A's Kurt Suzuki hits 3-run homer, into triple play against Yankees
By Carl Steward
The Oakland Tribune
OAKLAND, Calif. — If it's true good things come in threes, Kurt Suzuki was more than happy settling for two out of three today.
Suzuki hit into the first Oakland triple play in nearly 16 years, but he also hit a three-run first-inning homer to support Dallas Braden's third victory without a loss as the Athletics beat the Yankees, 4-2, at the Oakland Coliseum.
"The homer's going to be off TV in a day, but the triple play is going to be on forever, right?" Suzuki said of his sixth-inning grounder with two on that went from third to second to first. "So I guess I figured out a way to stay on TV now."
Suzuki is a Baldwin High alum from Maui.
Indeed, as momentous as the triple-killing was for the A's, it was even more so for the Yankees. It was the first triple play they'd executed since June 3, 1968, against Minnesota, when current Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox was New York's third baseman and the first baseman was some dude named Mickey Mantle.
Alex Rodriguez was the Yankees' third baseman who initiated the play this time. He speared Suzuki's shot down the line, quickly stepped on third, fired to second baseman Robinson Cano, and Cano made a quick pivot and throw to Mark Teixeira to easily beat Suzuki at first.
"I was thinking bunt, to be honest with you," said Rodriguez. "Teams try to scratch for anything against (Yankees starter) C.C. (Sabathia), so I was up even with the bag. When the ball was hit, I just stepped on the base and threw a little Hail Mary to Robbie."
The A's hadn't hit into a triple play since May 14, 1994, when Geronimo Berroa did it in a game at Kansas City. It was the eighth triple play recorded at the Coliseum, the first since Willie Randolph hit into one for Baltimore on Aug. 8, 1990.
Things went better for Suzuki in the first inning after two of the first three hitters walked. He crushed the first pitch he saw deep over the left-field fence, and the A's never trailed the rest of the way as they salvaged the final game of the three-game series.
"When a guy like C.C.'s out there, you can't wait around," Suzuki said.
"I just went up there trying to get a good pitch to hit early knowing that he'd walked a couple guys. I tried to look in one place and I got it. Good thing I didn't miss it."
Severely ill with a head cold, Braden made it stand up for the six innings and 81 pitches he lasted. He was touched for solo home runs by Marcus Thames in the fifth and Teixeira in the sixth before departing, but Brad Zeigler followed with two scoreless innings and Andrew Bailey closed out the ninth for his second save.
"We were literally going inning by inning with (Braden), knowing potentially he would need to come out," said manager Bob Geren.
"But it's not the first time we've seen that kind of effort from Dallas. He's one of the toughest competitors I've ever been around."
Braden wasn't so sick that he couldn't get into a shouting match with Rodriguez in the sixth. Rounding second on a foul ball hit by Cano, A-Rod took a short cut by running across the pitching mound back to first, an obscure no-no of baseball etiquette.
"I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind, someone of such status," Braden said. "I was just trying to convey to him that I'm still out there, the ball is in my hands and that's my pitcher's mound."
So, did Rodriguez apologize?
"What do you think?" Braden answered. "The guy was tasting himself too long to apologize. No, he didn't apologize, and it's a shame. I have a lot of respect of that guy, you admire a talent like that.
"It's just disappointing when you see the other side of things. I'm not really a speck of that guy's radar, and that's fine. But he'll know after today that it might not be a good thing to run across the mound when I'm out there."
Rodriguez pleaded ignoranc e of the unwritten rule, saying, "He just told me to get off his mound. I was a little surprised, I've never quite heard that, especially from a guy who has a handful of wins in his career."
(c) 2010, The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.).
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