Bronx, NY—The Yankees ended their most recent home stand on Sunday afternoon with a 5-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics. The defeat was the first one-run loss suffered by the Yankees this season. They were the last team in the majors to be defeated by one run in 2013.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, the A’s pushed the first run of the contest across the plate in the third without benefit of a base hit.
Lead-off batter Derek Norris walked. The next batter, Jed Lowrie, was hit by a pitch. A double play attempt went awry as second sacker Robinson Cano threw the ball by first base, allowing Norris to score.
Luke Montz, called up to the A’s on Wednesday, belted a 3-2 pitch by Andy Pettitte into the stands in left as the lead-off batter in the fourth. His first home run of the year gave Oakland a 2-1 advantage.
The Athletics put more distance between themselves and the Yanks by scoring two additional runs off Pettitte in the fifth.
Lowrie, hitting .400 off Pettitte (4 for 10), was put on base for the third time of the game with a base on balls. Yoenis Céspedes followed with his fifth round tripper of the campaign.
Pettitte left the game after five innings. The lefty yielded four runs, three earned, four hits, three walks and a hit batsman. After the contest, Yankees manager Joe Girardi assessed Pettitte’s performance, “He didn’t have real good command of his fast ball. He threw a lot of pitches.” The veteran uncorked 100 pitches in his five inning stint.
The Yanks again knotted the score with three runs in the sixth. The key blows were a run batted in single by Ichiro Suzuki and a two run double by first baseman Lyle Overbay.
Preston Claiborne, 25, pitched an impressive two innings (sixth and seventh) in his MLB debut. He retired all six batters he faced. Girardi was full of praise for his work, “Had two very good innings, threw strikes, used all his pitches. He gave us a chance to tie the game.”
The last lead change won the contest for Oakland. The second batter of the eighth, Josh Donaldson, hit a 2-1 pitch off Boone Logan, who entered the game in that inning, into the left field seats to break the 4-4 tie.
Oakland closer Grant Balfour earned the save by pitching a scoreless ninth frame. It was his fifth save in five opportunities this year. He now has 23 consecutive save conversions, a streak that began exactly one year before, May 5, 2012. Girardi commented upon Balfour and his bullpen mates, “They have a good bullpen, no doubt about it.”
MLB now takes an eight day hiatus from Yankee Stadium. After an off-day on Monday, the Yanks travel to Colorado for a three game series. They then play three games at Kansas City, followed by a double header at Cleveland on May 13. Oakland remains on the road with a four game series at Cleveland, which will be followed by three games at Seattle.
Injury report-Eduardo Nuñez was removed from the game with tightness in his left ribcage in the fifth inning. The report from his MRI was negative. According to Girardi the shortstop is day-to-day. He will not be replaced on the roster if the injury is short term. Girardi said, “If it is for a couple of days, we’re okay.”