The New York Yankees spent a long weekend against the Houston Astros never holding a lead until Aaron Judge's bat delivered two game-winning hits.
After a dramatic weekend, the Yankees look to pad their win total Monday night when the best team in baseball hosts the MLB-worst Oakland Athletics inthe opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
At 53-20, the Yankees have matched the third-best 73-game start in baseball since 1930, trailing only the 116-win 2001 Seattle Mariners and 114-win 1998 Yankees. They are 13-4 in their past 17 games and 16-2 in their past 18 home games.
"That group's unfazed," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It's a great, tough room with a lot of resolve and they know what the mission is. They understand that there's going to be bumps and hiccups and adversity with any game or within a series, within a week, whatever and they're equipped to handle it. I think what we've shown each other is that they can win games in a lot of different ways and that I think has bred a lot of confidence."
Judge is responsible for the past two wins. He capped a four-run ninth on Thursday with a game-winning single in a 7-6 win and then hit a game-ending three-run homer in the 10th inning to give the Yankees a 6-3 win on Sunday after they were held hitless for 6 1/3 innings.
Judge's dramatic homer occurred after the Yankees were no-hit for the first time since June 11, 2003 on Saturday afternoon by Cristian Javier, Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly. The hitless streak spanned from the eighth inning of Friday's 3-1 loss until Giancarlo Stanton homered in the seventh, an inning before DJ LeMahieu hit a tying two-run homer.
Oakland heads to New York on the verge of becoming the first team to reach 50 losses but also seeking its second three-game winning streak following a pair of two-run victories in Kansas City.
Oakland's other three-game winning streak was May 10-12 and the Athletics are 11-30 since those three wins over the Detroit Tigers.
On Sunday, Oakland recorded a 5-3 win to improve to 5-17 this month as Seth Brown hit his 10th homer and Nick Allen hit a two-run single in the seventh inning.
"We haven't been getting many of those type of hits," Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. "And that was good to see a ball fall in for us and give us a lead. Overall, in these three games, I think the offense did a good job; their at-bats were better."
New York's Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 2.97 ERA), who is coming off his 10th no-decision, opens the series. Montgomery last pitched Wednesday at Tampa Bay when he allowed season highs of four runs and nine hits in six innings.
Montgomery does not have a decision to go with a 2.65 ERA in three career starts against Oakland, whom he held to two runs (one earned) in 11 1/3 innings last season.
Paul Blackburn (6-3, 2.97), who is 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA over his past five starts after going 5-0 over his first nine, goes for Oakland.
Blackburn allowed season worsts of seven runs and 10 hits in four innings on Wednesday's 9-0 home loss to the Seattle Mariners and enters Monday 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA in seven road starts this season.
Blackburn's only career appearance against the Yankees occurred Aug. 29 in Oakland when he opposed Montgomery and pitched five scoreless innings.
--Field Level Media