Chavez: 'We're resilient'
Jesse Chavez pitched 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven batters en route to an A's victory. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- You don't just become a folk hero to hard-scrabble A's fans, who are not easily fooled. You have to earn it.
You have to do things like what Jesse Chavez did in the A's 3-2, 18-inning defeat of the New York Yankees Thursday afternoon, and then you get serenaded with your first name being chanted.
[REPLAY: A's win marathon game to complete sweep]
JES-SE! JES-SE! JES-SE!
Chavez came out of the bullpen in the 13th inning, with one out and runners at first and second, and shut the Yankees down and out for 5 2/3 innings. The right-handed reliever only gave up one hit and struck out seven while walking two in 71 pitches -- he hit 95 mph with regularity -- and picking up his first victory of the season. In a Bizarro universe, it would qualify as a quality start.
JES-SE! JES-SE! JES-SE!
"I was just staying within myself and attacking them," he said. "Staying down in the zone and staying over the plate."
All while utilizing a starter's mentality. He said he told A's manager Bob Melvin he could stay in the game "until we scored."
Well, no one ever warmed up as Chavez was the A's seventh pitcher of the day and only the four other starters and lefty reliever Sean Doolittle, who worked the previous two nights, were left.
"Obviously, it's a confidence booster," Chavez said. "Now I have to build off this one."
Said third baseman Josh Donaldson: "That's how you get on people's radar. People don't start respecting you until you do things like that."
Chavez had no idea what Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano's issue was with the A's after Chavez struck out Vernon Wells to end the 13th inning. Was it his relatively minuscule celebratory fist into the glove?
"I don't know," Chavez said. "He was looking at us so I was just looking back at him."
Broadcasters surmised that Cano was actually upset with A's catcher Derek Norris for purportedly suggesting Cano was stealing signs.
Speaking of Donaldson, he left the game after suffering cramps in his right hamstring in the top of the 16th inning.
"Hopefully we caught it before it got too bad," said Donaldson, who was 0-for-6 with two strikeouts.
When the A's needed 19 innings to beat the Los Angeles Angels in April, Oakland lost the services of Crisp, Chris Young and Brett Anderson.
"We paid the price (for that win) with guys getting hurt," Melvin said. "Not sure if that's the case this time."
The A's were already without center fielder/lead-off man Coco Crisp (right heel) and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (left hamstring) from the starting lineup. But Crisp entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 15th inning with the potential game-winning run at second base.
Crisp promptly looped a single into left field, but Brandon Moss was thrown out at the plate on the fly by Wells on a nasty-looking collision.
For Crisp to play, Melvin said, "it had to be a situation where he could win the game."
Almost. Crisp later added a two-out single.
The Yankees' DL'd duo of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez had as many hits Thursday as did their 4, 5, 6 and 7 hitters…combined.
Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis and Wells were a combined 0-for-28, with 12 strikeouts (each guy had a hat trick) and three walks, two by Teixeira and one by the Greek God of Walks, from "Moneyball" fame.
The A's have won 11 straight home games, the third-longest such streak in Oakland history and longest since they won 12 in a row at the Coliseum from Aug. 13 to Sept. 14, 2002…at 5 hours, 35 minutes, it is the longest "day game" in Coliseum history…John Jaso extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games and he has reached base safely in a career-best 13 straight.