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Miguel Andujar’s go-ahead blast powers Yankees to narrow victory

It wasn’t easy, but the Yankees took the series lead over the Rangers with a close victory.

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

For much of a gray afternoon, the Yankees’ fate was in doubt. A wet forecast hung over the game, with the rain seemingly ready to drop at any second. They didn’t put the Rangers away when they could have, and teetered on the edge of disaster at points. In the end, they narrowly escaped with a 5-3 victory behind a solid performance from Lance Lynn and a blast from a rookie.

Giancarlo Stanton got the Yankees off on the right foot right away. Swinging on a 3-0 count, Stanton got a straight middle-in fastball from Drew Hutchison in the first inning and pulled it into the left field seats to make it 1-0. The Yankees added on with some timely hitting, with Greg Bird driving in Miguel Andujar with a two-out double to double the lead.

Lynn was uneven over the early innings, though. He stranded a runner in scoring position in each of the first two innings, but couldn’t keep Texas off the board in the third. A double from Shin-Soo Choo and an RBI single from Elvis Andrus gave the Rangers their first run.

That’s all the Rangers would manage off Lynn, as he mostly settled in from there. Lynn looked fairly sharp, if not particularly efficient. He racked up strikeouts, but all the deep counts he worked in drove up his pitch count, as Aaron Boone removed Lynn after throwing 99 pitches in five innings.

He allowed just the lone run, on five hits and three walks, striking out eight. It wasn’t as impressive as his last start, when he blanked the White Sox over 7.1 frames, but Lynn was effective nonetheless. He’s been a nice boon to the Yankees as their rotation has scuffled, and Brian Cashman’s move to bring him in in exchange for Tyler Austin already appears vindicated.

The Yankees weren’t quite able to give Lynn a big lead, however. They had Hutchison on the ropes at times, but the 27 year-old right-hander was able to scatter the Yankees’ hits and limit the damage. They finally chased Hutchison in the sixth inning, when Greg Bird doubled and Neil Walker brought him home with an RBI single for a 3-1 lead.

With Lynn having turned in a short start, Boone turned to his cavalcade of premier relievers to try to bring the game home. David Robertson tossed a scoreless sixth, but things went downhill in the seventh. Zach Britton loaded the bases with two outs, and walked Adrian Beltre to force in a run. Dellin Betances came on to face Jurickson Profar, whom he whiffed, but not before balking to score Odor and tie the game at 3.

It was a strange turn of events, one that only conspired because of another rough outing from Britton, who has struggled since coming over from Baltimore. Betances got his man out, but flinched when he saw Odor dancing off third base. Betances has always had his troubles with men on base, and they manifested themselves in an unfortunate way today.

Just as the Yankees had relinquished their lead, the skies began to open up a bit. An unhappy twist of fate it would have been, had the weather held up long enough for the Yankees to falter, only to pour once the lead was gone. Yet the precipitation held off for the most part, and Yankees to charged back.

Stanton scalded a single with one out in the seventh, giving the Yankees one on. After Didi Gregorius flew out, Andujar put the Yankees back on top, taking former Yankee reliever Chris Martin on an opposite field ride to the right field seats with a two-run, go-head homer.

Betances shook off his error in the seventh and continued his dominance of late with a perfect eighth. That set things up for Aroldis Chapman, whose recent drop in velocity has been a cause of consternation over the past week.

Chapman’s outing probably won’t quell all the worries about his performance, as he was shaky. He loaded the bases with two outs, including plunking Beltre with a 100 mph fastball. The game came to a late climax as Chapman stared down Profar with a 3-2 count before fanning him on a fastball.

The Yankees did not make it easy on themselves. Multiple members of their vaunted bullpen struggled, and it seemed as if things were about to completely slip away a few times. They ultimately held on, and now they will have a chance to put a bow on a solid bounceback week. After a miserable weekend in Boston, a win tomorrow would give the Yankees a series win and their sixth victory in seven tries. The Red Sox keep winning, so the Yankees haven’t really gained any ground, but it’s a welcome sight to see the wins piling up again in the Bronx.

Box Score