The New A's Introduce Themselves to the Yankees

Rookie leads A's to first home win over Yanks since 2010

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Jul 20, 2012  |  Updated 8:21 AM EDT
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A lot has changed since April.

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When the Yankees were last in Oakland, they were putting the finishing touches on an April sweep of the A's.

That was just business as usual. The final game of that sweep was the Yankees' ninth-straight win in Oakland, a streak dating back to 2010 and it came in the middle of Oakland's own nine-game losing streak that left them at 22-30 as May got underway.

It's been a very different story in Oakland since that point. The teams is 26-14 over their last 40 games, including Thursday's 4-3 win over the Yankees that ended that allowed them to reclaim ownership of their home field.

That might be a dubious prize given the quality of the edifice and size of the crowds, but you have to imagine it still feels nice to win a game in your own backyard. It feels even nicer that A.J. Griffin was the guy to do it.

Griffin, one of several unknown Oakland starters fueling this run, allowed two runs over six innings to pick up his second straight victory. Griffin has now allowed four runs in 18 innings against the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox, and it bodes well for the future when you are able to shut down the three best offensive teams in baseball within the first five starts of your major league career thanks to a fastball-curveball combo that results in a 30 mph change in speed between pitches.

Oakland's part of a massive scrum for the second Wild Card spot in the American League, an unexpected turn of events this season and one that speaks well of the decision to keep more teams in the hunt by adding a playoff berth. With a young pitching staff and Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, who hit a two-run homer off Freddy Garcia early on Thursday, Oakland might be able to extend this relevance beyond their current hot streak.

Not that Oakland's relevance matters to the Yankees, despite many happy memories of playoff wins over the team way back when. It's just hard to generate much angst over a loss when you've got a double-digit lead in the division.

Garcia was neither terrible nor great, he was basically your average everyday Freddy Garcia and that's generally going to mean you need more than three runs to win a game. Thanks to Nick Swisher's ninth-inning homer, the Yankees did get three runs and that means their streak has hit 43 games on that front.

The Yankees will be seeing more new faces in the next few nights as the A's trot out Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker before closing with old friend Bartolo Colon in an attempt to stop that scoring streak. The names might not mean much now, but there's a decent chance that the new A's will leave a couple more strong impressions before sending the Yankees on their merry way.

London 2012 is right around the corner. Get the top Olympic news, including what to watch, results and features on our local athletes here.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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