Oakland, CA – It just wasn’t their night. It took one inning to set the tone and from there the New York Yankees never looked back. Sonny Gray who usually has a stellar outing, yielded three runs in the first frame. That was all the momentum the Yankees needed to shutout the A’s 7-0.
“Sometimes it goes that way,” said Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin. “You’ll get hits in bunches and everybody’s hot, and then other times, it cools off as a club. We’ve been in a little bit of a funk for maybe a week or so.”
New York got off to a good start in the first when the first three batters knocked singles left and right. Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI single scored in the first run while Brian McCann’s sacrifice fly extended the Yankees lead 2-0. Sonny Gray was able to get out of the jam by forcing the next two batters to ground out to end the inning.
Gray got himself into another jam in the second. He struck out the first batter to start the inning but Andy Parrino’s error at second base allowed Brain Roberts to be safe at first instead of being the second out of the frame. Brett Gardner’s RBI single made it a 3-0 game.
“They put the ball in play early, and I left a few balls up, and they were able to take advantage of it,” Gray said. “They were aggressive and once we were able to start making pitches down in the zone, we got them out. It was just a little too late.”
Gray escaped the second with just one run scored but he got up to 49 pitches. He forced Mark Teixeira to fly out to left field stranding three runners after Gray loaded the bases twice in the inning. It looked like the bullpen was going to be called upon but things quieted down once the righty got out of the inning without too much damage being done.
David Phelps retired the first ten batters he faced and got plenty offensive support from New York. He snapped a four-game losing streak, which was the longest losing streak of his career. Phelps held the A’s scoreless through 6 2/3 innings. He allowed two hits, three walks and four strikeouts.
“It’s definitely one of the best starts of my career,” said Phelps. “To come in here against a team that’s first in its division with one of the best records in baseball. My biggest thing is going out and trying to give us a chance to win every time out.”
Phelps walked John Jaso in the fourth but Oakland failed to score in a run. Derek Norris broke up Phelps “no-no” in the fifth with a single to left field. Unfortunately, the A’s mustered only two hits against Phelps and couldn’t get a baserunner past second all night. It certainly isn’t the same team that has dominated with their power-hitting. Yet they still lead the American Lead with the best record.
“For as well as [Phelps] pitched, he threw a lot of balls, which usually we take advantage of that,” Brandon Moss said. “But any time when we would get the pitch count up, we always seemed to have two strikes. We’d get a guy on and just couldn’t get anything going.”
Quite a turnaround for Gray who had pitched four straight scoreless innings, with seven strikeouts. He tossed six innings, allowed three runs and one walk. The bullpen came in and yielded another run to the Yankees in the eighth. Then Jeff Francis surrendered two more runs when Roberts hit a RBI single to right field and Ichiro Suzuki scored on an error at home plate by the catcher.
After Francis struck out Ellsbury to leadoff the eighth, New York opened up their offense. They took a 7-0 lead after Francis surrendered four runs, allowing five singles in the inning. Oakland’s luck didn’t fare on the infamous Friday the 13th as three of their top hitters went 0-for-4 for the night not getting one hit.
“I guess they say hitting is contagious,” Moss said. “A few of us are now struggling a little bit right now.”