Athletics

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Athletics' sweep of Yankees

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Athletics' sweep of Yankees

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OAKLAND — Another day, another tidy and well-rounded performance by the A’s.

They completed a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees with a 4-3 victory in front of a crowd of 34,140, their biggest home crowd of the season aside from an Opening Night sellout.

It marks the A’s first sweep of any series since Sept. 12-15 of last season, when they took four at Kansas City. They hadn’t swept a four-game at home since July 3-6, 2014. And this was just the third time since the A’s moved to Oakland in 1968 that they swept four from the Yankees.

Viewed from any angle, this weekend played out as a shocker. The A’s were coming off a 1-5 road trip, and New York arrived with the American League’s second best record behind Houston. The Yankees are still clinging to a half-game lead in the American League East, pending Boston’s game Sunday night at Houston.

Khris Davis hit his 18th homer, a two-run shot, and Chad Pinder had a two-run double in the third inning, when the A’s got all the offense they would need. Jharel Cotton (4-7) turned in a solid six innings on the mound, and the three relievers nailed things down in the late innings, as the A’s grabbed an early lead for the second consecutive game and made the lead stand.

Cotton gets back in win column: Cotton gave up homers to Matt Holliday and Didi Gregorius but went six innings and helped ease some the burden on an overworked bullpen. He earned his first victory since being recalled from the minors May 27.

A HR for KD: With the A’s offense chugging along pretty well lately, Khris Davis’ recent power outage wasn’t so glaring. The left fielder finally connected Sunday and drove a two-run shot 442 feet that hit high off the green facing in center field. That snapped a 2-2 tie and ended Davis’ 12-game homerless drought, as he moved back into the team homer lead with 18. He added a double as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon, one day after an 0-for-5 day that included four strikeouts and a dropped pop-up that went for a 2-3 putout when Davis never ran out of the batter’s box.

A Doolittle repeat: Manager Bob Melvin stayed away from Santiago Casilla and Sean Doolittle notched his second save in as many days. Casilla got hit by a foul ball while standing near the dugout Saturday and his availability was a game-time decisiion.

Error doesn’t prove costly: The A’s played excellent defense up until the ninth when Chad Pinder committed a two-base throwing error. But that didn’t come back to hurt the A’s as they ran their winning streak to four.

Your ‘What’s It Really Mean?’ stat of the day: The A’s won for just the second time in nine games played on a Sunday. Their 1-8 Sunday record coming into the day was the worst in the majors.

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

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Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

C.C. Sabathia couldn't save the Yankees' 2017 season. And now he has a decision to make.

After nine seasons in New York, the 37-year-old hits the free agent market this winter.

With career earnings nearing $250 million and a 2009 World Series ring already on his resume, would the Vallejo-native consider coming home to play for the A's? That's a question that was posed to NBCSportsBayArea.com Insider Joe Stiglich last week.

While it's a possibility, based on comments after Saturday's ALCS Game 7 loss to the Astros, it sounds like Sabathia doesn't want to leave The Bronx.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great. This is my home, and I want to see this thing through," Sabathia told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

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Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

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HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis off Sabathia which made it 1-0.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles after that before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who dropped Game 7 to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS 13 years ago today.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh inning.