OAKLAND, Calif. – A partial power outage with the outfield lights at the Oakland Coliseum put a small shadow over the Athletics and the New York Yankees on June 14.
Scott Kazmir and the A’s never gave the Yankees offense any kind of daylight when play resumed.
Kazmir pitched another gem and two relievers pitched perfect ball the rest of the way as the A’s handed the Yankees a 5-1 loss following the Oakland Coliseum’s latest maintenance problem.
The game was stopped for 38 minutes in the middle of the fourth inning because of an outage to the panel of lights above left field. The A’s said the circuit breaker turned off and had to be manually reset, while players from both sides said that the lights never initially turned on.
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said he first noticed the issue in the second inning but didn’t mention it to umpires. “I was saying something to our guys, you know, ‘Are those lights always off?'” Girardi said. “They were never on, which makes me wonder why someone didn’t notice who is here every day.”
New York’s four-game winning streak ended because of its own errors. Two passed balls by backup catcher John Ryan Murphy, who was inserted in the lineup after Mark Teixeira was scratched with what he called a spasm in his midback, helped Oakland score twice in the fifth.
But the delay surely didn’t help Hiroki Kuroda (4-5), who compared the stoppage to a rain delay. He allowed four runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings. That included a perfect fourth after the delay before he lost his rhythm in the fifth — and so did his catcher.
“The fact that I couldn’t protect (the lead) was really frustrating,” Kuroda said.
Kazmir (8-2) allowed one unearned run and three hits in six innings for his third straight win. Dan Otero pitched two perfect innings before Sean Doolittle closed out the Yankees in the ninth.
Kazmir stayed warm in the clubhouse during the delay and then threw a simulated inning in the bullpen, which wrapped up just as the lights came back on. “It worked out perfectly,” Kazmir said.
Brian McCann was switched from catcher to first base after the Yankees took Teixeira out about 30 minutes before the game. Murphy moved into the catcher’s spot.
Eric Sogard walked, advanced to second on Coco Crisp’s single and moved to third on Murphy’s first passed ball. Sogard scored on John Jaso’s groundout, and Crisp came home on Murphy’s second passed ball to put the A’s up 4-1.
After being held out of the June 13s game to rest his sore right ankle, Sogard came through at the plate and in the field.
Sogard lined a two-out, two-run single to center to give the A’s a 2-0 lead in the second, and he cut down Kelly Johnson at home after fielding a grounder by Jeter in the fifth.
New York scored its only run in the third when shortstop Andy Parrino sailed his throw to first on Derek Jeter’s grounder. Parrino got the run back when he hit an RBI double in the sixth.
But the latest maintenance issue at Oakland’s dual-purpose ballpark overshadowed the Kazmir’s latest gem and anything else the A’s did on the field.
The aging Coliseum, which is shared with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and is the only stadium in the country still home to teams from both leagues, has had multiple plumbing problems the past two years.
The A’s have been trying for years to move to a new ballpark, including in San Jose, which the San Francisco Giants contend is part of their territory.
The A’s are in the process of negotiating a new lease at the Coliseum, which opened in 1966, though it’s unclear what — if any — facility upgrades will be included in a potential deal. “That’s the Coliseum for ya,” Sogard said. “That’s why we love this place. Never know what you’re gonna get.”
(ANTONIO GONZALEZ, AP Sports Writer)