BRONX — By the end of the fifth inning, the rout was on for the New York Yankees.
New York’s two-run lead was starting to feel a bit tenuous, but the Bombers lived up to their nickname in the fifth as DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run home run, Anthony Volpe hit his first career grand slam, and the Yankees opened up a nine-run lead in what ended up being an 11-3 win over the Oakland Athletics.
The win completed the series sweep of the A’s and was the first time the Yankees had won three games in a row this season.
The much-needed wins come ahead of a four-game set with the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays that begins on Thursday in the Bronx.
The Yankees’ bats have also seemed to come alive over their last four games, with the ballclub scoring at least seven or more runs in each of those matchups. Prior to that stretch, the Yankees had scored seven or more runs on just four occasions in 34 games.
“I think we’re in a position where we’re game planning really well and we’re trusting ourselves,” Harrison Bader said. “And we’re taking confident at-bats. Earlier in this series we were just kind of staying in the pocket, taking good at-bats and then when the game presented situations for us to kind of pounce, I think we delivered. And then we just really replicated that energy throughout the entire series. So, you know, the offense was obviously there this series, but also pitching. Pitching did a really good job.”
The offensive output began in the first inning after Gleyber Torres hit a bases-loaded sac fly to score Anthony Rizzo for the first of four runs in the inning. Bader, who has been on a tear since returning to the lineup, then hit a three-run homer to right field.
The play was briefly reviewed to see if there had been fan interference and, ultimately was confirmed a homer, which was Bader’s third in his last eight games.
However, the Yankee lead was cut to two before Rizzo knocked in the fifth run for New York, driving in Aaron Judge who had kicked off the inning with a double. LeMahieu hit a two-run homer in the next at-bat to extend the lead to 7-2.
Moments later, after the Yankees juiced the bases, Volpe checked off his latest career milestone on the first pitch of his at-bat. The rookie shortstop sent a fastball from A’s reliever Rico Garcia into Monument Park to make it 11-2.
“I knew I got it pretty good, but you gotta see. You never know,” Volpe said about the homer. “It was good to see it go over. … I was just pumped to get those runs in for our team.”
Yankees starter Jhony Brito went 4.1 innings while striking out three and giving up two runs on five hits. Both runs came off homers from Carlos Perez and Jace Peterson in the top of the second.
Jimmy Cordero and Deivi Garcia, who were called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the game, each came in to pitch in relief. Garcia surrendered the third Oakland run of the game in the top of the seventh off a home run by JJ Bleday, but he was credited with the save after throwing the final three innings of the game and allowing just the one run.