A’s sweep Yankees, win fifth straight by one run

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It took them 12 innings this time, but the A’s completed a four-game sweep of the Yankees on Sunday, this time winning 5-4. They’ve won five straight games by exactly one run.

The A’s are the first team since the 1999 Marlins to win five straight by the slimmers of margins.

The streak started with a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Thursday. They then beat the Yankees four straight: 4-3, 3-2, 2-1 and 5-4.

The Yankees actually jumped out to a 4-0 lead today, but the A’s came all of the way back. Brandon Inge and Kurt Suzuki homered in the fifth, and the A’s got another run in the sixth on an RBI groundout. Down 4-3 in the ninth, they got a game-tying home run from Seth Smith off Rafael Soriano. Coco Crisp won it in the 12th by singling in Derek Norris.

The victory improved the surprising A’s to 51-44, putting them into a tie with the Angels for second place in the AL West before the Angels play Texas tonight. The Angels, A’s and Orioles are all currently tied for the two wild card spots, with the White Sox one back.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.