Baseball / Sports

A's rally to top Yankees for fifth straight win

NEW YORK -- They can hit. They can catch. They can pitch. And, yes, they can win, as the Oakland A's did for the fifth consecutive game Wednesday, rallying to upend the Yankees in the Bronx 7-4.

The A's may not be the world's most complete team. But they'll do until somebody comes along who can do it better.

The one thing the A's haven't had to do much this year is come back from a big deficit. Wednesday saw Jesse Chavez give up four runs in the third, but he came back to throw three more innings without allowing a run, creating space so the offense could rally.

"With these hitters," Chavez said, "you know that it's mostly just a matter of time."

It was the first comeback from four runs down for the A's this season.

"That's an attribute a good team has," manager Bob Melvin said. "You get down in this ballpark early, and you haven't gotten too many good swings, but they know how to pass the baton."

Oakland hit three more homers, which is impressive because the A's have homered in a dozen consecutive games, a total of 22 bombs in all. Yoenis Cespedes hit two in helping the A's rally from a 4-0 deficit and Josh Donaldson hit one that broke a 4-4 tie and gave the A's a lead they never lost in the seventh.

Both men are proving to be built for the big stage. After the fourth multiple-homer game of his career, Cespedes said he likes playing when he knows everyone's watching.

"When it's a full house and it's sold out, I like to play like that," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. He hit a solo homer off starter Vidal Nuno in the fourth just moments after Chavez gave up his four-spot. Cespedes then homered again in the sixth, this one off reliever Matt Daley, to get the A's close, down 4-3.

Equally impressive, though, were warning track sacrifice flies from Jed Lowrie in the fifth and Alberto Callaspo in the sixth that sandwiched Cespedes' second homer. Both were only a few feet from clearing the wall, but each produced a run that helped the A's catch up. And both came after long at-bats that were wearing on the Yankees: seven pitches for Lowrie, nine for Callaspo.

Then Donaldson stepped in against Yankees rookie Jose Ramirez, whose major- league debut was ruined by the A's third baseman delivering his 16th homer to snap the tie.

"Having a big stage like (Yankee Stadium) makes it a little easier to come here, not that it's hard to come here," Donaldson said. "But you never have to fight to get adrenalin when you play here."

And once the A's had the lead, relievers Dan Otero and Sean Doolittle beat back any attempt at a Yankee comeback. Otero pitched out of a two-out jam in the seventh, then threw a quiet eighth before Doolittle made quick work of the Yankees in the ninth.

"I think we all do (like the big stage)," Doolittle said. "We play like we've got something to prove, like we've got a chip on our shoulders. We're not a team that gets a ton of national attention. So when we get a chance to play the Yankees, we come out and answer the call."

Truth be told, it seems the A's answer the call against just about everybody else, too. With the exception of getting swept in Toronto on May 23-25, Oakland has been on a roll, winning six of its past seven three-game series and splitting a four-game set with the Tigers. The end result is a 37-22 record that has the A's 15 games over .500 for the first time this year and owning the best record in the American League.

(c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

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