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Lawrie comes through as Oakland Athletics edge New York Yankees

By Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange

NEW YORK -- Brett Lawrie was one strike away from a dreaded fourth strikeout Tuesday.

One swing changed that for Lawrie, who opened the top of the 10th inning with a home run off Dellin Betances and that lifted the Oakland Athletics to a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees.

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The third baseman opened his at-bat against Betances (5-2) by fouling off a fastball and looking at a curve ball. Lawrie got another curveball in a similar location and did not look at it or miss it.

Instead, he drove it down the left field line and the ball stayed fair before landing several rows behind the fence. That home run eventually gave the Athletics their seventh straight road win, 14th victory in their last 22 games and 13th in the last 17 meetings with the Yankees.

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"It's a tough AB," Lawrie said. "You get in there and this guy's an All-Star and he's got great numbers for a reason. You know he's got a great curveball and 100 in the tank. So you kind of got to get ready to get in the box and hit right away. So I missed the first heater, the next pitch curveball was real nasty. I just stuck with the curveball, caught it up front and it stayed fair. It was great."

That home run came after Lawrie struck out twice against New York right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and once against Adam Warren in the seventh.

"The biggest one counted at the time," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "You could see him kind of track that breaking ball the pitch before. He threw it to him again. It's not something you're sitting there expecting him to give up a homer to a righty. That's the kind of player he is. He can strike out three times and still have the tenacity the next at-bat to have confidence."

"That's Brett Lawrie in a nutshell," Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt said. "Whether the guy punches out three times or he's 4-for-4, you know he's going to clutch up in the end. He wants those types of at-bats. He wants to get those type of hits for the team. We love him and we feel good about him being at the plate, no matter how many times he's struck out in a row, no matter how many hits in a row. That's just who he is. He doesn't let his previous at-bats dictate the way he goes."

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It was even greater for Oakland when Tyler Clippard made Lawrie's eighth home run and third in 215 at-bats against right-handed pitching this season hold up. Clippard did not make it easy by issuing walks to center fielder Brett Gardner and designated hitter Alex Rodriguez.

He was one pitch away from walking the bases loaded but notched his 16th save in 18 opportunities when first baseman Mark Teixeira swung at a full count changeup.

While Lawrie's hit gave Oakland its first extra-inning win in seven games this season, it also was the second home run allowed in as many outings by Betances. On Saturday, Betances gave up a two-run home run to Tampa Bay's Steven Souza after not allowing one in his previous 54 outings.

"I wanted to expand (the strike zone) and throw it in the dirt and make him chase," Betances said. "I can't throw that one there."

"He's got great stuff," New York catcher Brian McCann said. "The last two home runs he's given up backed up on him a little bit to the middle of the plate but he's as good as they come."

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Drew Pomeranz (3-3) pitched two perfect innings for the win, highlighting his outing by getting Teixeira on a double play for the first two outs of the eighth.

Before the late home runs, Oakland took a 1-0 lead on a two-out RBI single by right fielder Josh Reddick in the first and evened the game at 2-2 on a single by Vogt with nobody out in the third.

The Yankees took a 2-1 lead on consecutive singles by catcher McCann and right fielder Garrett Jones in the first. They went ahead 3-2 on a single by shortstop Didi Gregorius with two outs in the fourth but had just one hit the rest of the night and were hitless in their final seven at-bats with men on base.

Eovaldi allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings while throwing 86 pitches. Eovaldi was lifted when Reddick came up for the third time because of the first-inning encounter with him.

NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said LHP Andrew Miller (forearm) and OF Jacoby Ellsbury (right knee) will be activated from the disabled list Wednesday. ... Oakland RHP Sean Doolittle (left shoulder) threw from 60 feet for the first time since going on the disabled list May 28. ... New York DH Alex Rodriguez said he considered himself a long shot to be named to the All-Star team while adding that DHs Nelson Cruz and Prince Fielder were good selections. ... Oakland LF Ben Zobrist, the subject of trade rumors -- especially associated with the Mets -- was asked about New York and said: "I like it as much as I like any other city."

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