|CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees Friday night. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Yankees were defeated by Oakland Athletics, 8-2, on Friday night at Yankee Stadium to start their three-game weekend series.
This comes after the Atlhletics swept the Yankees out west in a three-game set last week.
The Yankees beat the Athleitcs in the Wild Card game last season, but the Athletics are showing that - if they meet again in October - this year could be different.
"We know we're playing a really good team," Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said in his pregame press conference on Friday afternoon. "After a long trip and an off day, it's good to be back at Yankee Stadium, and you know, I think our guys look forward, certainly, to playing a good Oakland team that's playing well, that's, after a tough start to the season, been one of the better teams in baseball, so we know we have to play well, but I think our guys also look forward to playing against the elite teams in the game, and we consider the A's one of them."
The Athletics got the lead against Yankees starter CC Sabathia in the second inning when Jurickson Profar roped a ball around the foul pole in left field for a solo home run.
The Yankees got that run back in the third when DJ LeMahieu singled and scored on a fielder's choice by Didi Gregorius.
After that inning, there was a surprise announcement that CC Sabathia was exiting the game after just three innings, in which the only hit he allowed was the Profar home run.
Sabathia left with right knee discomfort, which was evident during the top of the third, when he retired the A's in order and notched two strikeouts.
"I could tell kind of early on tonight that he was struggling with it," Boone said of Sabathia. "The warrior he is, he pitches as effectively, as he did, and even in that third inning. It felt apparent to me, and after that inning, and then when I told him after the inning, 'that's good,' he knew, so we'll see what it looks like tonight. Dr. (Christopher) Ahmad saw him already and we'll see the course of action in the morning."
In the bottom of the fourth, the Yankees got singles from Luke Voit and Brett Gardner to open the inning before it got wild.
Austin Romine appeared to hit into a double play ball, and the Yankees challenged it. After a lengthy review, it was revealed that Oakland Profar lifted his foot off the bag before receiving the throw at second, and Romine beat the throw at first. Everyone was safe and the Yankees had the bases loaded with nobody out.
Incredibly, Oakland starter Brett Anderson got Mike Tauchman to ground to Profar to start another double play, and there was no question this time.
Voit scored from third on it to make it 2-1 Yankees, and then after LeMahieu walked, Aaron Judge grounded into a force to end what could have been a huge inning.
Luis Cessa pitched two scoreless innings for the Yankees in relief of Sabathia before handing it over to Tommy Kahnle in the sixth.
The A's got to the usually reliable Kahnle, as Seth Brown had an RBI double and Profar had a two-run double, and that made it 4-2 Oakland.
In the seventh, with the recently-acquired Cory Gearrin on for the Yankees, they added to it when Mark Canha hit an RBI triple and Brown got an RBI single.
The A's tacked on two in the ninth against Nestor Cortes, Jr. when Marcus Semien launched a bomb down the line in left field that landed in the second deck, followed by an RBI single for Brown.
Brown, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the sixth for Chad Pinder, went 3-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored.
Incredibly, that LeMahieu walk in the fourth was the last baserunner the Yankees would have. Oakland retired the final 16 Yankees in a row, as Anderson pitched until the sixth, then Yusmeiro Petit pitched two perfect innings before Blake Treinen closed them out in the ninth.
"Any time, and certainly it's going to happen from time to time, where you go through a stretch where they hold you down for a handful of innings, whatever it might be, but it is a little bit unusual because I do expect our guys to do some damage at some point," Boone said. "Credit to them, they were able to kind of run through us there, and after they were able to rally there in those middle innings, their pitchers really held it down."
The Yankees dropped to 88-48, holders of a ten-game lead in the American League East, while Oakland improved to 78-56, and they are in possession of the second Wild Card spot, and just a half-game behind Cleveland for the top spot.
Boone was asked if they feel they need to play well against a potential October opponent despite being in excellent shape in the pennant race, and he said, "We're a confident group, whoever we play. Obviously, Oakland's beat us up a little bit out there and got us here, but you know, as far as how that affects us moving forward, who we'll see, I don't worry about that at all."