Brandon Moss announced his return to the lineup emphatically Tuesday, drilling two home runs that sparked the A’s to a come-from-behind 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees in 10 innings.
Moss got the A’s on the board in the fifth with a solo shot to dead center in the fifth. With the score 2-2 in the top of the 10th, he went down to get an Adam Warren breaking ball and hit a liner into the right field seats, jump-starting a three-run rally that delivered the A’s to a victory in the opener of this nine-game, three-city road trip.
It also marked Oakland’s Major League-best seventh victory when trailing after seven innings. It also provided a satisfying ending to a long night in the Bronx, as the opener of this three-game series was delayed 1 hour, 12 minutes at the start because of rain.
Moss, who missed two games over the weekend with a strained right calf, wasn’t the only hero. Stephen Vogt, promoted from Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday, came through with a pinch-hit game-tying double in the eighth inning, as the A’s broke through against New York’s bullpen after experiencing little success against starter Hiroki Kuroda.
Starting pitching report
Scott Kazmir, fresh off his complete-game victory over Detroit, had it dialed in once again. He pumped his fastball consistently in the mid-90’s and also had a nasty change-up working. The lefty went 6 1/3 innings and struck out a season-high 10, giving up six hits and two walks. Three of those hits came in the first, when Mark Teixiera dropped a bloop single that fell just inside the right-field line to score Brett Gardner.
With the score 1-1 in the sixth, Teixeira got a 1-0 pitch and drilled career homer No. 36 against the A’s, his most against any team, to put the Yankees up 2-1.
Kazmir has been terrific over his past two starts, but in his 15 1/3 innings pitched over that span, the A’s have scored runs in just two of those frames (four runs total).
Fernando Abad relieved Kazmir with two runners aboard in the seventh and one out, and the lefty rang up Brett Gardner looking and Derek Jeter on a fly ball. Luke Gregerson entered in the eighth after Abad issued a leadoff walk and delivered a scoreless inning.
Sean Doolittle nailed things down in the bottom of the 10th and got his sixth save in seven opportunties.
At the plate
Moss came in just 2-for-13 against Kuroda with five strikeouts, not the most favorable matchup for him in his return to the lineup. In his first at-bat, he drove a ball to center that looked like it might have a chance to leave the park before it died in Jacoby Ellsbury’s glove. Moss left nothing to chance in the fifth. He ended a seven-pitch at-bat by drilling a ball well over the center field wall to tie it 1-1.
It marked Moss’ first game of June after a monster May in which he hit nine homers and had 25 RBI, his career bests for a single month.
But the A’s got nothing else going against Kuroda, who gave up just two hits over 6 2/3 innings. He was relieved by Dellin Betance, who entered with 56 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. Trailing 2-1, the A’s mounted a game-tying two-out rally in the top of the eighth off the right-hander. Alberto Callaspo drew a walk and Vogt came in to pinch-hit for Craig Gentry. Vogt worked the count to full and split the gap in right-center with a double that brought CAllaspo around from first and tied it 2-2.
In the field
Shortstop Jed Lowrie turned in the defensive play of the game in the bottom of the ninth. He elevated high to make a leaping grab of Brett Gardner’s liner that would have moved the winning run into scoring position. Instead, his highlight-reel play sent the game to extra innings.
Kuroda’s defense helped him by turning two inning-ending double plays off the bats of Lowrie and Josh Donaldson. Donaldson came up big in the first when he snared Yangervis Solarte’s liner that would have scored a run had it got by him.
Jesse Chavez (4-3, 2.78) matches up against lefty Vidal Nuno (1-2, 5.48) in a 4:05 p.m. contest Wednesday.