Anthony Rizzo finds power stroke as Yankees take down A’s to even series

NEW YORK — Fresh off a shutout loss and an 0-for-3 performance, Anthony Rizzo answered for his and his team’s struggles on Monday afternoon.

The first baseman had a .227 average and just one home run after 23 games when he spoke following the Yankees’ 2-0, series-opening loss to the Athletics. The typically slick fielder has also made a few mishaps in the field this season.

Because Rizzo played and scuffled through post-concussion symptoms last year, some have wondered if he is okay. Rizzo has also had recurring back issues in the past.

“Yeah,” Rizzo succinctly said Monday when asked if he’s healthy. As for his poor numbers, he said, “It’s a grind. Take it one day at a time. I’m seeing the ball well. I just have to take better swings.”

Lo and behold, Rizzo did exactly that on Tuesday, crushing a two-run homer in a 4-3 win over Oakland. The A’s Paul Blackburn had not allowed a longball this season prior to the first-inning blast, which traveled a few rows beyond Yankee Stadium’s right-field fence.

While Rizzo’s blast capped the Yankees’ four-run opening frame, Giancarlo Stanton put the team on the board with a two-run double.

Blackburn settled down nicely after Rizzo left the yard, though, as the righty totaled six innings and didn’t allow any runs after the first. Blackburn also struck out five without issuing a walk.

Meanwhile, Marcus Stroman also had an interesting night on the mound. His nine strikeouts were his most since 2021, but the righty also surrendered seven hits, three earned runs and two homers while walking one over 5 1/3 innings and 97 pitches.

Seth Brown picked up an RBI double off Stroman in the first when Juan Soto awkwardly dove for a line drive at his ankles. A pair of solo homers followed, as Shane Langeliers and Lawrence Butler went deep in the second and third innings, respectively.

But Yankees relievers Ron Marinaccio, Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana and Clay Holmes kept Oakland in check after Stroman departed, and the Yankees squeaked by with a series-tying win.

With the Yankees’ offense still searching for its stride, the team will face Joe Boyle on Wednesday. The A’s starter owns a 7.23 ERA this season.

Clarke Schmidt will start for the Yankees. The righty has been solid so far this year, recording a 3.15 ERA over four starts.