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Apr 24, 2024 7:40 am

Yankees, A’s aim for upper hand in series

anthony rizzo

One inning was enough Tuesday night to provide Aaron Boone some hope that the middle of the New York Yankees’ order is ready to hit with some consistency after a quiet first three-plus weeks.

The other eight innings were enough to reinforce fellow manager Mark Kotsay’s faith in the resilience of his Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees and Athletics will look to assure themselves of no worse than a series split Wednesday night when New York hosts Oakland in the third game of a four-game set.

Clarke Schmidt (1-0, 3.15 ERA) is slated to start for the Yankees against Joe Boyle (1-3, 7.23) in a battle of right-handers.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run double in the first inning Tuesday and Anthony Rizzo followed with a two-run homer for the Yankees, who held on to edge the A’s 4-3 after falling 2-0 in the series opener on Monday.

Juan Soto and Aaron Judge, the Yankees second- and third-place hitters, opened the rally by singling and doubling, respectively. While Soto is hitting .319 with five homers and 20 RBIs in his first 24 games for New York, the trio of Judge, Stanton and Rizzo are hitting a combined .213 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs after combining to hit 198 homers the previous two seasons.

With Judge, Stanton and Rizzo struggling to establish their previous form, the Yankees have scored four runs or less 11 times in their first 24 games.

“That’s what you’re looking for right now, because those are the little sparks that get guys rolling and get them into the flow of the season and (thinking), ‘We’re going now,'” Boone said. “Then things settle in and get a lot more normal. I always feel that way — the first couple days of the season, the first week, but certainly the first month where you’re trying to just get that traction and in the flow of the regular grind of the season, especially for guys that have been there and done that.”

The loss was the sixth in the past eight games for the Athletics, who have been encouraged by the lack of late-inning hiccups in New York. Oakland, which arrived in New York after being outscored 22-7 while being swept by the Cleveland Guardians in a three-game series, earned the 2-0 win Monday when starter JP Sears and relievers Lucas Erceg and Mason Miller combined to hold the Yankees to three hits.

Anthony Volpe’s second-inning single Tuesday was the final hit allowed by Athletics starter Paul Blackburn and relievers T.J. McFarland and Austin Adams. The Oakland bullpen allowed eight runs (six earned) over eight innings in the three losses to the Guardians.

“Those Cleveland games were competitive for seven (innings), and then we kind of let it get out of hand,” Kotsay said. “Tonight the bullpen came in, (and) ‘Mac’ and Adams did a nice job in the seventh and eighth to keep it at a one-run game and keep it competitive and give us a chance to try to pop one.”

Schmidt didn’t factor into the decision last Friday, when he allowed one run through 5 1/3 innings in the Yankees’ 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. He is 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA in three career starts against the Athletics.

Boyle took the loss last Friday after giving up seven runs over six innings as the Athletics fell 10-2 to the Guardians. He has never opposed the Yankees.

–Field Level Media

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