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Orioles win in 12, Yankees prevail in 14 versus A’s

Sep 22, 2012, 7:09 PM EDT

Raul Ibanez, Derek Norris Getty Images

With the Orioles already having dispatched the Red Sox in 12, the AL East appeared on the verge of being knotted at the top again. However, the Yankees overcame a 9-5 deficit in the 13th and beat the A’s 10-9 in 14 innings Saturday.

Baltimore improved to 4-0 in extra-inning games at Fenway Park this year by beating the Red Sox 9-6. Jim Thome‘s ground-rule double broke the tie in the 12th, and the Orioles were able to add on from there. Incredibly, the Red Sox are 0-7 in extra-inning games at home this season.

The A’s got homers from Jonny Gomes, Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter to take a commanding 9-5 lead on the Yankees in the top of the 13th. However, the Yankees came right back afterwards, loading the bases with none out and getting a game-tying two-run homer from Raul Ibanez with one out.

The Bombers went on to win it in 14 after another wild sequence. Alex Rodriguez appeared to hit a game-winning single with one out and the lead runner on second, but pinch-runner Melky Mesa, making his major league debut, missed third base on the turn and had to go back to the bag.

That loaded the bases for Robinson Cano. Cano hit a comebacker to Tyson Ross that bounced out of and back into the pitcher’s glove, leading to an awkward but successful throw home for the force. Catcher Derek Norris could have chanced turning it into an inning-ending double play since Cano hardly busted it out of the box, but he decided not to risk throwing it into the runner and giving the Yankees a win that way. Eduardo Nunez then came up and his a spinning grounder to first that Brandon Moss failed to glove, ending the game. It was ruled an error on Moss, though it was hardly an easy play with the way the ball was moving.

The game featured a controversial call in the bottom of the first. Travis Blackley picked  Rodriguez off first, but second base umpire Larry Vanover decided to call it a balk only after watching the play unfold and seeing A-Rod tagged out. The implication being that Vanover would have let it go had A-Rod made it back safely. Whether it was a balk or not (and that really could have gone either way), that’s not the way the game is supposed to be umpired and Vanover should get a talking to over it. The Yankees went on to score two runs after the play, contributing to an early exit for Blackley.

Helped out by that play, the Yankees really should have won in regulation. That they didn’t was due in part to a lack of effort. Cano initially gave up on a Moss grounder into the hole in the seventh because he thought first baseman Nick Swisher would grab it. When Swisher’s dive came up short, Cano made his own half-hearted dive and missed the ball, giving Moss a single. He later came around to score the tying run. Also, in the bottom of the seventh, Swisher opened the frame with a popup to shallow right. Disappointed, he didn’t run out of the box, and he ended up on first instead of second when the ball fell in. The Yankees failed to score in the inning, even though Swisher advanced to third with one out because of a HBP and a sac bunt.

The Yankees again almost won it in the 12th, but Ibanez was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to second.

Ibanez turned a single into a double with some great hustle in the frame, which is perhaps why he wasn’t removed for a pinch-runner after reaching. He then went to third on a wild pitch, forcing the A’s to pull the infield in. Unfortunately, Russell Martin‘s grounder was hit right to second baseman Cliff Pennington, who threw home. Ibanez tried to bowl Norris over, and when that didn’t quite work, he gave up a little push to finish knocking him to the ground. Norris held on, though, and the A’s got out of the inning.

With the win, the Yankees maintained a one-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East. The A’s are three games up on the second wild card, pending the Angels’ result tonight.

  1. itsmekirill - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    It’s amazing what a 16-2 record in extra-inning games and 27-8 in 1 run games will do for a mediocre team that has still scored fewer runs than it has allowed.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:53 AM

      Having that level of success in tight games makes them by definition not mediocre. Time to come to grips with the fact that they are in fact a good team.

      • qacm - Sep 23, 2012 at 6:13 AM

        raysfan1, you do know that success in 1-run games is mostly attributable to luck, right? That it has been shown objectively to vary from team to team, from season to season? It means almost nothing except that’s how the chips happen to be falling this year.

      • protius - Sep 23, 2012 at 9:10 AM

        qacm, you do know that your entire answer is bullshirt, right?

        Success in one run games can be attributed to a lot of thing, including luck, but I believe that a lot of baseball savvy people will agree that it primarily comes down to the bullpen in general, and the closer in particular.

        If a competitive team with a good rotation and a feisty line-up, keep said team in the game by one run, they have a better chance of winning the game if they have a shut-down bullpen and a reliable, lock-out closer.

        These reasons objectively explain why winning one run games varies from team to team, i.e., because not every competitive team has shut-down bullpen and a reliable lock-out closer. These reasons also objectively explain why winning one run games varies from season to season, i.e., age and arm wear-and-tear are factors that determine how well an individual bullpen pitcher will do in any given season.

        Now, add in the extra determining factor of bullpen trades, and you can objectively conclude that there are many elements, besides luck, that affect the performance of a bullpen, a closer and thus, one run games.

        In sum, I think multiple factors play a larger roll in determining how the chips of one run game wins will ultimately fall, then the single factor of luck.

  2. randygnyc - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    It wasn’t pretty, but the Yankees win was easily the biggest of the year.

  3. mybrunoblog - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    This was a heck of an exciting game. Right to Yankees classics on YES.

    • bigharold - Sep 22, 2012 at 10:45 PM

      Yankee Classics, .. maybe not.

      I grateful the Yankees pulled out a win but a classic, .. not so much.

      The Yankees scrapped, fought and gave it their all but giving up three HRs in extra innings isn’t “classic”.

      On the other hand they are still a game ahead in the AL East.

    • protius - Sep 23, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      I think Ichiro’s inside the shirt single makes the YES archive, as well as MLB’s plays of the season.

      It may also qualify as the most weird-ass play in MLB, ever.

  4. lazlosother - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Typical Matthew post. Put a negative spin on whatever he can. It’s a wonder NY won, everyone was dogging it.

  5. proudlycanadian - Sep 22, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    A lot of fireworks today. Cabrera hit home run # 42 placing him in a tie in the home run race. The Triple Crown is a distinct possibility.

  6. brian32556 - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Dude, you are COMPLETELY WRONG ABOUT THE BALK CALL. The replay from centerfield clearly showed the umpire motioning balk as soon as the pitcher made his move to first. The first base umpire called him ARod out. The 1st base umpire and ARod were momentarily unaware of the call and then reacted. C’mon buttwipe, don’t make an issue of something that wasn’t there. YOUR JOB is to report the facts, not become a story. Get your sh*t right or get off the air.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Sep 23, 2012 at 1:23 AM

      OK, I just went and watched the YES feed to see if it had something the Oakland feed didn’t while I was watching earlier… I have no idea where you got this from. The center field camera shot I saw made it completely obvious that Vanover only called the balk after watching the play.

      It’s not like I’m alone in my opinion, either. The Oakland broadcasters were talking about it innings after the fact.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 23, 2012 at 8:14 AM

        Have a link to either shot? MLB.com didn’t have anything available last night.

      • yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Sep 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        I watched it on YES and it clearly showed the call was made immediately by the second base ump when he made his move to first. They showed it a few times and was conclusive based on the video evidence, not opinion. A-Rod did have a delayed reaction at first because he didn’t know it was called behind the mound.

        Also, you make it sound like Cano and Swish were just standing around and let a soft dribbler make its way through the infield. Swish was even with the bag, dove at it, and still couldn’t get a glove on it, Cano had to cover a great distance to attempt to scoop that up. C’mon man that wasn’t “half-hearted” at all. Are you guys turning into PFT?

      • brian32556 - Sep 23, 2012 at 10:56 AM

        Matthew Pouliot

        It was in the YES replays moments after the discussion. It showed that as the pitcher went thru his motion, he swung his leg beyond the limitations. As he adjusted his direction and went to first, AND even before he released the throw to 1st, the 2nd base umpire’s arm was coming up and pointing at the pitcher. How’d you miss that! OR DO YOU HAVE SELECTIVE VISION AS WELL AS SELECTIVE OBJECTIVITY!!

      • brian32556 - Sep 23, 2012 at 10:59 AM

        AND wow! “The Oakland broadcasters were talking about it innings after the fact.” NOW THERE IS AN OBJECTIVE OPINION YUCK, YUCK, YUCK.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        No video unless someone wants to put it up on youtube for 10 minutes before it gets taken down. It wasn’t a highlight, so the only way to go back and watch it is through MLB.tv.

        I watched the YES replays, and I still don’t see what you are. There’s no replay of the second base ump calling it during the pitcher’s motion. He only called it after the play.

        Also, you make it sound like Cano and Swish were just standing around and let a soft dribbler make its way through the infield.

        Re-read the paragraph… I took no issue with Swisher’s play. That was all about Cano. He started to run after the ball, gave up on it because he thought Swisher would get to it and then started running again after he realized Swisher didn’t have it. If he just kept going in the first place he would have had no problem getting to it.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Sep 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        Not that anyone is likely still reading at this point, but I’ve added some screencaps for the balk.

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/?attachment_id=224101

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/?attachment_id=224103

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/?attachment_id=224104

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/?attachment_id=224105

        They’re pretty blurry, but I think one can make out that he only raised up his arm for the third one, which was taken after A-Rod had already been tagged out. There was no motion at all from Vanover until after the tag was made at first. It’s clear as day in HD. CSN just showed it again the second inning today.

      • protius - Sep 24, 2012 at 2:45 AM

        Mr. Pouliot,

        There will be a re-broadcast of the game on the YES Network on Monday morning, beginning at 9AM. If you DVR or TVO the game, you can run it back and forth in Slo-mo to either confirm or deny whether or not the secondbase umpire motioned for a balk as the pitcher made his move.

        From what I saw of the play, it appears that the umpire made the call immediately, but you must see it for yourself, so that you can draw your own conclusion.

        BTW: Could you provide me with a phonetic pronunciation of your last name, so that I’m sure that I have it correct in my mind?

        Thank you for your time.

  7. brian32556 - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Man, who do we contact to get this guy fired. Be objective or get another job!!

  8. rockthered1286 - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    @itsmekirill-
    That mediocre team took every series from the yanks in the Bronx. I highly doubt anyone within the yanks organization considers them mediocre. just their worried fans.

    Buckle Up.

  9. jiggy3198 - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Itsmekerill or whatever his name is knows nothing about the orioles. Best road record in the majors top notch Bullpen and the best manager who knows where and who to play. Hard working blue collar boys. Go O’s

  10. humanexcrement - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Yet another bold move by bud selig that sounds crazy actually works out for the better. The wild card, interleague play, three division format, the wrold baseball classic. I thought they were all horrible ideas at first, but to me they’ve made the game more fun to watch. And nobody would give two shits about yanks-O’s if it wasn’t for the one game playoff. Besides, it was the yankees basically conceding the division to tampa bay 2 yrs ago that inspired the 2nd wild card. Works for me.

    • watermelon1 - Sep 23, 2012 at 8:04 AM

      Why would nobody care about Orioles and Yankees if there wasn’t a 2nd wildcard?

      They’re both competing for the division.

      And whoever doesn’t win that is in place to win the 1st (and what would have been the only) wildcard in previous seasons.

      • humanexcrement - Sep 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM

        that’s exactly my point–this division race would be meaningless without the one-game playoff, neither team would particularly care who won the division and who won the wildcard–except that one might not want to play Texas in a five-game series. The reason MLB enacted the second wildcard to begin with is so it would matter who won the division. In the past, Wild Card teams have competed in almost every world series since the wild card’s inception. The division is really nothing but bragging rights, and nobody cares who won the damn division in the long run–it’s all about who makes it to the series. This year, Yankees-Orioles matters a great deal, because one team is going to have to put their entire season on the line in a single game.

  11. jason9696 - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Gotta love those damn Yankees. Overrated, overpaid and buying World Series since 1996.

    • protius - Sep 23, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      So Jason, how are you enjoying your first season of following Major League Baseball?

    • jimeejohnson - Sep 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      Gotta pity those pathetic Red Sox. Overrated, overpaid, and winning 2 World Series in the past 100+ years.

  12. hungryjack1 - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    All the WORLD SERIES are purchased, as these are professional ballplayers, the cost just varies from year to year. On being overpaid,all professional athelete are overpaid in my opinion, but they get what the market will bear, just as I would try get in my profession.

  13. rockthered1286 - Sep 23, 2012 at 7:36 AM

    @qcam
    Please show me that statistic. Winning one run games are a direct result of a great BP, situational hitting, and mostly great bench boss. Buck knows who to bring in to pitch at the right time, when to PH and who to bring in. Calling them lucky is a lame excuse for why nobody’s been able to beat them in the last umpteen one run games. It’s like saying “the O’s are lucky that our hitters were off tonight.” if you want to use luck logic like that then you can say every pitch, at bat, call at the plate is luck and every W or L all season for every team is lucky or unlucky

    Go find a better excuse.

  14. watermelon1 - Sep 23, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    Please stop regurgitating these “stats” and “trends” you are force-fed on ESPN and whatever other outlets you worship.

    The whole “they have a winning record, but have still been out-scored in runs overall” is such a nonsensical argument.”

    The way baseball works, you have a line-up of pitchers. Obviously, some of those pitchers are not as good as the others. Also, some days… your bats are just not hitting. Nobody is “hot.” When this happens to all your guys at once, it really sucks… especially if one of your lesser pitchers is on the mound. But it happens.

    So, the Orioles get blown out on a day when they’re not hitting. Guess what, that greatly effects the run differential. Then they win a few close games. That gets them wins, but still might not make up for the run differential of ONE huge blowout.

    The thing is… you can call winning ONE game by a run lucky. Maybe the team gets a “blown call” by the umpire or something. But hey…. last time I checked… the Yankees and Red Sox were getting many more blown calls in their favor than the Orioles(or anyone else).

    But when you keep winning a bunch of close games… it’s not lucky anymore. It’s a habit. It’s how they win. How can hitting walk-off homeruns be lucky? Because that’s what a whole lot of their 1-run games have been. I’d say that’s clutch.

    And I think any baseball fan can agree that it would be cool to see the Orioles in the playoffs. If for no other reason than…. that awesome Camden Yards ballpark finally gets to be featured in some October baseball again!

  15. uyf1950 - Sep 23, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Unbelievable Yankees/Athletics game plus the best possible outcome. It’s an instant classic.

  16. mclovinib - Sep 23, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    preparation plus opportunity= luck

  17. inthearex - Sep 23, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Even if you didn’t agree with the call, games aren’t won or lost in the first inning. Nothing controversial about it.

  18. brian32556 - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I’m a huge Yankee fan. But we’ve all witnessed how Buck can bring the best out of team – our own, the D’Backs, the Rangers, and now the O’s. I can’t help thinking that these O’s are either playing over their heads or were underachieving before Buck.

  19. inthearex - Sep 23, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    What about the blown call in second inning in today’s game which just lead to a two run homer instead of a solo. FOR THE A’s i might add. Are you you going to write about that?

  20. wu360 - Sep 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Go Yanks, UPTOWN BABY!!!

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