The kids keep growing. Slowly, of course, but surely. The Oakland Athletics (21-60) returned to the Coliseum after dropping their last series on the road in Toronto last weekend and the A's defeated the New York Yankees 2-1 in Paul Blackburn's first decision-win of the season.
Blackburn took the mound for the sixth time this year after missing time rehabbing for the first few weeks of the season, and he finally got a long-chased victory. PB is now 1-0 through six games started in 2023 while boasting a 3.77 ERA having completed 31 innings in which he's struck out 35 batters.
Oakland brought some early action to the game with Ryan Noda walking in the bottom of the first only to get picked off instantly after that. Blackburn put four Yankees out straight before conceding his first base on a single by Jake Bauers already into the second inning.
It was Esteury Ruiz, batting ninth in the lineup, who finally broke the deadlock by singling Tyler Wade home after the former Yankee bagged a triple himself just before Esty stepped up to the plate. A's 1, Y's nothing.
Not happy enough with that RBI, Ruiz wasted no time and after reaching first on that single he went on to steal 2nd base to get his 40th stolen base of the season. Ruiz leads the MLB, and he's now just two thefts from reaching A's rookie-record-man Mitchell Page, who stole 42 all the way back in 1977.
Ruiz, however, got a little bit excited in the diamond and went for a second steal in the same inning only to get caught going for a third base he could never steal, retiring the side.
The A's didn't stop pushing, though, and in the fourth inning, Seth Brown got his sixth homer of the season thanks to a deep fly to right field that ended kissing the bleachers. The Athletics, already up one run on the scoreboard, doubled the lead to a solid 2-0 that they never surrendered.
An old friendly face tried to make things tough for the A's. Josh Donaldson, returning to the lineup for the first time since Thursday and batting sixth in the Yankees order for the first time this season, hit a homer himself in the top of the fifth frame to cut the A's lead back in half. Truth the bold, Donaldson's hit was a hellacious no-doubter bomb.
The A's needed a few miracles to keep the Yankees at bay, such as Tyler Wade's effort in the sixth inning to put Harrison Bader out or escaping a seriously threatening situation in the ninth inning when New York put two runners on base.
At the end of the day, Sam Moll entered the game at the start of the final stanza and he did enough to earn his first save of the season. Moll allowed a couple of hits while striking out two batters, following on the work put together by Lucas Erceg (1.2 innings with just one hit allowed and three strikeouts) and Trevor May (1.0 inning, no hits, two walks, one strikeout).
Blackburn went 5.1 innings deep into Tuesday's affair allowing just Donaldson's run on four total hits while walking only one batter and K'ing five men.
The A's and the Yankees face each other again in the middle game of this series on Wednesday with JP Sears (1-5, 4.10 ERA) getting the nod for the Athletics and Domingo German (4-5, 5.10) starting for the visitors. New York has lost the last five games they've played on the road while the A's will be looking to win two games in a row for the first time since they last did on June 12-13.