Urshela takes shard in eye, then hits go-ahead homer
NEW YORK (AP) — Six innings after a shard of his broken bat hit Gio Urshela in the right eye, he saw a fastball clearly enough to hit a go-ahead home run.
Urshela’s eighth-inning drive off Jesus Luzardo landed in the netting above Monument Park beyond center field and helped the New York Yankees rally from a three-run deficit in a 7-5 victory Saturday that stopped the Oakland Athletics’ seven-game winning streak.
Urshela’s bat splinted as he grounded into a double play in the second inning.
“Obviously, a scary moment there, but they got with him underneath, whether it was drops or whatever, and got the little fraying (out),” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously, one of those scary situations initially. But he was OK.”
Urshela jogged to first.
“I saw just the piece of wood coming to my eyes,” he said. “I don’t even see the ball and I don’t even see where I was running. Just my eyes started feeling like a little pain, but thank God, I’m good.”
Urshela’s presence turned the game.
He singled in New York’s first run in the fourth and put the Yankees ahead 5-4 when he turned on a 98.6 mph fastball from Luzardo (2-4). DJ LeMahieu added a two-run single against Sergio Romo.
“Luzardo’s a pitcher who throws really hard,” Urshela said. “So I’m trying to stay short and trying to swing (at) a ball in the zone.”
Of Urshela’s 36 homers since he joined the Yankees in April 2019, 16 have tied a game or provided a lead.
“Gio’s always been a guy, certainly since we had him that in the biggest spots, you love him up there and you love the ball hit to him,” Boone said. “I think it’s a really good player that’s confident in his ability.”
Aroldis Chapman struck out Matt Chapman on a 103.4 mph pitch to strand two runners in the ninth. His final pitch was Chapman’s fastest on a strikeout since the 2017 AL wild card game and the fastest on a strikeout of any big league pitcher since Jordan Hicks of St. Louis reached 104.1 mph on April 21, 2019, according to MLB Statcast.
“Chapman to Chapman, it was a really explosive matchup,” Oakland shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “He was throwing 103. It’s not that easy to hit that one.”
Oakland had built a 4-1 lead off Domingo Germán on solo homers by Tony Kemp and Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson’s two-run single in the fifth.
Chris Bassitt had New York largely in check. The first sign he lost composure was in the fifth, when he allowed Clint Frazier’s leadoff double and slammed his glove into the bench several times at the end of the inning.
Gary Sánchez homered in the sixth, his 11th this season and fifth in nine games, and New York tied it 4-4 in the seventh against Burch Smith when Frazier doubled again, and Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hit RBI singles.
Nestor Cortes Jr. escaped a first-and-third, no-outs jam in the fifth and pitched three innings of one-hit relief.
Chad Green (2-4) struck out the side in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman gave up an RBI single to Ramón Laureano before getting his 15th save in 17 chances.
Boone was ejected for arguing a pitch on a one-out walk to Mark Canha in the ninth.
New York stopped a six-game home losing streak and got its seventh win when trailing in the seventh inning or later, tied for the major league lead.
“That was a really exciting game,” Urshela said.
Oakland dropped to 34-3 when leading after seven innings and lost for only the third time in 16 games in June.
“We were playing a really good offensive team,” Andrus said. “Our bullpen are human beings, too. They’re going to get hit once in a while.”
Bassitt gave up two runs and six hits in six innings. He is 6-0 is in his last 13 starts.
German allowed four runs and seven hits in four-plus innings.
Kemp homered for the second straight game.
Athletics: OF Stephen Piscotty (strained left wrist) was placed on the 10-day injured list and will see a specialist in Arizona.
Yankees: 1B Luke Voit (strained oblique) will be activated Tuesday. … RHP Luis Severino, who exited a rehab start last Saturday with a groin injury, threw from 60 feet in the outfield. Severino is rehabbing from undergoing Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27 last year. … RHP Darren O’Day (strained right rotator cuff) threw a bullpen session and could start a rehab assignment next week.
Oakland: LHP Sean Manaea (6-2, 2.99 ERA), who is 3-0 with an 0.84 ERA in his last five starts, opposes New York LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 4.20) Sunday.
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