Walk-off Weekend fell one short. The Yankees were unable to complete the sweep of the Athletics on Sunday afternoon, losing a sloppy 5-4 game that they led into the fifth. The seven-game winning streak is over, but New York has still won a dozen of its last 17 games. Let’s recap…
- Kuroda Struggles: Hiroki Kuroda carried the Yankees for a few weeks earlier in the season, but now the rest of the team isn’t reciprocating when he needs the pick-me-up. Kuroda allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks in 5.2 innings, struggling with his location all day. He was missing up and away from lefties and off the plate from righties quite a bit, and he bounced a few breaking balls for wild pitches. The umpires and his defense didn’t help him out, but at the end of the day Hiroki wasn’t all that good. He’s now allowed 20 runs in his last 32.1 innings (five starts).
- Four In The Fourth: The Yankees did all of their scoring in the fourth inning, when it became pretty apparent that they had figured A.J. Griffin out. Nick Swisher crushed a two-run homer like he knew what was coming, then Curtis Granderson (single) and Raul Ibanez (double) followed with rockets to right. The other run scored when Eduardo Nunez plated Russell Martin (infield single) with a ground out. Griffin left the game shortly thereafter and the Yankees did score again despite chances in the fifth (first and second, one out), sixth (first and second, two outs), seventh (runner on first, one out), and eighth (runner at second, one out).
- Sloppy: The entire series was messy, especially the finale. There were five total errors in the game, including two by Eduardo Scissorhands. The first — a two-base throwing error — allowed Josh Donaldson to reach base before he came around to score the game-winning run. Each team had a pitcher throw a ball away on a pickoff play as well. The umpires also got in on the fun, as home plate ump Mike Estabrook had a wacky strike zone and first base ump Larry Vanover blew a call in the second that led to a run. The throw beat Donaldson by a half-step if not more. Wasn’t particularly close.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter singled twice to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, but Ichiro Suzuki only had one hit. His multi-hit game streak ends at five … Jeter, Swisher, and Ibanez were the only Yankees with multiple hits, though Robinson Cano (single, walk) and Martin (single, walk) also reached base twice … Boone Logan retired all three men he faced (two strikeouts and a line drive double play), his 76th appearance of the season. That leads the AL, is the most by any reliever under Joe Girardi, and the tenth most in Yankees’ history … the bullpen (Logan, David Phelps, Clay Rapada, and Cody Eppley) allowed one hit and one walk in 3.1 scoreless innings.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. The Red Sox actually managed to beat the Orioles, so they remain one back in the loss column. The Rays beat the Blue Jays to creep within six games. The magic number to clinch the division is down to ten, but the magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at six. The Yankees are off to Minnesota for a three-game set with the Twins starting Monday night. Andy Pettitte will make his second start off the DL in the opener and be opposed by rookie right-hander Liam Hendriks.