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Yankees defeat A’s 7-2, advance to ALDS vs. Red Sox

The A’s lose yet another win-or-go-home affair, while the Yankees move on to face the Red Sox for the first time since 2004.

MLB: AL Wild Card-Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In a normal year, two teams that won 100 and 97 games would not be forced to play a single-elimination game. But there isn’t much normal about the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics, who met in the American League Wild Card Game on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Thanks to the Boston Red Sox winning 108 games, the highest total in baseball in 17 years, and the defending champion Houston Astros notching 103 victories, neither the 100-win Yankees nor 97-win A’s won their divisions. That made Wednesday the most combined wins for two teams in a Wild Card Game, surpassing the 195 by the Pittsburgh Pirates (98) and Chicago Cubs (97) in the National League in 2015.

That intrigue didn’t make for much of a competitive game, however, as the Yankees scored two early on an Aaron Judge dinger, and then stayed in control throughout, eventually winning 7-2. If you want the full blow-by-blow recap of the AL Wild Card Game, you can find it below in our live blog. Now it doubles as a recap — efficient, right?

A’s vs. Yankees AL Wild Card Game Live Results

Want to read the live blog from the beginning? Scroll down to the “1st inning” marker and work your way back up!

9th inning: Here we go: the last chance for the A’s, down 7-2, with Aroldis Chapman on the mound. Marcus Semien hits a single to center to start things up, but it’s going to take quite a few of those before the crowd’s tenor changes.

Aroldis Chapman gets Lucroy on a foul-tip slider, so the A’s have two outs left. Here comes pinch-hitter Mark Canha to replace Nick Martini.

Canha strikes out, and it’s all down to Matt Chapman, who needs to hit a five-run homer.

8th inning: Zach Britton is on the mound, and he opens up the eighth by giving up a single to Chapman. It all happened so fast I couldn’t tell you that Brett Gardner is coming into the game as a defensive replacement for Andrew McCutchen.

Lowrie is very likely safe on this double play that’s not being challenged — oh yeah, he’s definitely safe. Let’s see how much the umps want to get home tonight.

The call is overturned, so Lowrie is safe, and Khris Davis hits a two-run dinger. That was definitely a Yankee Stadium dinger, caught by a fan in the front row in right, but the A’s will take a few of those right now.

Britton walks Piscotty, but the little bit of hope immediately vanishes thanks to a first-pitch ground out by Laureano. 6-2, Yankees.

Man, fuck this guy.

Kudos to the A’s fan for not throwing hands or that dude’s phone.

Blake Treinen is in again to face Stanton, and now it’s 7-2 after a towering shot. Oh, while I’m thinking of it:

Jeurys Familia is now on the mound, and he strikes out Luke Voit. Remember when Trivino was in? Good times for the A’s.

Familia gets the job done the rest of the way, but it’s still 7-2 Yankees, and the A’s are down to their last chance.

7th inning: What a grab by Hechavarria!

TBS

That’s why they put him in on defense, that’s for sure. Just an incredible play — he snatches it out of the air in a way that seems impossible, reflex-wise, and then collapses on the ground once he realizes he’s hanging there, Wile E. Coyote style. Just with more success for his effort.

The Yankees outfield was doing some less noticeable defensive movement to help end the inning:

The A’s are running out of chances, and the Yankees are nearing the top of their lineup again. Treinen is still in the game.

Olson corrals an errant throw to first with a pretty play where he managed to back up over the bag in order to make the snag. That’s what happens when you’ve got Ron Washington helping you out as a coach, right? Right? Tell ‘em Wa—[is yanked off stage by vaudevillian hook]

Judge gets a walk, and the broadcasters discuss how much bigger he looks than Olson at first. Olson is 6-5, Judge 6-7, and the gap in height between the two suggests that either one of them is lying about their height or the camera angle is such that Olson looks like he’s half-a-foot shorter.

We’re through seven full innings, so that’s either two innings left for the A’s to come back, or two innings left before the torture of yet another win-or-go-home affair is over for Oakland.

6th inning: Miguel Andújar is lifted from the game to improve the Yankees’ defense, and Adeiny Hechavarria is in at third. David Robertson is warming for New York. Not that it looks like the Yankees need to rush to put in a reliever, since Betances is crushing it: he ends a 1-2-3 inning with a 98 mph fastball to notch his third strikeout of the frame. It’s still 2-0 Yanks.

Here’s Fernando Rodney, who had himself a pretty good year with the A’s. No arrows tonight, not in the bottom of the sixth, but there can still be arrows in our hearts if he gets through Judge, Hicks, and Stanton.

Judge hits a ball soft in just the right place down the right field line, and it’s a double given his speed. Baseball is weird. Hicks hits his own double, driving in Judge, and it’s 3-0 Yankees. Definitely no arrows tonight, spiritual or otherwise.

And there’s a passed ball, moving Hicks to third. And that’s that for Rodney, as Blake Treinen is coming in now. The A’s are using their closer in the sixth inning, which is great for the present, but probably not so great for later on if they manage to score some runs off the Yankees’ bullpen between now and then.

That’s not to say going to Treinen is wrong — I’m just detailing the desperation involved.

Treinen walks Stanton on what looked very much like strike three, but maybe worse is that it took seven pitches for it to happen. First and third and still no outs.

Stanton stole second, so now there are two runners in scoring position and no outs and the Yankees are already up 3-0. The A’s need a strikeout here, and they also need their bats to fully come through soon. Voit is up now and Gregorius is after him, because this lineup keeps going.

He’s got a full count on Voit now, thanks to a nine-pitch at-bat. Treinen might not be in for very long here, if this keeps up, if only because the pitch count won’t allow it.

Voit hits a ball to the wall in right field, one he thought was a homer — and it nearly was — but he’ll have to settle for a bases-clearing triple. It’s 5-0 Yankees

A sac fly by Gregorius makes it 6-0. The A’s have used their best reliever in the sixth, and the goggles did nothing. And neither did the challenge the A’s issued for Voit scoring — it looked like it could have been overturned, but the angles just weren’t there to give the umps the evidence they needed.

The A’s finally escape the inning, but they might be mortally wounded.

5th inning: Luis Severino is back out on the mound, and he gives up a single to Lucroy to open the frame. So, at least there won’t be any controversy about his being pulled from a postseason game mid no-hitter. [trashes article draft]

The Yankees pen is now active, with Severino’s no-no over and his being 85 pitches in. And that’s that for Severino, as he gives up a single to Nick Martini. Dellin Betances is coming in, just in time for Matt Chapman, Jed Lowrie, and Khris Davis.

The broadcast notes that Betances only inherited eight runners all season, so now we might get a look at whether that was by design just for the sake of a clean inning or because the Yankees didn’t trust him much to dispose of inherited runners.

Betances gets Chapman to fly out to right field, and the runners don’t advance because have you seen Aaron Judge throw a baseball before? He’s still not out of this mess yet, though, because thats just the first out, and now Lowrie is up. He hits a sky-high fly to shallow center, so that’s two outs, with no advancement of the runners, again.

Betances is getting it done, and the A’s are in the middle of squandering their second consecutive rally with nothing to show for it. Khris Davis, AL home run leader, is here to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Davis chases a pitch way out of the zone to end the threat, and the A’s have themselves another inning they’ll probably regret. 2-0, Yankees, heading into the bottom of the fifth.

I guess we should have known this was inevitable, given Aaron Boone has himself a binder labeled for this specific game.

TBS

This really feels like a game the Yankees are going to win, but that’s probably just because the A’s have a history of losing big games that matter and the Yankees nearly always find a way to win even when they aren’t supposed to.

Hey, hey, relax, I just said it feels like an inevitable New York win, not that they will definitely win. There are four-plus innings left in this thing!

Andrew McCutchen without a beard still seems very wrong. And yet, here we all are, forced to suffer with this beardless man. At least he gets to benefit by being on a postseason team that might actually win something. Sorry if you’re reading this, Kirshner.

Beardless Cutch doesn’t give the Yankees anymore help, but they’re still up 2-0, and the A’s haven’t been able to push through on their two big opportunities. To the sixth we go.

4th inning: Matt Olson is up for the second time with Khris Davis on first, thanks to a throwing error by Andújar at third. Olson draws a walk after Severino’s sixth full count of the game, and now the A’s have a runner in scoring position with one out. Piscotty is at the plate, hoping to pick up the first hit of the night for the A’s.

Yes, Severino has thrown 66 pitches and walked three, but he hasn’t allowed a knock yet.

Piscotty just misses striking out by checking his swing, but then he flies out to shallow right field. Ron Darling makes the point that in other parks, that might have fallen in for a single, but in Yankee Stadium, with the shallow porch in right, it’s basically never going to be a hit barring a disaster.

You might think I’m pointing this out to complain about the Stadium, but no, weird quirks unique to parks are a good thing, to me.

Wooooow, those were balls, but with another umpire could have been strikes. Those were close close close. That’s another walk for Severino, and now the bases are loaded for Marcus Semien. The TBS crew just keeps repeating, “He’s got a no-hitter, who are we to judge?!” but like, my dudes, his is visibly falling apart. He might escape it with that no-no intact, but he might also walk in a run, so maybe don’t default to the no-hitter thing right now.

Severino gets another strikeout to end the threat! Now you can talk about the no-hitter again.

Hey, Trivino is still in, and he sits Stanton down to open the bottom of the fourth. Oakland has Ryan Buchter and Shawn Kelley up in their pen, though, so Trivino probably just is facing the next righty and then calling it a night. Luke Voit and his open shirt strike out.

Hey, Trivino is staying in despite 38 pitches and the left-handed Gregorius at the plate.

Trivino threw that pitch 98 miles per hour so either his arm is going to fall apart or he’s still feeling great. He strikes Gregorius out, so... hey, it’s still just 2-0 Yankees, and the A’s have used two pitchers through four.

3rd inning: Marcus Semien leads off the third for the A’s. He works a 3-1 count, getting Severino to throw his 41st pitch — Severino is making the A’s sit down by way of the K, but it’s not doing his pitch count any favors. The good news for New York is that this is an elimination game, so pitch counts barely matter when you have the bullpen to make up for them.

Severino walks Semien while I finish writing that paragraph, bringing up Jonathan Lucroy. He does not have nearly the luck of Semien, whiffing on three pitches for Severino’s sixth punch out. Luke Voit has an off throw to second to get Semien, but it keeps Gregorius from turning two, bringing up Matt Chapman for the second time tonight.

Chapman works a full count, and then flies out to right. That keeps New York’s 2-0 lead, but Severino is up to 55 pitches through three.

Lou Trivino stays in the game for the A’s, but he’s at 20 pitches after recording his first out of the third, so he probably won’t be on the mound for much longer.

Trivino gets out of the third unscathed, but he’s at 28 pitches now. Will the A’s have someone new on the mound for the bottom of the fourth? It’s not time for that question, really, but I didn’t know what else to end this inning’s section with. On to the fourth, Yankees up 2-0.

2nd inning: Luis Severino vs. Khris Davis ended with another strikeout for Severino — he’s looking like the complete opposite of his last Wild Card Game, which is bad news for the A’s. Their lineup is more than Davis, of course, no matter how many homers he hit in 2018. Here’s Matt Olson, for instance: he hit 29 of them in the regular season.

Olson draws a walk, giving Oakland their first baserunner of the game. Severino then goes to a 3-2 count on Stephen Piscotty before catching him looking for his fourth strikeout. The sudden loss of control is something to watch, though: temporary or a problem? That’s always the concern.

It’s not a problem to close out the top-half of the second, though, and that’s probably all the Yankees care about right now. And probably all they should care about!

The A’s are ending Hendriks’ night to bring in righty Lou Trivino. And Didi Gregorius welcomes him into the game with an infield hit that went between all the infielders.

Miguel Anjudar walks to put Gregorius in scoring position with no outs, and here’s Gary Sanchez, who hit just .186 this season but also went deep 18 times despite playing in all of 89 games. This could get very bad in a hurry for the A’s if Sanchez gets a hold of one.

Sanchez weakly grounds out instead, and the A’s retire Andújar and Sanchez. Gregorius is at third, though, so Oakland isn’t out of it yet, especially not with Gleyber Torres up. You will be shocked, but Torres is also capable of hitting homers.

Torres strikes out instead, so Trivino does much better in his turn than Hendriks did, and the A’s now get a shot in the third to even things up. It’s still 2-0, Yankees.

1st inning: The Yankees won 100 games, making history in the process, but they have to face the Athletics in the AL Wild Card Game before they can get into the ALDS. The A’s aren’t any slouches, either: they finished in second in their division, too, and with just three fewer wins than New York had.

Luis Severino is going to take the mound, but who knows for how long considering the new obsession with openers and bullpen games. Onion on my belt, etc.

Anyway, the A’s have some uncomfortable skin to shed tonight:

Severino kicks things off with a strikeout on the outside corner, 99 miles per hour, have fun, everyone.

Well this first inning went a lot better than last year’s AL Wild Card Game for Severino, as he struck out two A’s and gave up zero runs instead of getting hit so hard he left the game.

Speaking of openers, here’s Liam Hendriks, a reliever making the start tonight. He’s the first-ever Australian pitcher to start a postseason game, which is pretty cool imo. Shame about the one-inning thing, but hey, the opener is an intriguing concept in the Wild Card Game, considering it’s supposed to punish wild card teams by taking away their best pitcher.

Of course, there is a downside, as Aaron Judge just reminded everyone in the stadium and watching at home: Hendriks just gave up a two-run dinger to Judge, and it’s now 2-0 Yankees.

Baseball is quietly a very horny sport.

Hendriks does manage to strike out Giancarlo Stanton, though, so there won’t be homers from both of the giant dinger monsters in the Yankees lineup. Of course, New York did set a major-league record for homers by a team in a single season this year, so there are other homer sources than just Judge and Stanton.

Luke Voit, one of those potential sources, flies out to center to end the first. 2-0 Yankees.