A’s sweep Yankees, win fifth straight by one run

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It took them 12 innings this time, but the A’s completed a four-game sweep of the Yankees on Sunday, this time winning 5-4. They’ve won five straight games by exactly one run.

The A’s are the first team since the 1999 Marlins to win five straight by the slimmers of margins.

The streak started with a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Thursday. They then beat the Yankees four straight: 4-3, 3-2, 2-1 and 5-4.

The Yankees actually jumped out to a 4-0 lead today, but the A’s came all of the way back. Brandon Inge and Kurt Suzuki homered in the fifth, and the A’s got another run in the sixth on an RBI groundout. Down 4-3 in the ninth, they got a game-tying home run from Seth Smith off Rafael Soriano. Coco Crisp won it in the 12th by singling in Derek Norris.

The victory improved the surprising A’s to 51-44, putting them into a tie with the Angels for second place in the AL West before the Angels play Texas tonight. The Angels, A’s and Orioles are all currently tied for the two wild card spots, with the White Sox one back.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman not considering demoting struggling Greg Bird

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Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.

GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”

Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.

Chris Archer threw behind Jose Bautista

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Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.

Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.

The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.