By Matthew Harrington
The Oakland Athletics won their fifth-straight contest, coming from behind to beat the New York Yankees 7-4 at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night. Yoenis Cespedes mashed a pair of home runs to support starter Jesse Chavez (5-3, 3.04 ERA) while Josh Donaldson’s solo shot in the seventh inning provided the game-winning run. Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth inning for his seventh save of the season to put Oakland (37-22) one win away from sweeping the Yankees.
The Yankees (29-29) scored all their runs in the bottom of the third inning with Derek Jeter lacing an run-scoring single and Jacoby Ellsbury ripping a three-run home run to right center field for a 4-0 off Chavez. Cespedes put the A’s on the board with a deep fly to center off pinstripes starter Vidal Nuno in the top of the fourth, then pounded his twelve four-bagger of reliever Matt Daley top open the sixth. Jed Lowrie and Alberto Callaspo also hit a sac fly each for the A’s to set up Donaldson’s go-ahead knock.
After Donaldson tagged Jose Ramirez (0-1, 4.50) with the loss for his team-best 16th homer of the season, the A’s picked up a pair of runs in the ninth. First came a bases loaded hit-by-pitch by Brandon Moss who played right field Wednesday for the first time since exiting Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels with an injury. Kyle Blanks added the third sacrifice fly of the night for the visitors for the 7-4 final tally.
Chavez went six innings for the green and gold, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five. Fernando Abad pitched a third of an inning for the A’s in relief of Chavez, but Dan Otero did the heavy lifting with 1 2/3 scoreless innings before turning the ninth inning over to Doolittle.
The A’s send Drew Pomeranz to the mound in his first start since the Angels snapped his string of solid outings. The Halos roughed Pomeranz up for five runs after the lefty allowed only two in his previous 19 innings as a starter. He draws the assignment of facing Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees marquee free-agent signing of the offseason.
New York earned the right to sign Tanaka after paying a posting fee of $20 million to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan, the maximum in the new posting fee implemented this offseason. Under the new reals, any team that posts the highest bid is allowed to negotiate with the player, meaning the Yankees then had to outbid numerous other teams who matched the fee to sign the international sensation to a seven-year, $155 million contract. The 25-year-old is 8-1 on the season with 88 punchouts over 78.2 innings and a stellar 2.06 ERA.