The Yankees came back from Buffalo on Friday at about 3 a.m., but it looks as if the momentum they built throughout their sweep of the Blue Jays didn’t make the trip with them.
DJ LeMahieu and Rougned Odor homered, but the Yankees managed only four hits and couldn’t manufacture the same offensive prowess they showed on their 5-3 road trip, dropping the series opener to the Athletics, 5-3, at Yankee Stadium.
After getting the first two outs in the sixth, lefthander Wandy Peralta allowed singles by Matt Chapman and Sean Murphy and a 353-foot three-run homer by lefthanded-hitting Tony Kemp on a hanging slider. That erased the Yankees’ 3-2 lead.
"Unfortunately, I missed my spot, and that’s what happens when you’re in the big leagues," Peralta said through an interpreter. "You miss your spot here with big-league hitters and you pay the price."
Peralta had relieved starter Jameson Taillon in the fifth. "I thought it was a really good outing to build on for Jame-o and I just felt like we had the matchups there," Aaron Boone said. "It obviously didn’t work out in the end, but Peralta was the one I wanted to go to in that situation."
It was a promising bounce-back performance by Taillon, who lasted only 34 pitches in his previous start — a one-out, four-run affair.
It ended up being one of the better outings of Taillon’s season: two runs and four hits allowed in 4 2⁄3 innings, with a walk and five strikeouts.
Taillon did get dinged with two outs in the first when Matt Olson drove an 0-and-2 pitch into the second deck in rightfield to give the A’s a 1-0 lead.
"I was going there with the idea of I’m going to be aggressive in the zone," Taillon said. "I’m going to be super-aggressive with all my pitches and whatever happens happens, versus overthinking and trying to be a little too pitcher-ish, trying to nibble."
Elvis Andrus doubled and scored on Mark Canha’s single in the third to make it 2-0.
The Yankees got both those back in the third, though, when Brett Gardner drew a two-out walk and LeMahieu followed with his fifth home run of the season, a 377-foot opposite-field shot against former Yankees first-round draft pick James Kaprielian (4-1).
Kaprielian — who was sent to the A’s in the trade that brought Sonny Gray to the Yankees — allowed three runs and three hits in 5 2⁄3 innings, walking one and striking out seven.
Odor led off the fifth with his team’s second hit, a 411-foot homer into the home bullpen in right-center that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
"Of course you want to kick off the homestand with a win and in some of these games you’re up against a good opponent, razor-thin [margins]," Boone said. "There’s obviously frustration that we didn’t pull one out tonight, but we got a quick turnaround and a tough opponent again tomorrow in Chris] Bassitt and we’ve got to be ready to roll."
Friday was notable in that it was the first time since 2019 that Yankee Stadium was allowed to be at full capacity. Although it didn’t reach that mark — a number of seats in the 300s and 400s sections remained empty — it still marked a return to normalcy that the team had long been looking for. And for what the fans lacked in attendance — an announced 24,037, less than half capacity — they made up for in noise.
Roll call was especially loud, and when Gary Sanchez pinch hit with a runner on in the seventh, the chants reverberated throughout the stadium.
"They played the fake crowd noise [before this], but that doesn’t compare, not even close to what a packed house at Yankee Stadium any night brings," Aaron Judge said. "The game is all about energy, momentum swings, and when you’ve got the home crowd, you’ve got 50,000 screaming on your side, you can swing a game one way or another really quickly, especially after a double play, a big hit, a pitcher dominating. You just feel that energy and it just gives you a little bit of an adrenaline pump that you need to push through some things."