A’s thump Yankees for Jeter farewell

O.CO COLISEUM — Derek Jeter’s final game in Oakland wasn’t a pleasant one.

The Oakland Athletics shut down the New York Yankees Sunday by a final score of 10-5. Josh Donaldson also broke out of his hitless streak, after going 0-33 in six prior games.

The A’s now have their best record in team history, 42-27, through their first 69 games.

The A’s started off with a boom as a three-run jack in the first inning from catcher Derek Norris scored outfielders Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry.

Crisp followed suit in the second, going yard on another three run bomb to left field and giving the A’s a domineering 6-0 early lead.

Norris hit two three-run homers on Mother’s Day, leading manager Bob Melvin to joke that Norris must have a close relationship with his parents. Melvin added:

“What our run differential says is that we’re able to get starters out of the game early like we did today. We get into the parts of the bullpen, where they’re not as significant as the eye candy. We’ve had quite a few games similar to today where we were able to do that.”

Oakland leads the league in run differential by a wide margin, with 132 more runs scored than runs allowed. The next best team in the category are the Giants.

No doubt, it’s not all offense that helps the team along. Jesse Chavez led the pitchers Sunday, with six innings pitched, four strikeouts and one earned run on five hits. Chavez (W, 6-4, 2.93 ERA) delivered another masterful performance, albeit against a maligned offense, but was pulled after only 90 pitches.

Melvin explained that, because Chavez has never pitched 200 innings in any one season, he’s doing what he can to keep him fresh. Melvin added:

“It’s at a point now where if I can do something to cut him short for a long season. … There will be times where I’m looking to try to pull the plug and shorten outings.”

Chavez had never had that conversation with Melvin, and doesn’t want to. He said it’d be an argument, and he’d lose. But it’s hard to argue with something that’s helped Chavez to his best season ever, his ERA sitting at 3.04 thus far.

The A’s, known for their exceptional use of the platoon, played Sunday’s game just like they have every other. They inserted every right-handed bat they have into the lineup, and kept it that way against the Yankees lefty starter Vidal Nuno.

It worked well enough, for sure, with Oakland nailing eight runs to Nuno’s ERA.

The platoon almost fell apart, though, after outfielder Craig Gentry was beaned in the crown of his helmet, falling to the ground hastily. After three heart-stopping minutes, Gentry got up and galloped to first base, but didn’t appear his normal self for the rest of the game.

Gentry didn’t display his speed — being one of the fastest players in baseball — and it was evident when he fielded short-hop bloopers in left field. He didn’t score from second on a play that he normally would have, taking it easy. Melvin said:

“Certainly with our history of head injuries, we were pretty quick to potentially pull him out. But he recovered quickly and talked his way into staying in the game. He was okay as the game went along, but we kept an eye on it.”

Oakland will begin a three-game series hosting the Texas Rangers on Monday. They maintain first place in the AL West, four games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels.

Notes

The A’s are now 14-5 in their last 19 games and took two of three in this weekend’s series against the Yankees. … Sunday was the first time the A’s scored 10 or more runs against the Yankees since July 1, 2007. … Coco Crisp is 21-61 in his last 17 games, with 16 runs scored, six doubles, two home runs and 10 walks.


Follow @SFBay and @JLeskiwNFL on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Athletics.