Giambi lays it all on the line in Game 5
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jason Giambi was focused on his immediate future -- trying to get the Oakland A's to the next round of the playoffs.
The reigning AL MVP led with his bat, going 4-for-4, while challenging his teammates to perform in the Athletics' 5-3 loss Monday night to the New York Yankees in the deciding Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.
Now, the question is: Will he become a free agent and join the Yankees?
Giambi drove in two runs. He also confronted Miguel Tejada, who failed to advance from first to third on Giambi's RBI single in the fifth inning.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Giambi said of the exchange with Tejada. "I was all fired up. I told him 'It's my fault. I was just trying to make things happen.'"
In the Athletics' typically loose style, Giambi and Tejada made up in the dugout after the inning, patting each other's faces.
"Everything's cool, Tejada said. "That's the guy that's been carrying the team all year. I give him a lot of credit. He works so hard; he comes to play every day."
When the A's started the season 8-18, Giambi told his teammates not to worry, that they would win the wild card. He backed up his words with another potential MVP season, hitting .342 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs. He was at his best when Oakland went 58-17 in the second half, tops in the majors.
"It was incredible that we got ourselves in the playoffs," Giambi said.
Giambi is eligible for free agency. He and the team reportedly agreed to a six-year, $91 million contract during spring training, but couldn't come to terms on the no-trade clause that Giambi wanted.
"He's the cornerstone here," said Johnny Damon, another potential Oakland free agent.
Giambi is rumored to be a favorite of the Yankees, and New York fans throughout the series pleaded with him to come to the Bronx.
"I just had a lot of fun coming here to play," Giambi said.
Giambi, who was 2-for-13 with a home run coming into Game 5, got the A's going right away with a single in the first inning.
"We didn't have that intensity that we brought to the first two games," he said. "We played that way tonight."
Giambi singled in the third, had another run-scoring single in the fifth and singled off Mariano Rivera to lead off the eighth. He finished 6-for-17 (.353) in the series with a homer and four RBIs.
But Giambi also was part of two plays in the field that cost the A's.
With one out in the third, he couldn't scoop a throw by catcher Greg Myers, allowing Bernie Williams to reach first after striking out. And in the fourth, Giambi's throwing error on a pickoff attempt put Chuck Knoblauch on second.
Both runners eventually scored and the A's lost by two runs.