The Oakland Athletics have been a far stronger offensive team on the road this season, and that continued on Friday night as they roughed up former teammate Sonny Gray, held off a late charge and then pulled away for a 10-5 win over the New York Yankees, which had won 17 of their last 18 games.
The four homers gave the A’s 32 on the road this season, compared to just 14 at home, where they went homerless for the past four games.
Gray surrendered three runs in the second inning on homers by the Fullerton duo, with Khris Davis launching a solo shot to right field and Matt Chapman sending a two-run homer to center. Major League hits leader Jed Lowrie singled home another run in the top of the third.
Though the Yankees got one back in the bottom half on a solo homer by rookie sensation Gleyber Torres, some smart baserunning by Mark Canha in the fourth restored the four-run lead as he came home on fellow Cal product Marcus Semien’s force out.
Things got hairy in the bottom of the fifth when Miguel Andujar reached on an error to start the inning, a harsh call as Marcus Semien tried to field a sharp grounder deep in the hole. Brett Gardner walked with two outs, and Aaron Judge followed with his 10th homer of the year, an opposite-field blast to bring New York (26-12) within one.
Lowrie then took reliever David Hale deep in the top of the sixth, and recently-recalled starter Kendall Graveman settled back in from there to finish his night on a strong note. Over six innings, Graveman — the A’s Opening Day starter who was sent down to Triple A to simplify his mechanics — allowed just three hits and two walks, striking out four. Only one of the four runs he allowed was earned.
Oakland (19-19) got into a jam in the bottom of the seventh as reliever Ryan Dull allowed singles to Andujar and Austin Romine. After a Torres sacrifice bunt, Lou Trivino was brought in, and the rookie struggled for the first time in his nine appearances, walking Gardner to load the bases and then issued a free pass to Judge to cut the lead to 6-5.
From there, manager Bob Melvin went to veteran Yusmeiro Petit, and the Venezuelan reliever did exactly what he was signed to do, getting Didi Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton to hit shallow fly balls to end the inning. After Hale surrendered another run on a Matt Joyce homer in the eighth, Petit got another two outs before being lifted for Blake Treinen, who struck out pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez on three pitches, delivering the fatal blow with a nasty slider.
Semien’s three-run double off David Robertson in the top of the ninth sent many of the fans to the exits, and Treinen finished off the four-out save by getting Judge to bounce into a double play, sealing Graveman’s first win of the year, one that he earned by defeating his close friend Gray. While Graveman allowed just five baserunners, Gray allowed nine hits and three walks over his five innings, striking out just two. One of those hits belonged to Dustin Fowler, who got his first career base hit after being traded for Gray following a knee injury last June. Fowler started in center field and batted ninth, going 1-for-5 with a single in the fourth off of a changeup from Gray.