OAKLAND -- The Yankees are savoring the extra swagger that Luke Voit lends to their clubhouse atmosphere, especially because each leap, fist pump or chest bump usually comes packaged with a big swing -- and a new reason to celebrate.Voit homered for the third consecutive game on Tuesday, launching a
OAKLAND -- The Yankees are savoring the extra swagger that Luke Voit lends to their clubhouse atmosphere, especially because each leap, fist pump or chest bump usually comes packaged with a big swing -- and a new reason to celebrate.
Voit homered for the third consecutive game on Tuesday, launching a tiebreaking eighth-inning blast as the Yankees rallied for a 5-1 victory over the Athletics at the Coliseum. Aaron Hicks added a pair of RBIs and Adeiny Hechavarria also homered late as the Yanks' lead on the A's for the top American League Wild Card spot was restored to 4 1/2 games.
"I think we're going to get hot at the right time. This team is so freaking dangerous," Voit said. "Especially when we get some of these guys back from injuries, the sky's the limit. I'm excited to get deep into the playoffs with this team."
Acquired from the Cardinals in late July, Voit's first five Yankees games were unremarkable. He has been anything but following a brief demotion to the Minors, belting seven home runs with 13 RBIs in his last 13 games to conjure memories of Shane Spencer's 1998 late-season surge. Five of Voit's homers have tied the game or given New York a lead.
"We believed we acquired a good hitter," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "To see what he's been able to do, to see the 'Luke Voit Show' roll on, he's been terrific. The power speaks for itself, and the number of big hits he's gotten, but he's thrown up quality at-bats, which makes you believe that he can really maintain this."
When Voit punished a Fernando Rodney changeup 411 feet over the left-field fence, he raised his right hand and pointed his index finger skyward, prompting his teammates to spill out of the dugout as he rounded the bases. Voit joyously crashed into third-base coach Phil Nevin, then shouted, "Let's go!" before exchanging forearm bashes and high-fives with anyone in sight.
"It just comes to me. I don't know," Voit said. "The whole Sammy Sosa hop, it just happens. I play with excitement and it feeds the team, ignites the team. It's like a playoff game, so it's fun to have emotions for those games."
For a while, it looked like the fireworks would never come, as three Oakland hurlers faced the minimum 18 batters over the first six innings, with Gleyber Torres' two-out single in the sixth giving New York its first hit.
But J.A. Happ limited the A's to Stephen Piscotty's second-inning homer and one other hit in his six-plus innings, keeping it a 1-0 game and setting the stage for a late comeback.
"We stayed on them the whole game, and that's what good teams do," Happ said. "This team has the ability to wear you down. That's what I feel like we did tonight."
Liam Hendriks and Daniel Mengden combined for 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball, but two hits and a walk in the seventh set up a prime opportunity against Jeurys Familia, and Hicks worked a seven-pitch free pass to force home the tying run. Hicks added an RBI single after Voit's homer in the eighth, then Hechavarria hit his first Yankees homer and Brett Gardner added an RBI infield hit in the ninth.
Player Page for David Robertson picked up the victory with a scoreless, three-strikeout seventh inning, helping the Yankees to just their seventh win in their last 24 games at Oakland.
"This is a good one, especially struggling to mount anything the first five innings," Boone said. "We were getting no-hit there for a while, but I thought we did a lot of things well tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Despite having thrown only 78 pitches, Happ was chased by Matt Chapman's single to open the seventh, with Boone reasoning that a lengthy top half of the inning could have reduced the lefty's sharpness. On came Robertson, who struck out Jed Lowrie and thought he had Khris Davis rung up on a check-swing, but first-base umpire Dan Bellino didn't agree as Davis trotted to first with a walk.
"As a pitcher, you always hope you get that check-swing strike-three call," said Robertson, who then fanned both Piscotty and Matt Olson. "I didn't get it, and obviously it made the inning a little tougher. I had to be more focused, made a few more quality pitches and I was fortunate to get a lot of swings on my breaking ball today."
Robertson has 863 career strikeouts in 647 1/3 innings pitched for a 12.00 K/9 ratio that ranks as the highest in Major League history (minimum 600 innings pitched).
HE SAID IT
"It means a lot. That's my first home run with the Yankees. I'm definitely keeping the ball." -- Hechavarria, through an interpreter
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
After Torres got the Yankees' first hit, Gardner attempted to convince the umpiring crew that he had been hit by an up-and-in fastball from Ryan Buchter, even removing his helmet to check for a scuff mark. Replays showed that the pitch had actually hit Gardner's bat, resulting in a foul ball. He returned to the plate, and the sixth inning ended as Torres was picked off first base during the at-bat.
Luis Severino (17-6, 3.32 ERA) will try to become the Majors' second 18-game winner on Wednesday as the Yankees wrap up their visit to Oakland in a 10:05 p.m. ET contest. Severino is coming off a 10-strikeout, no-walk effort against the Tigers in which he accepted a no-decision, and the Yanks are 22-6 in his starts. Oakland will counter with right-hander Mike Fiers (10-6, 3.38 ERA).
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.