The Yankees scored five runs on offense, but Sonny Gray and the New York' bullpen struggled mightily en route to a 10-5 series-opening loss to the Athletics on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. >> Box Score
Gray was roughed up by his fomer team and allowed five runs on nine hits across five innings of work. He walked three batters and struck out two, but fell victim to the long ball early on.
Khris Davis and Matt Chapman hit home runs in the second inning to give the Athletics a 3-0 lead before Jed Lowrie tacked on an RBI single in the third inning.
Hale pitched in a long-relief situation, but couldn't stop the bleeding as the Athletics tacked on two more runs over three innings. David Robertson, who pitched the ninth, then walked two batters and allowed three runs.
Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge each homered for the Yankees in a losing effort.
Well, this hasn't happened in a while.
Gray was unable to string together his third-straight quality start, getting knocked around by his old club as the Yankees lost back to back games for the first time since April 8 and 10. Gray's poor performance and short outing put the Yankees in a hole both on the scoreboard and with the bullpen as Yankees manager Aaron Boone was trying to gain some extra rest for his main relief arms.
We can complain about Boone's bullpen usage all we want (it's been questionable all season), but when each of the relievers used are mostly ineffective, it doesn't really matter. The bullpen seems spent and most of that is due to games like this where the starter is unable to go deep, forcing Boone to dip into the pen earlier than preferred. The Yankees are also down two of their better relievers (Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren), which means pitchers like Hale are needed for innings.
While five runs should be enough for a win, the Yankees might have had some more had it not been for giving the A's a free out. New York's hottest hitter, Gleyber Torres, who had homered in the game, bunted with two on and no one out in the seventh inning. The Yankees only got one run in the inning and we'll never know if it could have been more.
What's next: The Yankees and Athletics will continue their series on Saturday at 1:05 p.m.