In the early 1990's when Rickey Henderson was back on the A's for only his second tour of duty at the time, the Yankees never could come close to beating Oakland. This season it looked as though New York would hold serve the entire season, until Saturday.
Saturday's action was tight in the early going with Andy Pettitte and Gio Gonzalez matching each other frame for frame. Pettitte retired the first ten A's batters, while Gonzalez no-hit the Yanks until the fifth when Melky Cabrera laid down a bunt single. Somewhere Bob Brenley was no doubt screaming "chicken-****," reminiscent of San Diego Padres catcher Ben Davis bunting on Arizona Diamondbacks starter Curt Schilling to break up his no-hit bid. But hey you try and get on any way you can, especially in a close game.
In the sixth there was finally some scoring as Brett Gardner, who had an excellent day in center defensively, tripled home Derek Jeter for the 1-0 lead.
That lead would be short-lived as everything unraveled in the seventh. Pettitte who made some nice defensive plays earlier in the game, couldn't knock down a shot back up the box by Rajai Davis which scored Scott Hairston to even things at 1-1.
With the bases loaded Alfredo Aceves was summoned from the pen. With two outs and an 0-2 count on Landon Powell, Aceves delivered the same pitch to the same spot a big "no-no" and Powell deposited the pitch accordingly to left plating Nomar Garciaparra and Davis to give the A's a 3-1 edge.
Given the Yankees last loss was to the Angels, it was fitting that a couple of former Halos put on the finishing touches. Adam Kennedy singled home a run, while Orlando Cabrera who has been smoking the ball of late also roughed up Aceves with a two-run double to right center to cap off the six run seventh.
But the Yankees as they always seem to do made some noise in their half of the eighth, trying to keep their steak alive. After a pinch hit single from Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter slammed a two-run homer to right, cutting the lead in half. Then it was Mark Teixeira doing his own solo act, hitting his league leading 25th bomb on the season to make it 6-4.
Oakland closer Andrew Bailey, second among MLB relievers only to the Dodgers Jonathan Broxton in K's was summoned for a four out save, taking over for Michael Wuertz. Robinson Cano almost took Bailey yard, but it was on to the ninth.
Brian Bruney's outing in the top of the ninth was a silver-lining for the Yanks as they tried to rally off Bailey once again.
Bailey began the ninth with successive walks to Melky Cabrera and pinch hitter Johnny Damon. Then inexplicably after those two straight free passes, Posada swings at the first pitch and fouls it off, cuts a the second pitch in the dirt and misses, then Posada ends up grounding into a killer double-play.
So with two outs and Cabrera on third, Jeter served as the tying run. The captain sent out a deep drive to right center, but there would be no ninth win in a row after this ninth inning.