Orioles win in 12, Yankees prevail in 14 versus A’s

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With the Orioles already having dispatched the Red Sox in 12, the AL East appeared on the verge of being knotted at the top again. However, the Yankees overcame a 9-5 deficit in the 13th and beat the A’s 10-9 in 14 innings Saturday.

Baltimore improved to 4-0 in extra-inning games at Fenway Park this year by beating the Red Sox 9-6. Jim Thome’s ground-rule double broke the tie in the 12th, and the Orioles were able to add on from there. Incredibly, the Red Sox are 0-7 in extra-inning games at home this season.

The A’s got homers from Jonny Gomes, Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter to take a commanding 9-5 lead on the Yankees in the top of the 13th. However, the Yankees came right back afterwards, loading the bases with none out and getting a game-tying two-run homer from Raul Ibanez with one out.

The Bombers went on to win it in 14 after another wild sequence. Alex Rodriguez appeared to hit a game-winning single with one out and the lead runner on second, but pinch-runner Melky Mesa, making his major league debut, missed third base on the turn and had to go back to the bag.

That loaded the bases for Robinson Cano. Cano hit a comebacker to Tyson Ross that bounced out of and back into the pitcher’s glove, leading to an awkward but successful throw home for the force. Catcher Derek Norris could have chanced turning it into an inning-ending double play since Cano hardly busted it out of the box, but he decided not to risk throwing it into the runner and giving the Yankees a win that way. Eduardo Nunez then came up and his a spinning grounder to first that Brandon Moss failed to glove, ending the game. It was ruled an error on Moss, though it was hardly an easy play with the way the ball was moving.

The game featured a controversial call in the bottom of the first. Travis Blackley picked  Rodriguez off first, but second base umpire Larry Vanover decided to call it a balk only after watching the play unfold and seeing A-Rod tagged out. The implication being that Vanover would have let it go had A-Rod made it back safely. Whether it was a balk or not (and that really could have gone either way), that’s not the way the game is supposed to be umpired and Vanover should get a talking to over it. The Yankees went on to score two runs after the play, contributing to an early exit for Blackley.

Helped out by that play, the Yankees really should have won in regulation. That they didn’t was due in part to a lack of effort. Cano initially gave up on a Moss grounder into the hole in the seventh because he thought first baseman Nick Swisher would grab it. When Swisher’s dive came up short, Cano made his own half-hearted dive and missed the ball, giving Moss a single. He later came around to score the tying run. Also, in the bottom of the seventh, Swisher opened the frame with a popup to shallow right. Disappointed, he didn’t run out of the box, and he ended up on first instead of second when the ball fell in. The Yankees failed to score in the inning, even though Swisher advanced to third with one out because of a HBP and a sac bunt.

The Yankees again almost won it in the 12th, but Ibanez was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to second.

Ibanez turned a single into a double with some great hustle in the frame, which is perhaps why he wasn’t removed for a pinch-runner after reaching. He then went to third on a wild pitch, forcing the A’s to pull the infield in. Unfortunately, Russell Martin’s grounder was hit right to second baseman Cliff Pennington, who threw home. Ibanez tried to bowl Norris over, and when that didn’t quite work, he gave up a little push to finish knocking him to the ground. Norris held on, though, and the A’s got out of the inning.

With the win, the Yankees maintained a one-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East. The A’s are three games up on the second wild card, pending the Angels’ result tonight.

Derek Jeter and Giancarlo Stanton have different stories about his trade

Associated Press
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Giancarlo Stanton was introduced by the New York Yankees moments ago, donning the pinstripes for the first time and meeting a mass of media. The takeaway from the presser — apart from how happy he seems to be about joining the Yankees — is how poorly the Miami Marlins handled his departure.

Earlier in the day Derek Jeter — who, despite being in charge of the Marlins baseball operations department is not here for the Winter Meetings — had a telephone press conference in which he seemed to bristle at the bad press he’s received since the Stanton trade was announced and tried to tell his side of the story of the deal. Here’s his side of the story:

During his press conference just now Stanton was asked if Jeter persuaded him to stay. He paused for several seconds when he was asked that. Then he answered:

We had a meeting, yes. We spoke about the direction of the team. I wanted us to go forward and have — and advance with the pitching staff. I thought our lineup was legit and we needed help with our pitchers, and we needed to add rather than subtract. The way they wanted to go was to subtract, so I let that be known that I didn’t want to be part of another rebuild, another losing season, and that’s almost a guaranteed losing season taking away what I thought was a great lineup. So, yes, I didn’t want to be a part of the rebuild.

It was quite clear from both his words and his demeanor that Stanton gave the Marlins a reasonable set of circumstances that would make him want to stay. It was likewise clear that the Marlins did nothing to persuade him to stay.

They also bungled the trade.

Stanton has taken a lot of heat for rejecting deals to the Giants and the Cardinals. Stanton said, though, that he and his agent presented the Marlins with a list of teams to whom he’d accept a trade beforehand and the Giants and Cardinals were not on the list. Stanton:

Now, I gave my list of teams prior to, and they went to San Francisco and Cardinals and struck deals with them. So I was open to listen to them, but those were not my teams.

The Marlins nonetheless struck those deals and presented them to Stanton. Stanton said that he had a lot of respect for those organizations so he took meetings with them but that they were never on his list and they just weren’t deals that were going to work out.

News of those deals, it’s worth remembering, came out primarily from a reporter based in south Florida, suggesting that they were leaked by the Marlins. So not only was the club pursuing deals they should have known Stanton was going to reject, they made his act of rejecting them an awkward, public act which made Stanton into the bad guy in some quarters. Once those deals feel apart, of course, the Yankees quickly swooped in and got him for a good second baseman who will soon be traded and some magic beans.

Stanton came off really well in his presser. He answered every questions thrown at him. He praised the Cardinals and the Giants and explained his decision to join the Yankees without delving into the sorts of cliches often used when talking about the Yankees, focusing less on their history and brand and more on their good young players and their current state of competitiveness. He also said, when asked whether he’ll play right field given that Aaron Judge is there, that he doesn’t care where he played as long as he can help the team win. It was a master class in how to introduce yourself to the New York media.

Contrast that with what’s coming out of Miami. And ask yourself if we should maybe rethink what we talk about when we talk about Yankees, current and former, and the idea of “class.”

More from the Stanton press conference: