By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – It doesn’t matter who the opponent is because the Oakland A’s are on a mission. Coming off two back-to-back loses, the A’s are back on track after defeating the New York Yankees 6-4 to start a three-game series.Bartolo Colon pitched six scoreless innings but had a rocky start in the first frame. Colon walked two and loaded the bases but got out of the jam without allowing a single run. He has lowered his ERA to 0.29 and hasn’t lost in over a month.
An anticipated battle on the mound against Yankees ace CC Sabathia ended with a victory for Bartolo while Oakland’s offense exploded behind Derek Norris. With his first career-high four RBI game, Norris single handedly opened up the offense after his three-run homer in the fourth.
Derek’s bloop RBI double gave Oakland a 2-0 lead in the second after Coco Crisp’s leadoff homer in the first inning. Norris’ ball dropped in front of right fielder Lyle Overbay with two outs in the inning.
“Anytime I can contribute and scratch some runs across the board to help out the ball club,” said Derek. “I’m obviously going to take advantage of any chance I have to do it.”
Norris made Sabathia look like a rookie out there. The A’s dominated the left-hander for six runs on eight hits, including a wild pitch that drove in a run. CC’s night was done after six frames and his ERA ballooned to 5.29 at the ball park he grew up watching his favorite players.
“I just felt like everything was flat, no real life on the fastball,” Sabathia said. “It’s up to me to go out there and battle, try to keep us in the game. I couldn’t do that today.”
New York did try to rally back when reliever Jerry Blevins allowed three hits to start the eighth. Both Mark Teixeira and pinch-hitter Vernon Wells hit two RBI singles making it a 6-2 game.
The Yankees added two more runs in the ninth on another Teixeira single but closer Grant Balfour forced the last batter he faced, Travis Hafner to fly out to left-centerfield to end the game. That was a big break for Oakland as that sealed their victory.
“I hit it good,” said Hafner. “You know that in Oakland at night it doesn’t carry well, but I was hoping it’d at least be off the wall. You just want to win the game. We had a good comeback going and I was hoping it’d continue there.”
“When he hit it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I didn’t think it was going as far as it did on a cold night to the opposite field. I know he’s a strong guy and we were ahead of the count. But I didn’t think it was going that far. Once I saw [Seth] Smith go back to the wall, I thought it might go off the wall but I didn’t think it was going out.”