Stephen Drew’s homer in the eighth inning ended up being the deciding run in the Yankees 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night. Mark Teixeira had an outstanding overall game as he made two outstanding plays on defense in addition to his two runs driven in on offense. Teixeira and Drew were both key in helping the Yankees tie their series with Oakland
“I’ve been saying it all year long, he is a run producer,” Joe Girardi said of Teixeira. “His defense is so important to us. I know we wouldn’t be where we are at without it.”
In the eighth inning, Drew hit a homer on a breaking ball that didn’t break that went off of the Fox Business sign in the second deck to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead. That was his 12th homer of the season, which gives him the second most homers among second basemen in all of baseball.
Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer to deep left off of Andrew Miller in the ninth to drive in Mark Canha to make the score 5-4. Miller came off of the disabled list earlier on Wednesday and Nick Rumbelow was sent down to Triple-A Scranton. After Gregorio Petit’s error put Stephen Vogt on second, Miller got Ben Zobrist to ground out to Petit at third to end the game and remain perfect in save situations this season.
Oakland starter Scott Kazmir left the game after three innings because of left tricep tightness. Teixeira hit both of his homers off of relief pitcher Evan Scribner. To leadoff the fourth inning, Teixeira blasted an outside fastball to right and he smashed a pitch in the same location to right field to leadoff the sixth inning. This was the second two homer game of the season for him.
He also made two outstanding plays in the field. In the seventh inning, with Bryan Mitchell pitching, Teixeira was able to catch a foul ball by Billy Burns at the railing on the Yankees dugout. He made his second Gold Glove caliber play in the eighth inning when he backhanded a hard grounder near the line by pinch-hitter Josh Reddick and was able to get to first before Reddick.
“I got a couple pitches up in the zone and put some good swings on them,” Teixeira said. “Defensively you can do it every night. Now we have three outfielders that can all go get it with Chris Young out there as well.”
The Athletics scored two runs in the second inning off of CC Sabathia, but he bounced back after that. After Billy Butler’s ground rule double to leadoff the inning, Brett Lawrie reached on an infield single after shortstop Didi Gregorius couldn’t handle his grounder near second. After Butler was easily thrown out at home because he was running on contact on Jake Smolinski’s grounder to third, Josh Phegley and Mark Canha both hit RBI singles.
After the second, Sabathia rebounded to hold Oakland scoreless in the next 3.1 innings while limiting them to two hits. He was taken out after his 88th pitch because he has surrendered 10 leads and gets worse late in the game. Sabathia was better with his location is he had not allowed less than three runs in his previous four starts.
“CC’s location got better after the second inning,” Girardi said. “They had some right handed hitters coming up, so we took him out.”
In the second inning, after Chris Young got to first as a result of Lawrie’s fielding error, Gregorius hit an RBI double to the Gatorade scoreboard in right but was thrown out a third. The Yankees scored their second run of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly to right that scored Young. Gregorius is improving on offense as he had a solid June and now has a .318 average in 22 July at-bats with three RBIs.
Dellin Betances was able to get back on track after after allowing one run and two runs, respectively, in his previous two appearances. He picked up two strikeouts and held the Athletics scoreless in the eighth inning. He struck out Lawrie on an outside slider and now has an impressive 73 strikeouts in 44.2 innings pitched.
“I think that is how we are going to win games, hitting the ball out of the ballpark, but it is nice to get Ellsbury back because that is another dimension,” Girardi said. “I feel pretty good about it.”
Masahiro Tanaka will get the start for the Yankees when they play Oakland at 1:05 p.m. in the series finale. The Yankees, who have a 2.5 game lead in the division, will look to win the series before going to Boston to play the Red Sox. Their rivals to the north are 8-2 in their last 10 games.