NEW YORK (AP) Sean Manea turned in a brilliant performance in his 2019 debut Sunday, allowing just one hit in five shutout innings but the Oakland A's were unable to hold off the New York Yankees in a 5-4 loss.
Brett Gardner and pinch-hitter Mike Ford hit back-to-back homers off A's closer Liam Hendriks for the win.
Gardner led off the ninth with a shot to right off Hendriks (4-2) and Ford followed with his 10th homer into the Yankees bullpen in right-center. The rookie stood at home plate and watched his first pinch-hit homer soar, and teammates doused him with a water cooler after he circled the bases.
DJ LeMahieu hit a game-ending homer in a 4-3, 11-inning victory over Oakland on Saturday. New York has won six of seven and salvaged a series win against the A's. The Yankees have won eight straight rubber matches.
Manaea pitched one-hit ball over five innings in his first start since shoulder surgery last September, and Oakland led 4-0 after 7 1/2 innings.
The Yankees loaded the bases in the eighth, got a sacrifice fly from Gleyber Torres and a two-run single by Didi Gregorius to make it 4-3. New York hasn't been blanked in 220 games, the second longest streak since at least 1900 behind the Babe Ruth-led Yankees spanning 1931-33.
Sheldon Neuse lined a tiebreaking two-run double for his first major league hit in the seventh for Oakland, and Matt Olson made a stellar defensive play at first base before hitting his 28th homer to put the A's ahead
Manaea walked three and struck out five with 82 pitches in a stellar return.
Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ countered Manaea with six scoreless innings of one-hit ball, walking four and striking out five, but the bullpen couldn't keep pace on a day manager Aaron Boone sought to rest some key relievers.
Oakland entered Sunday tied with Tampa Bay for the second AL wild card and a half-game behind Cleveland for the first.
Adam Ottavino (6-4) pitched a scoreless inning to win.
Neuse, pronounced "noisy," was 0 for 9 to start his career before he poked a bases-loaded double into the right field corner in the seventh for the first runs of the game. Oakland added another run on Josh Phegley's groundout to lead 3-0. The rally came against former A's right-hander Ryan Dull, who was selected by New York off waivers last month and called up for the first time Sunday.
The 27-year-old Manaea opened with three perfect innings and faced the minimum through four. The left-hander walked three in the fifth inning but left the bases loaded when Olson dived at first base to stop Mike Tauchman's grounder and threw from his back to Manaea at the bag.
Olson, last year's AL Gold Glove Award winner at first, also made an over-the-shoulder, basket catch on the warning track on Gary Sanchez's pop foul in the eighth.