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The lineup started a slump a bit last month, then they got a little shot in the arm when Curtis Granderson returned. He went back down, they started to struggle again, and they got another little boost when Teix and Youkilis came back. That boost didn't last very long, because they are mired in another slump and there isn't anybody close to returning to give that boost. The Yankees, lame duck offense and all, were trying to salvage something from this Oakland series last night, and chances are they were going to need to score more than 3 runs to do it, even with their stopped on the mound. They didn't. For a looooooooooooooooong time. And they lost again in pitifully ugly fashion.
- Things certainly looked promising for the offense in the top of the 1st. Brett Gardner led off the game with a double down the line, came home to score 2 batters later on a Robinson Cano 2-run jack, and the Yankees were off and running.
- And then, as they've been apt to do this last week, they tripped and fell over their own feet. No runs and just 3 hits through the next 6 innings, along with 2 leadoff walks in the 2nd and 4th that were squandered by inning-ending double plays.
- Hiroki Kuroda was plenty good after a couple of down starts. He had 1 bad inning in the 3rd when he got out of rhythm on a double steal, a walk, and a 2-out RBI double by Seth Smith. Otherwise he was money.
- By "money," I mean "didn't allow any other hits in the game except for the 3rd inning" money. He retired the A's in order in every other inning and really had his splitter working down in the zone as an out pitch. Kuroda gave the Yanks 8 great innings, and with the offense's continued lifelessness the game went to the bullpens and extra innings tied at 2.
- Gardner set them up for success again with a leadoff double in the top of the 11th, the bases were loaded on walks to Cano and Teix, and they still couldn't get a run across when Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis struck out.
- Cano had the privilege of being stranded in the 13th when he led off with a double and watched as Hafner (fly out), Youkilis (swinging strikeout), and Vernon Wells (swinging strikeout) let him rot out there.
- Things looked bad in the 15th when Coco Crisp singled with 2 on and 1 out, but a great throw by Vernon Wells and an even better catch and tag after taking a hit by Chris Stewart helped Adam Warren escape trouble and keep the game going.
- Give a call to Warren too. He had hit a few bumps in the road recently but got the call in the 11th inning and turned in a dandy. 6 shutout innings, 4 strikeouts. Can't ask for much more than that from a longman.
- Preston Claiborne pitched a clean 17th, gave up 1 hit in the 18th, and then Joe somewhat surprisingly went to Mariano Rivera. Mo gave up a soft single to left, intentionally walked a guy to load the bases, and another soft single to left to end it.
- Kuroda: 8 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Eliminate the bottom of the 3rd and Kuroda was lights out. He was controlling the pace of at-bats and making Oakland swing at the pitches he wanted them to, and he did an excellent job pitching to contact when he needed to and pitching to get swings and misses when he needed to.
- Cano: 3-6, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 LOB. If this is another step towards a big breakout for Robbie, I like it. Almost literally the only person in the lineup who was of any value last night.
- Teixiera: 0-5, 2 BB, 3 K, 4 LOB. You.
- Hafner: 0-8, 3 K, 7 LOB. Guys.
- Youkilis: 0-7, 1 BB, 3 K, 6 K. All.
- Wells: 0-8, 3 K, 3 LOB. Suck.
The Yanks will pack their bags, travel to Anaheim, and try to find a way to dig themselves out of this offensive hole they've fallen into. This is tough to write about right now, let alone have to watch, so my heart goes out to you people who are struggling through this. If you sat through all 18 innings yesterday, you should at least get a free meal at the Yankee Steakhouse or something. Lefties C.J. Wilson and Andy Pettitte start tonight.