Oakland, CA – They got their “mojo” back! The A’s once dominated the lead with long balls. But the last nine games they’ve been held to one or fewer runs runs. That changed today, Oakland knocked in two three-run homers and won the series after defeating the Yankees 10-5.
“It’s good to see,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We haven’t been swinging the bats as well as we were earlier, and certainly had the power portion of it, but two big three-run homers today gets you off to a good start.”
“Ever since I’ve been here, we’ve been built around the long ball,” said Derek Norris. We obviously made ourselves a little more well-rounded over the last couple of years, but when we’re hitting homers, we’re winning. That’s the bottom line.”
Norris went 3-for-5 with a double, home run and three RBIs. He recorded a career-high tying three hits. Five of his seven home runs this year have come with at least two men on base. Norris went yard in the first inning with a three-run homer. Coco Crisp followed with a three-run bomber to left field and extended Oakland’s lead 6-0 in the second.
“It was pretty much just not making adjustments,” New York’s pitcher Vidal Nuno said. “They got some little hits here and there, and then just the one pitch,’bang.’ Those two innings, little frustrating, getting not ahead of the count, and they took advantage of it.”
Nuno’s outing didn’t last long, he was chased off the mound after tossing three innings, giving up eight hits, eight runs, one walk, two strikeouts, one wild pitch and two home runs. The bullpen didn’t fare much either, after loading the bases in the fourth three times.
Jose Ramirez loaded the bases before hitting Craig Gentry in the head knocking him off his feet in the fourth. The A’s extended their lead 7-0. Yoenis Cespedes followed by knocking in two more runs with no outs until Jed Lowrie grounded into a double play at second base.
Josh Donaldson snapped a 0-for-33 hitless streak with an RBI single to right field. Oakland scored four runs making it almost impossible for the Yankees to get back in the game. This was the first time the A’s have scored 10 runs against New York since July 1, 2007.
“It’s tough, but it hasn’t happened much this year,” said Mark Teixeira. “Our pitchers have been so good. Every now and then, you’re going to have games like this, and you just take them as they come and go get them the next day.”
The Yankees got their first run in the sixth, Derek Jeter doubled and Teixeira scored him in with a double. Carlos Beltran lead off the seventh with a home run and then made a terribly mistake in the eighth. Beltran hit a line drive to shortstop Jed Lowrie who threw to second for the out.
He trotted to toward the dugout abandoning first base not realizing there was one more out left in the inning. That resulted in a double play after the first base umpire Dan Lassogna ruled him out. That sent a flurry of questions from New York’s manager Joe Girardi who came out of out the dugout immediately.
“It’s an embarrassing play,” said Girardi.
The Yankees added on two more runs in the seventh when Ryan Cook loaded the bases with two walks and an error by Lowrie. Jeter’s sacrifice fly scored in another run as New York began to chip away at Oakland’s 10-3 lead. Jeter played his final regular season game at the O.co.
“Today was one of those games, but I think for the most part we’ve been playing pretty good as of late,” Jeter said. “You want to continue, you need it to continue, because we’re playing some division games.”
Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer off Jim Johnson in the ninth trimming the lead in half. Johnson then put two on with a walk and a single before Luke Gregerson came in to finish the inning. Both Cook and Johnson combined allowed four late-inning runs.
Thankfully Jesse Chavez pitched a superb game in six innings. He allowed five hits, one run and four strikeouts. Chavez tossed a shutout through the sixth frame before doubles from both Jeter and Teixeria. The righty looked a lot like he did back in April when he tossed similar stats against Texas.
“That’s the biggest thing, not to walk anyone,” said Chavez. “And not to give up the two-strike hits that had been my Achilles heel the last four or five starts.”
“Today, I thought was similar to what we were seeing really early in the season,” Melvin said. “You could tell right away he was on it pretty good, cutter to both sides of the plate, good curveball to create a gap between the hard stuff and the offspeed stuff, threw a few good changeups.”