Athletics defeat Yankees in 18 innings, sweep three-game series

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It took five hours and 34 minutes, but the Athletics finished off a three-game sweep of the Yankees with a 3-2 win in 18 innings this evening at O.Co Coliseum.

Nate Freiman played hero for the Athletics, as he dropped a one-out single into left field off Mariano Rivera to drive in John Jaso for the winning run. Preston Claiborne began the inning and got Derek Norris to ground out to second base, but he was pulled in favor of Rivera after he gave up a single to Jaso. Rivera then allowed a bloop single to Seth Smith and intentionally walked Jed Lowrie to set-up Freiman for the game-winning hit.

By the way, this was the latest that Rivera had ever pitched in a game. Yes, even in his 19th and final season, the all-time saves leader still has some firsts left.

The Athletics nearly won the game three innings earlier on a single by Coco Crisp. However, Vernon Wells made a strong throw to the plate and Chris Stewart held on after a collision with Brandon Moss to get the out.

The Yankees got a two-run homer from Robinson Cano off Jarrod Parker in the first inning, but they were held off the board for the next 17 frames. Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis, and Wells went a combined 0-for-28 and had three strikeouts each. Ouch.

This is the third game this month to go 18 innings or more, joining Rangers-Blue Jays (18 innings) and Marlins-Mets (20 innings) from this past Saturday. As ESPN’s Jayson Stark notes, that doesn’t happen often.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.