A new win streak did not start today. Instead, the A’s topped the Yankees 3-1 thanks to a clutch two-run homer from Tony Kemp against Chad Green in the eighth inning. The Bombers offense was quiet as they often are when Jordan Montgomery starts, for whatever reason. Monty was very good today, of course.
After taking the first two games of this series and riding a 13-game winning streak, the Yanks have now lost two in a row. That pushes them to six games behind the first place Rays in the division, though the Yankees do hold a two game edge on Boston for the top Wild Card spot. Fortunately, Tampa Bay is done playing the Orioles this season, though they did what they were supposed to do against them. Anyway, let’s get to the takeaways from this evening’s loss:
Jordan Montgomery deserved better. Another start, another no decision. The tall lefty allowed just one run (it was unearned) across six innings of work this evening. And yet, he left the game trailing 1-0 as the offense couldn’t figure out Paul Blackburn or Yusmeiro Petit.
Aside from a lack of run support, which I’ll touch on in a moment, the one run Montgomery gave up wasn’t remotely his fault. He effectively recorded five outs in the fourth inning before it was all said and done. Montgomery did get into some early trouble in the frame, but should have escaped without a run on the board.
The inning started with a long fly out that Brett Gardner made a great play to haul in, but followed with back-to-back singles. After that, Monty induced what could have been an inning-ending double play, but instead, this happened:
Rare error from Gio Urshela goes from an inning ending double play to bases loaded for the A's with one out pic.twitter.com/BnlpTvU97d— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 30, 2021
Gio Urshela’s fielding error extended the inning, but it wasn’t the first mistake on defense. Montgomery got another grounder — even more tailor-made for a double play — but Tyler Wade took too long at shortstop. It hurt even more because Oakland needed a replay review to overturn what was initially ruled an out at first base.
A-Rod, on the ESPN broadcast, appropriately criticized Wade’s play there. There wasn’t enough urgency, he didn’t quite get a grip on the ball, and the flip to DJ LeMahieu was too soft. That gave Mark Canha enough time to beat it out upon further review.
So, between some shoddy glovework in the fourth inning and no run support, Montgomery didn’t factor in the decision. I know win-loss record for a pitcher doesn’t really matter, but it’s baffling to see Montgomery just 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 24 starts this season. He’s been terrific.
About the eighth inning. Ugh. It looked like Chad Green was going to send this one to the ninth still tied at 1-all after getting two outs quickly, but nope. Mark Canha extended the frame with a two-out double over Gallo’s head in left field.
There’s no video highlight available, but as I recount from watching, Gallo’s first step was in, which cost him. He nearly recovered to make a leaping grab, but if didn’t take the first step in, there’s a pretty good chance he hauls that in for the final out of the frame. Alas, that’s easier said than done against a 107.1 MPH rope right at you. That brought up Tony Kemp, now a noted Yankee-killer:
And that homer was the difference. Green’s surrendered 11 homers in 68 frames this year, or 1.46 per nine innings. Four of those have come this month. Only last year’s pandemic-shortened season did Green give up home runs more frequently (1.75 per nine). I know Green is a good reliever by the numbers, but sheesh, has he given up some back breaking long balls this season.
The offense looked like what we saw earlier this year. 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, 7 runners left on base, and two double plays. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The worst of it came in the first inning. DJ LeMahieu walked on four pitches to start the game and Giancarlo Stanton singled right after. Aaron Judge lined out to center, which brought up Joey Gallo.
That’s the second double play he’s hit into in as many days. Incredible considering he had bounced into three all season coming into yesterday.
Later, in the fourth, Luke Voit hit into the the team’s other DP. It came right after Gallo singled to lead off the inning. Really tough day for Voit, by the way. 0-for-4 with that GIDP and three strikeouts.
There did seem to be a bit of frustration as this game wound down. Voit threw his helmet, Aaron Judge looked frustrated with some strike calls (he wasn’t alone, Brett Gardner too), and other swung at some not-so-great pitches to hit.
- Brett Gardner had a fantastic game in center field, making two difficult catches, including one with a 5 percent catch probability per Statcast. (Seth Rothman)
- Urshela made a second error in the seventh inning, but Jonathan Loaisiga worked around it. There’s no doubt in my mind that Loaisiga is the team’s best reliever.
- Anthony Rizzo tied this game in the top of the seventh with a pinch hit chopper through Matt Chapman’s legs, who was charged with an error. Rizzo put together a tough at-bat against the nasty same-sided lefty, Jake Diekman.
So, the Yankees settle for a series split. Next up: Anaheim tomorrow night.