Hicks snaps slump with 1st homer as Yankees top A's 7-2
NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Hicks broke out of his season-long slump with a two-run homer and the New York Yankees went deep four times to beat the Oakland Athletics 7-2 on Monday night.
Gleyber Torres hit a tiebreaking solo drive in the sixth inning against former Yankees lefty JP Sears (0-3). Oswaldo Cabrera and DJ LeMahieu launched two-run shots off Sears as New York (19-17) avoiding falling back to .500 for the second time in a week.
Hicks doubled his season RBI total when he homered in the seventh for the first time since Sept. 23 against Boston — his second extra-base hit this year. He began the night batting .143 overall and was 0 for 19 at Yankee Stadium this season before connecting, making him the frequent target of boos.
“Just feels good to get a hit, especially in that fashion,” Hicks said. “I feel like I’ve had a couple of at-bats where I’ve hit it hard, but I get out, so there’s nothing to show for it there. To hit a home run, get a hit that day feels good.”
Batting from the left side of the plate, the switch-hitting Hicks lifted the first pitch from Austin Pruitt into the second deck in right field.
“When he hit that homer, all (of) the dugout got crazy,” Cabrera said.
Hicks dropped his bat and watched the ball soar into the stands before rounding the bases.
“You’re talking about a guy that hasn’t run from any of this,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He has been working his tail off behind the scenes whether it’s extra hitting, extra work. He’s trying to make it happen and none of this I’m sure has been easy, but he’s stood there and faced it every single day.”
After crossing home plate, Hicks let out a yell and was swarmed by teammates in the dugout.
“It felt amazing,” he said. “To be able to get me one and get on the board, it feels good.”
The Yankees won for the fourth time in 10 games without slugger Aaron Judge, who is expected back Tuesday from a stint on the injured list due to a strained right hip.
Torres snapped a 2-all tie by lifting a fastball into the left-field seats. Two batters into the game, he was robbed of a home run by right fielder Ramón Laureano.
On the second pitch from Sears, Laureano raced back and jumped while reaching his glove over the wall to prevent Torres from homering into the first row.
As he completed the grab, Laureano’s neck and shoulder hit the fence hard. Laureano then dropped the ball, called for an athletic trainer and was replaced by JJ Bleday.
Laureano is day-to-day and in concussion protocol.
After Torres homered, Anthony Rizzo followed with a single and LeMahieu also reached the left-field seats to chase Sears.
Nestor Cortes rebounded from his worst start with the Yankees and allowed two runs on six hits in five-plus innings. The left-hander’s start was pushed back due to strep throat after he gave up seven runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings on April 30 at Texas.
“Body felt fine,” Cortes said. “Everything was kind of in check. I didn’t have command for my heater today. I feel like that’s where I struggled the most today.”
Tony Kemp had an RBI infield single and fellow pinch-hitter Jace Peterson drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth from Ron Marinaccio to tie it at 2 before the Yankees regained the lead.
Marinaccio (2-1) induced a double play from Nick Allen to end the sixth and Ian Hamilton stranded two in the seventh.
Sears was one of four prospects acquired by Oakland from the Yankees for Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino at the trade deadline last year. Sears allowed five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“The ball was carrying tonight a little bit and he got beat by the home run, really,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said.
Coming off their first series win this season in Kansas City, the major league-worst A’s dropped to 8-28 overall. Oakland had 10 hits but went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 in all.
Athletics: RHP Mason Miller felt tightness in his right elbow following Sunday’s start and is flying back to Oakland to be evaluated.
Yankees: Judge said he won’t have any restrictions when he returns and will try to avoid headfirst slides. The 2022 AL MVP was initially hurt on an awkward headfirst slide attempting to steal third base April 26 in Minnesota.
Oakland RHP Drew Rucinski (0-2, 7.71 ERA) opposes New York RHP Clarke Schmidt (0-3, 5.83) on Tuesday night.
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Larry Fleisher, The Associated Press