Results tagged ‘ Brandon Moss ’

Too many walks and not enough hits

The stage seemed perfectly set for Phil Hughes to have a big game Wednesday night. His parents made the trip to the Bay Area from their home in southern California to watch him start against the Athletics at O.co Coliseum, a pitchers’ park that favors those who give up a lot of fly balls. Yankees manager Joe Girardi filled his lineup with his best defensive outfielders to run down all those prospective flies, and Oakland’s lineup was without two of its best hitters, Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes, with nagging leg injuries.

It did not turn out to be Phil’s night, however. Coming off a superlative performance at Seattle at the start of the Yanks’ West Coast trip late last week, Hughes had a letdown in the Yankees’ 5-2 loss that guaranteed Oakland winning the series that ends Thursday afternoon with the Bombers’ hopes resting on Hiroki Kuroda.

Hughes struggled to find the plate in an outing that lasted only 4 1/3 innings as a mounting pitch count (95) that has plagued him often this year bit him again. Five walks played a major part of that, which has not been a characteristic of Yankees pitching this year. The staff entered play with the fewest amount of walks in the majors with 157, an average of 2.49 per nine innings.

By game’s end, the Yankees walked nine batters, a season high. It was so bad that even rookie Preston Claiborne finally walked someone for the first time in his career after 19 1/3 innings. Claiborne walked Seth Smith, who got four free passes plus a single for an odd perfect night.

A more usual nemesis for Hughes, the home run, was evident again. Brandon Moss hit the first of his two homers in the game off Hughes in the second inning, a two-run shot. Moss homered again in the eighth off Joba Chamberlain. In fact, that is just about Moss does these days. The five hits he has had over his past 40 at-bats have all been home runs.

The long ball may not have stung as much as how the A’s got their other two runs. Lackadaisical work at holding a runner on first base by both Hughes and Chamberlain helped Oakland build two runs that certainly were illuminated when the Yankees rallied in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate.

In each case, the pitcher paid no attention to A’s second baseman Eric Sogard, who took huge leads and stole second and ended up scoring on hits by John Jaso, a one-out double off Hughes in the fifth and a two-out single off Chamberlain in the eighth.

As timid as the Yankees’ offense has been the past two nights, there was never mind slim but no margin for error. The Yankees managed only four hits off three Oakland pitchers. Starter Dan Straily has been a hot pitcher of late (3-0 with a 2.20 ERA over his past five starts) and closer Grant Balfour made it 17-for-17 in saves albeit after putting the tying runs on base in the ninth.

The Yankees’ 3-4-5 hitters – Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells – were a combined 0-for-11. Teixeira did drive in a run with a sacrifice fly that gave him more RBI (5) than hits (4) on the trip. Jayson Nix got his third RBI of the trip with a two-out single in the seventh but could not duplicate the feat in the ninth in making the final out.

The victory, Oakland’s 10th straight at home, moved the A’s back into first place in the American League West while the Yankees fell three games behind the Red Sox in the AL East but stayed a half-game ahead of the third-place Orioles.

Leftovers from Saturday’s wild victory

The Yankees’ 10-9, 14-inning victory over the Athletics Saturday at Yankee Stadium was not only startling but also historic. It marked only the second time in franchise history that the Yanks overcame a four-run deficit in extra innings.

They matched the Athletics with four runs in the 13th and scored the winner in the next inning. The only other time it occurred was Sept. 17, 1980 against the Blue Jays at the Stadium when the Yankees trailed by four runs in the 10th and won, 8-7, in 13. Credit research to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Yankees’ four-run 13th was their highest run total in an extra inning since Sept. 24, 2008 (four runs in the top of the 10th of a 6-2 victory at Toronto) and their most in the 13th inning or later since May 17, 2002 (four in the 14th in a 13-12 victory over the Twins on a walk-off grand slam by Jason Giambi). Game time for that one was 5 hours, 45 minutes. Saturday’s duration of 5:43 was the Yanks’ longest since then.

Saturday’s walk-off victory was the second straight for the Yankees, a first since May 15-17, 2009 when they won three such games in a row against the Twins. It was also the Yankees’ first walk-off victory on an error (by Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss) since June 12, 2009 when Mets second baseman Luis Castillo infamously dropped a popup by Alex Rodriguez as Mark Teixeira scored the winning run

Friday, Russell Martin’s 10th-inning solo home run was a winning blow, the first extra-inning walk-off homer for the Yankees since Aug. 8, 2009, a three-run shot by Robinson Cano against the White Sox.

The Yankees won the first two games of this series in 10 and 14 innings. They are 5-3 in extras this year, surpassing their victory total from 2011 when they were 4-12. They had lost their five prior extra-inning home games dating to June 2011. The Yanks have had two 14-inning games this season (also a 5-3 victory June 16 at Washington, D.C., their most in a season since 2002 when they had three such games.

Raul Ibanez hit two home runs – a go-ahead solo shot as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning and a game-tying, two-run blow in the 13th – after having gone 71 previous at-bats without a homer. He was the first Yankees player to enter a game as a pinch hitter and homer at least twice in the game since Steve Balboni May 23, 1990 at Minnesota. Ibanez became the first Yankees player to hit a game-tying or go-ahead homer in extra innings since Rodriguez’s two-run walk-off homer Aug. 7, 2009 against the Red Sox.

CC OK with ND after Martin walk-off

CC Sabathia answered the questions about CC Sabathia Friday night.

The big question was whether the lefthander could still be the staff ace. A resounding yes was the big guy’s response.

Unfortunately, Sabathia had nothing on his personal ledger to account for his eight brilliant innings against an Oakland team that has been as much a surprising success story this season in the American League West as Baltimore has been in the AL East.

CC got hung with a hard no-decision as Rafael Soriano failed to nail down a save for only the fourth time in 46 opportunities this year. A home run by pinch hitter Brandon Moss with one out in the ninth inning wiped out the Yankees’ 1-0 lead that Soriano was brought in to protect after Sabathia had limited the Athletics to three singles and two walks with 11 strikeouts over the first eight in an efficient 113 pitches.

Sabathia was in a joyful mood after the game because his catcher, Russell Martin, kept the Yanks in first place with a walk-off home run in the 10th off A’s lefthander Sean Doolittle.

“With a day game [Saturday], I didn’t want us to play all night,” Martin quipped.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi called Martin’s 18th home run the biggest of the season. Such superlatives are common when a team get down to the last dozen games of the schedule. A loss would have been crushing for the Yankees because it would have allowed the Orioles, who won in Boston, to pull into a first-place tie.

Sabathia took a no-hitter into the sixth and already had eight K’s to that point. A single to center by Stephen Drew leading off the sixth was Oakland’s first hit and its only one until the eighth when Sabathia got into his singular jam. A second hit by Drew, a two-out infield single by Collin Cowgill and a hit batter loaded the bases, but Josh Reddick flied out to left off a tailing fastball from Sabathia. That was the only contact Reddick made as he struck out four times.

“He had a good slider, good changeup, good fastball,” Martin said of Sabathia. “Everything was good.”

“You never want to be the guy that messes things up,” Sabathia said, referring to the Yankees’ winning streak that has stretched to six games. “I was able to make pitches when I needed to. The other guy [A’s starter Jarrod Parker] was throwing a great game against us, so I couldn’t let up.”

There may have been a sense of déjà vu for Soriano. Back on July 22, he gave up a home run to Seth Smith in the ninth inning at Oakland that sent the game into extra innings that the A’s won in 12. The starting pitcher that day was also CC Sabathia.

That was then. This is now and where Sabathia despite not winning in five starts since Aug. 24 wants to be.

“This game was important to him and important to us,” Girardi said. “If CC is going to get into a hot streak, this is the time to do it.”