The Oakland Athletics completed a three-game series sweep of the visiting Yankees with an 18-inning victory in which New York reliever Mariano Rivera failed to retire any of the three batters he faced.
The Yankees (37-29), who announced yesterday that shortstop Derek Jeter had been cleared to begin “baseball activities and running” for the first time this season, fell into third place in the American League East. The Athletics (41-27), who have won 21 of their past 26 games, are atop the AL West.
Rivera, 43, the Major League Baseball career saves leader with 631, entered the game with one out and a runner on first in the 18th. He gave up a bloop single to Seth Smith, walked Jed Lowrie intentionally and then allowed a game-winning single by Nate Freiman.
“A little broken-bat blooper over the third baseman, and the other one the same place,” Rivera told reporters. “You can’t do anything about it.”
The five hour, 35 minute game was the third of 18 innings or more in less than a week. On June 8, the Miami Marlins needed 20 innings to defeat the New York Mets 2-1 and the Toronto Blue Jays went 18 innings to top the Texas Rangers 4-3.
Oakland, which has won 11 straight games at home, became the first AL team since 1971 to play two 18-inning games in one season. The A’s defeated the Los Angeles Angels 10-8 in 19 innings in late April.
It was the first time since 1988 that the Yankees had played at least 18 innings.
The Yankees had a runner in scoring position in the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th innings. The A’s had a runner thrown out at home plate in the 15th.
“It was very taxing even winning the game,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin told reporters. “To lose could have been demoralizing.”
New York got its only runs in the first inning on a two-run homer by Robinson Cano, and was then shut out for 17 innings by seven Oakland pitchers. Cano’s home run was the first for the Yankees since June 6.
The middle of the Yankees lineup -- Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis and Vernon Wells -- went 0-for-28 yesterday and each of the four struck out three times.
At Citi Field in New York, the Mets’ Matt Harvey lost for the first time this season as the St. Louis Cardinals won 2-1 as Adam Wainwright (10-3) pitched seven shutout innings to become baseball’s first 10-game winner this season.
Harvey, 24, who allowed one run in seven innings, entered the game 5-0 this season and had not lost in his previous 14 starts dating to September. New York has averaged less than three runs in Harvey’s last nine starts.
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