by Charlie O. Mallonee
It took four hours and 15 minutes, 11-innings, 13 pitchers, 34 baserunners, 17 hits, four home runs and one controversial video replay to bring game two of the three-game series between the Athletics and Yankees to a conclusion on Saturday afternoon.
In the bottom of the 11th inning with two out and runners at first and second, the Yankees Neil Walker stepped into the batter’s box to face A’s relief pitcher Chris Hatcher who entered the game in the 10th inning. Walker hit the first pitch to him from Hatcher into center field. Gary Sanchez took off from second base at the crack of the bat and never had any goal in mind but to score the winning run. Mark Canha’s throw was off-line and Sanchez scored the run for a 7-6 New York walk-off win.
Walker is now 9-for-25 (.360) including nine walks in his last nine games after hitting just .163 in his first 21-games of the season.
Oakland thought the game might be over in nine innings
In the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees brought in the fire-balling Aroldis Chapman to shut down the A’s. It became apparent immediately that Chapman did not have his usual unhittable, strikeout “stuff” on Saturday. After loading the bases on three consecutive walks, Chapman was able to strikeout Mark Canha.
Jonathan Lucroy was inserted as a pinch-hitter for catcher Bruce Maxwell. Lucroy was 1-for-9 versus Chapman with the one hit being a home run. Lucroy hit the first pitch from Chapman into shallow left field. As Brett Gardner caught the ball, the Athletics Matt Olson tagged at third and headed for home. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez moved about three-feet up the baseline, caught an on-target throw from Gardner and made a sweeping tag at Olson who was sliding toward home plate. Home plate umpire James Hoye called Olson safe without hesitation. The Yankees immediately challenged the call on the field.
The replays made available to television made it look like Sanchez did indeed make the tag except for one crucial angle where it looks like the catcher misses the tag. The replay center overturned the call on the field. It became an inning-ending double play.
Personal opinion inserted here: I hate replay in all sports. You have professional officials on the field to calls. Let them do their jobs. Yes, they will make some mistakes. over the course of a 162-game season, all of the mistakes will balance themselves out. Review your history if doubt my opinion.
Oakland Postgame Notes
- This was the A’s first extra-inning loss of the season. They were 3-0 in extra-inning games until Saturday.
- Starting pitcher Andrew Triggs did not record a decision. He worked 4.1-innings allowing six runs (all earned) on six hits. He struck out six Yanks and walked four. Triggs real undoing was allowing three home runs.
- Reliever Chris Hatcher (3-1) took the loss on Saturday. He pitched 1.2-innings giving up one run off two hits.
- The A’s other five relievers – Coulombe, Dull, Casilla, Petit and Treinen pitched 4.2-innings of shutout baseball.
- Khris Davis hit another home run on Saturday – number 11 of the season. This one came in the fourth inning with two runners on base and gave the A’s a 3-2 lead.
- Mark Canha went 2-for-5 with two RBI in the game. He is batting .400 (6-for-15) with nine RBI and three walks with runners in scoring position.
- The A’s are now 19-20 for the year.
Yankees Postgame Notes
- This was the Yankees fourth “walk-off” win of the season and ended a two-game losing streak.
- The win ended a five-game losing streak to the Athletics.
- New York starter RHP Domingo Germain took a no-decision whiled working 5.0-innings and allowing six runs (all earned) on six hits (one HR). He walked three and struck out one.
- Yankees reliever A.J. Cole (3-1) picked up the victory. Cole struggled with the first two hitters he faced but then settled down to keep his team in the game.
- Three big home runs helped the Bombers on Saturday: Aaron Judge hit a two-run shot, his 11th of the year. Gary Sanchez (10) and Aaron Hicks (3) went long back-to-back in the second inning.
- Didi Gregorius ended a 30 at-bat hitless streak when he hit a single off Triggs in the fifth inning.
The Athletics and Yankees will wrap up this three-game series on Sunday in the Bronx with a 10:05 AM PDT first-pitch. Oakland will send LHP Brett Anderson (0-1,8.68) to the mound to face the Yankees RHP Luis Severino (5-1,2.21).