NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ripped his first career grand slam in the third inning to put the Yankees ahead for good, and Michael Pineda gutted out six innings in the team's 9-5 win over the Athletics on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees' offense had scored a combined four runs in the first two games of the series before Judge drove in that many on one swing in the finale. Five of the six runs A's starter Andrew Triggs allowed were unearned, as his defense continually hurt him. The A's made two errors to bring their season total to 49 in as many games played.
"Maybe not his best performance that we've seen this year, but if we make some plays it's probably a different story, and that's been the Achilles' heel for us all year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I've said often, there's a psychology to it. You feel like you have a chance to battle and come back and score some runs, and when your defense is poor, mentally, it's sometimes tough to overcome that."
Pineda worked around a rocky second inning, highlighted by Ryon Healy's two-run single to left field, to complete six innings of three-run ball (two earned) to pick up his team-leading sixth win of the season. Pineda's solid outing continued a recent surge from New York's rotation: Yankees starters posted a 1.77 ERA over their six-game homestand.
Khris Davis made it interesting in the eighth when he hit a two-run homer off reliever Chad Green to cut the Yankees' lead to 7-5. But the Yankees pulled away again after Brett Gardner drove in two with a bloop double in the home half of the inning.
The Yankees' offense had stalled for much of this week, but they picked it up Sunday as they recorded 10 hits after tallying just two in Saturday's win.
"We slowed down a bit in the last week or two, but it's important for us to keep that gas pedal pressed down," Gardner said. "I thought guys swung the bats real well today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yankees re-Joyce: Judge's grand slam was set up by a costly error from A's right fielder Matt Joyce, who dropped a Matthew Holliday fly ball with one out and runners on first and second, allowing the Yankees to load the bases. Starlin Castro struck out for what should have been the final out of the inning. Instead, with just two outs, Judge stepped to the plate and brought in four unearned runs with his 16th homer of the year.
"I didn't really get a chance to watch the replay, and I don't really want to watch the replay." Joyce said. "It was obviously a ball down the line and it just kept fading and fading in the corner. Just hit my glove, and I dropped it. Obviously, that's pretty tough to swallow for me in that situation. For me, I think that's an easy play, but a little embarrassing. It's obviously really frustrating, especially with what it led to."
Triggs firmly took responsibility for his own role in the game-changing inning.
"That doesn't even cross your mind," Triggs said of the defense. "You go by the number of outs you need to get. I gotta make better pitches. My fastball command early on was pretty atrocious. It's obviously accentuated with that home run to Judge, but I was missing quite a bit early on with my fastball. I was trying to throw a good sinker down and away to him, and I didn't execute it." More >
Stretch run: Healy was originally safe at second with a double on his two-run single in the second inning, but the Yankees successfully challenged the call, and Healy was ruled out trying to stretch the base hit. Had he stayed at first or reached second safely, the A's would've had a 2-0 lead with one on and nobody out and a chance to tack on some more vs. Pineda.
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Davis' homer in the eighth was his 15th of the season and his 26th barreled ball of the year, which is the most in the Majors, according to Statcast™.
With two outs and Ronald Torreyes on first in the seventh, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez lifted a blooper to left field. Davis gloved the ball on a diving play, but it popped out of his mitt as he slid across the grass. Ruled a no-catch, Sanchez was credited with an RBI double as Torreyes came home to score. Oakland challenged the no-catch call, but the original ruling was confirmed.
A's: The A's head to Cleveland to begin a four-game series at Progressive Field, beginning with Monday's 1:10 p.m. PT opener. Right-hander Daniel Mengden is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Nashville for the start against the Indians.
Yankees: The Yankees square off with the Orioles in an important American League East showdown beginning Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery will be on the mound against the third-place Orioles, who trail the Yankees by 4 1/2 games.
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