Sports

Yankees Blow Lead, Then Walk-Off

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees connects on a walk-off home run in the 10th inning against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Athletics 2-1 in 10 innings. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 21: Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees connects on a walk-off home run in the 10th inning against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Athletics 2-1 in 10 innings. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

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BY HOWIE RUMBERG
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Russell Martin led off the bottom of the 10th
inning with a homer off Sean Doolittle, and the AL East-leading New
York Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 Friday night for their
sixth straight win.

Brandon Moss hit a towering home run to right field with one out
in the ninth inning off Rafael Soriano to spoil a dominant
three-hit outing for CC Sabathia to tie it 1-all, stunning the
boisterous crowd of 40,759 into silence. It was Soriano’s fourth
blown save in 46 chances.

With the win the Yankees have a chance to move two games up on
the Baltimore Orioles for the first time since Sept. 2. The Orioles
were playing in Boston. The A’s, losers of four of five, were tied
with Baltimore for the wild-card lead.

Curtis Granderson had a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and
Ichiro Suzuki continued his torrid pace with two more hits _ one
getting caught in Jarrod Parker’s jersey.

The Yankees lost four-straight one-run games in Oakland in
mid-July that began a summer swoon in which they blew a 10-game
division lead. Martin’s second walkoff homer this season gave the
Yankees their ninth win in 11 games.

David Robertson (2-7) pitched a perfect 10th for the victory.
Doolittle (1-1) pitched the ninth before giving up Martin’s homer
on an 0-1 pitch.

Martin threw his helmet almost all the way to first base as he
approached home then was engulfed by his teammates as he stepped on
home plate.

Parker was in line for a loss despite matching Sabathia for
eight innings. He gave up six hits and struck out seven in his
first start at Yankee Stadium.

Sabathia’s performance had become one of the biggest question
marks in the Yankees rotation the past several weeks. The big lefty
was 0-3 in his last four starts and he gave up leads in each
outing. After two stints on the disabled list, his velocity was
down but he insisted he was OK. Manager Joe Girardi said Sabathia
was struggling with the command of his sinker and changeup.

He quickly put that to rest by striking out the side in the
first with three breaking pitches. His velocity went up as the
innings went by, ending the sixth by blowing a 96 mph a fastball
past Jonny Gomes.

After a walk to Gomes with one out in the first, Sabathia
retired 14 in a row before Stephen Drew’s single leading off the
sixth.

Sabathia gave up another hit to Drew with one out in the eighth.
With two outs, Collin Cowgill beat out an infield single and
Sabathia grazed Gomes with a pitch to load the bases. Pitching
coach Larry Rothschild visited the mound as Robertson warmed up in
the bullpen. But Sabathia remained and got J.J. Reddick to fly out
to left field on the first pitch of the at-bat, ending the inning.

The A’s lead the majors in striking out and they fanned 11 times
while walking twice against Sabathia.

Any questions about Parker (11-9) being nervous in his first
start at Yankee Stadium were dismissed right away with an eight
pitch inning. He didn’t give up a hit until he lost Suzuki’s
bouncer back to the mound with an out in the third inning got lost
in his jersey. Parker grimaced in frustration as he failed to pull
the ball out of his green and gold top.

The hit was Suzuki’s 10th in his last 13 at-bats. Suzuki also
had a hit in the sixth but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a
double.

The Yankees scored in the fourth when Nick Swisher led off with
a more traditional hit, a lined single to right field. Alex
Rodriguez followed with a sharp single to center field. Granderson
then hit a sacrifice fly.

Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to a season high-tying
streak of 15 games with a sixth-inning single.

NOTES: New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck helped the
Bleacher Creatures do the “Roll Call” in the first inning. …
Oakland LHP Jordan Norberto (shoulder tendinitis), out since Aug.
18, is close to playing catch. … INF Eric Sogard (high ankle
sprain) is doing some baseball activity but manager Bob Melvin
doesn’t see him as an option on the remainder of the road trip. …
Oakland’s LHP Travis Blackley (5-3) faces the Yankees’ Ivan Nova
(12-7) Saturday afternoon. … Girardi and Rodriguez both visited
The Starkey Hearing Foundation meeting at Yankee Stadium and helped
hand out digital hearing aids.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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