Yankees lose 18-inning marathon to A's
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- By game's end, players from both teams trudged to home plate, a 17-inch torture chamber for the vast majority of hitters who approached it this long afternoon.
For the Yankees, whose offense has struggled much of this trip, the opportunity of what amounted to two full games didn't allow them to emerge from their slump.
It only deepened it.
The ugliness of one of the franchise's longest games finally ended after 5 hours, 35 minutes in the bottom of the 18th on rookie Nate Freiman's one-out, bases-loaded single against Mariano Rivera, giving the A's a 3-2 victory Thursday and a three-game sweep at O.co Coliseum.
"I think we're happy to leave this place,'' said Vernon Wells, who went 0-for-8, part of an 0-for-28 performance from the Yankees' 4-5-6-7 hitters.
Travis Hafner went 0-for-8, Kevin Youkilis went 0-for-7 and Mark Teixeira went 0-for-5. "That's a no-hitter for all of us,'' Teixeira said. "That's not good.''
Or, as catcher Chris Stewart said: "To go this far and end up losing the game, it sucks.''
The Yankees (37-29) went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14, getting RISP in innings 10 through 14 without coming through.
"I know everyone wants to get a hit in that situation,'' Joe Girardi said. "Guys are doing their best. I've never been able to tell when a guy's pressing or not pressing. It's hard for me to read. But we need to turn the page.''
The A's (41-27), who won for the 21st time in their last 26 games, got a one-out single in the 18th by John Jaso against rookie Preston Claiborne (0-1), appearing for a third straight game.
"I'm not going to hurt someone, that's the bottom line,'' Girardi said of pulling Claiborne.
Seth Smith dumped a bloop single to left against Rivera to put runners at the corners with one out. After an intentional walk to Jed Lowrie loaded the bases, Freiman hit a broken-bat single to left to win it.
"I was ready,'' said Rivera, who was up and down several times throughout the afternoon and has never enjoyed coming into games in the middle of an inning. "No excuses.''
In the 15th, leftfielder Wells and Stewart teamed to make the defensive play of the game. Wells threw out Brandon Moss at the plate on Coco Crisp's one-out single to left, with Stewart holding on to the ball as the first baseman plowed into him.
Adam Warren pitched six shutout innings before giving way to Claiborne in the 17th. Warren's reward for his standout effort likely will be a trip to Triple-A Scranton. He could be joined there by Claiborne as the Yankees will need to protect themselves in the bullpen with some fresh arms for the Anaheim series.
"I'm sure we'll make a few moves,'' Girardi said.
The Yankees, who scored a combined 14 runs over their last six games, continue this 10-game, three-city trip, in which they're 3-4, tonight in Anaheim.
Preceding the game-winner, the Yankees squandered a bounty of chances in extra innings. In the 14th, they had runners at first and second with one out, and then the bases loaded with two outs, but could not score.
The bullpen was "phenomenal,'' said Rivera, who didn't give up a hard-hit ball but didn't complain about it afterward.
"That's the game of baseball,'' Rivera said. "Definitely we don't want it to end like that. I know the boys battled hard and gave us opportunities and we couldn't capitalize.''