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.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.