Athletics 5, Yankees 4, 11 innings
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Travis Buck decided from the moment he made contact that he would stretch his hit into a triple.
The rookie wanted to test center fielder Johnny Damon and did so—barely.
Three batters later, Buck scored the winning run on Bobby Kielty’s bases-loaded grounder in the bottom of the 11th inning, and the Oakland Athletics rallied for a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
“I basically made that decision coming out of the box,” said Buck, whose father grew up a Yankees fan. “Damon doesn’t have that strong of a throwing arm. I wanted to test it. … Crossing the plate with the winning run to beat the Yankees … I’m still trying to calm down.”
Buck just beat the relay throw to get aboard on a one-out triple. Mark Ellis was plunked by Brian Bruney (0-1), who then intentionally walked Nick Swisher to bring up Kielty. First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz dove to grab Kielty’s grounder but rushed his throw and couldn’t get Buck at the plate.
Damon wasn’t worried about Buck’s comments.
“I think he was kind of lucky the ball did bounce off the wall,” Damon said. “He would have been out. He’s a young kid. He’ll learn.”
Six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez ended the Yankees’ 10th with a great falling, barehanded grab on the dirt in foul territory after the ball popped out of his glove, and earlier hit a two-run homer.
Alex Rodriguez missed a chance for the go-ahead run in the eighth. He singled to start the inning and Jason Giambi followed with a double. After Jorge Posada lined out to first, Justin Duchscherer intentionally walked Robinson Cano to bring up Mientkiewicz.
He hit a high popup behind the mound that Duchscherer couldn’t catch, then the pitcher threw home and catcher Jason Kendall easily tagged out an upright A-Rod to save the run.
The A’s finally exhibited some power.
Chavez and Swisher each connected for the first time this season, with Swisher hitting a tying solo homer with two outs in the seventh.
Chavez’s drive to the right-field seats in the sixth chased Kei Igawa and he also had an RBI groundout for Oakland, which had gone six games without a homer for its second-longest longball drought since Sept. 14-24, 1983, when the A’s went nine games without one.
Swisher’s drive off Kyle Farnsworth tied it at 4.
New York’s bullpen blew a strong outing by Igawa, the Japanese lefty who was poised to pick up his first major league win in his second try.
Igawa looked much better this time than when he was tagged for seven runs and eight hits in five innings last Saturday against Baltimore. He allowed three runs and three hits, struck out three and walked two in 5 1-3 innings, outpitching Dan Haren.
“It’s a shame he couldn’t get the win,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Bobby Abreu and Rodriguez—who did not get an extra-base hit for the first time this season—chased Haren with consecutive singles to start the sixth and Alan Embree, who hadn’t allowed a run in six outings this season, gave up Mientkiewicz’s RBI groundout.
Haren has a four-game losing streak over his last six regular-season starts dating to his last victory Sept. 13 at Minnesota.
Haren struck out the side on 11 pitches in the second, then had some trouble in the third. Melky Cabrera hit a comebacker that Haren tried to backhand and then threw low toward first and the ball traveled all the way to the visitor’s bullpen for what was ruled a single and two-base error allowing Cabrera to reach third. He scored on Abreu’s sacrifice fly.
Mike Piazza got aboard to start the fourth on Abreu’s three-base error when he dropped a routine fly against the wall in right. Piazza scored the tying run, which was unearned, moments later on Chavez’s RBI groundout.
Giambi was booed lustily in his return to the Coliseum six years after he left the A’s following seven seasons with Oakland.
After scoring three runs in the first inning of Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox, the A’s had managed only two total hits until Piazza’s one-out double in the sixth.
Mientkiewicz is hitless in his last 21 at-bats. … A’s CF Milton Bradley missed his second straight game while nursing a sore left hamstring. He could return to the lineup Saturday night. … Abreu hit his second double in six career at-bats vs. Haren. … Ellis batted leadoff for the first time this year. … The A’s committed their seventh error in 11 games after setting a franchise record for fewest errors in non-strike season with 84. … The game drew a sellout crowd of 35,077, including 1,000 standing-room only tickets.