OAKLAND — On a day when the temperature climbed to 99 degrees inside the Coliseum, Jharel Cotton delivered one of his strong starts of 2017, Khris Davis connected on yet another towering home run and Oakland Athletics swept the New York Yankees out of town.
“It’s tough to sweep a three-game series, let alone a four-game series,” manager Bob Melvin said. “And there was basically contributions from everybody in the series. So that kind of brings everybody together, too. But all in all, pretty satisfying.”
Bob Melvin: "It's tough to sweep a three-game series, let alone a four-game series. And there was basically contributions from everybody." pic.twitter.com/wOQu3truhC
— Karl Buscheck (@KarlBuscheck) June 19, 2017
The four-game sweep of New York was the A’s first of that variety in nearly three years — July 3-6 of 2014 — and the club’s first of any kind since September of last year.
With the temperature sitting at 90 degrees at first pitch — the hottest since June 20, 2008 — Cotton labored under the afternoon sun. The right-hander needed 43 pitches to escape the first two innings, the second of which Matt Holliday punctuated with a 433-foot home run.
Despite his wobbly introduction to the matinee, Cotton ended up producing his second-longest start of the season, delivering 6.1 innings of three-run ball.
“He is a very confident kid,” Melvin explained. “He always thinks no matter what happens the previous outing, that he’s going to excel and do well and I admire him for that.”
While throwing 103 pitches, Cotton totaled six strikeouts and scattered six hits and a walk before handing things over the the bullpen.
“It’s hot out there. It’s so hot,” Cotton said with a laugh and a smile. “But I prepared well today. I drank my electrolytes. So it didn’t phase me as much. Throughout the game I got stronger. That’s probably because the shade was coming, but it was a really hot day today.”
Davis gave the A’s the lead for good in the bottom of the third, booming a two-run bomb off the green batter’s eye that hangs just below the center field suites.
“The last five [games] haven’t been his greatest,” Melvin said of Davis, whose 18th homer snapped an 0-for-9 spell. “But he’s always one swing away from putting a couple runs up on the board. And that’s what he did for us today.”
Pump the breaks on 2012
Before the win, Melvin was asked if his current club is starting to remind him of the 2012 iteration, which also swept aside the Yankees before launching into a remarkable second half, capped with an AL West title.
The manager brushed aside that question before the game, but revisited the topic after.
“It’s a big series — especially for the younger guys as we were talking about earlier today, too,” Melvin said. “We did this in ‘12 and this was the springboard in ‘12 to do what we did. Now, I’m not comparing it to ‘12. I’m just saying we had a big series in ‘12 against these guys and all the younger guys we had here gained confidence because of it.”