By Jason Schott - Associate Editor - @JESchott19
Masahiro Tanaka threw another great game, helping the Yankees salvage the last game of their series with Oakland, a 2-1 victory on Thursday afternoon. This capped a tough homestand for the Yankees, who went 2-5, with their only other win coming last Saturday against the Twins with Tanaka on the mound.
Tanaka gave up a home run to the second hitter of the game, John Jaso, and that was all the offense Oakland would get. Tanaka went six innings and allowed just one run on five hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Tanaka improved his record to 9-1 with a 2.02 ERA.
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said of Tanaka, "Especially after giving up a homer to the second hitter of the game, being able to shut them down, I thought it was a gritty performance on his part. They're tough outs (referring to the Oakland lineup) and they make you work."
The Yankees tied the game in the second on an Alfonso Soriano RBI single that scored Brian McCann. They took the lead in the bottom of the third when Brett Gardner laced a home run to right field, his fourth of the season.
After Tanaka left, Dellin Betances came in for the seventh inning and had a nice bounce-back outing after a blown save on Tuesday night. He retired the side in order and got a strikeout.
In the eighth, Oakland rallied against Adam Warren, as Coco Crisp and John Jaso started the inning with singles. Warren hung in there and struck out Josh Donaldson, got Brandon Moss to line out to right field, and struck out Yoenis Cespedes with a rising fastball inside to end the inning.
David Robertson came in to pitch the ninth and made perhaps the defensive play of the season. With one out, Stephen Vogt singled, and pinch runner Craig Gentry stole second. Alberto Callaspo then lined one up the middle and Robertson deflected it towards first base, where Mark Teixeira fielded it. Robertson got over just in time to get the throw from Teixeira and beat Callaspo to the bag for the second out of the inning.
Robertson said of the play, "I was probably the happiest guy in the stadium that the ball hit me. I felt even more fortunate getting an out. With Gentry on second, as fast as he is, if the ball gets by me he's probably going to score."
Teixeira said, "I was actually going to eat it because I didn't think D-Rob had any chance of getting back to first base. It was a really athletic play on his part. He yelled...I tried to get the ball and flip it to him."
Robertson struck out Derek Norris looking to end the game, and earn his 13th save of the season.
Robertson said of the bullpen, "We were having a little slump, too. We had the lead a couple times and couldn't hold it. It happens in baseball. We were definitely able to hold it down today. The A's gave us everything they had. They were scratching tooth and nail - it felt like they were fouling every pitch back - and I feel very fortunate to take a win today."