The Yankees didn’t do anything to put to bed the “they can’t hit with runners in scoring position” narrative Tuesday night. They only furthered it in a 3-2 loss in 11 innings to the equally offensively challenged A’s at the Stadium.
“It’s not working right now,” Carlos Beltran said of the offense.
The Yankees (5-7) came in off a series against Seattle in which they went 1-for-35 with runners in scoring position and in a 4-for-57 overall RISP slump. Tuesday night they went 1-for-7.
“We’re getting runners on but we’re having a hard time getting them in,” Joe Girardi said. “That’s going to change, but while you go through it, it’s pretty frustrating.”
The A’s (7-7), who came in 5 for their last 40 with RISP, got the big hit in the 11th. Mark Canha slapped Johnny Barbato’s two-out, 0-and-2 fastball to left to bring in Jed Lowrie from third. The ball slipped past a diving Didi Gregorius, who had made three terrific plays at shortstop earlier.
“If I would have made that play, it would have saved the game,” Gregorius said. “That’s the most important play right there and I couldn’t make it.”
The Yankees had a chance in the ninth against Fernando Rod riguez. Chase Headley singled and Jacoby Ellsbury, benched in favor of Aaron Hicks because the A’s started a lefthander, pinch ran. Gregorius failed to get a bunt down and flied out. Ellsbury, off to an across-the-board rough start, was thrown out trying to steal.
“We’re just not executing offensively,” Girardi said.
Lowrie started the 11th-inning rally with a one-out double. It was the first run in six appearances allowed by Barbato, who said he wanted to plant the 0-and-2 pitch “in the dirt,” but didn’t come close to doing so.
“I tried to make it too good,” Barbato said. “I left it up, it didn’t break and he got good wood on it.”
Ryan Madson pitched a perfect 11th for his fifth save, starting the inning with a strikeout of Alex Rodriguez, who did have two hits, including an RBI single. Headley, in a 3-for-19 slide coming in, also had two hits.
Michael Pineda pitched well for a second straight game, though he failed to hold the 2-1 lead he took into the sixth. The righthander allowed two runs, seven hits and one walk in six innings. He struck out seven.
A’s lefthander Eric Surkamp, with a fastball that only occasionally reaches 90 mph, allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2⁄3 innings for the A’s.
After Pineda came the usual excellence from the Yankees’ bullpen as Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller pitched scoreless innings. Although Betances allowed two hits, he struck out two, giving him 17 in seven innings this season.
The Yankees got their first runner in scoring position with two outs in the first. Beltran doubled to left-center, improving to 7-for-14 this homestand. Mark Teixeira walked, bringing A-Rod to the plate. Rodriguez, in a 1-for-20 skid, got ahead 2-and-0 before lining a 90-mph fastball to left that made it 1-0.
The Yankees broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth when Gardner walked with one out and Starlin Castro ripped a double to left, giving him a 13-for-28 start at the Stadium. Beltran’s sacrifice fly to right made it 2-1.
Lowrie’s two-out RBI single in the sixth tied it at 2.
“I’ve been in the league many years and it’s just one of those things that we’re going through,” Beltran said of the club’s offensive issues. “We’re going to go through it many more times during the period of 162 games. We just need to find a way to win ballgames, that’s all.”