Sleeper. Donaldson HR the Only Yank Run. Oakland 2 NY Yankees 1

Josh Donaldson hit a homerun in the 5th for the only Yankee run of the evening as Paul Blackburn and the A’s bullpen sang in the dead of night to shut down NY in a late night, West Coast game in Oakland.

Jhony Brito pitched well but took the loss.

Anthony Volpe went 3 for 4 to raise his average to .203, and the Yankees as a team got 7 hits and 3 walks — putting the tying run at 2nd in the 8th and 9th — but could not get the big hit for another run.

“I thought Jhony was good again,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards. “Two runs there into the 6th inning — he did his job. He again acquitted himself really well and gave us a chance to win a ballgame.”

NY falls to 43-36. Luckily Tampa, Baltimore, and Toronto all lost. The Yanks remain 9.5 back of Tampa, 5 behind Baltimore, and .5 ahead of Toronto. Oakland improves to 21-60.

1. Brito Good

Jhony Brito pitched well — leaving after allowing a single with 2 outs in the 6th.

He was undone by old friend Tyler Wade — who tripled with 1 out in the 3rd, and scored on a single by Esteury Ruiz. Ruiz later tried to steal 3rd but was gunned down by Jose Trevino.

Brito gave up a solo homer to Seth Brown in the 4th. That was the game winner.

Brito falls to 4-4 4.70.

2. Donaldson HR

Rumors were swirling on Sunday that Josh Donaldson was going to announce his retirement after Sunday’s game. Those were false rumors driven by a conversation Donaldson had with Boone before the game which caused Boone to be 30 minutes late to his post-game press conference. Donaldson said afterwards he and Boone were just shooting the breeze like they always do, and he was not asking for more playing time. But rumors flew on Twitter that Donaldson was holding his own press conference after the game to talk about something.

So here was Donaldson playing 3rd, and hitting a homerun in the 5th for the Yankees only run of the game.

Other than that Paul Blackburn the Oakland starter pitched well — 5.1 innings, the 1 run — using his curveball to stymie the Yankees.

3. Volpe 3 for 4

The best news to take out of the game for Yankee fans was that Anthony Volpe went 3 for 4 with 3 singles. The Yankees wasted an opportunity in the 5th after Donaldson’s homer, when Volpe singled with 1 out. He immediately stole 2nd base but Jose Trevino fouled the ball off. Trevino then took a ball before grounding out.

In the 7th, Volpe singled with 2 outs, but was thrown out trying to steal 2nd — the first time he’s been thrown out all year. The Yankees challenged the call — he looked safe on several angles on the replay. But NY lost the challenge. He has now stolen 15 bases and been caught once.

Volpe is now slashing 10-28-.203 (.282 OBP). Note that this is not far off from some elite All Star shortstops in this era of historically low batting averages:

4. Yankee Bullpen Good

Nick Ramirez relieved Brito with 2 outs in the 6th and got the last out.

Tommy Kahnle pitched a shutout 8th, and Wandy Peralta pitched a shutout 9th to keep the Yanks razor close at 2-1.

5. Yankee Late Rallies Fall Short

The Yankees put runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs in the 8th after walks to DJ LeMahieu (with 1 out) and Anthony Rizzo (with 2 outs) — but Giancarlo Stanton grounded out.

In the 9th against A’s ace reliever Sam Moll, Gleyber Torres led off with a single, and with 2 outs, Volpe singled. The tying run was at 2nd again, but Kyle Higashioka struck out for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore

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