Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fly Ball Makes a Long Story Short

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fly Ball Makes a Long Story Short

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The ball rose toward the right-field porch and the voices of the Yankee Stadium crowd rose with it.

Alex Rodriguez's drive hung for a moment in the Bronx sky, then slowly arched down near the wall. And there it died.

Just like the Yankees, Rodriguez's ninth-inning fly ball fell just short Sunday afternoon in a sloppy 5-4 defeat to the Oakland A's that snapped the Bombers' seven-game winning streak.

But they remain one game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East, despite two errors by shortstop Eduardo Nunez -- one of which led to the game-winning run in the sixth -- and a blown call at first base that also led to an Oakland score.

After back-to-back walk-off victories -- in the 10th inning Friday and the 14th Saturday -- the Yankees had run out of last- inning magic.

It all amounted to a missed opportunity with only 10 games remaining: for a victory, for a sweep, for a two-game cushion in the division after the Orioles lost to the Red Sox, 2-1.

"I thought it had a chance," manager Joe Girardi said of Rodriguez's fly ball. "It needed about another three feet is what it needed. And it just didn't have it."

Neither did the Yankees (88-64) in a loss that stretched over three hours and 45 minutes.

They were undone by three errors: by the blown call by first base umpire Larry Vanover in the second inning that led to a run; by a poor performance from starter Hiroki Kuroda (14-11), who allowed five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits, three walks and two wild pitches in 5 2/3 innings; and by going 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Those 10 games that remain are three in Minnesota, four in Toronto and the final three in the Bronx against the Red Sox.

Ten games to win the division or lose it.

That sprint to the finish begins tonight at Target Field, with Andy Pettitte making his second start since breaking his left ankle. He faces Liam Hendriks (1-7, 5.88 ERA). …

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