Game 50: NYY vs. OAK — 3rd inning redux, a magic bunt, and a belt from Beltran

Nathan Eovaldi started tonight’s game against Oakland and got off to a decent start, albeit some shaking moments early on. That is, until that dreaded 3rd inning. I’ve really come to cringe at the approach of the 3rd inning of every game, as it seems to be the time when the Yankees just don’t do as well for some really odd reason. And tonight, it doubled Eovaldi’s pitch count in a single inning. Overall, Eovaldi threw 96 pitches in just 4.2 innings, giving up a whopping 11 hits, but only 3 runs, no walks, and 2 strikeouts.

In that 3rd inning, Eovaldi loaded the bases with 3 consecutive singles, which made it easy for two runs to score on a sacrifice fly and a single. The Athletics tacked on another run in the 4th inning with a lead-off single that scored on a 2-out single.

Chasen Shreve finished off the 5th inning for Eovaldi and threw through the 6th inning. He struck out every batter he faced, all 4 of them, and he eventually earned the win for tonight’s game. Justin Wilson came on in the 7th and got the first 2 outs before handing it over to the first half of the Dynamic Duo. Dellin Betances threw a great 4 outs and handed the game over to Andrew Miller for a quick 9-pitch 9th inning and his 15th save. (And while social media seems to have settled on another particular moniker for the Betances-Miller closing team, I’m sticking with mine. I like it better.)

Now, the Yankees actually got off to a promising start in the 1st inning. With 2 outs and Headley and Rodriguez on base with singles, Brian McCann’s single scored Headley. But despite the minor dent into the Oakland starter at the beginning, it wasn’t until the 5th inning that the Yankees really started advancing. After 2 outs, Pirela singled and Gardner reached safely on a fielding error. Chase Headley’s single scored Pirela and put the Yankees within 1 run of the A’s.

Then in the 6th, McCann on base with a walk, Carlos Beltran hit a monster 2-run home run to push the Yankees ahead once again, a lead they never surrendered after this. Teixeira led off the 8th inning with a single and then stole 2nd base, his first stolen base since July 2014. On a groundout, Teixeira moved to 3rd and then scored on Beltran’s single.

Final score: 5-3 Yankees.

Roster move: as predicted yesterday, injured Slade Heathcott was moved to the 15-day DL with his strained quad, and Ramon Flores was brought up to take his place in the outfield, starting tonight in left field. (Gardner was moved back to center field, where he will play mostly until Ellsbury is back from the DL himself.)

Okay, there were a few interesting things about this game worth mentioning (and thankfully have media clips in case you missed it). In the 1st, newcomer Ramon Flores showed his great arm throwing out a runner trying to score all the way from left field. In the 7th, there was Chase Headley and his “magic bunt“; this perfect bunt that the A’s players just watched roll down the line to see if it would go out into foul territory, but it stopped firmly on the line which is fair territory and thus a successful single for Headley. And in the 9th, 5-time Gold Glove winner Mark Teixeira showed why he’s won those awards, catching a misthrown ball as he was falling, keeping his foot on the bag long enough to make it an out.

One more game in Oakland to see if the Yankees can split this series, before they head up to Seattle for that series.

Go Yankees!

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