Pressed into emergency duty, A's Manaea spins gem

NEW YORK >> The A’s badly needed a pitcher to step up after their opening day starter scratched Friday.

The man they turned to said he didn’t think for a second about replacing Kendall Graveman, who is likely going on the disabled list sometime this weekend.

“I feel I don’t have to be something that I’m not,” Manaea said after shackling the Yankees with four hits and one walk over seven scoreless innings in a 4-1 win. “I’m just trying not to make things that aren’t supposed to be. I try to go out every fifth day to put my team in a position to win.”

He hasn’t always been able to do that, but he’s been working on his mental game, what he calls his “big mentality switch.” Someone else might call it mental swagger.

“In my head I was thinking that these guys weren’t going to hit me at all,” Manaea said of his start against the team that leads the American League in runs scored. “I just needed to throw strikes and trust the defense and I know I can get these guys out. To me, it was a big mentality switch, believing in myself and trusting everything.”

Manaea did that and more. Plagued off and on by walks this season, he walked the first batter he faced, then told himself he was “just done with it.” He walked no one else, struck out eight and kept the A’s in a game on a night when mistakes weren’t permissible.

Yankees’ starter Masahiro Tanaka threw a terrific game, too, but after seven shutout innings and 13…

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