The Athletics now have ten walk-off wins this year. Ten! That’s more than one out of every five wins overall and nearly half their home wins. Maybe they’re clutch, maybe they’re just ridiculously fortunate with their timing. Either way, ten is a crazy high number. Let’s recap…
- Extra Bases: Two runs in 6.2 innings is a pretty good start but man, the Athletics were all over Ivan Nova whenever he missed his spot. They tagged him for five extra-base hits, raising his league-leading total to 64 (!) allowed. Jamie Shields is second with 52 (!!!). It’s been a problem all year; Nova’s mistakes doesn’t just go for singles or well-struck fly balls. He’s young and this is a learning process, but sheesh.
- Changeups: Tommy Milone is a left-handed changeup specialist with a reverse split, so it’s not much of a surprise that he set a new career-high with ten strikeouts against a lineup stacked with righties. The 6-7-8 hitters went a combined 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts against him. Milone stifled the Yankees with that soft dead fish changeup down and away all night due in part to a lineup that played right into his strength.
- Tie Game: The Yankees used a pair of solo homers to knot the game up, including an opposite field job from Robinson Cano to lead off the ninth. Russell Martin did the honors in the eighth. Cano had already singled to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 23 games, but that was a cheap little single that short-hopped the shortstop’s glove. The dinger legitimized it a bit.
- Walk-off: With Rafael Soriano sitting in the bullpen waiting to protect the lead that never came, Cody Eppley surrendered the walk-off rally by allowing three singles (one an infield job) to the three batters he faced. I figured something bad would happen once he had to face a lefty with men on-base, and sure enough Brandon Moss won it. The Yankees really need another non-OOGY reliever and I don’t think waiting around for Joba Chamberlain is the solution.
- Leftovers: Boone Logan (one out), David Robertson (three outs), and Clay Rapada (one out) were a bit shaky but still recorded their five outs and did the job … ugly night for Andruw Jones, who went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and made an offline throw to the plate on the game-winning hit … the Yankees have yet to draw a walk in the series … this game should have been a blowout, but the Athletics put on a mean RISPFAIL clinic (3-for-14) … the consecutive games with at least three runs is over, finishing at 43 for the second-longest single-season streak in baseball history.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. Every other team in the AL East won except for the Red Sox (who lost to the Blue Jays), so the lead in the division is down to eight games. The Yankees did pass the Rangers in run differential with an assist from the Angels, so New York now owns both the best record and run differential in all of baseball. Phil Hughes will look to help the Yankees salvage the series against another rookie on Saturday, this time right-hander Jarrod Parker.