There was no way to stop it. At least that is how a dejected Bob Melvin—manager of the Oakland Athletics—put it to the media following a 22-9 defeat to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium Thursday.
The Yankees, in case you haven’t heard by now, became the first team in Major League Baseball history to hit three grand slams in the same game after Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson each hit home runs with the bases loaded in a one-sided, three-game series finale that made everyone forget they had actually lost the two previous games.
“Well, it only counts as one [loss], but it was definitely embarrassing,” Melvin told reporters after the game. “We got the lead early and just weren’t able to hold it. It just got out of hand.”
“Out of hand” was an understatement.
Oakland knocked starter Phil Hughes out of the game and had jumped out to a 7-1 lead halfway through the fourth inning. But Martin hit a solo homer off Rich Harden in the bottom half of the fourth and Cano hit grand slam No. 1 in the fifth.
Oakland 7, New York 6.
Then, in the sixth, Martin came up with the bases loaded and sent Fautino De Los Santos’ 1-1, 96 mph four-seamer over the wall in right, putting the Yankees up 10-7.
At that point, Melvin thought, “How do we stop it and come back.”
“[The Yankees] have a good offensive ballclub,” the A’s manager said. “Once we fell behind, it was hard to come back.”
More like impossible given what awaited his team once the Yankees had taken the lead.
New York had already been ahead 17-8 when Granderson came to bat with the bases packed in the eighth inning.
Facing reliever Bruce Billings, the center fielder fell behind in the count 1-2 before turning on a fastball and depositing it into the stands in right.
“Just trying to go ahead and put the ball in play, especially once I had two strikes,” Granderson told joltleft.com in the clubhouse. “Wasn’t sure how the plan of attack was going to be.
“And then the fact that you have guys in scoring position… I take advantage of every at-bat that [I] get, no matter what the score happens to be. Because they all end up adding up at the end of the season.”
What added up for Oakland’s pitchers in the game was the walks for which they combined: 13. The free passes kept giving the Bombers opportunities with men in scoring position and had just as much to do with what resembled a final score in football as anything else.
“Giving up walks didn’t help us either,” Melvin said. “We fell behind and they made us pay for it.”