By Charlie O. Mallonee
OAKLAND–The New York Yankees downed the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Sunday at the Coliseum in Oakland. It was a painful loss on three fronts.
First, the loss gave the Yankees a four-game sweep over the A’s in the series. The last time the Athletics were swept in a four-game series at home was in April of 1999. After sweeping the Texas Rangers in three games to begin the home stand, the A’s could have never imagined closing it out 0-4 against a team they swept in New York earlier in the season.
Second, the A’s are not being able to take advantage of their home field environment. Oakland’s record is now just 8-15 at home while they are 11-11 on the road. That is really quite extraordinary as most teams fare much better in home stadiums before fan friendly crowds. For some unknown reason that is not happening for the Athletics at this point in time.
Third, it was another one-run loss. All losses are frustrating, but the one-run loss games just seem to come back to haunt a team because they are contests that could have been won if one thing had gone differently in the game. The A’s are 6-7 in one-run games this season.
On Sunday, the A’s took the lead in the bottom of the first inning when Billy Burns was able to steal second and third base and then score on a Stephen Vogt ground out. It looked like things might be going to go the A’s way in the game.
The Yankees scored single runs in the second and third innings off solo home runs from Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. The crowd became nervous as New York took the 2-1 lead.
Oakland came back to score to two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning when Stephen Vogt hit a double to left field that scored Jake Smolinski and Billy Burns. The crowd came to life with the A’s back in the lead 3-2.
The Yankees served notice that they were not going to go down easily by putting together a four-hit two-run inning in the top of the sixth to retake the lead 4-3.
The Yankees put the dagger into the A’s in the top of the seventh inning. With two and runner at first, Carlos Beltran hit a double down the left field line that allowed the Aaron Hicks to score from first giving New York a 5-3 lead.
The A’s did make it interesting by scoring a run in the bottom of the eighth inning, but it ultimately was too little too late and the Yankees won the game 5-4.
In the batter’s box
Carlos Beltran went 2-for-4, scored a run, had a double and a RBI for the Yankees. He has now hit safely in five straight games (10-for-22, .455).
Jacoby Ellsbury had a 1-for-4 day that featured a home run. He is hitting .310 over his last 24 games.
Mark Teixeira snapped an 0-for-19 hitless streak with an RBI single in the sixth inning
Billy Burns had a big day for the A’s scoring three runs to go with two stolen bases. He went 2-for-4 for the game.
Coco Crisp hit a double and that extends his hitting streak to six games.
Stephen Vogt had a big day going just 1-for-4 but he had three RBI in the game. Two of those RBI came off a two-out double in the bottom of the fifth.
On the hill
The Yankees put together a strong pitching performance on Sunday against the A’s. Starter Michael Pineda (2-5) picked up his second win of the season working six strong innings. Pineda gave up three runs (all earned) on six hits while striking out six batters and walking just one.
Pineda working six innings allowed the Yankees to then go to their three-headed bullpen monster of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Miller did give up a run but it was unearned as it was created by an error. Chapman picked up his sixth save of the season and threw a number of pitches in excess of 100 mph.
Jesse Hahn did not have a bad start for the A’s. He went 5.2 innings giving up four runs (all earned) on six hits. He struck out three and walked none, but he did give up two home runs.
John Axford was asked to come in and get Hahn out of trouble in the sixth was not able to make it happen. The bullpen cannot save the day every time.
Daniel Coulombe who was just called up from Nashville worked the final two innings of the game. He did not give up a hit or a run. Coulombe struck out two and walked none.
The Disabled List continues to grow
The Athletics announced on Sunday that Sonny Gray has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right trapezius. The A’s now have 13 players on the DL which is the most in the Major Leagues.
Gray had been struggling through a very tough beginning to his 2016 season. His record stands at 3-5 with a 6.19 ERA in nine starts.
This is the first time Gray has been on the disabled list in his career.
Left-hander Daniel Coulombe was brought up from Triple-A Nashville to replace Gray on the Major League roster.
This is Coulombe’s second time up with the big club this season. He faced the Red Sox on May 10 giving up three runs (all earned) in two innings of work. Coulombe had a 0.56 ERA in 13 appearances for Nashville.
The A’s travel to Seattle for a three-game series with the Mariners. The Mariners are coming off a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds and have won four games in a row. Seattle has sole possession of first place in the American League West.
The pitching probables are:
Mon 5/23 LHP Rich Hill (6-3, 2.54) vs RHP Taijuan Walker (2-3, 2.95)
Tue 5/24 RHP Kendall Graveman (1-6, 5.48) vs. RHP Nathan Karns (4-1, 3.33)
Wed 5/25 Athletics To Be Announced vs, Hisashi Iwakuma (2-4, 4.39)
The Yankees return to New York City and will begin a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.