Yankees look to flex muscles in series opener vs. A’s

By Thomson Reuters Apr 22, 2024 | 4:20 AM

The New York Yankees didn’t quite revert to their usual offensive form on Sunday, less than 24 hours after being shut out for the third time this season.

But a three-pitch sequence was more than enough to lift New York to another series win.

The Yankees will look to regain their power on Monday afternoon when they host the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a four-game series.

Carlos Rodon (1-1, 3.66 ERA) is slated to start for New York against JP Sears (1-1, 4.35) in a battle of left-handers.

The Yankees earned their sixth series win in seven tries on Sunday afternoon, when Alex Verdugo laced a tiebreaking two-run single in the fifth inning of a 5-4 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. Meanwhile, the Athletics absorbed the final loss of a three-game sweep when they fell to the host Cleveland Indians, 6-2.

Jose Trevino and Oswaldo Cabrera followed Verdugo by hitting RBI singles on the next two pitches for the Yankees, who had nine hits — all singles — on Sunday. New York has just two extra-base hits in the past three games. Juan Soto hit a three-run homer in Friday’s 5-3 win before he doubled in Saturday’s 2-0, 10-inning loss.

The Yankees are tied for fifth in the American League with 22 homers. New York ranked sixth in the AL with 219 homers last season after leading the majors with 254 round-trippers in 2022.

“Bases loaded, we just wanted to make sure we cashed in on something,” said Verdugo, who had three hits on Sunday. “I think the swing was good (Sunday) — working line drives, seeing it deep, staying inside of it. Good things were happening.”

The three straight losses to the Guardians — who outscored Oakland 22-7 and didn’t trail after the second inning on Friday night — ended a rare burst of momentum for the Athletics, who entered a 10-game road trip with seven wins in 11 games after a 1-7 start.

The path won’t get any easier for the Athletics, who are slated to close their road trip this weekend against the Baltimore Orioles, who enter Monday a half-game back of the Yankees in the AL East.

“This is a tough test going into New York and Baltimore,” Oakland right-hander Ross Stripling said after he allowed three runs over five innings while taking the loss on Sunday. “We’re not going to back down, I promise you that.”

Rodon suffered the loss last Tuesday in his most recent start, allowing three runs over four innings as the Yankees fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-4. He is 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six career starts against the Athletics.

Sears didn’t factor into the decision last Tuesday after giving up one run over five innings in the Athletics’ 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He is 0-3 with a 7.63 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees.

Sears made his major league debut with New York in 2022 before being traded to Oakland on Aug. 1 of that year.

–Field Level Media