New York Yankees top Oakland Athletics to move out of last place

By The Sports Xchange
New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

For the first time in nearly a month, the New York Yankees are not a last place team.

Now the Yankees are setting their sights higher.


Getting a strong outing from Masahiro Tanaka and putting together a four-run inning can only help a recovery from a disappointing start.

The Yankees did both Saturday as Tanaka pitched seven innings and Rob Refsnyder's two-run double capped a four-run fourth during a 5-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif.

"That's better than being in last place, that's what it means," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "So you keep trying to climb. You keep trying to win series and win games."

Following the leads of Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia, Tanaka (2-0) allowed one run and five hits. Pitching on five days rest, Tanaka struck out four, walked two and collected nearly half of his 21 outs on the ground.


Tanaka's performance helped the Yankees (20-22) win their season-high fourth straight game while inching closer to .500. New York has won 11 of its last 15 games and moved a half-game past Toronto into fourth place for the first time since April 23.

"We have sights set on .500 and once we get back to .500 then we're going to keep climbing," Yankees third baseman Chase Headley said. "Once we get back to .500, then we're going to keep climbing."

"It's still early," New York center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury added. "I've seen teams come back from deficits in September but you got to (keep) playing hard and doing what we're doing and we'll be in good shape."

Tanaka worked out of jams in the third and fifth. It was after he left the bases loaded in the third -- striking out Danny Valencia and getting Khris Davis on a groundout -- that the Yankees scored.

After Sean Manaea (1-2) retired the first nine on 33 pitches, the Yankees loaded the bases on two walks and an infield single to begin the fourth.

A double by Carlos Beltran and a sacrifice fly by Aaron Hicks gave New York a 2-0 lead. Ten pitches later, Refsnyder roped a double to the right-center field warning track.


"It was nice to be able to contribute today," Refsnyder said. "It was a great feeling to get a win and Tanaka was awesome."

Tanaka loaded the bases again in the fifth but allowed just a sacrifice fly by Valencia and struck out Davis with two on. After the fifth, he finished up by throwing just 13 pitches.

"I thought he was pretty good today," Girardi said. "He got in a couple of little jams and was able to wiggle out it. He threw the ball well."

Starlin Castro had three hits, including an RBI double in the seventh, which ensured the Yankees did not have to use their hard-throwing trio Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.

The Athletics lost for the 13th time in 19 games and also lost Davis to a tight right forearm.

Manaea (1-2) gave up five runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"He was a little bit more inconsistent but it was that one big inning," Oakland catcher Matt McBride said.

NOTES: New York DH Alex Rodriguez (strained right hamstring) was not activated from the disabled list Saturday. Manager Joe Girardi said Rodriguez will return Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. ... Oakland C/1B Stephen Vogt was not in the starting lineup after getting hit in the left wrist Friday, but manager Bob Melvin hopes he can play Sunday. ... Oakland IF Jed Lowrie (right shin contusion) will appear in a rehab game for Triple-A Nashville Sunday and is expected to rejoin the Athletics on Monday in Seattle. ... INF/OF Rob Refsnyder made his first major league start in right field. He played right field in college at the University of Arizona and played there five times in his last 12 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... Saturday marked the 16th time the Yankees faced a left-handed starting pitcher.


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