The Oakland Athletics earned their 40th win of the year behind a stellar effort from Dan Straily, and regardless of the outcome in tomorrow’s game, they’ll come out on top in the season series against the New York Yankees for the first time since 2007 thanks to a 5-2 win Wednesday night.
Straily finished the day with two earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts, and the numbers didn’t do him justice as he effectively shut down the Yankees for the majority of the game to improve his record to 4-2 on the season.
Brandon Moss hit two home runs and John Jaso added two RBI’s to account for Oakland’s offensive output, although the damage could have been worse. The A’s actually left 1o men on base and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They put men on base in every inning except the fourth, and New York’s pitchers issued nine walks to aid the effort.
Manager Bob Melvin stacked the lineup with left-handed hitters against right-hander Phil Hughes, and it paid dividends early. Following a single by Josh Reddick to lead off the second, Moss hit his 10th home run of the year to put the A’s ahead 2-0:
John Jaso added another run in the fifth on an RBI double, scoring Eric Sogard from second to give Oakland a 3-0 lead.
Straily got into a groove in the middle innings, retiring 11 straight batters from the second inning up until he walked Brett Gardner with one out in the sixth. The Yankees were finally able to put together a rally following the only walk of the game for Straily, with Robinson Cano moving Gardner to third on a single in the next at-bat. Mark Teixeira brought him home on a sacrifice fly to shallow right field to make it 3-1 before Straily struck out Travis Hafner to end the inning.
New York threatened again in the seventh. With one out, Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch and stole second on a wild pitch, and Ichiro Suzuki advanced him to third on a groundout. Jason Nix then squeezed a ground ball through the left side of the infield to make it 3-2.
Nix stole second and Yankees manager Joe Girardi called upon Lyle Overbay to pinch hit with the tying run in scoring position, which prompted Bob Melvin to bring in Sean Doolittle to get the final out. Girardi responded by substituting Chris Stewart for Overbay, but it didn’t matter as Doolittle struck him out to preserve the lead.
Brandon Moss added a second homer for good measure in the eighth to give the A’s a two-run cushion, crushing a fastball off of Joba Chamberlain to straightaway center field that gave him five homers on his last five hits. It was the second time this year he’s hit two homers in a game, the other coming on April 29-30 against the Angels when his second deep ball of the game ended the 19-inning contest.
Doolittle came back to retire the side in the eighth, which was good for Oakland fans to see after the hard-throwing left-hander hit a rough patch earlier in the month, giving up 10 earned runs over his previous five appearances.
Sogard and Jaso essentially duplicated their scoring sequence from earlier in the game later in the eighth, with Sogard stealing second again and coming home on a single by Jaso to put Oakland ahead 5-2.
Grant Balfour earned his 17th save of the year, closing out the game in the ninth to secure the victory and put the A’s one game ahead of the Texas Rangers in the AL West standings after the Rangers lost earlier in the evening to the Cleveland Indians.
Jarrod Parker will be on the mound against Hiroki Kuroda tomorrow in the final matchup of the season between the two clubs. Game time is 12:35.