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MLB-worst Athletics try to stymie Yankees

Jun 26, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a game winning walk off three run home run against the Houston Astros during the tenth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees spent a long weekend against the Houston Astros never holding a lead until Aaron Judge’s bat delivered two game-winning hits.

After a dramatic weekend, the Yankees look to pad their win total Monday night when the best team in baseball hosts the MLB-worst Oakland Athletics in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

At 53-20, the Yankees have matched the third-best 73-game start in baseball since 1930, trailing only the 116-win 2001 Seattle Mariners and 114-win 1998 Yankees. They are 13-4 in their past 17 games and 16-2 in their past 18 home games.

“That group’s unfazed,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s a great, tough room with a lot of resolve and they know what the mission is. They understand that there’s going to be bumps and hiccups and adversity with any game or within a series, within a week, whatever and they’re equipped to handle it. I think what we’ve shown each other is that they can win games in a lot of different ways and that I think has bred a lot of confidence.”

Judge is responsible for the past two wins. He capped a four-run ninth on Thursday with a game-winning single in a 7-6 win and then hit a game-ending three-run homer in the 10th inning to give the Yankees a 6-3 win on Sunday after they were held hitless for 6 1/3 innings.

Judge’s dramatic homer occurred after the Yankees were no-hit for the first time since June 11, 2003 on Saturday afternoon by Cristian Javier, Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly. The hitless streak spanned from the eighth inning of Friday’s 3-1 loss until Giancarlo Stanton homered in the seventh, an inning before DJ LeMahieu hit a tying two-run homer.

Oakland heads to New York on the verge of becoming the first team to reach 50 losses but also seeking its second three-game winning streak following a pair of two-run victories in Kansas City.

Oakland’s other three-game winning streak was May 10-12 and the Athletics are 11-30 since those three wins over the Detroit Tigers.

On Sunday, Oakland recorded a 5-3 win to improve to 5-17 this month as Seth Brown hit his 10th homer and Nick Allen hit a two-run single in the seventh inning.

“We haven’t been getting many of those type of hits,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “And that was good to see a ball fall in for us and give us a lead. Overall, in these three games, I think the offense did a good job; their at-bats were better.”

New York’s Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 2.97 ERA), who is coming off his 10th no-decision, opens the series. Montgomery last pitched Wednesday at Tampa Bay when he allowed season highs of four runs and nine hits in six innings.

Montgomery does not have a decision to go with a 2.65 ERA in three career starts against Oakland, whom he held to two runs (one earned) in 11 1/3 innings last season.

Paul Blackburn (6-3, 2.97), who is 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA over his past five starts after going 5-0 over his first nine, goes for Oakland.

Blackburn allowed season worsts of seven runs and 10 hits in four innings on Wednesday’s 9-0 home loss to the Seattle Mariners and enters Monday 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA in seven road starts this season.

Blackburn’s only career appearance against the Yankees occurred Aug. 29 in Oakland when he opposed Montgomery and pitched five scoreless innings.

–Field Level Media