OAKLAND, Calif. — When the slugger Khris Davis cleared the fences again at last, he gave it an animated trot around the bases complete with a salute approaching third before celebrating with his teammates back in the dugout.
When the top pitching prospect A.J. Puk made his major league debut at last, the crowd went crazy and he felt the love. His teammates razzed him afterward and he assured everybody, “I can take it.”
Davis and Marcus Semien each hit a two-run homer to back Mike Fiers, and the Oakland Athletics held off the New York Yankees, 6-4, on Wednesday night to clinch another series win against an A.L. division leader after taking three of four games from Houston last weekend.
Oakland moved a percentage point in front of Tampa Bay for the second A.L. wild card.
Davis snapped an 0-for-17 slump — three at-bats shy of the longest hitless drought of his career — with his first home run since July 30 and second since June 18. He sent a full-count pitch down the right field line in the second inning for just his 18th homer after he led the majors last season with 48 for his third straight year with 40 or more.
“He needed that,” Manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s been grinding hard. He takes this pretty seriously. He’s been so instrumental for this team, as consistent a power hitter as we’ve ever had around here.”
Stephen Piscotty added a solo home run in the sixth after the Yankees got Mike Tauchman’s sacrifice fly in the top of the inning. Mike Ford homered in the seventh for New York, and Didi Gregorius added an RBI double.
Liam Hendriks struck out DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge in the eighth to escape a jam after Puk started the inning.
“He handled it well,” Fiers said of Puk. “We’re going to see a lot of him.”
Hendriks finished for his 15th save as Oakland (73-53) moved a season-best 20 games over .500 and earned Melvin his 1,200th career victory as a manager.
Fiers (12-3) loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, and his night was done. He struck out four and walked three, allowing two runs on six hits over five and a third innings. This was the anniversary of the first of his two no-hitters on Aug. 21, 2015, for the Astros against the Dodgers.
The A’s won for the sixth time in seven games and reached 201 home runs. They have ample time to close in on the club record of 243 set in 1996.
Yankees lefty J.A. Happ (10-8) allowed five runs and four hits in four innings. He struck out four and walked two.
“He hasn’t gotten away with a mistake with a single. It seems like it’s been slugged,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s hurt.”
Yankee outfielder Brett Gardner had an ingrown toenail removed Sunday that had bothered him all last week. He missed his second straight game, but Boone expected him to be in the lineup for Thursday night’s series finale. “It was pretty sore yesterday, still,” Boone said, expecting Gardner to go through a full on-field workout.
Pitcher Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) threw a bullpen at the team’s complex in Florida — two 16-pitch simulated innings. He could throw another bullpen as soon as Friday. Center fielder Aaron Hicks (right flexor strain) has yet to resume baseball activity.