Giancarlo Stanton will attempt to run his homer streak to five consecutive games on Saturday afternoon as the visiting New York Yankees seek to make it three straight wins over the Oakland Athletics in a duel of playoff hopefuls.
New York is riding a 13-game winning streak, its longest run in 60 years.
The Yankees, the second-place team in the American League East, have distanced themselves from the A’s, the second-place club in the AL West, with 7-6 and 8-2 wins to open the four-game series. New York will take the field Saturday 6 1/2 games up on Oakland in the AL wild-card race.
Stanton has helped boost the Yankees’ advantage with home runs in each of the first two games of the series, matching the pair he hit when New York opened its current trip with two games at Atlanta.
The four-game run is his best since a six-gamer in August 2017.
Brett Gardner, Joey Gallo, Luke Voit, Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka also have homered in the two games in Oakland as the Yankees have extended their streak of scoring five or more runs to eight games.
New York manager Aaron Boone believed an explosion was just a matter of time once his roster got healthy.
“Guys have trickled back,” he said. “We’ve been playing well for well over a month now. The more people we can get on deck and on board, we’ll take that.”
The Yankees hope to keep the line moving Saturday against an A’s pitcher with whom they have little experience. Right-hander Frankie Montas (9-9, 3.84 ERA) has never started a game against Yankees, and has faced them just one time, throwing one scoreless inning in 2017.
Of the three current Yankees who have gone head-to-head with Montas, only Rougned Odor has hit a homer, that coming last year as a member of the Texas Rangers.
Montas, 28, is winless in four August starts despite allowing just seven earned runs in 24 innings (2.63 ERA). The last time out, he threw seven shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants in a no-decision on Sunday.
Likewise, Oakland’s hitter will basically see a stranger when they deal with Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. (2-1, 2.56 ERA). This will be his first-ever start against the A’s after having faced them three times in relief, going 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA and 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
The 26-year-old has won his last two starts, against the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, allowing just three runs and striking out 14 in 13 innings.
The A’s have lost six in a row, the longest current streak in the majors. Despite the one-sided nature of their latest defeat on Friday, manager Bob Melvin refused to get discouraged.
“Their hitters ruled the day,” he said of the Yankees. “Guys are trying. Hopefully win a game and maybe get on a roll.”
Oakland has been out-hit 23-15 and out-homered 7-3 so far in the series.
The A’s have been outscored 20-9 in their past three outings after having getting outscored just 13-9 in the first three losses of the skid.
–Field Level Media