Doolittle: 'I grew up envisioning playing against the Yankees'
Derek Norris drove in a career-high four RBI against CC Sabathia and the Yankees on Tuesday night. (AP)
After enjoying their first day off after a stretch of 17 games in 17 days, the A's ended their two-game losing streak while continuing their mastery of the New York Yankees at the O.co Coliseum with a 6-4 series-opening victory.
The Yankees had A's starter Bartolo Colon on the ropes in the first inning, loading the bases and forcing him to throw 27 pitches in the inning, but after getting out of the jam unscathed, he merely clapped into his glove.
Colon, and the A's would deserve similar applause at the end of the night as they pulled back into a first-place tie with the Texas Rangers atop the American League West. And the A's are 8-3 against the Yankees in their last 11 meetings, including five straight in Oakland.
But it was not easy, not when the Yankees had the tying run at the plate with two out in the ninth, and Travis Hafner flied out to the wall in left-center field to end the game.
The A's record of 39-27 is their best after 66 games since 1992, when they were also 39-27.
Starting pitching report
Bartolo Colon continued his rebirth at 40. The right-hander walked a bases-loaded tight rope in the first inning and threw six shutout inning at the Yankees. He has allowed one run in his last 31 innings. Tuesday night, Colon allowed three hits and walked four, while striking out three in 102 pitches, 66 strikes. he improved to 8-2 on the season, while lowering his ERA to 2.92.
Sean Doolittle, after giving up up three runs in 14 pitches, in his most recent outing, had a clean, morale-boosting 1-2-3 seventh inning after surrendering multiple runs in four of his previous five appearances. Jerry Blevins gave up four hits and two runs -- the first time he was scored upon at night this season in his 15th game -- and Ryan Cook was charged with two runs. Grant Balfour gave up a single that scored the two runs charged to Cook before shutting it down for his 16th save in 16 attempts this season, 34 straight dating to last season. But it did not come without drama. In all, the A's had a 6-0 lead turn into a situation where the Yankees had the tying run at the plate with two out in the ninth, and Travis Hafner flied out to the wall in left-center field.
At the plate
Derek Norris had his first career four-RBI game with a bloop double in no-man's land behind first base in the second inning scored Josh Reddick from first base when right fielder Lyle Overbay mishandled the ball and a three-run home run off CC Sabathia's 76-mph offering in the fourth. It was the A's second homer of the day as Coco Crisp took Vallejo native Sabathia deep on his second pitch of the game for Crisp's 11th career leadoff homer. Nate Freiman added three singles.
In the field
Josh Reddick's Gold Glove came into play in the eighth, saving one and possibly two runs. His running snag of Travis Hafner's smoked line drive was the first out of the inning with runners at first and second.
The A's announced a crowd of 27,118 at the O.co Coliseum, which, on a night the Yankees are not in town, would be a nice number.
Dan Straily (3-2, 4.67 ERA) will face the Yankees for the second time in his career, having received a no-decision in a 5-4 A's win at Yankee Stadium on May 5 in which he went 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Phil Hughes will start for the Yankees, becoming the first right-handed starter the A's will face in six games. Hughes is 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA in nine career games (six starts) against the A's. He beat Oakland, 4-2, on May 4, limiting the A's to four hits in eight shutout innings.