Yan­kees rally from four runs down to stun Oak­land

Gard­ner ties game in 9th with homer be­fore Ford goes deep for walk-off win

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Jake Seiner

NEW YORK – Through Lit­tle League and high school, three years in the Ivy League and six more in the mi­nors, Mike Ford held onto his child­hood dream.

The lo­cal kid, a life­long Yan­kee fan, hitting a win­ning homer in the Bronx. All these years, seemed too good to be true.

“I don’t think it’s set in yet,” he said. Ford fol­lowed Brett Gard­ner’s ty­ing homer with New York’s sec­ond straight walk-off shot, and the Yan­kees ral­lied from four runs down to beat the Oak­land Athletics 5-4 Sun­day.

Gard­ner led off the ninth with a homer to right off All-Star closer Liam Hen­driks (4-2), and Ford fol­lowed by driv­ing a 3-2 pitch into the Yan­kees bullpen in right-cen­ter. The rookie stood at home plate and watched his first pinch-hit homer soar, then tossed his bat high to­ward the home dugout. Gard­ner doused him with a wa­ter cooler af­ter he cir­cled the bases.

“I didn’t hear any­thing, which is crazy,” Ford said. “Just a whole rush of emo­tion.”

Ford is from New Jersey and was un­drafted as a husky slug­ger from Prince­ton in 2013. The 27-year-old played 572 mi­nor league games be­fore his first big league call-up this year, and he’s hit 10 homers in 36 games as an in­jury fill-in for the AL East-lead­ing Yan­kees.

“A guy that just has pro­fes­sional at-bats,” Gard­ner said.

DJ LeMahieu hit a game-ending homer in a 4-3, 11-in­ning vic­tory over Oak­land on Satur­day. New York has won six of seven and sal­vaged a se­ries win against the A’s. The Yan­kees have won eight straight rub­ber matches and im­proved to 90-48, be­com­ing the first team this year to reach 90 vic­to­ries.

A’s left-han­der Sean Manaea pitched one-hit ball over five in­nings in his first start since shoul­der surgery last Sep­tem­ber, and Oak­land led 4-0 af­ter 7 1/2 in­nings.

The Yan­kees loaded the bases in the eighth, got a sac­ri­fice fly from Gley­ber Tor­res and a two-run sin­gle by Didi Gre­go­rius to make it 4-3 be­fore Hen­driks got the fi­nal two outs. New York hasn’t been blanked in 220 games, the sec­ond long­est streak since at least 1900 be­hind the Babe Ruth-led Yan­kees span­ning 1931-33.

Shel­don Neuse — pro­nounced “noisy” — lined a tiebreak­ing, two-run dou­ble for his first ma­jor league hit in the sev­enth for Oak­land, and Matt Ol­son made a stel­lar de­fen­sive play at first base be­fore hitting his 28th homer.

“The only thing I could think of is I, W` ow, I just put one in play and scored a cou­ple runs and now I’m stand­ing on sec­ond at Yan­kee Sta­dium,“’ Neuse said. “Just took a deep breath, took it all in.”

Yan­kees left-han­der J.A. Happ coun­tered Manaea with six score­less in­nings of one-hit ball, walk­ing four and strik­ing out five. Adam Ot­tavino (6-4) pitched a score­less in­ning to win.

Oak­land trails Cleve­land by a halfgame for the sec­ond AL wild card and is a full game be­hind Tampa Bay for the first spot.

Manaea walked three and struck out five with 82 pitches in a stel­lar re­turn.

“That’s all we were look­ing to get from him and boy he’s got to feel good about that,” man­ager Bob Melvin said.

The 27-year-old walked three in the fifth in­ning but left the bases loaded when Ol­son dived to stop Mike Tauch­man’s grounder and threw from his back to Manaea at the bag.

Ol­son, last year’s AL Gold Glove Award win­ner at first, also made an over-the-shoul­der, bas­ket catch on the warn­ing track on Gary Sanchez’s pop foul in the eighth.

Sep­tem­ber Call-Ups: The Yan­kees re­called brazen young out­fielder Clint Fra­zier from Triple-A more than two months af­ter send­ing him down amid a ros­ter crunch. The 24-year-old hit .283 with 11 homers and an .843 OPS in 53 games with New York this sea­son but strug­gled on de­fense. He had a walk and two hard-hit outs. Ford pinch-hit for him in the ninth against the right-handed Hen­driks.

New York also re­called righthande­rs Ryan Dull and Chance Adams from Triple-A, signed left-han­der Tyler Lyons to a ma­jor league deal and trans­ferred right-han­der David Hale to the 60-day in­jured list. The A’s re­called in­fielder Franklin Bar­reto and right-han­der Paul Black­burn, and also pro­moted catch­ing prospect Sean Mur­phy to the ma­jors for the first time. Right-han­der Tanner An­der­son and sec­ond base­man Cor­ban Joseph were des­ig­nated for as­sign­ment.

Moose Tracks: Hall of Famer Mike Mussina was hon­ored be­fore the game and threw out the first pitch.

Trainer’s Room: Yan­kees RHP Luis Sev­erino (lat mus­cle in­jury) pitched one-plus in­ning for Triple-A Scran­ton/Wilkes-Barre, his first ap­pear­ance of 2019. He al­lowed a homer and struck out two. RHP Dellin Be­tances (right shoul­der im­pinge­ment) re­turned to New York af­ter fac­ing hit­ters at the club’s com­plex in Florida on Satur­day. He ex­pects to throw again Tues­day.


Phillies start­ing pitcher Zach Eflin throws to the plate dur­ing Sun­day night’s game against the Mets. The game ended too late for this edi­tion. For cov­er­age see the­morn­ing­call.com/sports.

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