The Yankees kicked off the first game of their last series on the West Coast tonight, and the team as a whole played really well. David Phelps struggled during his last two outings (13 ER), but managed to shutout the Athletics for 6.2 innings tonight. He took a no-hitter to the fifth inning, when Derek Norris singled to left field. The only other hit that he allowed came in the seventh inning when Jed Lowrie doubled to deep left. Phelps finished the night with three walks and four strikeouts.
On Oakland's side of things, Sonny Gray struggled early on by leaving quite a few fastballs up high. The Yankees capitalized on this by scoring three runs in the first two innings. Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter both singled to start the first inning. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with an RBI single to left, on which Gardner was able to score after sliding head first to just beat out Yoenis Cespedes' throw. Then Mark Teixeira hit a sac fly to deep center to score Jeter. In the second inning, Brian Roberts fouled a ball off his foot, and ended up hitting a single to get on base. He limped/ran to first, yet ultimately was able to stay in for the remainder of the game. Next up was Kelly Johnson, who worked a walk, followed by Gardner who was able to drive in Roberts for the third run.
Gray turned things around in the third inning, and the Yankees weren't able to get anything going again until after he was pulled from the game. When Jeff Francis came into the game for the eighth inning, Oakland's booth said that he had given up the sixth most home runs by a pitcher on Friday the 13th (weird stat, right?). Well, he didn't give up any home runs tonight, but he might just pitch poorly on Friday the 13th. Tex and Brian McCann had both singled to get on base, when Ichiro Suzuki came to the plate with two outs. Ichiro ended up with an infield hit after the ball deflected off of Francis's glove, which allowed Tex to score. Next up was Brian Roberts, who singled on a line drive to right field. McCann was just barely able to beat out the throw to Norris at the plate. The ball either deflected off of his glove, or fell out of his glove when he went to tag McCann, but either way he lost the ball and Ichiro was able to score the sixth run of the night. Kelly Johnson decided he wanted to contribute to all the Yankee singles of the night, and hit one to center to score Roberts.
Along with the good effort by Phelps and the offense, the bullpen also had a good game. Dellin Betances pitched 1.1 scoreless innings without two strikeouts, although the second one was not a great call. Coco Crisp was called out on a swinging strike that was less of him trying to swing the bat, and more of him trying not to get hit by the pitch. Oh well.
The Athletics brought in the struggling Jim Johnson for the ninth inning and Brendan Ryan came in to pinch-hit for Jeter. He ended up getting drilled in the back of the elbow and it looked incredibly painful. Luckily, the game was almost over and he was able to stay in, and hopefully we don't hear that he broke anything. Jose Ramirez came on in the ninth inning to finish the game, and notched one strikeout without allowing a hit. Game over. A's shutout.
The majority of you will be happy to hear that tomorrow night's game is the last 10:05 pm EST start of the season. Hiroki Kuroda will face off against Scott Kazmir as the Yankees look to extend their winning streak to five games.