OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Luke Voit let a changeup go by for a called strike on the first pitch from Fernando Rodney in the eighth inning. When the Athletics reliever tried sneaking another changeup past him, Voit sent it soaring into the left-field stands.
The big first baseman hit a tie-breaking home run, Adeiny Hechavarria also went deep and the New York Yankees beat Oakland 5-1 on Tuesday night.
“He’s had a great changeup forever and I saw a good one first pitch,” Voit said. “I was taking that approach just to stay right-center if he hangs it. He left a pitch up and I have to do some damage with it.”
The Yankees didn’t have a baserunner until the fifth inning and didn’t get their first hit until the sixth. But they scored late off the normally reliable A’s bullpen to even a series between the top two teams in the AL wild-card race.
New York increased its lead over Oakland to 4½ games for the first wild card.
Four pitchers combined on a two-hitter for the Yankees. David Robertson (8-3) retired three batters to earn the win.
Brett Gardner singled twice and scored a pair of runs for New York. Aaron Hicks added two RBIs.
“This is like a playoff game,” Voit said. “I think we’re going to get hot at the right time. This team is so freaking dangerous, especially when we get some of these guys back from injuries. The sky’s the limit and I’m excited.”
Voit homered on an 0-1 pitch from Rodney (4-3), a towering solo shot to left field. Voit emphatically pointed to the Yankees dugout and smiled while heading toward first base as a large contingent of New York fans at the Coliseum cheered.
It was Voit’s seventh home run in 12 games.
“To see the Luke Voit show roll on, he’s been terrific,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s got confidence deep down in his ability. He plays with a little bit of a swagger, but that’s from a place of confidence.”
Hicks, who drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game in the seventh, added a two-out RBI single later in the eighth.
Hechavarria homered in the ninth, his first with the Yankees after being acquired from Pittsburgh last week.
“It definitely felt nice,” Hechavarria said through a translator. “The second pitch was a fastball and I was kind of late on that. I figured he was going to come back with that, and the next time around I was ready for it.”
Stephen Piscotty hit his 22nd home run for Oakland.
For the second time in four games, the A’s started a reliever. Liam Hendriks, who also started Saturday, pitched the first inning before Daniel Mengden took over in the second.
Mengden kept the Yankees hitless until Gleyber Torres singled just past diving shortstop Marcus Semien. Torres was promptly picked off by Ryan Buchter.
“It’s more we just didn’t do enough offensively tonight,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “No matter what we give up, even if it’s two runs, when you get two hits, it’s going to be a tough time winning.”
Piscotty homered off Yankees starter J.A. Happ in the second, matching his season high set in 2016 with St. Louis.
ALMOST GOT HIM
Oakland reliever Ryan Buchter appeared to hit Gardner in the head with his first pitch after relieving Mengden with two outs in the sixth. Gardner walked slowly to first base while Boone and a trainer came out of the dugout to check on him. Plate umpire Tom Hallion conferred with first base umpire Dan Bellino, and the two determined the ball hit Gardner’s bat and not his batting helmet. “I think it scared him more than anything,” Boone said.
HELPING AT HOME
Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and wife Amber will host a backpack giveaway, pep rally and career panel Thursday at their old high school in Vallejo, about 30 miles north of Oakland.
Yankees: For the second consecutive day, Aaron Judge ran the bases and did defensive work in the outfield. Judge also stood in the batter’s box when Masahiro Tanaka threw a bullpen in order to work on his timing. … SS Didi Gregorious (bruised left heel) could rejoin the team this weekend in Seattle. Gregorious ran on the field, fielded grounders and took batting practice. … LHP Aroldis Chapman (left knee tendinitis) worked out on a treadmill and threw on flat ground.
Athletics: RHP Shawn Kelley has a lacerated finger on his pitching hand and is day to day.
RHP Luis Severino (17-6, 3.32 ERA) pitches the series finale for New York and needs one strikeout to reach 200 for the second consecutive season. RHP Mike Fiers (10-6, 3.38) is 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts since joining Oakland. The A’s have won all five of his starts.
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