Yanks’ 18-inning loss in historical context

The Yankees’ 3-2, 18-inning loss at Oakland Thursday was their longest game since Sept. 11, 1988 at Yankee Stadium against the Tigers, a 5-4 victory on Claudell Washington’s two-run home run off Guillermo “Willie” Hernandez in the bottom of the 18th. An RBI single by Torey Lovullo, now the bench coach of the Red Sox, had given Detroit a 4-3 lead in the top of that inning.

The Athletics completed a sweep of the Yankees, their first this year in a series of three or more games (they were swept in consecutive two-game series May 27-30 by the Mets). Yanks pitchers held the A’s scoreless for 14 consecutive innings (from the fourth through the 17th). The Yankees had 10 hits but left 14 runners on base and had 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Most embarrassing for the Yankees’ offense was the performance of the 4-through-7 batters in the order who were a combined 0-for-28 – Mark Teixeira (0-for-5, 2 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 3 strikeouts), Travis Hafner (0-for-8, 3K), Kevin Youkilis (0-for-7, 1BB, 3K) and Vernon Wells 0-for-8, 3K). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time in modern major-league history (since 1900) in a game of any length that four starters batting in consecutive lineup slots went hitless in a combined total of 28 or more at-bats. Elias also noted that it was the first game in modern history in which a team had three different players each go hitless in at least seven at-bats, with each player striking out at least three times and marked the first game in the history of the Yankees that the team had four different players who struck out at least three times.

Hiroki Kuroda started and allowed two earned runs, two hits and two walks with three strikeouts in eight innings and remained winless in five starts since May 17 with a 0-3 record and 4.40 over 28 2/3 innings during that stretch. Robinson Cano, who had 3-for-6, reached base five times with one home run, two doubles and five walks. His homer, the club’s first in 53 innings since June 6, accounted for both Yankees runs in the first inning.

Teixeira recorded 21 putouts at first base, the second time since 1999 that a Yankees player had that many or more putouts in a single game (Andy Phillips had 22 June 28, 2006 in a 4-3 Yanks victory over the Braves at the Stadium). Kuroda surpassed 1,000 career innings in the majors and is the third Japanese-born pitcher in MLB history to do so, joining Hideo Nomo (1,976 1/3) and Tomo Ohka (1,070).

The Yankees have lost seven straight games at the O.co Coliseum dating to last year. It comes on the heels of a franchise-record nine consecutive victories at Oakland from July 5, 2010 to May 27, 2012. The Yanks have had only one longer losing streak in Oakland. They dropped 10 in a row there from Sept. 9, 1989 through May 1, 1991.

The Yanks’ public relations staff put together the following chart detailing the last time prior to Thursday that the Yankees reached the following statistics:

Statistic First time since
Game Time (5:35) Sept. 22, 2012 vs. Athletics (5:43, 14 innings)
Innings played (18) Sept. 11, 1988 vs. Tigers (18, 5-4 victory)
Innings played in loss (18) April 22, 1970 at Washington (18, 2-1)
Innings played on road (18) April 22, 1970 at Washington (18, 2-1 loss)
Most AB, Yankees Batters (60) June 1, 2003 at Detroit (61 in 17 innings, 10-9 victory)
Most AB, Yankees Player (8, Hafner/Wells) Sept. 22, 2012 vs. A’s (8, Cano, 14 innings)
Relief Innings (6, Warren) June 7, 2011 vs. Red Sox (6, Noesi, 9-inning game)
Strikeouts, Yankees Batters (15) Sept. 5, 2012 at Tampa Bay (15, 9-inning game)
Putouts, Yankees Fielder (21, Teixeira) June 28, 2006 vs. Braves (22, Phillips, 12 innings)
Consecutive scoreless innings, Yankees Pitchers (14) Aug. 25, 1976 vs. Twins (17 of 19)
Consecutive scoreless innings, Yankees Batters (17) June 24, 1962 at Detroit (19 of 22)

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