OAKLAND, Calif. -- What started as a pitching duel between A's right-hander Jarrod Parker and Yankees righty Hiroki Kuroda turned into a marathon battle of shutdown bullpens Thursday afternoon at the O.co Coliseum.
The question was, which 'pen would blink first?
The answer finally came in the bottom of the 18th inning when A's rookie Nate Freiman hit a walk-off single to left with the bases loaded off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, giving Oakland a 3-2 victory.
Rivera took over in the bottom of the 18th with one out and John Jaso, who singled off Preston Clairborne (0-1), on first. Seth Smith blooped a single to left, moving Jaso to third. Rivera intentionally walked Jed Lowrie, loading the bases and bringing Freiman to the plate.
Freiman hit Rivera's second pitch to left field, giving the A's their 11th consecutive home win, the longest streak in the majors this season. Oakland, which swept the three-game series, improved to 5-1 against the Yankees this season and beat them at the Coliseum for the sixth straight time, dating to last season. The A's are 10-3 in their past 13 games against the Yankees.
Parker and Kuroda each allowed two runs over eight innings, but neither one figured in the decision as the bullpens took over.
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and the A's pulled even with two runs in the third. A Derek Norris groundout scored Oakland's first run, and Smith doubled home Jaso with the tying run. Neither team scored again until the 18th.
The Yankees used six relievers: David Robertson, Boone Logan, Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, Claiborne and Rivera.
Warren took over in the 11th and threw six shutout innings.
The A's also used six relievers: Grant Balfour, Ryan Cook, Jerry Blevins, Pat Neshek, Hideki Okajima and Jesse Chavez, who pitched the final 5 2/3 innings to earn the win. Chavez (1-0) blanked the Yankees on one hit and struck out seven, tying his career high.
Chavez, who has been slowed by a strained pectoral muscle, made his first appearance since June 5 at Milwaukee. He came on in the 12th with two runners on and one out and struck out Kevin Youkilis and Vernon Wells.
The A's nearly ended the game in the 15th. Brandon Moss lined a one-out single to right and went to second on a wild pitch, barely beating catcher Chris Stewart's throw. After Warren walked Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp came on as a pinch hitter, despite battling a bruised right heel that kept him out of the starting lineup for the second straight game.
Crisp singled to left, but Wells gunned down Moss at the plate, throwing a strike to Stewart, who was run over but held onto the ball. Warren then fanned Adam Rosales, ending the inning.
This wasn't Oakland's first marathon of the season. On April 29, the A's beat the Angels 10-8 in a 19-inning game that ended when Moss hit a two-run, walk-off homer. That game took a franchise-record six hours and 32 minutes. This one lasted 5:35.
NOTES: In a pregame ceremony, the A's honored Rivera, baseball's all-time saves leader who's retiring after this season. The A's presented him with a $10,042 check for his foundation (the "42" representing his uniform number), as well as an assortment of retirement gifts, including some Napa Valley wine and a surfboard. "I think when the other teams do it, they're honoring him because of what he's meant to the game, not just the New York Yankees, and I think people are appreciative of the way he's handled the game, the way he's been somewhat of a spokesperson for the game, a model citizen for the game," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "A humble player that's the greatest of all time at his position. I think it's nice that other clubs honor him." ... Crisp and LF Yoenis Cespedes (strained left hamstring) were out of the Oakland starting lineup for the second straight day.