The Oakland Athletics beat the Yankees 3-2 Saturday in Oakland, ending the Yankees’ 13-game winning streak. Oakland’s Frankie Montas completely shut down the Yankees for seven innings, and despite Aaron Judge’s best efforts to ruin the day for Oakland late, the A’s were able to hang on for the win.
After Néstor Cortes got through the first 1.2 innings without allowing a hit, the A’s were able to get on the scoreboard first with two outs in the bottom of the second inning. A’s right fielder Chad Pinder lined a double to the wall in left-center field and was barely safe at second as Aaron Judge made a great throw in from center to almost nab him. Cortes didn’t do himself any favors by walking light-hitting Sean Murphy to create a first and second situation. When Oakland’s Tony Kemp followed with a worm-burning six-hopper into center field, Pinder scored while Murphy advanced to third base. Cortes then dug the hole a little deeper for himself by balking in Murphy – which, in Néstor’s defense, didn’t appear to be a balk. Regardless, after two innings and with only one hard-hit ball, Oakland led 2-0.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Oakland’s All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman tacked a run on for the A’s, and he made sure this one wasn’t going to be a cheap one. Chapman took an 89.9 mph four-seamer from Cortes deep – 403 feet to be exact – and when it landed over the left-center field wall, the A’s lead was 3-0.
Meanwhile, the Bronx Bombers weren’t able to do much of anything against Oakland starter Frankie Montas. Through seven innings, Montas only needed to face 23 Yankees, allowing two hits - both to Aaron Judge, one of which was erased quickly when Joey Gallo bounced into a 3-6-3 double play - and a walk. Montas exited after seven, allowing zero significant threats, let alone any runs.
Cortes Jr. didn’t have his best stuff, and certainly didn’t get much help from his defense or the umpires, but he left allowing only three runs over 5.1 innings. He also continued to display his season-long skill of avoiding hard contact, allowing only one ball to be hit harder than 100 mph on the day. Despite the deficit, Cortes left a winnable game for the Yankees, given the manner in which they’ve been playing.
Cortes’ replacement, Albert Abreu, was able to escape a jam in the bottom of the seventh inning to keep the lead at three. After Giancarlo Stanton misplayed a Tony Kemp fly ball into what was generously ruled a double, Abreu induced two weak groundballs from Josh Harrison and Starling Marte, then struck out Yan Gomes for the third out (after an intentional walk to slugger Matt Olson), ending the threat. Nevertheless, the Yankees still trailed by three runs entering the eighth inning.
The Yankees certainly didn’t go down without a fight, and made things interesting for everybody in the top of the ninth inning. Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge combined to go “bloop and a blast” as John Sterling would say, to cut the lead to 3-2. Rizzo’s ball was struck at 70.2 mph for a bloop single, and Judge’s 110 mph over the left-center field wall – when Judge’s landed, the Yankees had life.
Alas, Oakland’s Sergio Romo induced a pop-up from Giancarlo Stanton and a ground out from Joey Gallo to end the game, and the Yankees’ 13-game winning streak along with it. They’ll look to start a new streak tomorrow against the A’s with Jordan Montgomery on the mound – first pitch, 7:08 pm.