OAKLAND — Four-hours-and-29-minutes after Sonny Gray delivered the first pitch on Thursday night, Khris Davis lofted a shallow fly ball into no-man’s land in center field.
Second baseman Starlin Castro raced out to track down the bloop, which kicked off his glove, allowing Rajai Davis and Chad Pinder to race home and sending the Oakland Athletics home as 8-7 walk-off winners against the New York Yankees.
The win over the American League East frontrunners snapped the A’s three-game slide and pushed the club’s home record to 19-13 on the year.
For Gray, who produced 5.1 innings of three-run ball, the breezy evening began in inauspicious fashion.
Gray served up a double to Brett Gardner — the very first batter of the game – and then proceeded to allow a single before escaping a 19-pitch first inning unscathed. On a night Gray struck out six and and scattered eight hits, the guests chased the starter with just one out in the sixth.
The A’s had entered that frame commanding a 3-0 advantage, but Gray served up a two-out single to Chase Headley and an RBI knock to Chris Carter. The ex-Oakland slugger also tied up the score, 5-5, when he sent a John Axford curve ball sailing into the left-field bleachers.
Before Carter connected on his 13th homer against his former employer, a pair of current A’s players left the park. Jed Lowrie hit his eighth longball in the first and Yonder Alonso tallied No. 17 in the sixth.
After the club summoned Matt Chapman from the Triple-A Nashville Sounds earlier in the day, the rookie third baseman drew a pair of walks and flashed his rocket right arm, but failed to collect his first big league hit.
A’s axe Young, promote Emerson to pitching coach role
Before Thursday’s win, the club relieved pitching coach Curt Young of his duties, promoting bullpen coach Scott Emerson to that role.
Young had been the longest-serving in-uniform employee in Oakland history. He had also been overseeing a pitcher staff that has produced the third-highest ERA in the AL.