With the Yankees languishing offensively, Nick Swisher breathed life into the club with his home run in the eighth inning. With the Yankees on the verge of an unlikely victory, he wanted to finish what he started. But no such luck.
Swisher’s fly ball with the bases loaded in the ninth inning went 390 feet but stayed in the park for the last out of a 6-5 defeat to the Oakland A’s.
“You always want to be the guy in that spot, at least I do,” Swisher said. “You always want to be the hero. And for a while I thought I was.”
Off the bat he was thinking grand slam. It was only when CF Coco Crisp settled under it with his back nearly touching the wall that he knew it was not to be.
Swisher’s three-run homer with two outs in the eighth had started the rally. Before that the Yanks had been listless against A’s righthander Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy was locating well and never looked worried until the home run, which sent him to the showers.
Jorge Posada went yard to make it 6-4 in the ninth. The Yanks eventually loaded the bases for Mark Teixiera, who fouled out.
“I’d love to come through there,” he said.
Robinson Cano walked on a close 3-2 pitch to force in the fifth run.
• Jeter went 3 for 3 with a walk, raising his batting average to .295. It’s the second-best mark on the team behind Cano.
Despite the big night Girardi opted to bunt him with two on and no outs in the ninth. He said his decision was based on factors. For one, Granderson and Teixiera were coming up next. For another, he wanted to stay out of the double play.
• Alex Rodriguez received X-rays during the game, which came back negative. He has a sprain of the left thumb and is considered day-to-day.
“We’ll just go day by day,” Girardi said. “Hopefully he’ll be better tomorrow.”
• Bartolo Colon denied that he is getting tired from being a full-time starter. Colon hasn’t started a full season since 2007. He’s already thrown more innings this year than he did in the three previous years combined.
His performance has slipped since the all-star break. He’s surrendered nine runs over his last two starts.
“I feel really healthy, very strong,” he said through an interpreter. “All I have to do is keep working hard and see what happens.”
He was fine with today’s outing, saying, “I think I pitched good.”
He admitted to going away from his two-seam fastball because he’d been taken deep on that pitch twice in his last start. He used only four seamers today, except for two occasions.
• See if you can figure this one out: the Yanks are 21-21 in series openers and 56-28 in all other games. Is it a sample size thing or does it mean something? Why would they slack off in the first game of every series?
• Cano extended his hitting streak to 14 games, longest by a Yankee this season.