Before we get to another great win for the Athletics over the Yankees, the pregame festivities were that much better. Thirteen year old Nick LeGrande threw out the ceremonial first pitch remotely from Kansas City, in a specially designed mini baseball field at his home thanks to Google, his throwing motion triggered a robot sitting on the mound in Oakland to toss the ball to the waiting glove of A’s reliever Ryan Cook. LeGrande can’t attend baseball games because of a rare immune disorder called severe aplastic anemia that prevents him from being able to be among large groups of people. It was an amazing moment to say the least. Please do check it out here.
Dan Straily seems to have figured something out, he’s put together a very solid string of starts and continued that string today. Straily allowed just 1 hit through the first 5 innings tonight, and only one other Yankee reached base on a first inning error by Eric Sogard. Straily would stumble a little bit in the 6th while allowing a walk and a single to set up Mark Teixeira‘s sacrifice fly to get the Yankees on the board. He would allow a second run in the 7th inning and would have to yield to Sean Doolittle for the final out of the inning. Straily pitched 6.2 innings overall, allowed just 3 hits and those 2 ER, he walked only 1 and struck out 3.
Sean Doolittle had his second straight good outing, this time recording 4 outs without allowing a single baserunner. Grant Balfour notched his 17th save of the season, and his 35th straight dating back to last year.
The offense was fueled primarily by the longball courtesy of Brandon Moss. He’s been struggling badly as of late, but when he makes solid contact the ball has left the yard each time. He’s now 5 for his last 40 and each of those 5 hits are home runs. Moss now has 11 on the season. John Jaso also contributed 2 RBI with a double in the 5th and a single in the 8th. The A’s played a lot of “lawyerball” tonight against Yankees starter Phil Hughes and the rest of the Yankees staff, drawing a total of 9 walks. Only 1 of those walks ended up scoring, but their patience enabled them to get Hughes out of the game and further tax their bullpen.
With this win the A’s are now 40-27, their best start through 67 games since 1990 when they last went to the World Series. Most importantly though, with the Texas Rangers loss to the Cleveland Indians they are now back in sole possession of first place in the AL West. I have a feeling this battle for division supremacy will go back and forth like this for the duration of the season.
The A’s have also won the season series versus the Yankees for the first time since 2007, and have the opportunity to sweep them in Oakland for the second straight series tomorrow. It won’t be easy though as Jarrod Parker (5-6, 4.65 ERA) takes on Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.84 ERA) tomorrow afternoon. The Rangers are idle tomorrow, so a win will not only sweep the series but give the A’s an extra half game cushion in the AL West.