Yankees’ big first inning, bullpen enough to hold off A’s rally



The Yankees have not always scored lately, but when they have, they have preferred big innings.

A four-run ninth inning last Wednesday keyed a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays.

A five-run seventh inning Friday was enough to beat the Rays, 5-3.

And a four-run fifth inning Sunday lifted them to a 5-4 win over the Rays again.

Tuesday, it was a four-run first inning then clinging to it the rest of the way to beat the Athletics, 4-3, on a chilly night in The Bronx.

Anthony Rizzo hits a first-inning home run against the As on Tuesday. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

The Yankees (16-8) had a feast in the first inning then a famine the rest of the night, but Marcus Stroman and the bullpen made sure it stood up for a win over the middling A’s (9-15).

Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the first, the Yankees quickly got a rally going off A’s right-hander Paul Blackburn when Juan Soto singled and Aaron Judge doubled.

Giancarlo Stanton drove them both in with a double rocketed to the gap for the 2-1 lead.

Anthony Rizzo, who entered the night in a 4-for-31 slump, came up next and visited the short porch for a two-run shot and the 4-1 lead.

Anthony Rizzo (48) celebrates his home run with Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

It marked Rizzo’s first home run since April 6 and just his second of the year.

From there, Blackburn retired 17 of the final 18 batters he faced, with Anthony Volpe’s slow roller to third for an infield single in the second inning marking the only other hit against him.

After Volpe’s hit, the Yankees did not have another base runner until Austin Wells drew a leadoff walk in the eighth inning.

Stroman was not his sharpest Tuesday but was still able to pitch 5 ¹/₃ innings while keeping the A’s to three runs.

Marcus Stroman was again solid for the Yankees on Tuesday. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

He gave up a pair of solo home runs but struck out a season-high nine, with seven of those coming on his slider.

Ron Marinaccio relieved Stroman and pitched a scoreless inning before Caleb Ferguson, who had allowed runs in each of his previous three appearances before Tuesday, followed with a scoreless inning of his own.

Giancarlo Stanton delivers a two-RBI double on Tuesday. Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Dennis Santana tossed two-thirds of a scoreless inning then handed the ball off to Clay Holmes, who secured his ninth save of the season.

Holmes has now thrown 12 innings this season without allowing an earned run.

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