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Gary Sanchez, Yankees aim to take series against A’s

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Gary Sanchez is heating up for the New York Yankees, who face the visiting Oakland Athletics in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday.

Sanchez belted a solo homer in Saturday’s 7-5 victory and has gone deep five times in his last nine games.

The 28-year-old catcher has struggled for much of the season, but he’s batting .328 (20-for-61) with six homers and 12 RBIs over his last 19 games. Nine of his last 15 hits have been for extra bases.

“I’m just happy for him because he’s worked so hard. He’s just kept his nose down,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously, he lost some playing time about a month ago and just kept working. He’s been a great teammate. He’s worked really hard on both sides of the ball.”

The Yankees snapped Oakland’s seven-game winning streak on Saturday after scoring five runs in the last two innings.

Much of the damage came against Athletics left-hander Jesus Luzardo, who has allowed six homers in his last five relief appearances.

The talented 23-year-old has served as a starter for most of his career but was moved to the bullpen after returning from the injured list last month.

The Athletics have relied heavily on their top relievers and could use a lengthy outing Sunday from starter Sean Manaea (6-2, 2.99).

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The 29-year-old has allowed one run or fewer in each of his last five starts and is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA over that span.

Manaea surrendered one run on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings in last Monday’s 8-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Rougned Odor is 4-for-20 with seven strikeouts against Manaea, who is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in four career starts against New York.

The left-hander has not allowed an earned run in two career outings covering 12 innings at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 4.20) received a no-decision after giving up five runs (four earned) with four walks over 5 1/3 innings against Toronto last Tuesday.

The 28-year-old left-hander owns a 2.75 ERA in six home starts this season compared to a 5.71 mark in seven outings away from Yankee Stadium.

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Montgomery is facing Oakland for the first time since June 15, 2017, when he allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings in his only previous start against the A’s.

New York received a spark on Saturday from third baseman Gio Urshela, who blasted the go-ahead homer and is hitting .317 (20-for-63) with four homers and seven RBIs in his last 15 games.

Oakland is 13-3 this month with third baseman Matt Chapman going 12-for-32 during his current eight-game hitting streak.

The Athletics placed right fielder Stephen Piscotty on the injured list Saturday with a sore left wrist, but they won’t know how long he’ll be out until he’s evaluated on Monday.

“He has been battling this for quite some time,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s never fully gone away. He’s had some decent days then bad days, and as much hitting and so forth as they do in the cage, just not responding very well and actually the last several days has gotten worse.”

–Field Level Media

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