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Yankees 7, Athletics 6: Neil Walker delivers a walk-off win

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The Yankees topped the A’s in a thrilling victory in the Bronx.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Neil Walker is heating up. After an awful start to the season, the veteran infielder added another big hit to his recent resume. He laced a base hit to left center to score the winning run in the 11th inning to give the Yankees a 7-6 win against the A’s. Walker is now batting .346 in the month of May.

The hit almost didn’t happen, as the A’s had the bases loaded with nobody out in the ninth. Aroldis Chapman worked his way out of the jam to force extra innings. All told, the Yankees bullpen combined for six scoreless — and hitless — innings to keep hope alive.

The Bombers got on the board early against Andrew Triggs thanks to a monster solo blast from Gary Sanchez in the bottom of the second, as his 423-foot home run clanged off the facing of the second deck in left. Aaron Hicks immediately followed with a solo shot of his own into the Yankee bullpen, completing the Yankees’ first back-to-back home run display this season.

Domingo German cruised through three innings before Marcus Semien led off the top of the fourth with a looping single to center, and Yankee-killer Matt Joyce followed with a walk. After German forced Jed Lowrie to fly out to center, Khris Davis stroked a line drive home run off the top of the wall in left to give the A’s the lead. It would get worse for German and the Yankees.

Two walks followed the Davis home run, and after running the count to 2-2 on Mark Canha, German dealt a slider low and away that Canha almost chased, but an appeal down to first ruled that he just held up. Aaron Boone and Sanchez showed clear frustration in what they thought was a swing, but alas, the count was full. Canha would follow with a two-run single to stretch the lead to three and put a bow on a five-run fourth.

German continued to struggle in the fifth, as a sac fly by Lowrie pushed across another run to make it 6-2. The Yankees would strike back in the bottom half of the inning, as Aaron Judge launched a towering two-run home run (with a high-arching launch angle of 39 degrees) to left to trim the deficit to 6-4. After a single by Didi Gregorius broke his 0-for-30 slump, a Sanchez walk chased Triggs and brought in Danny Coulombe, and the ever-improving Walker helped make Coulombe’s stay a short one by fighting off a single to left to score Gregorius. It would get worse for the A’s.

Ryan Dull came in to face Andujar, who greeted him with a line drive single to left to plate Sanchez and tie the game. Dull bounced back to strike out Torres (his third strikeout of the day), but when the smoke cleared, the Yanks had a four-run fifth on the board, and we had a brand new ballgame.

Both bullpens settled down after the fifth, and Chapman came out for the ninth, but left his command back in the bullpen. After two straight walks, former Yankee Dustin Fowler squared to bunt, but Chapman decided to do the job for Fowler by throwing a wild pitch to the screen as the runners advanced. Fowler was called back for the righty Chad Pinder, who also drew a walk off a wild Chapman. The Yankees came out to check on Chapman for a potential injury, but the lefty insisted he was fine and remained in the game with the bases loaded and nobody out.

Then, in the blink of an eye, the rally was over.

Chapman settled down to strike out Canha before pinch hitter Jonathan Lucroy lifted a shallow fly ball to left. Lead runner Matt Olson decided to test the arm of Gardner, and would pay the price. Gardner fired an accurate throw to Sanchez at the plate, who reached back to try and nab the sliding Olson, but Olson was initially called safe. Boone challenged, and replay review showed Sanchez barely catch the jersey of Olson before touching the plate. The call was reversed, and Chapman and the Yanks had escaped a monumental jam.

After a quiet bottom of the ninth, A.J. Cole came out for the Yanks in the 10th. It was Cole’s first appearance in 13 days, and at first, the rust showed. The righty issued back-to-back walks to open the frame before retiring three-straight to escape another A’s threat.

KKKKole came out again for the top of the 11th to strike out another pair of A’s to finish with four on the day, and set up fireworks for the Yanks.

Sanchez and Hicks drew walks in the 11th against Chris Hatcher, setting up Walker’s heroics. Luis Severino is in position to give the Yanks a series win on Sunday, and an opportunity to finish the home stand at 7-2.

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