Tony Kemp lined a two-out, two-run home run to break an eighth-inning tie as the Oakland Athletics salvaged a split in their series with the visiting New York Yankees with a second straight win, 3-1 on Sunday night.
The victory allowed Oakland, which had fallen 6 1/2 games behind New York in the American League wild-card race, to climb back within 4 1/2 of the Yankees and within 2 1/2 of the Boston Red Sox for the final wild-card berth.
Each team had cashed in an unearned run before Mark Canha lashed a double over the head of left fielder Joey Gallo with two outs in the eighth.
Kemp, who entered the game as a pinch hitter an inning earlier, then smacked the next Chad Green (7-6) offering over the fence in right field for his fifth homer of the season.
Deolis Guerra (2-1), who pitched a scoreless top of the eighth, was credited with the win. Andrew Chafin, Oakland’s third different closer of the series, worked a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for his second save of the season.
Neither starting pitcher allowed an earned run.
The A’s got to Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery for an unearned run in the fourth after third baseman Gio Urshela booted Matt Chapman’s one-out grounder. The run scored when Canha, the next batter, grounded into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.
Montgomery left after six innings, trailing 1-0, after allowing six hits. He struck out three without allowing a walk.
A’s starter Paul Blackburn was pulled after five shutout innings, having limited the Yankees to five hits and one walk. He struck out one.
Seeking to avoid a second consecutive loss after 13 straight wins, New York tied the game in the seventh when A’s third baseman Matt Chapman allowed Anthony Rizzo’s one-hopper to get through him for an error, scoring Gary Sanchez from second.
Rizzo’s at-bat had been kept alive when Oakland catcher Yan Gomes dropped a foul pop-up for another error.
Kemp, Gomes and Josh Harrison had two hits apiece for the A’s, who completed a 3-6 homestand that was book-ended by a single win over the San Francisco Giants at the beginning and the consecutive triumphs over the Yankees at the end.
Giancarlo Stanton had two singles for the Yankees, who totaled just five hits in the game, none of which went for extra bases.
–Field Level Media