Yankees Turn Game-Ending Triple-Play, Beat A's 2-1
NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees manager Aaron Boone knew it off the bat.
"Usually, a triple play sneaks up on you," he said. "Right away, I'm thinking, 'That's a triple play.'"
New York turned its record-tying third triple play of the season to strand the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, bailing out closer Aroldis Chapman from a shaky outing and closing down a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
Gary Sánchez spoiled Sean Manaea's gem with a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning, and relievers Jonathan Loaisiga (7-2) and Lucas Luetge turned a 2-1 lead over to Chapman in the ninth.
A day after reaching 103.4 mph during his 15th save — his fastest pitch on a strikeout since the 2017 AL wild-card game — Chapman walked Jed Lowrie and Chad Pinder on nine pitches, topping out at 98 mph.
He was visited by an athletic trainer because the nail in his left middle finger broke but stayed in the game to face Sean Murphy, who drilled the second pitch of the at-bat right at third baseman Gio Urshela.
Urshela stepped on third and whizzed the ball to DJ LeMahieu, and the second baseman relayed to first baseman Chris Gittens to get Murphy by a step.
"You're around long enough, you see everything," longtime A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I've never seen a game end like that before."
New York also turned the first 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play in major league history on Thursday at Buffalo against the Blue Jays and also had an around-the-horn triple play on May 21 against the Chicago White Sox involving Urshela, second baseman Rougned Odor and first baseman Luke Voit. The storied franchise had never turned more than one triple play in a season and tied a major league record for most in a season, last accomplished by the 2016 Chicago White Sox.
The triple plays have happened over 31 days, the shortest span ever for three by a big league team.
Chapman's 16th save in 18 tries sent Oakland to its first road series loss this season after eight wins and a split. The A's had just four hits.
Loaisiga cleaned up Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery's jam in the sixth and covered 1 2/3 scoreless innings, helping New York lock up its fifth win in six games — all when trailing after the fifth.
"It felt like a big series, coming off some really quality wins in Buffalo," Boone said.
Manaea (6-3) struck out a career-high 11 and Matt Olson homered for Oakland, but the A's dropped their second straight after ending a seven-game winning streak Saturday.
"There couldn't have been a more, routine's not the word, but triple play set-up," Olson said. "Tough way to lose."
Manaea — a winner in three straight starts — cruised until the sixth, when he walked two batters ahead of the red-hot Sánchez.
Sánchez lined his second double of the game into the right-center gap, scoring both runners for a 2-1 lead.
The slow-footed Sánchez got hung up between second and third on the play but juked around a tag attempt from A's third baseman Matt Chapman before diving to get a hand onto the bag.
Yankee Stadium roared, groaned and roared again on the roller coaster play, then let out another ovation when umpires upheld the safe call on replay review.
"It feels great, given all the work that I've done with the hitting coaches, seeing the results right now," Sánchez said via a translator. "Seeing the fruits of all that work feels great."
A two-time All-Star, Sánchez lost his starting job during last year's postseason due to an extended slump, one that stretched into the start of 2021. He's surged back to top form in June, entering Sunday hitting .294 with a 1.012 OPS this month. He has five homers in his past 10 games, and 11 of his past 17 hits have gone for extra bases.
"He's on time," Boone said. "He's making really good decisions. Doesn't mean you're always going to get results, but it's not an accident now that he's getting really good results."
Manaea — throwing exclusively fastballs and changeups — dominated New York for most of his 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander had 20 swings and misses on his sinker, the most by a pitcher with a two-seam fastball or sinker in a game since at least 2008 when pitch tracking began.
Olson hit his 20th homer in the first inning, jumping on Montgomery's 1-0 fastball for a solo shot to center field.
Montgomery pitched through the fifth without further damage but ran into trouble in the sixth, walking leadoff hitter Mark Canha and allowing a one-out single to Olson. Loaisiga relieved and got two groundouts to keep New York within 1-0.
Matt Chapman hit a one-out triple in the eighth that nearly cleared the fence in left-center. He was stranded when Luetge struck out Olson and got a lineout from Ramón Laureano.
Athletics: Manager Bob Melvin believed OF Stephen Piscotty (strained left wrist) planned to fly to Arizona on Sunday to see a specialist.
Yankees: LHP Zach Britton was unavailable due to general soreness. He made his season debut last week following surgery to remove a bone chip in his pitching elbow. ... Voit (strained oblique) was 2 for 4 with two RBIs with Double-A Somerset. He's expected to be activated Tuesday. ... RHP Darren O'Day (strained right rotator cuff) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday.
Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (7-6, 4.21) starts the opener of a four-game set in Texas against Rangers RHP Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.09).
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (8-3, 2.31) opens a three-game home series against Kansas City and Royals RHP Brady Singer (3-5, 4.76).
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