It was like deja vu all over again, sorta, with a catcher’s interference playing a key role at Yankee Stadium for the second straight game.
This time the interference call went in the Oakland A’s favor instead of against them, putting them in position to avenge last night’s defeat, but it wasn’t quite enough as their comeback attempt fell short in a 2-1 loss to New York on Tuesday.
The Yankees got both of their runs early, and some sharp defense by the A’s prevented them from scoring even more. However, Oakland collected only six hits of their own and rarely reached scoring position at all. They finally pushed across a run in the 9th inning, with some help from New York’s defense, but the rally was too little too late.
The action got going right away in the 1st inning. The Yankees put runners on second and third against starter Frankie Montas, and a single to right field drove one of them home. The trailing runner tried to round third and score too, but Ramon Laureano delivered a great throw, and catcher Sean Murphy made an amazing scoop to corral a short hop and tag out the runner.
DO NOT RUN ON RAMÓN— Oakland A's (@Athletics) June 28, 2022
DO NOT RUN ON MURPH pic.twitter.com/pqXw7CXhIT
That’s former A’s star Josh Donaldson getting nabbed at the plate!
The defense contributed again in the 2nd inning. After a leadoff walk, New York tapped a grounder up the middle, where rookie Nick Allen turned a slick double play. The next batter homered, worth just one run instead of two.
From there, Montas settled down and retired 12 of his final 13 batters.
- Montas: 6 ip, 2 runs, 7 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR, 4 hits, 105 pitches
The bullpen held serve as well, with relievers Domingo Acevedo and Sam Selman each tossing a scoreless frame.
Unfortunately, Oakland’s lineup disappeared again. They couldn’t score any runs against lefty JP Sears, a sleeper prospect making his second career MLB start and fourth career appearance, and they only reached second base twice in the first eight innings. Even when they did get on, they had a trio of runners eliminated, via a pickoff, a caught stealing, and a double play.
But wait! Something began brewing in the 9th inning. And to fully appreciate it, you need some quick background: The A’s were leading last night when a pair of catcher interferences by Murphy helped spark a Yankee comeback. That’s a rare enough play on its own, but seeing two in the same inning is nigh unheard of.
Tonight the tables turned. With Oakland down to their last out, and Murphy batting, New York’s catcher was called for interference and Murphy was awarded first base. Stephen Vogt then singled, and suddenly runners were on the corners with the go-ahead run stepping into the box. Elvis Andrus poked another single, which scored Murphy and pushed the tying run into scoring position, but a subsequent groundout ended the inning and stopped the rally just barely short.
But can you imagine if they’d finished it off? Catcher interference calls serving as the turning point in game-winning comebacks two nights in a row, between the same teams, with each club winning one of them, would have been a bizarre oddity for the ages. Instead it just goes down as two straight Yankee wins against the worst team in MLB.
On the bright side, Montas posted another quality start, and the defense continued its recent habit of making a positive impact. But the lineup just ain’t hitting.
Frankie Montas has three strikeouts of Aaron Judge. Yankees didn't like a couple of calls in the first two at-bats. But Montas is the first pitcher this season to strike Judge out three times in one game.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) June 29, 2022