Walker’s walk-off help Yankees top A’s


The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Matt Olson slid past Gary Sanchez across home plate and scored the go-ahead run for Oakland in the ninth inning.

But wait!

Ninety seconds later, the call was reversed when a replay ruled the catcher had snagged the one-hop throw from left fielder Brett Gardner and his mitt’s edge caught at least one thread of Olson’s name on the back of his jersey . Aroldis Chapman had become the first Yankees pitcher in 26 years to walk the first three batters of an inning and escape without allowing any runs.

Two more innings and another hour led to what has become commonplace this season: another walkoff win for New York.

“It’s only May — that’s what’s exciting about it,” Aaron Judge said.

Neil Walker flared a run-scoring single into center field in the 11th inning , and the Yankees rallied from a four-run deficit for a 7-6 win Saturday that avoided what would have been their first three-game losing streak since August.

New York (27-12), which began that day tied with AL East rival Boston for the best record in the major leagues, stopped its first two-game mini-skid since April 8-10.

Sanchez and Aaron Hicks hit the Yankees’ first consecutive home runs of the year in the second, but Oakland ended Domingo German’s 15-inning scoreless streak with a five-run third that included Khris Davis’ three-run homer off the top of the left-field wall and Mark Canha’s two-run single. Jed Lowrie’s sacrifice fly boosted the lead to 6-2 in the fifth.

Judge sparked a four-run bottom half with a two-run homer off Andrew Triggs. Walker hit a run-scoring single off Danny Coulombe, and Miguel Andujar had a tying single against Ryan Dull.

Jonathan Holder, Chad Green and Dellin Betances each pitched a perfect inning before Chapman’s wild ride.

His velocity was down 3-4 mph on the cool afternoon from the 100 mph-plus heat that overpowered Boston on warm spring nights earlier in the week. Both pitching coach Larry Rothschild and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue visited the mound to check Chapman, who was pitching with a cracked fingernail.

Chapman struck out Canha, and pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy followed with a 297-foot fly to left field.

Gardner had time to set his feet, step into the catch and get his weight behind the throw, which was slightly up the third-base line. Sanchez moved up about 4 feet in front on the plate and reached at the sliding Olson. Plate umpire James Hoye hopped as he made an emphatic safe call.

“I didn’t feel as if he tagged me,” Olson said.

Gardner agreed.

“I thought he was safe. I knew I’d made a pretty throw, but I just thought it was a little late,” he said.

In New York’s dugout, manager Aaron Boone disagreed.

“I think I was one of the few actually. I’m usually wrong,” Boone said.

New York asked for a video review, and the crowd starting cheering when the slow-motion video was replayed on the scoreboard.

Crew chief Jeff Kellogg made the out call, and the Chapman’s Houdini act was complete.

“I tried to arch my back a little bit,” Olson said. “Not enough.”

A.J. Cole (1-0), pitching for the first time since his Yankees debut on April 28, walked Oakland’s first two batters in the 10th, then struck out Jed Lowie and Davis before retiring Olson on a foulout. Cole, who was 1-1 with Washington earlier this season, followed with a perfect 11th that included a pair of called strikeouts.

Chris Hatcher (3-1) walked former Marlins teammate Giancarlo Stanton with one out in the 11th, and Sanchez hit into a forceout. Hicks walked, and Walker singled as Sanchez scored standing up ahead of Canha’s weak throw.

Walker was hitting .163 through May 2 in a 13-for-80 start but has nine hits in his last 25 at-bats.

“It’s easy to kind of get caught up in numbers and get caught up in how things are going,” he said. “I’ve played this game for a long time, so I know that good things are on the horizon for me.”

He was mobbed by teammates in short right field and given the traditional sports-drink dousing after the Yankees’ fourth walk-off win in 24 home games.

“No lead is too big to overcome,” he said.

By Paul Wager

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