Tip your hat to Coco Crisp. He beat CC Sabathia, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano on the same night. His first inning homer off CC started the scoring. His fister to center off Robertson in the eighth gave the A’s a short-lived 3-2 lead, and his three-run bomb to right in the tenth off a nothing-slider from Soriano won the game 6-4. A night after the Yankees failed to fully bake a comeback, the A’s showed them how to make it crispy.
Batting second, Crisp went 4-4 and the A’s were fortunate to have ninth hitter Scott Sizemore also go 4-4. That was eight of the eleven hits the A’s would get, but stacked the way they were in the order, they were timed just right to account for six runs. The Yanks spread their 11 hits around and only came up with four.
The Yankees broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth when Nick Swisher jacked a solo homer. Swish’s last four balls in play: homer, fly out to the top of the wall, homer, homer. He’s seeing beach balls right now. They had the chance to pad the lead in the seventh, but stranded Nuñez on third with no one out. For Girardi’s love of the bunt, he’s not one to squeeze. I’d support a squeeze with Gardner to push the lead to 3-1 with CC, Robertson and Mo available to get six outs.
Turns out the A’s didn’t need six outs to ruin the evening. Just one. A single, a sac and a double knotted the score and sent CC to the showers. David Robertson’s hammer failed to find the nails. He walked Jemile Weeks in front Crisp’s run-scoring single. He’s been so good that he can’t be faulted for this stumble. He escaped further damage with a fortunate double play as Derek Jeter sprawled to cover Hideki Matsui’s snaking liner.
With all that Robertson has done for the Yankees lately, 11 straight scoreless appearances, it was the least the offense could do to return the favor and pick-up him up off the mat. Maybe Mark Teixeira agreed as he wasted no time in tying the game with his 35th homer to start the eighth. The Yanks continued to apply pressure as Eric Chavez lashed toward left with two on and two out, but the ball made a bee-line for third baseman Scott Sizemore’s glove.
Mariano Rivera came in the face the heart of the order in the ninth and helped to make rookie Brandon Allen’s second visit to Yankee Stadium less pleasurable than his first. He was perfect for the fourth consecutive time since his rough week. Seven strikeouts in just four innings. I think those homers made him mad. Not mad enough to pitch two innings though, I guess. The Yanks sent Soriano out in the tenth after only 12 pitches from Mariano.
This is the first series the Yanks have dropped in the second half apart from the Red Sox series. The Red Sox crushed the Rangers again, so that puts the Yanks in second place. Every time the two teams pull even, the Red Sox reassert their claim on the division lead. The AL East will still probably be decided in the remaining games between the two leaders, but it would be nice to be the one on top when those games happen.
Last night was about as satisfying as a loss can get. Tonight was… not.
Three starts ago CC Sabathia was a front runner for the Cy Young Award. After getting bombed by Boston and losing to Tampa, he’s completely out of the race. Prior to August, CC let up six homers all season. This month alone he’s allowed eight long balls. Of course, Justin Verlander is just a s responsible as CC for the fall, dude’s been lights out. But shoot, that happened fast. The good news is that even during this funky month, CC has struck out 35 in 36.1 innings, and walked only three. The 11+ K/BB ratio means good things are just around the corner in September.
Speaking of August, Derek Jeter is about to log his second consecutive month with a slugging percentage over .400. This is notable because after April 2010, he slugged .338 for the next eight months. In not one of those months did he slug higher than .379, falling to the unthinkable nadir of .272 in April 2011. His ISO was .078. But over the course of his last 188 PAs, he’s slugged .470 and his ISO is closer to his career average: .119 vs .136. I have no idea if skipping the All Star Game helped him achieve this turn-around, but I won’t make a stink if he chooses not to go next time.
Derek Jeter singled in his first two at bats tonight. It brought his season average to .299. We all know that batting average does nothing more than measure the ratio of hits to official at bats, and OBP, wRC+ and wOBA (among many other stats) are far superior when measuring a player’s quality. But I’d be lying if I said I’m not pulling for Jeter to see the sunny side of .300. He ended up 2 for 5 and stands at .297.