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Domingo German suffers 1st loss in 8 starts as Yankees kick off road trip on wrong foot


OAKLAND — With the Yankees on the road for much of the rest of the season, it may be a good time for Domingo German to take a break. The Yankees’ de facto ace suffered his first loss in eight starts Tuesday night as the A’s chased him in the sixth inning of the Yankees’ 6-2 loss at Oakland Coliseum.

The Yankees (83-44) are beginning a nine-game road trip that starts with two potential playoff opponents, heading to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers after three games with the A’s (72-53).

The Yankees did see a good sign for October in the loss, however. Aaron Judge snapped a 51 at-bat home run drought. He pulled a 467-foot solo shot into left field for his first home run since August 4. The Yankees scored both their runs on homers. Gary Sanchez had handed German a 1-0 lead with his 28th homer of the season in the first.

Otherwise, the Yankees were unable to shake Homer Bailey, who the A’s acquired last month to bulk up their postseason rotation. The Yankees managed 10 hits Tuesday, but went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

With starting pitching their biggest worry going into the playoffs Tuesday wasn’t exactly reassuring for the Bombers.

It was another bump in the road for German, who is going to get time off at some point over the remainder of the season.

Domingo German lost his first game in eight starts Tuesday night against Oakland. (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The right-hander, who was pitching on an extra day’s rest, allowed six runs, five earned, on eight hits over 5.1 innings pitched. He walked two and struck out seven. German’s road splits are a little distorted with his start in Kansas City (trying to pitch through a hip flexor strain), but they are worth thinking about for the postseason. He now has a 5.79 ERA on the road, compared to 2.24 at Yankee Stadium. He has allowed nine home runs in 56.1 innings pitched in the Bronx, compared to 18 in 65.1 on the road.

He gave up two home runs, back-to-back first-inning bombs to Matt Olson, a two-run shot, followed by Mark Canha.

“I felt good out there. First inning was a tough inning, but then I was able to battle through the other innings,” German said through team interpreter Marlon Abreu. “This is part of the game. Some days, you are going to have a bad day. As a pitcher, you have to understand it will happen. The important thing for me, is that I feel good. I have to focus and come back strong for the next one.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the next one will be Sunday night in Los Angeles, but the rest of his starts down the stretch are up in the air right now.

This is uncharted territory for German (16-3). With the 5.1 innings pitched on Tuesday, he has thrown 121.1 in the majors and four in the minors for 125.1 this season.

The 27-year-old has never pitched more than 124.1 innings as a professional and that was back before he had 2015 Tommy John surgery.

So, the Yankees know they have to meter his workload the rest of the year.

“There may be a time where we skip him a turn in September, it could be where we shorten a couple of those outings,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Tuesday’s game. “Nothing is concrete, but those are things, we’ll talk through each and every time.”

That becomes easier if and when the Yankees get Luis Severino back next month. The injured ace, who has been out all season with shoulder and lat injuries, is nearing a minor-league rehab assignment, but is still weeks away.

“It depends as we get guys back hopefully, then we can alter some plans here a little bit. Obviously today he’s going on the seventh day, a couple extra days. We’ll just try to be very mindful of watching and how he’s responding and bouncing back. Physically right now, he’s in a really good place. He’s doing really well with his routine, within the rotation, I think he’s thriving in that,” Boone said. “But it’s something we’ll watch and I am sure at some point, especially hopefully as we get a couple of guys back and in September comes upon us, we’ll probably alter some things a little bit.”

Meanwhile, the Yankees have to figure out a way to protect German that still allows him to be sharp when October comes. Like all pitchers, he’s a creature of habit, built around the five-day cycle of a starter.

“It’s something we’re trying to be mindful of because we feel even physically, he’s really thrived in this. We feel like he is really strong at this point of the season. Gotta be mindful of that, but you’ve got to take a look at the big picture,” Boone said. “Certainly, we’re mindful of that; of how much we value the routine he is in.”