Oakland, CA – To compound more problems for O.co would be useless at this point. However, the A’s certainly make a good case for a new ball park after a bank of lights in left field went out delaying the game for thirty-eight minutes. Earlier in the year a water-sewer problem delayed a game as well.
Apparently the circuit breaker went out and had to be reset manually. But that didn’t stop Oakland from maintaining their lead when the game resumed after being suspended bottom of the fourth. The A’s evened the series after defeating the Yankees 5-1. The night before Oakland was shutout but tonight their offense came alive.
“Mentally, you’ve got to stay with it,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s tough when you’re sitting around that long, and it’s cold. You go back out there and have to find that adrenaline again. It was very impressive.”
“That’s the Coliseum for you,” said Sogard smiling. “That’s kind of what we expect but, it’s why we love this place. You never know what you’re going to get.”
After a scoreless inning in the first, Hiroki Kuroda walked Yoenis Cespedes, gave up a single to Stephen Vogt and walked Andy Parrino to load the bases with two outs in the second. Eric Sogard whose been battling an ankle issue after being hit in the ankle in the Anaheim series gave the A’s a 2-0 lead after hitting a two-run single.
He snapped a scoreless tie and Oakland’s 10-inning scoreless streak while only hitting .197. New York cut the lead in half in the third when shortstop Andy Parrino over threw first base giving Derek Jeter a RBI single with two outs. Kazmir walked Jacoby Ellsbury to load the bases and then forced Alfonso Soriano to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning leaving runners stranded.
“After that first at-bat I was able to get a good pitch to hit and lined it in the outfield,” Sogard explained. “So I got the game going, that was my opportunity tonight. My teammates got me in that position, and I was able to come through there. They’ve been picking me up all year and it’s nice to pitch in and do my part.”
A great defensive play by Sogard prevented the Yankees from tying the game in the fifth. With a runner on third base, Jeter grounded out to second baseman, Sogard who threw to home plate for the out. Kazmir forced Ellsbury to pop out to Josh Donaldson to end the inning.
The A’s continued to open up their offense bottom of the fifth. Sogard lead off the frame with a walk, Coco Crisp hit an infield single and a pass ball advanced both runners with no outs. John Jaso grounded out to first base scoring in Sogard. Another pass ball by Kuroda scored in Crisp making it a 4-1 game.
“The two runs I gave up in the fifth, that turned out to be big for tonight’s game,” said Kuroda through an interpreter. “The fact that I couldn’t protect it is really frustrating.”
Kuroda’s night ended after tossing 4 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, four runs, three walks and three strikeouts. The Yankees bullpen came in and surrendered a run to pinch-hitter Craig Gentry who extended Oakland’s lead 5-1 with a RBI single on a bunt ground ball to second baseman Yangervis Solarte.
Kazmir on the other hand pitched a stellar game, tossing six innings, giving up three hits, one run (unearned), walked three and struck out two. He’s allowed one run or fewer in five of his last seven starts. After tonights win, Kazmir is ranked fourth in the Majors with a ERA 2.05. In his past 32 starts, he has allowed no more than one run in 16 of them.
“I had to go up there and stay warm,” Kazmir said when asked how he stay loose during the delay. “Once it hit the 30-minute mark, I ended up throwing a simulated inning in the bullpen. That helped me out a lot. As soon as I was done with the last pitche in that simulated bullpen, the lights came on. It worked out perfect.”
“Just looking at some of the numbers over the last couple of years, the consistency has been incredible for Kazmir,” said Melvin. “He’s been one of the better pitchers in the American League and has really done it almost every time out.”