Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/23/12
NEW YORK -- After watching the New York Yankees' four-run rally in the 13th inning lead to an epic loss in the 14th on Saturday, the Oakland A's struck back after New York's latest comeback Sunday. No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington had three hits, including a home run and three RBIs, and he drove in the eventual game-winning run as the A's eked out a 5-4 win at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Oakland salvaged the final game of their three-game series while snapping the Yankees' seven-game winning streak and answering New York's four-run fourth inning with single runs the next two innings. Jerry Blevins (5-1) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter A.J. Griffin, and struck out Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson with two on and one out to end the fifth. Grant Balfour watched Alex Rodriguez take him to the warning track before right fielder Josh Reddick made the catch as part of a perfect ninth for his 20th save of the season. Hiroki Kuroda (14-11) allowed five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings for the Yankees, who got a home run by Swisher, but were hurt by shortstop Eduardo Nunez's defense again. Four Oakland relievers combined to shut out the Yankees in the final 4 2/3 innings, escaping several late threats. It had not been one of Kuroda's best outings, but he had a chance to at least keep the game tied. There were two outs in the top of the sixth and Kuroda's pitch count was rising along with the tension in the ballpark for another tight battle between playoff contenders. Josh Donaldson stood on second, a result of the first of Nunez's two errors, with the shortstop spinning to fling the ball wildly to first. But Kuroda, uncharacteristically wild and inefficient in spots, had come back to get George Kottaras on a fly to left for the second out. He ran the count full to Pennington, but the No. 9 hitter then laced his third straight hit, to left, and Donaldson raced home just ahead of the throw from Ichiro Suzuki for a 5-4 lead. Unlike Saturday's game, the A's had a chance to absorb the latest Yankees' rally, responding to New York's four-run fifth with single runs in the fifth and sixth to tie the game and take their 5-4 lead. Pennington, who gave the A's a 2-0 lead early with his fifth homer of the season, singled to lead off the fifth, and Kuroda walked Stephen Drew before freezing Seth Smith on a sinker for the first out. But, after Kuroda's second wild pitch of the game, Yeonis Cespedes singled to right to tie the game, 4-4. As they had at the end of Saturday's epic game, the Yankees wiped out a multi-run deficit with a four-run inning. The drama was not nearly as high as it was during their 13th-inning rally this time, though, as the Yankees took a 4-3 lead in the fourth off Griffin. They peppered him with five straight hits, including Swisher's two-run blast into the second deck in right, to make it 3-2. Raul Ibanez, who received a warm ovation after his first at-bat for his two home runs Saturday, including a game-tying shot in the 13th, doubled in a run to tie the game, 3-3. The Yankees took a 4-3 lead on Nunez's RBI groundout. Kuroda showed early he would not be his normally efficient self, throwing 19 pitches in the first and falling behind 3-0 after two. Just as uncharacteristically, he allowed the first run to score on a wild pitch, before giving up the two-run homer to Pennington in the second. NOTES: Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner (elbow) will travel with the Yankees on their upcoming seven-game road trip, but manager Joe Girardi did not reveal when he might be activated from the DL to be used as a pinch runner. ... Red-hot outfielder Ichiro Suzuki batted second for the second straight day. ... The A's called up right-hander Jeremy Accardo to provide some bullpen depth a day after using nine pitchers in their 14-inning loss. ... A day after Yankees infielder Eric Chavez told the New York Post he thought Oakland's celebration during their four-run 13th inning was "high-schoolish," A's manager Bob Melvin defended his team. "We play the game the right way on the field. If you try to keep things loose in your dugout, there's nothing wrong with that."
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