I really didn’t think I’d be writing about the A’s pulling out a win in this afternoon’s rubber match against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. It seems that every time they head to the Bronx, I’m satisfied with not being swept there. This Yankee team, although they’ve been winning games so far in 2013, is a shell of the squads that we have seen in recent years. With the injuries to almost every prominent starter not named Robinson Cano, that left well… Cano to do every bit of the heavy lifting.
Dan Straily defied the odds and managed to keep the Yankees in the ballpark today, which is quite an accomplishment considering the homer friendly dimensions at the new version of the “House That Ruth Built.” Straily has been prone to the longball as the Angels demonstrated on Monday night, so this has to have felt good for the young righty. Straily looked dominant at times, shaky at others, but for the most part was able to sidestep trouble when it arose. He was the victim of perhaps a quick hook by Bob Melvin in the 6th inning when he got into a little trouble with 2 on and 1 out, he had only thrown 85 pitches (60 for strikes) but Melvin wanted to play the matchups. This rare instance of micromanaging by the skipper didn’t pay off as the Yankees tied the game at 4. Three of those runs were charged to Straily. His line was 5.1 innings, 4 hits, 3 ER, 3 BB, and 4 K’s. With his high strike percentage, at least he was efficient in walking the 3 batters he did. He very well could have gotten out of the 6th inning, which would have made his line look much nicer and given him a chance to get the W, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The A’s got offense from some very likely, and some very unlikely sources. Luke Montz, Yoenis Cespedes, and Josh Donaldson all went deep; bet you can’t guess who’s the likely and unlikely sources. Montz hit his first home run in the big leagues in 5 years today, and it was a huge run ultimately, he doubled in the game as well. Cespedes, who’s family made the trip to New York from Miami to see their son play in the US for the first time got to see just how good their boy is as he hit a soaring home run into the bullpen in left center field. Josh Donaldson hit the decisive blow with a tape measure shot to put the A’s up 5-4, a lead they would be able to hold.
Sean Doolittle worked a clean inning as the winning pitcher today, Ryan Cook contributed a scoreless inning as well. Grant Balfour got himself into a little trouble in the bottom of the 9th, but managed to strikeout Vernon Wells with 2 runners on to get the save and secure the series for the A’s.
The green and gold head to Cleveland to begin a 4 game set with the Tribe tomorrow night. The A’s will send out Jarrod Parker (1-4, 7.36 ERA) against Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 7.13 ERA) in a game that on paper would be a slugfest, but will probably end up being a spectacular pitcher’s duel between two talented right handers. Keep an eye out for the famous Milwaukee Mauler, who hopefully will be in attendance for this series as he was last season.