It was an intriguing matchup on paper, one bonafide ace squaring off against an ace of the future. CC Sabathia and Jarrod Parker showed just how exciting a pitcher’s duel can be, and for 8 innings Sabathia shut down the A’s lineup. Recently there has been fear in the Yankees universe that something was terribly wrong with the big lefty, his velocity was down, his elbow had been hurting, and the whisper of Tommy John could be heard throughout the Bronx. While that may never have been a realistic threat, anytime a pitcher complains about elbow soreness the mind automatically shifts toward major surgery. But tonight the CC Sabathia that earned the biggest contract ever bestowed upon a pitcher returned to the mound.
The A’s didn’t get their first base hit of the night until Stephen Drew led off the top of the 6th inning with a single. Sabathia had his best stuff working and the A’s could not figure him out. A;most equally good though was A’s starter Jarrod Parker, displaying the same dominance he showed against the Yankees in Oakland back in July, he allowed just a single run in the 3rd inning on a sacrifice fly by Curtis Granderson. Over his 8 innings of work he allowed just 6 hits, 1 ER, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out 7. He was in line for the hardest of hard luck losses, an 8 inning complete game where he allowed just a single run.
Then came the 9th inning, and without Mariano Rivera in the bullpen with the torn ACL he suffered early in the season, Rafael Soriano came in to shut the door like he has many times in Mo’s absence. Brandon Moss though had other ideas. With 1 out Moss pinch hit for Chris Carter and rocketed a 2-2 pitch into the sky, landing in the second deck in right field to tie the game. The A’s were riding high, but unfortunately couldn’t capitalize and take the lead. Sean Doolittle came in for the bottom of the 9th inning and blew away the Yankees save for a bloop single by Alex Rodriguez. In the 10th the A’s were retired in order by David Robertson, including Josh Reddick‘s 4th strikeout of the night.
The game wouldn’t last much longer. On the second pitch of what would have been Sean Doolittle’s 2nd inning of work, Russell Martin took advantage of a fastball left just a little bit too high and rocked it into the left field bleachers. Just like that the game was over and the A’s were forced to watch the Yankees celebrate a walk off win much like they had done in Oakland against them. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but atleast it was over quickly.
It’s a shame that Jarrod Parker’s gem went for naught tonight, but it was still an extremely positive sign that he’s still got plenty left in the tank for this season, and the A’s are going to need him. It’s hard to fault the team for not being able to hit Sabathia, he’s one of the best in the game and when someone like him is on his game there isn’t much you can do about it.
The Rangers finally lost another game, so the A’s didn’t lose any ground in the division race, but the Angels and Orioles both won their games tonight. So at the moment the A’s are a game behind the Orioles, occupying the 2nd wildcard spot, and the Angels pull to within 3.5 games of the A’s. Just like the games in Detroit, it may have been a crushing defeat, but it only counts as one, and the next game is rapidly approaching.
Tomorrow morning the A’s will send out Travis Blackley (5-3, 3.38) to start once again as he takes on Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.85 ERA) as the A’s try to even up the series. It’s very important to not let this loss get to them, and the quick turnaround will help them forget about tonight.