As it turned out, the game was over 16.24 seconds after it began. That was as long as it took Adam Rosales to sprint around the bases after launching CC Sabathia‘s first pitch of the game into the left field bleachers. The A’s had a nearly instantaneous 1-0 lead, and that would end up being all they needed. It was a combination of stellar pitching by A.J. Griffin, and dominant relief pitching on the part of Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour that completely silenced the bats of the New York Yankees as the A’s won 2-0.
The lineup put forth by the Yankees was very different from the who’s who of AL All Stars we’re used to seeing. In the place of Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez stood Eduardo Nunez, Lyle Overbay, and Jayson Nix. While Nix did go 2 for 3 in the game today, the lack of punch from this lineup was clearly evident as Griffin navigated his way through 7 scoreless innings of work on 6 hits and a walk, he struck out 4. Griffin only was seriously threatened in the 3rd inning when a Chris Stewart walk, followed by a Robinson Cano ground rule double put runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, a harmless Vernon Wells pop up ended the threat. Otherwise the Yankees had a baserunner here and there but never threatened to score again.
The A’s offense was fairly limited as well, with the Rosales home run and a Derek Norris RBI single in the 6th inning accounting for the only scoring in the game. The A’s did have 10 hits though, 8 of which came against Sabathia, so they had chances for more but couldn’t convert. But with Griffin on his game like he was, it didn’t matter so much. Nate Freiman and Jed Lowrie each were able to tally 3 hits apiece, Adam Rosales and Yoenis Cespedes each reached base twice.
The A’s and Yanks take to the field once again tomorrow in a matinee as Bartolo Colon (3-0, 3.38 ERA) takes on Phil Hughes (0-2, 4.67 ERA) as they try to take the series on the road. Yankee Stadium, both old and new, has always been a tough place for the A’s to win, so taking this series would be a huge step for this team. Colon can follow much of the same strategy that Griffin did in his victory today, pitch to contact and let the defense do their jobs. Pitch to the big power alleys and let the Yankees get themselves out. It’s a strategy that normally wouldn’t work with this team, but with the current cast of characters it can.