OAKLAND, Calif. — Tanner Roark has been in Oakland long enough already to understand this winning vibe.
Roark is doing his part to keep the Athletics on a roll as the September stretch run approaches, striking out seven without walking a batter over six-plus innings in a 5-3 victory over the Yankees on Thursday night for a three-game series sweep.
“It shows what these guys in here in the clubhouse and all the coaches are all about,” Roark said. “We’re fighters and we’re not going to give in, we’re going to have fun, we’re going to do the small things great, get runs across the board and try to do our best to put up zeros.”
Mark Canha hit a two-run single as the A’s immediately jumped on Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka (9-7) on the way to a seventh victory in eight overall.
In less than a week, the A’s have taken down a pair of A.L. contenders impressively.
Oakland is on another of its familiar second-half surges, moving a season-best 21 games over .500 at 74-53 having won three of four against first-place Houston and then three straight over the A.L. East-leading Yankees.
“We can beat anybody. It’s just about bringing this game to the field every day and playing with confidence and doing all the little things well that we’re doing,” Canha said. “The fact that you keep looking at the scoreboard and the Rays keep winning, it just tells you we know we need to play well for five more weeks. There’s no letting up, obviously. This is going to be a dogfight.”
New York’s Gleyber Torres homered twice for his 30th and 31st of the year, a solo shot in the seventh and another in the ninth.
Oakland has won three of Roark’s four starts since he was acquired from Cincinnati. Roark (2-1) won his second straight decision and allowed two runs on seven hits in six and a third innings.
Torres also doubled and singled for the Yankees, who have lost nine of their last 10 and 21 of 28 in Oakland.
“Over the course of a long season you’re going to take one in the mouth, and we just got punched in the mouth right here in Oakland,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Tanaka, making his team-leading 26th start and pitching on an extra day of rest, dug himself an early hole allowing Marcus Semien’s leadoff double in the first, then giving up a pair of walks before an RBI groundout by Matt Olson and Canha’s base hit.
Matt Chapman added an RBI single and Stephen Piscotty drove in a run on a groundout.
Tanaka allowed five runs over six innings, striking out five and walking two.
Joakim Soria surrendered Torres’s two-out drive but finished for his first save in five chances as Liam Hendriks got a break from the ninth inning after a five-out save Wednesday.
Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, out since June 26 with a sprained right knee, did agility work in right field after doing some light running Wednesday. The hope is he will take batting practice on the field sometime this road trip. Pitcher Luis Severino pitched two simulated innings at the team’s complex in Tampa, Fla., as he continues to work back from right rotator cuff inflammation with the goal of pitching in a big league game in September.
Pitcher David Hale (lower back strain) received a cortisone shot for a left knee problem, interrupting his rehab progress. Outfielder Brett Gardner was back in the lineup starting at center after he had an ingrown toenail removed Sunday that had bothered him all last week. He missed two games.
On Friday, James Paxton (9-6, 4.53 ERA) will start Friday at Dodger Stadium looking to win his fifth straight start, when Los Angeles counters with the 12-game winner Hyun-jin Ryu.