamed out of the dugout in celebration."That was fun," Doolittle said. "That was right up there with my debut. That was a rush."The first three games of the series have been a far cry from New York's first visit to Oakland in late May when the Yankees overwhelmed the A's in a three-game sweep to extend their winning streak at the Coliseum to nine games. That was part of a nine-game overall losing streak for the A's, who have recovered since then to post the second-best record in the majors to the Yankees since June 2.New York entered Friday night with a streak of 43 consecutive games with at least three runs -- the longest in the majors since Cleveland's 48-game run in 1994 -- but has scored three total runs in the last two games."They have talented kids over there," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "When you get good pitching, you're always going to have a chance to win."
Yankees OF Nick Swisher sat out the game with a strained hip flexor. An MRI exam confirmed the strain. He is not expected to play Sunday but is hopeful to return at some point during the team's series at Seattle beginning Monday. Dewayne Wise started in right field in Swisher's place. ... Athletics LHP Dallas Braden and RHP Brandon McCarthy each threw about 40 pitches during a bullpen session before the game. Manager Bob Melvin said the team is still deciding on the next step for both. ... Yankees ace CC Sabathia turned 32 years old Saturday. Sabathia (10-3, 3.27 ERA) will face Oakland's Bartolo Colon (6-8, 3.88 ERA) in Sunday's series finale.