Less than 24 hours after putting up 17 runs and 17 hits, the Yankees posted three runs and nine hits. They went just 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11, including the potential tying run at third with two outs in the ninth. Rich Harden had his good changeup and held them to two runs and five hits over 5 1-3. And the A’s won 4-3 on a day when the heat index again hit 100.
“You hold this lineup down to a couple of runs, you’re doing something,” Nick Swisher said. “So you’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”
Still, Swisher and Mark Teixeira agree this lineup misses Alex Rodriguez, expected to be out for about another month after knee surgery. The Yankees are 7-5 since Rodriguez went down. They are 5-5 since the All-Star break, alternating wins and losses in the last six games. And they are 9-9 in their last 18.
“He’s Alex Rodriguez,” Teixeira said. “I mean, this is one of the greatest players of all time. His presence, the fact that he has great at-bats, he makes the pitcher work, and then he’s going to drive in 100 runs, hit home runs and do everything he does. So obviously we miss him.”
Brandon Laird played the part of A-Rod in this game, making his first major-league start, at third. But the 23-year-old rookie went 0 for 3 and struck out with two outs and the bases packed in the fourth.
“It was my first time coming up with the bases loaded,” Laird said. “I felt pretty good. I was excited. But it just didn’t go my way. …
“It would’ve been nice to get a win. But I got my first start, got it under my belt, got it out of the way. Hopefully I have some more coming in the future.”
*A.J. Burnett is now winless in his last four starts, but he pitched well enough to win in this one, charged with three runs, six hits, three walks and two hit batters while fanning six in 5 2/3. In 21 starts, he has given up three runs or less 13 times and four runs five times.
“I thought he threw the ball extremely well,” Joe Girardi said.
*Rafael Soriano’s rehab assignment will now shift after two outings with High-A Tampa. The reliever is scheduled to pitch today against Syracuse at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
*David Robertson struck out his ninth consecutive batter with the bases loaded. After a scoreless ninth, he has allowed just two earned runs in his last 26 outings.
*Hideki Matsui’s decisive homer off Boone Logan in the seventh snapped a 16 2-3-scoreless innings streak for the bullpen. Matsui has homered in four of his last five games here, all in a visiting uniform.
*Derek Jeter went 3 for 4 with a walk and is batting .333 (21 for 63) in July after batting a combined .260 the first three months.
*In today’s series finale, Bartolo Colon and lefty Gio Gonzalez will be the starters.