A's rally against CC, edge Yankees
OAKLAND -- Billy Burns and Brett Lawrie homered, and the A's posted a pair of runs in the seventh inning to break ahead and claim a 5-4 series-opening victory over the Yankees at the Coliseum on Thursday evening.
Lawrie wiped away a two-run Yankees lead in the sixth with a two-run home run off left-hander CC Sabathia, who allowed eight hits in six-plus innings and was charged with all five runs, and the A's went ahead in the seventh when Ben Zobrist drew a bases-loaded walk against right-hander David Carpenter.
"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," said Lawrie. "Ben Zobrist with a great at-bat tonight, that was pretty much the whole game right there. You never know what happens if they get the out right there and we don't score."
Yankees catcher Brian McCann notched his seventh homer of the season and third in as many games with a solo shot against A's starter Kendall Graveman in the second, one of McCann's three hits on the night. Alex Rodriguez's fifth-inning sacrifice fly gave him 1,996 career RBIs, tying him with Barry Bonds for second on the all-time list, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"On any given day, you have to come ready to play every day because any team can beat anybody," Rodriguez said. "We proved that last week; we beat one of the best teams in baseball in Kansas City and lost nine out of 10. It's just important to come out every day mentally tough and play to win."
Brett Gardner drove in Garrett Jones with a two-out RBI double in the ninth off A's closer Tyler Clippard to make it 5-4, but Chase Headley flew out to center for the final out.
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Homer happy: Lawrie was hitless in his previous 11 at-bats when he stepped to the plate with two outs in the sixth and knotted the game at 3 with a two-run home run to left field off Sabathia. It was the third homer of the season for Lawrie and just the second A's hit with runners in scoring position in their past 31 at-bats. Burns' fifth-inning solo shot, meanwhile, was his second in five days on the first pitch.
"Obviously we've been looking for one big hit," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Certainly the way things were going with runners in scoring position, it was a struggle again for a little while, but Lawrie's hit was huge, to get us back to even."
Another 'L' at the 'O': Sabathia likes the Coliseum; he attended A's games here as a kid and still holds Raiders season tickets, but the Vallejo, Calif. product has not had much luck pitching there. After escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third with a pair of strikeouts, it looked like his fortune might be changing, but he served up two homers -- including Lawrie's game-tying shot in the sixth -- and once again left with a defeat. He is 4-7 with a 5.32 ERA in 15 career starts at Oakland. More >
"It's tough. They get the runs early and you want to be able to hold that lead and get the ball to the back of our bullpen," Sabathia said. "I wasn't able to do that."
Leaky 'pen: The Yanks tried to squeeze an extra inning out of Sabathia, but called to Carpenter after the first two batters reached base in the seventh. Carpenter wasn't able to hold the line, issuing a tiebreaking bases-loaded walk to Zobrist and a deep sacrifice fly to Billy Butler. Sabathia was charged with five runs and eight hits over six-plus innings.
"I'm frustrated. I'm not happy about how I'm performing right now," Carpenter said. "I don't like letting guys down. That's the thing that upsets me the most, not so much about numbers or anything like that, just letting guys down."
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McCann's second-inning homer was his first on the road this season; all six of his previous homers had come at Yankee Stadium. That fact is nothing new for McCann; since joining the Yankees in 2014, 25 of his 30 homers have been hit in the Bronx.
Rodriguez scored New York's second run on McCann's fourth-inning single to center field. The throw beat Rodriguez, who dodged catcher Josh Phegley's swipe tag and tumbled over the plate. Home-plate umpire Ed Hickox believed that Rodriguez missed the plate and called him out when Phegley applied a tag, but a review of two minutes, 45 seconds overturned the call, as Rodriguez's left hand was shown to have touched the plate. More >
"That was not pretty. That looked like Shaquille O'Neal coming out of a pick," Rodriguez said. "I'm glad they got it right."
Yankees: Left-hander Chris Capuano (0-2, 7.36 ERA) will try again for his first victory of the season as the Yankees play the second game of a four-game series with the A's on Friday at 10:05 p.m. ET. Capuano has not completed five innings in either of his starts.
Athletics: Ace Sonny Gray takes the mound for the A's on Friday for a 7:05 p.m. PT start at the Coliseum. Gray's American League-leading 1.77 ERA is the third-lowest by an A's pitcher after 10 starts in the designated hitter era.
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