Yankees turn first triple play since 1968 in loss to A’s
OAKLAND – Alex Rodriguez started an around-the-horn gem for the New York Yankees’ first triple play in 42 years. But it was his casual jog directly across the diamond that started all the trouble.
On a day of history and histrionics, Oakland pitcher Dallas Braden screamed at Rodriguez after accusing him of breaching one of baseball’s unwritten rules, setting off a shouting match Thursday in the Athletics’ 4-2 win over the Yankees.
The problems began in the top of the sixth inning after a single by Rodriguez. Robinson Cano fouled off a pitch and Rodriguez, who in between second base and third, cut across the pitcher’s mound to return to first.
After Cano grounded into an inning-ending double play, Braden and Rodriguez got into it.
“The long and short of it is it’s pretty much baseball etiquette. He should probably take a note from his captain over there,” Braden said, referring to Yankees leader Derek Jeter, “because you don’t run across the pitcher’s mound in between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind.”
“I was just trying to convey to him that I was still out there, that ball’s in my hand and that’s my pitcher’s mound. If he wants to run across the pitcher’s mound. Tell him to go do laps in the bullpen,” he said.
Braden yelled over his right shoulder as he stepped across the third-base line and Rodriguez hollered back. The two kept screaming at each other until A’s manager Bob Geren came out and walked Braden off the field.
Braden threw his glove against a wall in the Oakland dugout and kicked a stack of cups.
“He just told me to get off his mound,” Rodriguez said. “I was a little surprised. I’ve never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. I’ve never even heard of that in my career and I still don’t know. I thought it was pretty funny, actually.”
The 26-year-old Braden (3-0), with a 17-21 lifetime record, was hardly laughing after helping end the Yankees’ six-game winning streak.
“I’m not really a speck on that guy’s radar but he’ll know after today that it might not be a good idea to run across the mound when I’m out there,” Braden said. “It’s not like I throw 95 (mph) and I’m going to hurt him. He’ll know I was there, though.”
Asked if Rodriguez said he was sorry, Braden said no.
“The guy was tasting himself too long to apologize,” he said. “No, he didn’t apologize. And it’s a shame. I have a lot of respect for that guy, everything he’s done in the game. It’s just disappointing when you see the other side of things.”
This was not the first time someone said Rodriguez had broken an unwritten rule on the diamond.
In 2007, he shouted at Toronto third baseman Howie Clark while rounding the bag on a popup. Clark backed away, and the ball dropped. The play started a baseball debate about A-Rod’s actions.
Moments after the temper tantrum with Braden, Rodriguez turned a triple play.
The A’s quickly put runners on first and second in the bottom of the sixth and Kurt Suzuki – who earlier hit a three-run homer – sent a sharp grounder to Rodriguez at third base.
Rodriguez stepped on the bag and threw to Cano at second. Cano’s relay to first baseman Nick Johnson barely beat Suzuki.
The Yankees had gone 6,632 consecutive regular-season games without a triple play. Their last one came on June 3, 1968, with first baseman Mickey Mantle catching the final out on a ball hit by Minnesota’s John Roseboro.
“The ball was hit to my right, I took a couple of steps, stepped on the bag and then threw a little Hail Mary at Robby,” Rodriguez said. “And Robby did a great job of turning it.”
Braden had extra incentive to be fired up against the Yankees. He had been sick all week and needed an IV after being taken out of the game. He scattered six hits over six innings.
The A’s who managed only four hits but benefited from a career high-tying six walks by CC Sabathia (2-1) while ending their season-high, three-game losing streak.
Brad Ziegler pitched two innings and Andrew Bailey worked the ninth for his second save.
Braden, who struck out two and walked two, gave up solo home runs to Marcus Thames and Mark Teixeira but didn’t allow another New York runner past second base despite being ill most of the afternoon.
“You wouldn’t know when he was out there but in between innings you would know,” Geren said. “He did not look good the whole game. We were literally going inning by inning.”
Sabathia, who grew up in Vallejo 30 miles north of Oakland, gave up only four hits in eight innings.
NOTES: Oakland OF Travis Buck was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique muscle he injured while taking extra batting practice Wednesday. OF Matt Carson, who was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to take Buck’s roster spot, started in left field and went 0 for 3. … A’s LHP Jerry Blevins (lower back) is day-to-day. … Geren said RHP Michael Wuertz is feeling a “dead arm” during his extended spring training and is not yet ready to return to the big league club.
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