A's see extra-inning thriller tilt wrong way

A's see extra-inning thriller tilt wrong way

A's see extra-inning thriller tilt wrong way
NEW YORK -- The setting meant little to Jarrod Parker on Friday, when he made his first Yankee Stadium start with the ease of a veteran in the midst of a playoff race. But it meant plenty to Sean Doolittle, who had about 15 family members and friends make a two-hour drive from his South Jersey home, only to see him surrender a walk-off homer to Russell Martin in the 10th inning of Oakland's 2-1 loss.

"I had a ton of adrenaline going. Obviously this is as close to home that I'm ever going to play," said Doolittle, who added his body is adjusting to his first professional season as a pitcher. "All those things combined, I felt really good."

But he missed on one pitch, an 0-1 fastball to Martin to start the 10th and end the game after he threw a scoreless ninth inning, striking out Robinson Cano and Granderson to take the game to extra innings.

"I watched the previous at-bats and it looked like guys were getting beat by his fastball a little bit," Martin said. "[Hitting coach Kevin Long] told me he was a bit sneaky and just told me to get the head out. I listened to him, got a fastball, probably not where he wanted to leave it. It was belt high."

It made Oakland's late rally for naught and dropped them into the second American League Wild Card spot, wasting a pinch-hit homer in the ninth from Brandon Moss that gave Yankees closer Rafael Soriano only his fourth blown save in 46 chances this season and second against the A's.

But it at least took an impressive Parker off the hook for a loss after the 23-year-old all but matched CC Sabathia for eight innings with a stat line tarnished by only one run.

New York's first hit in the third inning came on a fluke, as Ichiro Suzuki's comebacker snuck through the buttons on Parker's jersey and got caught in his shirt. Parker struck out the next two batters -- he finished with seven -- to escape the inning, only to allow his lone run in the fourth, the only time the Yankees managed to string together hits.

Nick Swisher singled to start the frame, advanced to third on a hard-hit Alex Rodriguez single into the left-center-field gap and scored on a sacrifice fly to left field from Curtis Granderson to give New York a 1-0 lead that Sabathia protected over eight innings.

"[Sabathia] dominated," Moss said, "and so did Parker. Parker had his changeup going and was throwing 95 [mph], and the ball was jumping out of his hand. He kept one of the best offenses in the big leagues to one run in their home park -- that says enough."

It was the second time Parker held the American League East leaders to one run in eight innings, but the first time in the Bronx. Manager Bob Melvin did not expect anything less, likening it to Parker's first start at Fenway Park, where he held Boston to one run in 6 2/3 innings, though that came in May, and this came in a playoff race.

"I think he feels like he's no longer a rookie with the way he's pitched this time of the year," Melvin said. "He pitched really good."

Parker credited it to his game plan, similar to the one he used in his July win against the Yankees at the Coliseum, but acknowledged Sabathia also brought the best out of him.

Ichiro ended any hopes of an Oakland no-hitter when his ball disappeared beneath Parker's green shirt, but Sabathia carried his no-hit bid into the sixth, retiring 14 consecutive A's after a first-inning walk until Stephen Drew singled up the middle to lead off the frame.

The left-hander's velocity increased throughout the game and he finished with 11 strikeouts, twice striking out the side.

"CC was over there and just kind of exchanging blows," Parker said. "He had great stuff tonight and it showed."

And though he held the A's scoreless, lowering his ERA in three starts against them this season to 2.05, they threatened in the eighth.

Drew became the first baserunner to move past first when Collin Cowgill legged out an infield single with two outs before Sabathia hit Jonny Gomes to load the bases. Josh Reddick flew out to left field to end the threat, but it forced Yankees manager Joe Girardi to lift Sabathia after 113 pitches in favor of Soriano.

Melvin never considered turning to his closer, opting to send Doolittle out for a second inning and leaving Grant Balfour for a save situation if the game continued.

One missed pitch made sure it never got to that.

"It was a location thing," Doolittle said. "It was supposed to be a fastball down and away and it probably ended up, shoot, belt high and right down the middle."

Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.