Rich Hill pitches Oakland Athletics past New York Yankees

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange  |  April 22, 2016 at 1:50 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

NEW YORK -- There was a lot for the Oakland Athletics to enjoy about Rich Hill's performance Thursday night.

Perhaps nothing highlighted it like the way he pitched to Carlos Beltran.

Hill struck out 10 in six innings and fanned Beltran three times as the Athletics completed a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees with a 7-3 victory.

Oakland won its fifth straight, thanks in part to solo home runs from Mark Canha, Khris Davis and Coco Crisp as well as a two-run shot by Chris Coghlan.

Those hits helped Oakland improve to 16-6 in their last 22 games against the Yankees and get their first sweep in New York since June 9-11, 2006. The Athletics gained even more assistance from Hill, who allowed two runs -- one earned -- and three hits while throwing 104 pitches.

Hill (2-2) struck out seven of New York's nine starters at least once but saved his best for when he faced Beltran. Beltran came into Thursday with three hits in eight previous at-bats off Hill, but the veteran left-hander used his curveball to strike out the right fielder.

"That's a guy that's been really hot, by far their hottest hitter," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "(Hill) kept them off-balance. He was throwing different pitches, different angles. Whenever you see a guy like that that has been swinging the bat as well as he has and give him a tough night, it means he was throwing the ball probably as well as we've seen."

Hill fanned Beltran for the final out of the first by getting a swing on a 1-2 curveball. With the Yankees holding a 1-0 lead, Hill used a 0-2 curveball to get Beltran for the final out of the third. Two innings later, Hill ended a nine-pitch at-bat by getting Beltran to look at a 2-2 curveball to preserve a 2-1 lead.

"Obviously Carlos is a great hitter and a really tough out," Hill said. "I just thought back to last year when I faced him a few times. You don't want to leave the ball up and over the zone. He can really drive the ball the other way. It's imperative you have some angle on your pitches and make sure that you can get that late velocity through the zone against him."

The veteran left-hander finished with his 10th career double-digit strikeout game. He came one punch-out shy of tying his career high set twice in 2006 and 2007 with the Chicago Cubs.

"He was just punching tickets," Coghlan said. "He was good. He had that curveball going. It's tough to match planes with that curveball as a hitter. He's got a sneaky heater. So he's a tough matchup. So I thought he did good and it was great to see him compete and get the W."

Hill became the latest left-handed pitcher to keep the Yankees quiet. Being unable to hit him resulted in New York losing for the seventh time in eight games and falling to 5-9 for the first time since 2005.

"I thought Hill had a really good breaking ball and it's what we saw from him at the end of last year," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought our guys battled and were able to scratch a couple of runs across."

New York's two runs off Hill consisted of a bloop single by Aaron Hicks in the third and an RBI infield single by Austin Romine in the fourth. Romine's hit went to the third base side of the mound and it came after Hill made a throwing error to first on a pickoff attempt against Alex Rodriguez.

Oakland tied the game twice on Jed Lowrie's double in the fourth and Canha's home run in the fifth. Those hits came off Luis Severino, who allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings.

The Athletics quickly took the lead for good when Davis and Crisp opened the seventh inning off Chasen Shreve (1-1) with home runs on consecutive fastballs. Oakland capped its scoring on Coghlan's two-run home run in the eighth off Johnny Barbato and Canha's sacrifice fly in the ninth.

The Yankees pulled within 4-3 on an RBI single by Starlin Castro in the seventh, but John Axford retired Beltran on a groundout to end the inning.

New York had the tying run on deck when they put two on in the ninth with one out against Liam Hendriks, but Ryan Madson struck out Castro and retired Beltran for his sixth save.

"We're going through a hard time right now, you just have to fight through it," Girardi said. "Guys have to keep doing their job, be prepared every day, and not try to do too much. They're prepared and working hard. Things just aren't going our way right now, but that will change."

NOTES: LF Brett Gardner (stiff neck) did not start for the second straight game but entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh. New York manager Joe Girardi said Gardner would have been in the lineup if the Yankees were facing a right-handed starting pitcher. ... Oakland 3B Danny Valencia (left hamstring strain) did not play and manager Bob Melvin said after he was going to be placed on the 15-day disabled list. ... LF Aaron Hicks' relay throw to get Valencia at the plate on Wednesday night was clocked at 105 mph. It was the fastest outfield throw ever recorded by's StatCast. ... Oakland RHP Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder surgery) will make his second rehab start on Monday for Triple-A Nashville. Alvarez will throw three innings or 45 pitches. ... The Yankees held a pregame ceremony for Oakland minor leaguer pitching prospect Mike Nolan, who was fatally shot Sept. 18 in the parking lot of a Burger King in Yonkers, N.Y.

Trending Stories