OAKLAND . (AP) — A week ago, the first-place New York Yankees came to the West Coast on a roll. They were scoring more than enough runs to support their starters and winning by comfortable margins.
They are headed home to the Bronx in a June skid, emotionally and physically spent from the California heat, long games and losing so many close ones.
Khris Davis hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the third that held up to back rookie Jharel Cotton’s first victory since May 4, and the Oakland Athletics completed a four-game sweep of the slumping Yankees with a 4-3 win Sunday.
“Not very fun,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “They’re not going to be perfect all the time. For the rest of the year these guys are going to be somewhat tired, that’s just the bottom line.”
Davis hit his team-best 18th homer in the third after Chad Pinder tied the game on a two-run double that inning. Davis’ leadoff double in the sixth was wasted.
New York welcomed back flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman but still lost its season-high sixth straight game following a six-game winning streak, finishing a disappointing 1-6 road trip with a weekend dud against the American League’s worst team.
“As long as the feel of the team is still positive and energetic, guys aren’t putting their head down and we’re still having fun and enjoying each other, I think everything will be fine,” Matt Holliday said. “These things happen during a season. You’re going to go through stretches like this. You find out what you’re made of.”
Cotton (4-7) struck out six over 6 1/3 innings for his second-longest start of the season after going seven innings April 10 at Kansas City. The rookie right-hander, who had been 0-4 over a five-start winless stretch since beating the Twins, gave up six hits and three runs with a walk.
The A’s won their fourth straight game, marking the club’s second-longest winning streak of 2017 behind a stretch of five in a row April 18-22. Oakland had gone 26 series without a sweep dating to last Sept. 12-15 at Kansas City.
Holliday hit a towering solo homer in the second that reached the top of the elevated bleachers then Aaron Judge had an RBI single in the third on a scorching Sunday. First-pitch temperature at the Coliseum was 90 degrees — the hottest to start a game since it was 91 degrees on June 20, 2008. The warmest day for baseball ever here was 92.
Chapman came off the disabled list after missing more than a month and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. New York needs him late in games, and Girardi was determined to use his flame-throwing closer regardless of the situation to immediately get him back in major league action.
Oakland’s Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for his third save and second in as many games after coming off the DL on June 10.
“Against a team that’s that good, one of the best teams in the American League, to come away with a four-game sweep is really big for us,” said Doolittle, who spent time in the clubhouse to stay cool.
Didi Gregorius homered leading off the fourth for the Yankees, who lost three of the games here by one run. The umpires reviewed the drive to determine whether the ball stayed just inside the right-field foul pole, and their original call of home run was confirmed.
New York catcher Gary Sanchez was written into the lineup after going through pregame work to test his tender groin, an injury from Thursday night.
Yankees right-hander Luis Cessa (0-1) allowed four run and five hits in four innings, struck out four and walked in his first start this year and second appearance.
Yankees: CF Aaron Hicks missed his third straight day with tightness in his left leg that he experienced during Thursday night’s 10-inning loss. ... LHP Chapman had been out since May 13 with inflammation in the rotator cuff of his pitching shoulder. ... Holliday returned to the lineup at DH after sitting Saturday with an allergic reaction to something he ate.
Athletics: Starting RHP Andrew Triggs, on the 10-day DL with a strained left hip, was scheduled for a cortisone injection. ... Home plate umpire Ted Barrett took a ball off the left knee in the fifth but was fine to stay in the game.
The Yankees were delayed slightly getting out of San Francisco on Sunday morning after the lower deck of the Bay Bridge was partially shut down going out of the city toward Oakland for at least five hours. Officers responding to a crash shot and wounded a motorist who drove at them. Girardi said the team’s bus got moving once two lanes reopened.
Yankees: Following an off day Monday, RHP Michael Pineda (7-3) goes for his team-best eighth victory as the Yankees host the Los Angeles Angels.
Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (0-1), who allowed seven runs in his first career start and outing last Wednesday at Miami for the most ever by an Oakland pitcher in his major league debut, pitches the series opener against the Astros.
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