Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/22/12
NEW YORK -- If the New York Yankees are going to hang on to their slim lead in the AL East, it looks like extra-inning games are going to be a decisive factor. As the Baltimore Orioles won their 16th extra-inning game in a row, against Boston, to keep the heat on, the Yankees managed to outdo them Saturday. The Yankees scored four runs in the bottom of the 13th inning to force an extra round of extra innings against the A's, then won their wildest game of the season, 10-9, on an error in the bottom of the 14th. The Yankees (88-63) have won seven in a row and maintained their one-game lead over Baltimore. Oakland (85-66) leads the Angels for the second wild card. The A's broke the 5-5 tie with home runs by Jonny Gomes, Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter in the top of the 13th inning. The first two homers came off Freddy Garcia, who had kept Oakland scoreless for three innings. Carter homered off rookie Justin Thomas. But the Yankees answered with four in the bottom of the inning. Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano all singled off Pedro Figueroa. Then Pat Neshek came in, threw a wild pitch and allowed a sacrifice fly to Eduardo Nunez before Ibanez hit his second homer of the game to tie it at 9-9. Cory Wade, the Yankees' ninth pitcher, retired Oakland in the top of the 14th. In the bottom of the inning, Eric Chavez singled and was replaced at first by rookie speedster Melky Mesa, who could have scored easily on Rodriguez's single, but stumbled, missed third and had to go back. With two out, Nunez's twisting roller to first was fumbled by Brandon Moss as the winning run crossed, ending the game just short of the six-hour mark. The Yankees led 3-2 after an agonizing first inning that took nearly 40 minutes and offered all the hints one needed that this would be a long, tough afternoon. The first three A's hitters -- Stephen Drew, Seth Smith and Cespedes -- hit ringing doubles to produce two Oakland runs, but Ivan Nova limited further damage. The Yankees responded against A's lefty Travis Blackey. Ichiro, who came into the game with a .332 average in his first 55 games as a Yankee, lined one into the short porch in right for the first Yankees run. Rodriguez singled, moved to second on a balk and scored on Cano's single. Cano scored on a bases-loaded walk to Andruw Jones. The Yankees added another in the second, with the help of an error, Rodriguez scoring on a wild pitch. Blackley was done after two innings. Nova couldn't get out of the third. Drew led off with a home run, and he left a bases-loaded one-out mess for lefty specialist Clay Rapada, who got Josh Reddick to bounce into a double play, preserving the Yankees' lead. Manager Joe Girardi tried to squeeze a full inning out of Rapada, but the A's tied it on Cliff Pennington's RBI single, and the manager turned to little-used veteran Derek Lowe, who stranded two inherited runners with help of a diving stop by Jeter. Lowe, his sinker very effective, pitched three innings, settling things down. Girardi went to his left-handed hitters against A's reliever Jim Miller. Ibanez, in an 0-for-18 slump, came off the bench to hit for Jones in the fifth and homered to right, putting the Yankees back out in front 5-4. The A's tied it, after Lowe left, in the seventh inning on Chris Carter's sacrifice fly off Boone Logan. NOTES: Mark Teixeira, working his way back from his strained left calf, did some running in the outfield before the game but put no timetable on his return. It figures to be sometime this week. He said he wants to be sure he can "accelerate" running the bases and playing the field before he returns. The Yankees projected 10 to 14 days after Teixeira re-injured it in Baltimore two weeks ago, but after Sunday they play four games on artificial turf in Toronto. ... Jeter extended his hitting streak to 16 with a single in the sixth. ... With so many close games, Girardi has been working his top relievers hard. Closer Rafael Soriano, who pitched in two games on Wednesday, has shown signs of a tired arm and Girardi said he would not use him Saturday. David Robertson pitched Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so Girardi all but ruled him out for Saturday, too. ... Oakland began the game with 1,277 strikeouts, most in the majors, and added 10 more to that total Saturday. ... With 12 games left, the AL record of 1,324 by the Rays in 2007 was within reach. ... Reddick, who struck out four times on Friday night, was hitting .158 over his previous 12 games. Manager Bob Melvin thinks he is pressing too hard at the plate, and Reddick let out some frustration when he bounced back to the mound with the bases loaded in the third.
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