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Hendriks, 'pen falter late as A's fall to Yanks

@ladsonbill24
September 1, 2019

NEW YORK -- The A’s know the feeling when it comes to blown saves. It was a trend that reared its ugly head again on Sunday afternoon, as the Yankees hit back-to-back home runs off closer Liam Hendriks in the bottom of the ninth to take the series finale in

NEW YORK -- The A’s know the feeling when it comes to blown saves.

It was a trend that reared its ugly head again on Sunday afternoon, as the Yankees hit back-to-back home runs off closer Liam Hendriks in the bottom of the ninth to take the series finale in walk-off fashion, 5-4, at Yankee Stadium. The A’s have now blown 26 saves this season.

Box score

Manager Bob Melvin had brought Hendriks in for the five-out save during the prior frame, with Oakland holding onto a 4-1 lead, but he allowed a two-run single to Didi Gregorius to give the Yanks a chance to rally late.

“I wasn’t crisp. … The ball had good life. The ball had good everything. I just wasn’t able to locate well today,” Hendriks said. “As you can see, I throw a lot of balls. When they were strikes, they tend to be right down the middle. Unfortunately, it was one of those days, I didn’t have the best command. It came back to bite us.”

But Hendriks wasn’t the only reliever who found himself in trouble Sunday. Right-hander Lou Trivino entered the game to replace Jake Diekman after the lefty gave up a leadoff walk, and was subsequently unable to get an out, allowing the Yankees to load the bases and score three runs in the eighth inning.

Starter Sean Manaea, in his long-awaited return from injury, had put the A’s in a good position, throwing five scoreless innings. The left-hander retired the first nine hitters he faced before allowing a leadoff single in the fourth inning. But his efforts were wasted, as the bullpen allowed five runs in four frames after his exit.

"He was pretty tough against us, living on the edges, the ball moving,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. “He did a good job of changing eye levels, changing speeds, keeping guys off balance."

Neuse get first big league hit

One wonders what A’s second baseman Sheldon Neuse must have been thinking when he came to the plate in the seventh inning on Sunday. He was already 0-for 9 with five strikeouts in the series.

He acknowledged after the game that he was nervous going into the at-bat, but he didn’t seem to show it. Neuse doubled down the right-field line to drive in two runs and give the A’s a 2-0 lead.

It was Neuse’s first big league hit, and he plans to keep the special ball for himself, despite Oakland’s eventual loss.

“It felt amazing getting it out of the way,” Neuse said. “It took me three games here, but I was finally able to drive in a couple of runs. I got on second and took a deep breath. … Hopefully, now, I can just calm down and play the game.”

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.