OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The frustration built inside Jason Giambi with each out he made. One swing put that 0-for-5 night in the past.
Giambi homered with one out in the 13th inning and eight New York pitchers held Oakland scoreless for the final 12 innings of the Yankees’ 4-3 victory over the Athletics on Saturday night.
“It’s just been a battle,” Giambi said. “If I hit the ball hard or hit the ball soft, I can’t seem to find the hole. It was nice to hit the ball hard and get rewarded for it.”
Giambi was mired in a 5-for-35 slump before delivering the big blow against Lenny DiNardo (0-1) to beat his former team, capping New York’s comeback from an early three-run deficit.
“He’s a pro,” manager Joe Torre said. “He struggles and all that stuff but he never really changes his personality. That’s the mark of a guy who has a great deal of confidence in himself.”
New York fell behind 3-0 in the first when the A’s scored three unearned runs following an error by shortstop Derek Jeter. But New York rallied back and tied the game on Jorge Posada’s pinch-hit RBI double with two outs in the seventh inning to knock out starter Joe Blanton.
Brian Bruney (1-1), New York’s eighth pitcher of the game, threw two scoreless innings for the win a night after losing the game in the 11th inning. Seven relievers combined for 7 2-3 scoreless innings for the Yankees.
Bruney said he watched the highlight of Oakland rookie Travis Buck slamming his helmet in celebration after scoring the winning run in the 11th inning Friday night and took extra pleasure in ending this game by striking Buck out.
“To see a guy slam his helmet in front of you after the game was over last night makes it a little extra special to finish it off against him,” Bruney said. “I thought that was a little disrespectful last night. Our guys win with class.”
Buck said he meant no disrespect.
“Over here we like to have fun,” he said. “If that was showing him up, that was not the intent at all. I was really excited for us to pull out a win against a tremendous team.”
This marked the second time in the last three games that the A’s scored three runs in the first and failed to score again in a loss, following a 6-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
“It was a promising start and then they pitched well after that,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “We had our shots. It seemed like when we needed the big hit we didn’t get it.”
The Yankees had a chance to take the lead earlier in extra innings when they loaded the bases in the 10th with help from an error by shortstop Bobby Crosby. But Huston Street got out of the jam by getting Alex Rodriguez to pop out to shortstop a week after A-Rod hit a game-ending grand slam against Baltimore.
Blanton faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings before Rodriguez led off the fifth with his major league-leading seventh home run of the season. Melky Cabrera added an RBI single in the inning but Blanton avoided further damage by getting Wil Nieves to foul out and striking out Johnny Damon with two on to get out of the inning.
Oakland had a chance to take the lead after putting the first two runners on in the seventh, but Jason Kendall popped out on a bunt attempt and Scott Proctor retired Marco Scutaro and Shannon Stewart to escape the threat.
“He’s one of the best bunters we have and the guy threw a tough pitch,” Geren said.
The A’s took advantage of Jeter’s error to take the early lead against Darrell Rasner. Jeter bobbled Mike Piazza’s slowly hit grounder with Nick Swisher on second. Eric Chavez followed with a sacrifice fly and Crosby hit an RBI double. The inning could have been ever bigger but Cabrera threw Crosby out at home trying to score on Travis Buck’s RBI single to left field.
Rasner allowed only one hit after the first—a leadoff single by Kendall in the fifth—and finished his outing allowing just the three unearned runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. It was a big improvement from his first outing of the year when he allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-4 loss to Baltimore.
Blanton allowed three runs, five hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings. … The Yankees committed four errors in a game, the third time this season they’ve had at least three. Jeter had two of the errors, giving him five on the season. … Giambi grounded out against Alan Embree to lead of the ninth inning and is 3-for-22 in his career against the left-hander. … New York’s Doug Mientkiewicz did not start but went 0-for-2, extending his hitless streak to 23 at-bats. … The final outs of the eighth and ninth innings for the Yankees came on caught stealings. Bobby Abreu was caught to end the eighth by pitcher Alan Embree and Robinson Cano was thrown out at second by Kendall to end the ninth. Cano was also thrown out by Kendall in the 13th.