Judge hits 1st slam, Pineda and Yankees beat sloppy A’s 9-5
NEW YORK (AP) — Just a little bit farther and Aaron Judge’s grand slam would have landed right in that mock jury box.
Judge sent his first career slam screaming toward his own rooting section, and the New York Yankees took full advantage of Oakland’s shoddy defense Sunday in a 9-5 victory over the Athletics.
“It was pretty cool,” Judge said with a smile.
Michael Pineda (6-2) tossed six innings of three-hit ball to win his third straight start and match last season’s win total. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter each had an early sacrifice fly as the AL East leaders scored five unearned runs and took two of three in a well-pitched series.
Judge connected with two outs in the third for his 16th home run, tying Angels star Mike Trout for the major league lead. The drive landed in the right-field seats, not far in front of The Judge’s Chambers cheering area installed by the Yankees for the 6-foot-7 rookie at the start of this 4-2 homestand.
“He’s got a whole lot more fans than just right behind him in right field,” teammate Brett Gardner said.
Khris Davis hit his 15th home run for the A’s, who committed two more costly errors to raise their season total to 49. They began the day with 10 more than any other team in the majors.
“If we make plays, it’s probably a different story, and that’s been an Achilles’ heel for us all year,” manager Bob Melvin said. “When your defense is poor, sometimes mentally it’s tough to overcome that.”
The fielding failures put starter Andrew Triggs (5-4) in several tough situations. He went six innings and gave up one earned run — but even that could have been prevented if not for a poor throw by the weak-armed Davis in left.
Gary Sanchez added an RBI double in the seventh that squirmed out of the glove of a diving Davis . Gardner drove in two insurance runs with a pop-fly double in the eighth, and Adam Warren retired all four batters he faced for his first save since July 28, 2015.
New York trailed 2-1 when Matt Joyce dropped Matt Holliday’s fly ball in the right-field corner for an error that loaded the bases.
“I didn’t really get a chance to watch the replay. I didn’t really want to watch the replay,” Joyce said. “Obviously, that’s pretty tough to swallow for me in that situation.
“I think that’s an easy play. A little embarrassing, and obviously it’s really frustrating — especially with what it led to.”
After Starlin Castro struck out, Judge lined a fastball the other way to put the Yankees ahead.
“He’s an amazing athlete. He’s big and strong and he’s simplifying things,” manager Joe Girardi said . “He’s made a lot of adjustments from last year to where he is right now. That’s why he’s been so effective.”
“When I look at Aaron Judge, I think he’s a defensive end playing baseball,” he added.
Triggs has given up only four home runs in 58 innings this year — but two of them are grand slams.
Hicks stole second in the fourth and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Josh Phegley. That set up Carter’s sacrifice fly, which made it 6-2.
And while Triggs’ defense was betraying him, New York’s fielders gave Pineda a big boost when he needed it.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Yankees starters compiled a 1.77 ERA on the homestand. Pineda has permitted three earned runs or fewer in nine consecutive starts, and New York is 8-2 in his outings this year. “It’s easy to pitch when you have your best stuff,” Pineda said, “but sometimes you need to grind it out on the mound and keep pitching, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso was back in the lineup after missing three games with a sore right wrist. ... CF Rajai Davis was rested in favor of Mark Canha, who batted leadoff for the first time in his major league career. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. ... One-time closer Sean Doolittle, on the DL since April 30 with a strained left shoulder, threw 20 pitches Saturday and felt good, according to Melvin. ... Oakland plans to put RHP Kendall Graveman (shoulder) on the 10-day disabled list Monday and recall RHP Daniel Mengden from Triple-A Nashville to make his first big league start of the season in Cleveland.
Yankees: All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) threw for the second straight day. He said he felt strong and experienced no pain. ... Slumping 3B Chase Headley was given a second consecutive day off to work on his swing. He’ll return to the lineup Monday, Girardi said.
Athletics: The 24-year-old Mengden began the season on the disabled list following right foot surgery. He reached the majors for the first time last year and went 2-9 with a 6.50 ERA in 14 starts for Oakland. RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-2, 2.93) pitches for the AL champion Indians.
Yankees: Begin a seven-game road trip Monday afternoon in Baltimore, with rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 4.30 ERA) on the mound against Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy (5-3, 2.92).
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