Anthony Volpe’s first grand slam gives Yankees sweep of lowly A’s as tough AL East stretch awaits

With the Yankees needing some wins, the Athletics provided the perfect punching bag.

After scoring seven and 10 points in the first two games of this week’s series, the Bronx Bombers tagged Oakland again in double figures on Wednesday in an 11-3 blowout. The hit gave the Yankees their first shutout of the season — and some positive vibes heading into a crucial stretch against their division rivals.

The abysmal A’s found themselves in an immediate hole Wednesday, as a Gleyber Torres sac fly put the Yankees on the board before the red-hot Harrison Bader blasted a three-run jack to right. The umps checked the dinger for fan interference, but the home run ultimately stood.

Bader is now hitting .429 with a 1.341 OPS, two triples, three home runs and 11 RBI in eight games since coming off the disabled list.

Second-inning solo hits from Carlos Perez and Jace Peterson, pinch-hitting Jhony Brito, cut Oakland’s deficit in half, but the Yankees blew the game open with seven runs in the fifth. The frame included a two-run homer from DJ LeMahieu and the first grand slam of Anthony Volpe’s young career.

Brito didn’t allow another run over 4.1 rough innings while JJ Bleday took Deivi Garcia deep into the 23-year-old’s game. the return to the majors.

The Yankees and A’s are both in last place in their respective divisions, but the pinstripers, 21-17, should have beaten their eight-win opponent at home. Now comes the hard part after a relative reprieve in the Yankees schedule.

Thursday begins a four-game home set with the first-place Rays, who won two of three games against the Yankees at Tropicana Field last weekend. One run decided each contest, but the Yankees blew a golden opportunity to win the series when Gerrit Cole went 6-0 last Sunday.

“We progressed as a group throughout the series,” Cole said after that game. “I just let them down today, I coughed.”

Once the Yankees wrap things up with Tampa, another American League East test awaits in Toronto. The club heads north of the border on Monday for another four-game series against the Blue Jays May 15-18.

Toronto took a three-game series from the Yanks in the Bronx earlier this season.

From there, a three-game trip to Cincinnati breaks the streak of division opponents before the Yankees host the Orioles May 23-25. New York swept the O’s in three games during its first road trip of the season.

The Yankees have yet to play the Red Sox — and won’t until a home-and-away series in June — but the AL East looks like a glove early in 2023. The Yankees were the last team in the division to reach 20 wins , and so far they are 4-5 against the East.

With the team sitting in the cellar, the next two weeks offer a chance to gain ground after the Yankees put themselves in an early hole.


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