Bombers Lose to A’s but Maintain 1st Place Lead
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, September 24- On Sunday, despite being edged by the A’s, 5-4, the Yanks ended their penultimate home stand of the 2012 season in first place in the American League East. After the three game series ended, the Yankees departed for a seven-game road trip, three games in Minnesota and four in Toronto. On October 1, the Yanks will return to the Bronx for the final three games of the regular season against the Red Sox.
The loss to Oakland ended New York’s seven-game winning streak. The damage was nullified as the Orioles were defeated by the Red Sox on Sunday. Thus, the Yanks still held a one-game advantage over the Baltimore Orioles as the week ended.
The Yanks were held to five scattered singles during eight innings of Sunday’s contest. It was only in the fourth frame that the Yankees offense erupted. After a single by Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher poled a two-run homer into the right field seats. Two more runs scored after singles by Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin and a double by Raúl Ibañez.
Derek Jeter’s single in the third extended the Yankee captain’s current consecutive game hit streak to 17. His infield single in the sixth raised his multi-hit games this season to a league leading 62. Jeter’s total of 206 hits in 2012 is first in the majors. This is the 8th season in which Jeter has bettered 200 hits.
All five of Oakland’s runs were scored off Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who suffered his 11th loss of the season. Oakland’s lead-off hitter, Stephen Drew, beat out an infield single in the first and scored the first run of the game. Yankee manager Joe Giradi placed the blame on, “His [Kuroda’s] command a little bit. He left some pitches in the middle of the plate.”
A questionable infield single by Josh Donaldson began the second. He crossed the plate on a two-run homer by Cliff Pennington. Talented rookie Yeonis Cespedes singled home the fourth run for the A’s in the fifth.
Donaldson reached first on an error by shortstop Eduardo Nuñez in the seventh. Later in the inning, he scored what turned out to be the winning run. As Nuñez made a second error in the seventh, Girardi was questioned about how long he would replace Jeter at short. He expressed concern about Jeter being unable to control his efforts on defense as he plays with such great effort.
Of Nuñez, he remarked, “For the most part, he’s done a good job. I like what the kid does. He gives us some excitement out there.”
After winning seven of the nine home games, Girardi expressed great respect for his players, “We had a great home stand. I like the way we’re playing. I like the fight in our guys. We’re a very professional group, a very mature group.”
In the first road game on Monday, Andy Pettitte (4-3) will start for the Yanks against Liam Hendriks (1-7) of the Twins.
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