Coming into this afternoon’s contest against the A’s, the Yanks had not lost a game in 13 days. Their most recent L came on the eve of the All Star Break against the Angels in Anaheim.
And so, facing a pitcher who was 1-2 with an ERA of 9.33, the Yankees couldn’t plate any runs and were victimized by their own bad relief pitching. Despite a rally in the 8th and a threat in the 9th, the Comeback Kids couldn’t come back and fell 6-4 to the A’s. Their eight-game winning streak is over, and now Yankee fans’ eyes will be on Boston where Jon Lester will face Jeremy Guthrie and the Orioles tonight.
For the first five innings, the game breezed by. The Yanks had no hits until Melky bunted for a single in the 5th, and Andy Pettitte and Gio Gonzalez matched 0’s. In the 6th, the Yanks broke through. A one-out Derek Jeter walk followed by a Brett Gardner triple gave the Yanks the lead. Mark Teixeira and A-Rod could not get that second run in, a part of the Yanks’ 0 for 5 effort with runners in scoring position.
In the 7th, clinging to a 1-0 lead, the wheels came off. Pettitte gave up a lead-off double to Scott Hairston and walked Nomar Garciaparra. Jack Cust flew out, but then Rajai Davis singled home Hairston and Bobby Crosby bunted for a hit to load the bases. Joe Girardi relieved Pettitte a few batters to late, and Alfredo Aceves simply could not do the job.
Ace got Mark Ellis to pop out with the bases loaded and was 0-2 on Landon Powell. Then, he caved. He threw a fat 0-2 pitch — and 89-mph fastball right over the plate — that Powell lined into left field. 3-1 A’s. Adam Kennedy singled. 4-1 A’s. Orlando Cabrera doubled. 6-1 A’s. Out went Aceves and out went the Yanks’ winning streak.
In the 8th, the Yanks mounted a comeback. Derek Jeter hit a two-run home run, and Mark Teixeira added a solo shot to bring the Yanks to within two. To start the 9th, Melky and Johnny Damon walked, but Posada deflated that rally with a double play. Jeter flew out to end the game and the winning streak.
It’s tough to complain about an 8-1 stretch, but the Yanks were shut down by a pitcher who gave up 11 runs last time out. More alarming, though, was Aceves’ appearance. Andy Pettitte gets the loss today, but Aceves allowed all three inherited runners to score and two of his own as well. He just didn’t get the job done and hasn’t for much of July. On the month, he has thrown 13.1 innings, giving up 11 hits and 7 earned runs for a pedestrian ERA of 4.72. Pitching slumps happen, but this one hurts.
The Yanks will turn the ball over to Sergio Mitre tomorrow afternoon as they look to win another series and start a new winning streak. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.