(AP) — The New York Yankees’ first matchup with the Oakland Athletics didn’t go well, with Sonny Gray playing a key role.
Gray’s outstanding start in that May series helped Oakland take three of four, and he’ll look for a repeat performanceTuesday night against the Yankees – though it remains to be seen how strong he is after missing time due to a severe case of salmonella.READ MORE: Murder In Wheatland: Wife Of Suspected Killer Says Husband Was Conspiracy Theorist
Gray (9-3, 2.09 ERA), set to make his first start at Yankee Stadium, pitched eight innings of two-run ball to beat New York 6-2 on May 29. The right-hander is among the AL leaders in ERA and could be in for another strong effort Tuesday since he’s 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA in nine starts on the road.
Gray also bounced back from his worst start of the season with a solid effort his last time out, throwing six innings of three-run ball in a 6-3 victory at Texas on June 25. He allowed five earned runs in six innings of a 12-7 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels on June 19.
However, he was in the hospital last Monday-Wednesday. The A’s had hoped Gray could pitch Sunday, but with Monday’s off-day, he was held back for additional recovery time.
The Yankees came to Oakland in May in first place while the A’s were in last, and those positions in the standings are identical going into this three-game set. New York (44-38) will try to take advantage of the cellar-dwelling A’s (38-47) this time as it looks to rebound from an ugly performance.
The Yankees had a three-game winning streak snapped in an 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, suffering from a lack of offense, shaky pitching from Ivan Nova and three errors that led to three unearned runs.
“We had a bad day,” said manager Joe Girardi, whose club has scored three or fewer runs in six of its last seven games.
Low offensive output might not be an issue with Nathan Eovaldi (8-2, 4.52) taking the hill. The right-hander has won three straight starts and given up three or fewer runs seven times in his last eight outings.
Eovaldi pitched 5 1-3 scoreless innings and allowed five hits in a 3-1 victory over the Angels on Wednesday.READ MORE: 41 California District Attorneys Challenge Early Release Eligibility For 76,000 Inmates
“He’s given us a chance to win just about every time out there, and that’s great,” third baseman Chase Headley said. “He’s come into a new league, and the AL East is a tough division for pitching, so he’s done well for us.”
Eovaldi didn’t get a decision while giving up three runs and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 5-3 loss to Oakland on May 30. He’s 0-1 with a 5.60 ERA in three career starts in the series.
Oakland fell 2-1 to visiting Seattle on Sunday. Rookie Chris Bassitt, making his second start in place of Gray, gave up two runs in 5 2-3 innings but the A’s struggled offensively for the second straight game.
“We go in streaks, where we’re not so good and other streaks where we’re really good,” said manager Bob Melvin, whose team has scored three runs in the past two.
“We’re just trying to win as many games as we can (before the All-Star) break here and try to sneak up closer to .500, more than anything.”
Brett Gardner is 3 for 6 against Gray.
Ike Davis is 5 for 13 with two home runs, two doubles and three walks off Eovaldi, while Josh Reddick is 3 for 7 in the matchup.
Yankees closer Andrew Miller could return from a strained forearm that’s kept him out since May 20.MORE NEWS: Local COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics Start Opening For Kids As Young As 12
Updated July 6, 2015