Game 67: NYY vs. OAK — Swept away on Father’s Day

On this Father’s Day 2017, I am reminded of my own father who loved this great game of baseball. He was what you would call a fan of the game. I remember sitting with him and my brothers in a dreary stadium by Lake Erie, and even when our team lost yet another one, my dad never thought of them as a “mistake on the lake”. No, he appreciated the strategy and called it a “thinking man’s game”.

Of course, he did have a favorite team, but he actually just loved the game no matter who was playing. He always told us that when he watched the players, he was reminded they all were once little leaguers with big dreams. Maybe he identified as such because he also once had big dreams of playing ball.

When my dad was growing up in the first part of the 20th century, baseball was the sport to play. Summer afternoons saw neighborhood kids gathered in a local park with tattered gloves and old bats to play a game just for the fun of it. At home or even in local stores, fans gathered around the radio, listening to games from Cleveland or Chicago or New York. This love of baseball resulted in friendships that lasted a lifetime.

My dad’s love of the game connected our family together. On Father’s Day, there is usually a ballgame playing somewhere, and while many of us now root for different teams, it is my dad’s love for the game that gave us this gift of connection over this shared interest in baseball.

And there was, of course, a baseball game today, as the Yankees closed out their road trip with this final game in Oakland against the Athletics. The Yankees were looking at winning one in the “Bright Side of the Bay” (which it clearly wasn’t for the Yankees this weekend). And Luis Cessa got the start this Father’s Day afternoon, throwing 73 pitches in his 4 innings, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 4 runs, striking out just 4 Oakland batters.

All of Oakland’s runs were scored in the 3rd inning, clearly Cessa’s weakest time today (he gave up 4 of his 5 hits in that inning alone). With 1 out, a single and double put runners in scoring position so that they could on another double to get the A’s on the board. Then another player hit a 2-out 2-run home run to double their score and push them into the lead.

Other than that lone inning, Cessa had a pretty good outing, despite setting himself up for the loss. He handed the game over to Chad Green, whose 5th and 6th innings continued that same pattern of keeping the A’s from doing much. Tyler Clippard’s 7th was nearly flawless, but it would be recently reinstated Aroldis Chapman sailed through his 8th inning with just 8 pitches. (Talk about a comeback!)

Now, the Yankees weren’t exactly shut out or sitting on their laurels through this game. In fact, they struck first when Matt Holliday fired a solo home run to lead off the 2nd inning. Gardner led-off the 3rd with a double and then scored on Aaron Judge’s 1-out single.

Didi Gregorius smacked a long ball to the right field seats, just to the left of the foul pole. The umpires called it a home run, but just to cover their bases, the umpires called for a review themselves to make sure the ball really was a home run. It was, and the Yankees were within a run of the Athletics after their big 3rd inning.

But the A’s starter did a pretty decent job of fending of any potential Yankee rallies into the 7th inning and the bullpen (surprisingly for this team) just breezed through the final 8 outs and shut the Yankees down in order.

Final score: 4-3 Athletics, Athletics sweep series 4-0 (Yankees’ West Coast road trip: 1-6)

Roster moves: The Yankees sent Kyle Higashioka back to AAA Scranton to make room for Aroldis Chapman, who is now back from his rehab assignment and off the disabled list.

The Yankees took a few moments to honor their dads and reflect on what this day means to them, as so many of them are now fathers themselves. Manager Joe Girardi shared his insights. Gary Sanchez was recently featured in a special article, talking about how the birth of his daughter Sarah changed him as a man and as a player. He sees becoming a father as a turning point in his life, a sentiment I believe most fathers would echo.

And so, on this day that honors so many fathers, I am remembering my dad with thankfulness for introducing me to this wonderful game of baseball. I wish I could be sitting with him today cheering on the team, eating peanuts, and keeping the box score. I will always remember how he had a way of using baseball to teach us life lessons when watching a game, that character counts, that integrity and honesty and loyalty are to be valued. By his example, I learned to support the whole team, not just individual players. To find the positive in even a negative situation. That there’s always another day and another game. To always hope. And above all, to never give up.

My dad remembered the one year his team did win the World Series when he was a boy (hint: it was 1948) and almost saw it happen again in his lifetime (about 10 years before he passed away). But even in his later years, he was ever the fan, even wearing a team cap when he watched a game on TV, hopeful that this might be “the year”.

Which brings me to this year. In 2017, there is a very real chance that could be “the year” for the Yankees. (Despite the current outcome of this road trip!) That elusive #28 is a real possibility. But no matter how the season ends, we’ll still remember that there’s always the hope for “the year” — as if we just know it’s an eventuality. And with the Yankees, we know from experience that it really is.

So, thanks, Dad.

Go Yankees!

Game 66: NYY vs. OAK — A long stroll through Oaktown

I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for it to be next week already. The Yankees will be back in New York, next Sunday is Old Timers’ Day, and maybe the world will be right again. But right now, they have one more game in Oaktown (today’s nickname choice for Oakland, courtesy of Urban Dictionary), where the Athletics are looking to sweep the Yankees and the Yankees just want a win at the O.Co.

Masahiro Tanaka had another ironically long, messy outing — 82 pitches in just 4 innings, giving up 8 hits, a walk, and 5 runs, but also striking out an impressive 10 batters. (That means that of the 12 outs he had to make, 10 of them were by strikeouts, or a nice sign that Tanaka may be back in this case.)

On the 1st pitch in the bottom of the 1st, Tanaka gave up a solo home run (his 4th lead-off homer allowed this season). In the 2nd, he gave up another homer, a 1-out shot to the left field seats. Then despite loading up the bases, he got out of the inning with one of those pesky strikeouts.

But the hardest inning was the 4th. A lead-off home run put the A’s in the lead. And then a single ended up at 3rd on a 2-out single and scored on another single. Another single scored a final run for the A’s. That would be it for Tanaka, as well as for the Athletics’ run-scoring.

Reliever Domingo German threw 79 pitches through the final 4 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 walks, but keeping those A’s from adding to their score.

Meanwhile, the Yankees had plenty of opportunity to do something, getting the starter to throw 105 pitches in just 5 innings, but they didn’t capitalize on that except for one inning. In the 2nd, Torreyes hit a 1-out single, moved to 3rd on Williams’ single, and then scored on Austin Romine’s single. Williams then scored on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly. And that would be it for the Yankees offense this afternoon.

Once the Oakland starter left the game, the Yankees were limited to 2 allowed hits and that was it for their offense.

Final score: 5-2 Athletics

About 75 miles east of the Oakland Coliseum is a tiny suburb of Stockton, California, known as Linden. A favorite son of Linden happens to now be one of the hottest rookies in MLB, and he happens to be the home run leader and in the running for his first All-Star Game and possible MVP and Triple Crown awards this season. Oh, and his name is Aaron Judge.

Apparently, Judge’s friends and family have been requesting tickets to games all weekend, but today saw the largest contingent of homegrown Judge fans, about 150 people, including the congregation of Judge’s home church. They even took a couple of buses to the game to make sure everyone got the chance to see their hometown hero.

Unfortunately, Judge’s only on-base moment was a walk in the 1st inning, but I doubt they minded so much. Plus, one lucky fan from his hometown even caught a foul ball out there in their right field seats. Judge even reconnected with his high school baseball and football coach before the game. But so much of this series for Judge was like coming home, even so much as all of “home” that came to him.

Go Yankees!

Game 65: NYY vs. OAK — A bumpy ride in “Bump City”

Oakland was dubbed “Bump City” after author John Krich’s 1979 book Bump City: Winners and Losers in Oakland about the history of the city, known mainly for its pictures by Dorothea Lange from the collection of the Oakland Museum. But no one from Oakland really knows that and are not a huge fan of said nickname. But it fits my purposes, especially with the way this road trip is going.

Luis Severino had a pretty good outing except a single inning. And thanks to that, he threw 109 pitches in just 6 innings, overall giving up 4 hits, 4 walks, and 4 runs, striking out 6 Oakland batters.

In the 2nd, Severino faced all 9 batters in the Oakland lineup as he struggled his way through the inning. He gave up consecutive walks before getting a strikeout, and then a double scored the first A’s run. A ground out scored another run, but initially the runner was called safe at 1st. The Yankees challenged, and it was overturned for the 2nd out of the inning. And it was back to the game for a single to score yet another run. Another single moved runners to the corners, and another single scored the 4th run of the inning.

So, the Yankees had a bit of catching up to do. In the 3rd, with 2 outs and runners on the corners, Aaron Judge hit his 23rd home run of the season, a 3-run shot to the right field seats to put the Yankees a whole lot closer to the A’s lead.

And in the 5th, Torreyes hit a 1-out double and then scored on Mason Williams’ single to tie up the game. Williams ended up at 2nd on the throw, but Oakland challenged him being safe at 2nd. The call was upheld after a rather long review. Despite the Yankees loading up the bases with a couple of walks, they weren’t able capitalize on it then and break the tie.

Until Chris Carter led-off the 6th with a solo home run, that is, straight up the middle of the O.Co (Oakland Coliseum). And in the 7th, Judge hit a 1-out triple and then scored on Starlin Castro’s single for an insurance run.

So, with a 2-run lead, Chasen Shreve took over for Severino. Shreve had his own issues. With 1 out, he gave up a walk and a single to put runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly scored the lead runner to put the Athletics within 1 run. Jonathan Holder had a worse time in the 8th, loading up the bases with a walk, a ground-rule double, and an intentional walk before a single scored both the tying and winning runs for the A’s. The final play was a double play, but was originally just a fielder’s choice until the Yankees continued their streak of challenge-and-overturn in their favor.

Final score: 7-6 Athletics

Injury news: (and boy, is it a doozy lately!)
The Yankees officially placed CC Sabathia on 10-day DL, retroactive to June 14, due to his strained left hamstring. Adam Warren is also now on the 10-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. On day-to-day are Aaron Hicks (with achilles tendon soreness) and Gary Sanchez (with groin tightness).

And in roster maneuvers:
The Yankees reassigned Aroldis Chapman to AA Trenton to continue his rehab assignment. He is hoping to be activated and rejoin the team in Oakland by Sunday’s game. (Fingers crossed!) The Yankees also optioned pitchers Ronald Herrera to AA Trenton and Gallegos to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, recalling relievers Domingo German and Luis Cessa from AAA Scranton. They also recalled Mason Williams and Kyle Higashioka from AAA Scranton to fill in for Hicks and Sanchez, respectively. (I hope they got a group rate on the Scranton to Oakland flight!)

Two more games in Oakland this weekend (and they’re not late-night games for us East Coasters!), and the Yankees are looking to right the ship again. For a bit there tonight, it looked like the Yankees would pull through and win it once again. But that West Coast drain kicked in and just flipped the story on them. Time to take control of that story and change the narrative.

Go Yankees!

Game 64: NYY vs. OAK — Another extra innings disappointment

Boy, this California trip is going like my last one did — not how I expected and more than slightly disappointing. Plus, it’s hard to adjust to the 3-hour time difference, and it ends up running longer than into the night than I can deal with. Yeah, the similarities are there, and we’re coming to the point where I can’t wait to get back home to New York.

Jordan Montgomery had a touch-and-go kind of start tonight in the series opener against the Athletics. He threw 83 pitched into the 6th inning, gave up 7 hits, a walk, 4 runs, and struck out just 5 Oakland batters. A 2-out solo home run in the 1st started things off for the A’s. Then in the 2nd with 2 outs, Montgomery gave up a walk and a ground-rule double to put runners in scoring position. A double then scored both runners. A 1-out solo home run in the 6th capped things off for Montgomery as he handed over the game to the bullpen.

Meanwhile, the Yankees did what they could to catch up to the lead the A’s kept taking all night. In fact, it seemed to be a pattern for them to load up the bases and then only get a run at most. As tough as the game was on Yankee pitchers, it seemed the Athletics had the same issues tonight.

Despite loading up the bases and putting runners into scoring position multiple times, the Yankees didn’t get on board until the 6th inning after (you guessed it!) loading up the bases. With 1 out and the bases loaded, Chase Headley’s single scored both Castro and Sanchez, and Chris Carter’s single scored Gregorius to tie up the game (get used to that phrase tonight). After the A’s retook the lead in the bottom of the 6th, the Yankees tied up the game in the top of the 7th. With 2 outs and a new reliever, Castro singled, stole 2nd, and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s double. Tied game.

The bullpen didn’t help the early struggles of Montgomery. Chad Green closed out the 6th but got into trouble in the 7th. A single led-off the inning, moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on an RBI single. The A’s back in the lead again. But the Yankees faced a new reliever in the 8th and Chris Carter tied up the game again with a 1-out solo home run into the left field seats.

Tyler Clippard came on for the 8th and gave up a single and walk and just 1 out, so the Yankees went to Dellin Betances, who promptly loaded the bases with a walk. The next batter hit into a fielder’s choice (another failed double play, unfortunately), so the lead runner scored to put the A’s back in the lead. And in the 9th, Castro hit a 1-out double and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s single to tie up the game again. Sanchez stole 2nd and Headley was intentionally walked, and then Torreyes came in the game to pinch-run for an injured Sanchez. (more later)

And so into the 10th inning the game went. The Yankees leapt ahead to lead for the first time tonight. With 1 out, Gardner and Refsnyder singled, and Judge walked to (yep!) load the bases. Starlin Castro’s sacrifice fly scored Gardner to give anyone still up on the East Coast watching the game a bit of hope. All they had to do was get 3 outs and the game would be filed in the win column.

Giovanni Gallegos was called on to do just that in the bottom of the 10th. But after 2 outs, Gallegos got into trouble because he loaded up the bases with a single, a double, and intentional walk. But then a single scored the tying and winning run for a walk-off win for the Athletics.

Bummer.

Final score: 8-7 Athletics, in 10 innings

Injury news: So, Gary Sanchez had a great offensive night, going 3-for-3, with 2 walks, 2 RBIs, and a run scored. But then on that stole base in the 9th, Sanchez felt a tightness in his abductor muscles around the groin. It could be something or nothing, which will depend on test results and how he feels tomorrow. Fortunately, Romine is a very strong back-up catcher, so if he needs a few days rest, it’s covered.

In less positive news, Greg Bird suffered a big set-back in rehab assignment. It doesn’t seem to be related to his initial ankle injury, but he’s been shut down for now with no timetable as of yet.

And in much better news: former 2015 HOPE Week honoree Chris Singleton was recently selected by the Cubs in the 19th round of the MLB draft (585th overall). Singleton, whose mother was one of 9 parishioners who were killed when a white supremacist gunned down a Bible study at a Charleston church in 2014. Singleton ended up playing baseball at Charleston Southern University and gained some notoriety as a great center fielder, making friends with Yankees outfielder (and Charleston native) Brett Gardner. And now, he has an option to go pro in the sport he loved, and filled with memories of his number one fan — his mother.

To close: two days ago, at an Alexandria (VA) sandlot, members of Congress and their aides were practicing for an upcoming charity match when a man opened fire and shot Representative Scott Scalise (Majority Whip and Republican of Louisiana), former aide and current lobbyist Matt Mika, Congressional aide Zach Barth, and two Capitol Police officers (Crystal Griner and David Bailey) before the officers on site fatally shot the shooter.

And in a great show of unity, the 108th charity game went on as planned tonight at Nationals Park. They sold a record number of tickets (nearly 25,000) and over $1 million was raised. After prayer at 2nd base (Scalise’s position) and a moment of silence, the game commenced, with Joe Torre giving the honor of the ceremonial first pitch to Officer Bailey (crutches and all). The Democrats won the game 11-2, but in the end, they opted to give the trophy to the Republicans to put in Scalise’s hospital room as he continues to recover from his wounds. Scalise has had 3 surgeries so far, dealing with the most damage and remains in serious condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he recovers.

There is something healing and uniting about baseball. It was the game that helped New York (and the country) heal after the 9/11 attacks. It was the game that supported Boston after the Marathon Bombing. And it will be the game after this tragic event that reminds us of the shared love for “America’s Game” can unite us all even in these highly divided times. In the end, we’re all just Americans with a shared love of a kids’ game we played in backyards, sandlots, or little leagues around the country.

Go Yankees!

Game 47: OAK vs. NYY — A grand Judgement day

Well, that’s not a bad way to end the last homestand of the month. The Yankees wanted to finish the week strong, and they did going 4-2 (with a postponed game in the middle) overall for the homestand. And they’re off to face division rivals in Baltimore and Toronto to continue to mold and shape the AL East next week.

Continuing the camo-accented uniforms for the weekend’s honoring of military veterans and their families for Memorial, the Yankees closed out their series and homestand against the visiting Athletics in this afternoon’s rubber match. Michael Pineda got the start and threw 101 pitches through 6 innings, giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs (only 2 earned), and striking out 5 Oakland batters to earn the win.

The lead-off batter in the 2nd inning worked a walk and moved to 3rd on a ground-rule double. The next batter hit a solid single to left field, which scored both runners as the batter tried to stretch it into a double. The on-field call was safe at 2nd, but the Yankees challenged it. It was eventually overturned thanks to the sharp throw of Gardner and the quick swipe of Castro.

In an inning I’m sure Pineda would like to forget, a 1-out walk in the 6th moved to 2nd on Pineda’s balk and then scored on a throwing error by Pineda. But then the defense kicked it up by getting a sweet double play to end the inning — a line drive out to Castro who fired it to 2nd to get the runner doubled off 1st.

Chad Green was the first to relieve Pineda, throwing a flawless 7th, but getting into a spot of trouble in the 8th with a 1-out walk and a big 2-run home run. Tommy Layne came on for a 1-pitch fly out, and Adam Warren got the last out of the inning in just 2 pitches. Warren continued that flawless streak through the 9th inning, earning the save in just 9 more pitches.

Meanwhile, the Yankees offense had to come up with an offensive win, mainly on the back of a certain power-hitter with his own new fan section. In the 2nd, Castro led-off with a single, ended up at 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly to get the Yankees on the board.

With 2 outs, the Yankees loaded the bases in the 3rd with singles by Torreyes and Sanchez and a fielding error on Holliday’s hit. So it would be Aaron Judge to hit his 16th home run of the season and 1st grand slam of his career. And the crowd went nuts, including some special little leaguers who were lucky enough to sit in “The Judge’s Chambers” to witness history (the ball landing just below that section).

In the 4th, Hicks led-off with a single, stole 2nd only to end up at 3rd on a throwing error, and then scored on Chris Carter’s sacrifice fly. So the Yankees dinged the Oakland starter into the 6th inning, including unearned runs thanks to their sloppy errors. But the Oakland relievers didn’t have any better luck. (Fortunately for the Yankees!)

In the 7th, Torreyes hit a 1-out single and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s double. The A’s challenged the call on the field originally as they thought it might have been a caught ball first before the outfielder tumbled to the ground and lost the ball from his glove, but the replay upheld the call of no-catch because they didn’t think he actually had the ball safely in his glove before it popped out.

And in the 8th, under a new reliever, with 2 outs, the Yankees loaded up the bases again with a couple of walks and a fielder’s choice so that Brett Gardner’s double scored 2 more runs to ensure the Yankees’ victory.

Final score: 9-5 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.

And they’re off to Baltimore, like I said in the beginning. They’ll play 3 games at Camden Yards. The Orioles are currently 3 games behind the Yankees, but you know they’re looking to make things a little more even. So it’s bound to be a good series battle. The Yankees then take a trip north of the border for a 4-game weekend series against the Blue Jays, who are looking to take their current losing season (4 games under) and flip that around.

However, it’s still really early in the season, and the Yankees have had some really good games with some really good players. Trying to predict the World Series now is about the same as guessing the plot line of the next Star Wars movie — you might have some ideas and theories, but your accuracy is going to be really low, percentage-wise. I know what I’d like to happen (in both instances), but I’m at about at 30-40% positive on my guess. (And I have a feeling I’m going to be more right about baseball than a galaxy far, far away.)

But that’s baseball and life… you never know what’s going to happen. There’s too many possibilities. And doesn’t that mysterious factor just make things a bit more interesting?

Go Yankees!

Game 46: OAK vs. NYY — #CCStrong in Saturday matinee

CC Sabathia needed another good outing, and in today’s middle game against the Athletics in this weekend series, he did just that. Sabathia threw 96 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs, and striking out an impressive 9 Oakland batters. Remember when I said that I was trying to get used to Sabathia as not predominantly a strikeout pitcher? Yeah, forget I said that.

Sabathia kept the A’s from scoring all the way until the 6th inning. With 2 outs, Sabathia gave up a walk who then scored on an RBI double. The next batter hit a pop-up into shallow right field that Starlin Castro had trouble keeping in his glove and sort of popped it over to a waiting Aaron Judge for the final out of the 6th inning. Then, Sabathia gave up a 1-out solo home run in the 7th followed by a double, and that was it for his outing. Sabathia exited the game to a standing ovation from the crowd.

It would Adam Warren’s turn to keep Oakland at just those 2 runs, despite a runner in scoring position. He succeeded before turning the game to Tyler Clippard for the 8th inning. Clippard continued his struggles from last night, allowing 2 base runners with just 1 out made. So the Yankees opted for Dellin Betances for a 5-out save. And Betances was certainly on-point today, making those needed 5 outs with a stellar 3 strikeouts (bringing the grand total of 14 strikeouts by Yankee pitchers today).

As strong as Sabathia was today, he certainly had met his match in the A’s starter, who up until the 6th inning himself was running a no-hitter. That’s not to say that the Yankees didn’t get on base at all or score. Thanks to the wonder that is walks and a hit-by-pitch. In the 1st, with 1 out, Gary Sanchez worked a walk and ended up at 2nd when Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch (no, it wasn’t intentional, it was only the 1st inning). A wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position, and Castro’s sacrifice fly scored Sanchez for the 1st run of the game.

Then with the game tied in the bottom of the 6th and 2 outs, Sanchez worked another walk to get on base, and this time Holliday hit a big 2-run home run to put the Yankees in the lead. And that would be the first allowed hit all day from the Oakland starter. He gave up a second hit, a single to Castro on his 107th pitch, before he was replaced by the A’s bullpen who refused to give up another hit all afternoon and kept the Yankees at just 3 runs scored.

It would be enough. Barely. But it’s not by how many runs you win in this game; it’s just that you score the most.

Final score: 3-2 Yankees.

As if the weird Castro-Judge pop-out glove thing wasn’t odd enough for this game, the Yankees certainly entertained with some more rather odd plays. Well, Oakland learned today that “you don’t run on Gary” when Sanchez fired to 2nd from his knees to get a runner stealing 2nd in the 2nd inning. (When will they learn?)

In the 7th, Aaron Judge and Chris Carter collided catching an out in foul territory as Castro watched. The collision knocked Judge’s sunglasses and hat off and found Carter on the ground, but the ball was snugly in Judge’s glove as everyone dusted themselves off. Everyone was okay, but aren’t they supposed to call these things? I mean, that’s what they teach you all the way back in tee-ball.

And finally, Dellin Betances has always been known as a flame-thrower, so it’s no surprise they’re might be a little side effect on the receiving end every now and then. Including having part of Sanchez’s catching glove go flying off. It was the part on the back side of the webbing that braces the hand within the glove.

Then you have to add in a couple of Oakland ejections for arguing the strike zone. Which wasn’t really good, but at least it was consistent for both teams and for the entire game. Well, it certainly kept things interesting.

Even with the ugly camo caps and lettering fill (that for obvious reasons worked better with the normally green and yellow Oakland grey uniforms than with the Yankees pinstripes), it was an overall good day for a ball game in the Bronx. The camo decor served a few purposes. It’s Fleet Week in New York, so the stadium was filled with sailors on leave, and it’s also Memorial Day weekend. A big thank you from us to all veteran and active duty service members and their families for their sacrifice for our country.

Go Yankees!

Game 45: OAK vs. NYY — #TanakaTime and it still falls short

So, can we blame Michelangelo? Not the Renaissance artist, but the Ninja Turtle. Masahiro Tanaka’s had a rough time this season after a near-flawless Spring, then he dresses up as a turtle yesterday for HOPE Week, and then he throws a near-flawless outing tonight in the opening game of the weekend series against the visiting Athletics.

Tanaka threw a beautiful 111 pitches into the 8th inning, giving up just 5 hits and no walks, and striking out 13 Oakland batters. That statistic alone is a huge feat, as the last Yankee to get 13 strikeouts with 5 or fewer hits was Mike Mussina (September 28, 2001) vs. the Orioles. But the biggest feature is no runs. His last allowed single was on base when he left the mound, thus making him responsible for that runner.

And unfortunately, Tyler Clippard had a rough time getting the final 2 outs of the 8th inning. A pick-off attempt went awry and that runner ended up all the way at 3rd. Defense came in handy on the first batter who hit into a fielder’s choice that had Headley charging the ball and getting the out at home.

But a walk put 2 runners on base to threaten again. A single scored the first run of the night, leaving runners at the corners. The next batter hit into another RBI single to double the A’s score. The Yankees challenged the play, believing the runner was actually out at 1st and thus the run didn’t score, but the call was upheld (but not confirmed). And Clippard was able to find that final out to get out without falling into the threat.

Reliever Jonathan Holder stumbled a bit out of the gate, giving up a single and a 2-run home run to kick off the 9th inning before buckling down and getting the needed 3 outs. But the damage was done.

And into the bottom of the 9th, the scoreless Yankees went, looking for a big comeback. Or at least to get on the board so they’re not shutout. With a new reliever, the Yankees made their move. Hicks worked a walk and ended up at 3rd on Castro’s 1-out single. Judge worked a walk to load up the bases, and with just 1 out, the Yankees were looking for something, anything to happen in this final inning. It would be Didi Gregorius to hit a long sacrifice fly to score Hicks and get the Yankees on the board. But it was also the 2nd out of the inning. But a pinch-hit pop out ended the game and the rally.

Final score: 4-1 Athletics

Injury update: Greg Bird has been tending to his bruised foot, getting some workouts in periodically. But now, he’s on his way to Tampa for further workouts before he will begin his rehab games soon after.

HOPE Week concludes with Day 5, and the Yankees honoring 14-year-old Tyler Cashman. Tyler started “Points for Pain” after his mother began suffering from chronic pain after a 2008 procedure. His idea was to organize local sports teams to partner with fans to donate money based on how many points the teams scored in a game. To date, he’s already raised over $25,000 for a pain foundation, and he’s inspired other kids to start their own programs to raise money.

So, Tyler and his family were hanging out at the Central Park Boathouse when Chris Carter, Aaron Hicks, Matt Holliday, Bryan Mitchell, Austin Romine, and Chasen Shreve showed up for a fun afternoon. They took row boats out on the lake, raced RC sailboats (even donning sailor’s hats), and had a picnic on the grass, tossing a football around a bit.

The Yankees also presented the US Pain Foundation with a $10,000 donation, and Tyler was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s game.

And that’s it for the 2017 HOPE Week, a new legacy of some amazing kids making a difference in their world. I hope it inspired you to change a part of your world. Because you can make a difference. It is doesn’t have to be in a big way, but there’s always something you can do to change the lives of someone in some way. They say that you don’t have to do it all, but you can definitely do something. So, go and do something.

Go Yankees!