A's halt streak of one-run home losses
Burns, Lawrie deliver big blows, while 'pen preserves lead
OAKLAND -- For at least one night, the A's flipped the script and played their way to a win in a one-run game.
That they did it in front of a home crowd only added to the narrative, since Thursday's 5-4 victory over the Yankees snapped a 12-game losing streak in one-run games at home dating back to Sept. 6, 2014 -- the longest such streak in A's history.
"A lot of the one-run games that we've lost, we've come back to within one run," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "At times we've lost some games where we've given up runs out of the bullpen, but some of these games really are the fact that we are pretty tenacious in coming back in games, but just not far enough."
That wasn't a problem on this night.
The Yankees carried a 3-0 lead when Billy Burns stepped to the plate with two outs in the fifth, and the A's outfielder lined a first-pitch home run to left field for his second homer in five days, matching his total in 406 career Minor League games. Another two-out homer came in the sixth, this one a game-tying two-run shot to left off the bat of Brett Lawrie, his third of the season.
"That sparked the guys in the dugout," said Burns. "We went crazy."
"Then the at-bats after that seemed to get a lot better," said Melvin.
The A's poked and prodded in the seventh, chasing CC Sabathia, and singling and walking their way on base. With one out and the bases loaded, Ben Zobrist drew a free pass from right-hander David Carpenter, bringing in the go-ahead run. Billy Butler's ensuing sacrifice fly offered his teammates some breathing room, which proved just as significant when the Yankees got a run off closer Tyler Clippard in the ninth.
The A's bullpen, though, was largely impressive, with Evan Scribner leading the way with 1 2/3 scoreless innings, after Fernando Abad bailed out starter Kendall Graveman in the sixth by stranding two runners.
"We haven't won many games like that this year," said Graveman, who allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. "For them to battle back and get runs late in the game and for our bullpen to do a great job tonight, that's a big confidence builder.
"I had a feeling that if we could just keep it close, we would do well at the plate. We were having some good at-bats, and to keep putting those together there toward the end of the game and to come up with some runs was big."
Added Lawrie: "Just coming in every day, knowing we have the ability to not only come back and then go ahead, that's huge, and we played the game the right way tonight."