The crowd may not have chanted effusively at the opponents. It was a Monday night and the Yankees got off to a slow start against the team with the worst record in baseball, but there was no disappointment at the stadium.
The Bombers rallied with a six-run seventh inning in the series opener to beat the A’s, 9-5.
“Whatever is thrown at us, we react very well, it has all been a good test for us. Comes from a huge, massive series featuring the Astros. It’s a lead on Monday, it could have been easy for us after (Jordan Montggomery) gave up five to roll us over,” Anthony Rizzo said. “But that’s not the kind of thing we do.”
The Yankees (54-20) have won two games in a row after losing two to the Astros this weekend. It was their 23rd come-from-behind victory in the Major League and their second in as many days. They held the best record in baseball, while the A’s (25-50) became the first team in the majors to lose 50 games this season.
The Yankees really should thank A’s catcher Sean Murphy for starting that rally in the seventh inning. It started with DJ LeMahieu’s second night walk, but Aaron Judge reached after interfering with a catcher. AJ Puk hit Anthony Rizzo to load the bases. Murphy then got his glove in the way of Giancarlo Stanton to bring in the first run of the inning.
Josh Donaldson took over from there with a two-run double that gave the Yankees their first lead since the third inning. Jose Trevino doubled off the wall into left field to drive in two more runs. The catcher is 12-for-33 with 16 RBI with runners in scoring position this season. Marwin Gonzalez plays as Isiah Kiner-Falefa tends to a bruised finger and Gleyber Torres waits for a cortisone shot in his right wrist, single to Trevino.
“We’ve done a lot of different ways,” Donaldson said. “Sure, I mean, the interference from the catchers is unique. But I mean, we take it every possible way and I feel like our lineup is pretty diverse. How we can score points, and I always find that an advantage.”
When the dust settled on the seventh, after Joey Gallo popped out to the catcher, the Yankees had brought in 10 batters and scored six runs.
This was supposed to be the breather. The Yankees started this 20-game stretch in 20 consecutive days on the 14th with 13 consecutive games against teams vying for playoff spots. They faced the Rays six times and the Blue Jays three times, for an intense four-game run against the Astros. “And part of the stretch where we come in that Thursday at 5 a.m. is playing that night game, night game, day game days, so it’s been physically tough,” Boone said. “And then I think you had the intensity of the weekend with a great opponent. All eyes on that. Yes, and the right also adds a little bit.”
The Bombers went 9-4 in that piece.
“I mean, when you know you’re entering this piece, you know it’s going to be a challenge, and I think it’s great that we played through it well and definitely got through it,” Boone said. “So that was good to see, but we also understand that it is June and there is still a long way to go and there are other difficult parts to come.
“Keep your head down as best you can.”
The Yankees had to try to avoid a setback with Oakland, which came in last place in the stadium in the American League West and 21 games behind the Astros.
Jordan Montgomery ran into problems in the third inning when he switched the lineup. After striking out the first two batters he faced, he gave up a single to Christian Bethancourt, which began to fall apart. Ramon Laureano doubled from the top of the wall to score the A’s first run. Elvis Andrus doubled in three runs and Sheldon Neuse singled in Andrus.
Montgomery conceded all five credited runs to him in the third. The A’s had six hits and a walk. He struckout six batters over 6.2 innings of work.
The lefthander had taken a 1-0 lead after Rizzo hit his 20th homerun of the season in the first inning. Stanton hammered his 18th of the season in the fourth. His last five hits were all for home runs. Judge drove in the Yankees’ third run in the fifth, driving LeMahieu, who had walked and stolen second, on a single.
Albert Abreu gave the Yankees 2.1 scoreless, hitless innings, struckout four and walked one.
“Only two big hits in the game when we clearly had a rough start,” Boone said of Donaldson and Trevino’s hits. “After their big inning, Monty did a great job of just holding on and throwing so deep into the game. Yes, this was a good one that came out, obviously an intense series with a lot of energy, to get out of this early to get a little rain. I thought our energy was good, and of course a great finish.”