California native Gerrit Cole hopes to help the New York Yankees extend their winning streak on Friday when he pitches against the host Oakland Athletics.
The Yankees took a bumpy road to a 12th straight win in the series opener on Thursday. They scored the game’s first six runs before watching the A’s draw even. New York then received a two-out, tie-breaking single from Aaron Judge in the ninth inning for a 7-6 victory.
Cole (12-6, 2.92) hasn’t needed that level of support in winning his past two starts, during which he’s allowed just one run and seven hits over 11 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins.
Cole has never lost at Oakland, going 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts. Overall, he’s gone 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA in eight starts against the A’s.
Regardless of past success against an opponent, Cole noted before Thursday’s win that a winning streak makes any game more enjoyable.
“Come on, we’re not robots,” he said. “It feels a lot better coming to the park after winning 11 games than it does not playing at your best.”
Thursday’s 12th straight win allowed the second-place Yankees to move within four games of the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
New York leads the AL wild-card race by three games over Boston and extended its advantage over Oakland to 5 1/2 games with the series-opening win.
Seeking to end a five-game losing streak, the A’s will counter Cole with left-hander Sean Manaea (8-8, 3.77), who lost a tough, 2-1 decision to the Yankees in New York in June.
The loss dropped Manaea to 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees.
The 29-year-old has won just twice in 10 starts since the defeat in June. He’s gone winless in four starts in August with a 9.77 ERA.
Manaea pitched the first game of Oakland’s current losing streak. He was pulled in the fifth inning with a 5-2 lead last Saturday in a game the A’s wound up losing 6-5 to the San Francisco Giants.
Closer Lou Trivino, who served up Judge’s tie-breaking hit in the ninth inning of Thursday’s loss, was victimized by a LaMonte Wade Jr. two-run homer in the ninth in the loss to the Giants.
Oakland relievers have been charged with the loss in four of the five games during the skid.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he felt a lot better about Thursday’s defeat than any of the previous four.
“After what we’ve been going through … to be down 6-0 and come storming back like that with that kind of fight, it’s a good feeling,” he insisted. “At this point in time, we’re looking for small victories. Obviously, win or lose the game is the most important thing. But I did like the fight after being down six runs like that. I liked the way we battled back.”
–Field Level Media