(Courtesy of the AP)
The Yankees had halted their skid, kept their heads about .500 water, and put together a nice little 4-game winning streak heading into last night's middle game in Oakland. It looked like things were starting to get back to normal with a rotation that was collectively pitching well, a strong, deep bullpen, and a lineup fully comprised of its regular expected starters. Last night everything reverted back to the ways of May, including Mark Teixeira being scratched with an injury, and the winning streak was ended.
- Hiroki Kuroda was on the mound and in the bottom of the 2nd all his season-long problems manifested. With 1 out he walked a batter, with 2 outs he gave up a single, and after loading the bases with another walk he gave up a 2-run single to Eric Sogard on a poorly-placed sinker.
- The Yanks turned a 2-out rally of their own into a run in the top of the 3rd, albeit with some defensive assistance. Kelly Johnson walked, Brett Gardner singled, and Johnson came around to score on an Oakland throwing error to make it 2-1 A's.
- Hirok got through the next 2 innings without issue, but hit a wall in the 5th after a leadoff walk to Sogard. A single, an RBI groundout, and 2 passed balls by John Ryan Murphy made it 4-1 Oakland, and Joe elected to lift Kuroda with 2 outs and not allow him to face Yoenis Cespedes.
- Shawn Kelley took care of that with a strikeout and Joe handed the ball over to David Huff for the remainder of the game. Huff pitched 3 innings and gave up a run in the 6th for the final Oakland run.
- Joe must have known his offense wasn't going to wake up against Scott Kazmir. They stranded runners at second against him in the 5th and 6th and went down 1-2-3 in each of the final 3 innings against the bullpen.
- Johnson: 1-2, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K. Got the start at third with Brian Roberts out and was the most productive member of the lineup. On base twice, had the only XBH, and directly responsible for the best scoring chances had all night.
- Murphy: 0-3, 1 LOB. The lack of production at the plate was a bummer, but it was the 2 passed balls with runners on in the 5th that really hurt. Maybe McCann keeps those in front of him and prevents the inning from getting out of control. Maybe he doesn't. Regardless, those were the back-breaking plays and the ones that ended Kuroda's night early.
- Kuroda: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. Murphy's PBs aside, this was not a good night for Hirok. He put too many guys on base, threw too many pitches early, and could never find the command he needed to get out the trouble in the 5th. This is the pitcher he's become, one who's very clearly on or off early in the game and one who's not going to get a long leash anymore when he's off.
- Jacoby Ellsbury: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 LOB. Didn't get a hit, although he did get on base once, and so his hitting streak ends at 17 games. Oh well. Time to start a new one.
Rubber match of this series is this afternoon and it will determine whether this was a really good road trip (6-3) or just an OK one (5-4). Vidal Nuno and Jesse Chavez are the scheduled starting pitchers.