Last week, the A’s swept the Yankees at the Coliseum and showed that they are not scared of the American League’s best team.
They aren’t scared at Yankee Stadium, either.
Three RBIs each from Jurickson Profar and Seth Brown, and a stellar pitching performance from Brett Anderson led the A’s to a 8-2 win over the Yankees on Friday. Oakland improves to a season-high 22 games over .500 and maintains a one-game lead over the Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card spot. They are also a half game back of the Indians for the top Wild Card spot.
“We just believe in each other. Everybody here got each other’s back. We’ve always been playing good baseball. It doesn’t matter who we play. We just compete.”
Profar homered in the second inning for the game’s first run, and then keyed a three-run rally in the sixth with a two-run double that put the A’s in front, 4-2.
The 2019 season has not gone according to plan for Profar. Expected to contribute heavily as the everyday second baseman, he has struggled on the field and at the plate, and he is now splitting playing time with a 30-year-old rookie in Corban Joseph.
But he homered in back-to-back games for the fifth time this season and is starting to find a groove. He’s doing so by keeping his mentality on offense and defense individualized:
“Earlier in the year I’ve been mixing them together and it was bad.”
Brown entered the game in the sixth inning but recorded three hits, knocking in a run each time. He has recorded a hit in seven straight at-bats, one shy of the Oakland record. The 27-year-old rookie has provided a jolt since being called up, recording 10 hits in his first five career games. Friday, he recorded his first pinch-hit:
“It’s just awesome. It’s hard to describe. I’m happy I’m up here and pulling my weight. It’s my job, so it’s hard to describe”
Manager Bob Melvin called Brown a fighter. Most rookies ease their way in. But not Brown, who has driven in runs in four of his five games.
“He’s having a lot of fun with this big league thing right now.”
Anderson (W, 11-9, 4.04 ERA) , meanwhile, earned his first career win over the Yankees. He had entered the game with a record of 0-6 with a 6.86 ERA in eight prior outings, but he handled the league’s best offense with relative ease. Anderson went six innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He threw 86 pitches and struck out just one, but he pitched well to contact.
Melvin said that Anderson was tired after four innings, but he grinded through two more frames. The veteran knows his pitching style by now — he won’t strike many people out, but he can induce weak contact.
“Just pitch to contact and hope they hit it at somebody. The last two innings they either hit it at somebody or just short enough … You know you’re going to have exude that much energy against this lineup.”
The Yankees answered Profar’s homer with single runs in the third and fourth innings to take a 2-1 lead. But the A’s took the lead in the sixth, first tying the game on Brown’s pinch-hit double. Profar followed with the two-out double of his own.
The A’s did damage off the Yankees bullpen, which was pressed into service after starter CC Sabathia departed after three innings with right knee discomfort. Oakland tagged Tommy Kahnle for three runs in the sixth and Cory Gearrin for two runs in the seventh.
The A’s bullpen, meanwhile, of Yusmeiro Petit and Blake Treinen closed out the Yankees bats after Anderson’s departure.
Homer Bailey (12-8, 5.04 ERA) will take the mound for the A’s against Domingo German (17-3, 4.05 ERA) for the Yankees Saturday.