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Yankees walk the tightrope, beat Marlins 2-1 in 12 innings

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The Yankees sure tried to give the game away, but the Marlins just wouldn’t let them.

New York Yankees v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Though it wasn’t pretty, the Yankees found a way to beat the Marlins 2-1 in 12 innings. The bats were silent for much of the night, but Miguel Andujar’s sacrifice fly in the 12th inning wound up being the winning run after both teams wasted chances to win the game all night long.

The big story early on was Giancarlo Stanton’s return to Miami. Stanton got a rousing ovation in his first at-bat and promptly ripped a single into left field. However, Aaron Hicks lined into a double play, stranding Stanton at first. Stanton would finish 2-for-6. Masahiro Tanaka gave up a leadoff walk to start the home half of the first, but picked off Rafael Ortega to get out of the inning. It was Tanaka’s third pickoff in his last two games.

The Yankees stranded runners in scoring position in the second and third innings, but finally snapped out of it in the fourth inning, as Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres singled off of Pablo Lopez to put two men on with one out. Neil Walker came through, smacking an RBI single to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Lopez hit Austin Romine next, loading the bases for Tanaka, who popped out. Lopez got Gardner to fly out next, leaving the bases loaded and letting a struggling pitcher off the hook.

Austin Dean led off the bottom of the fifth with a long home run into the famous Marlins Park sculpture, tying the game at 1-1. While Tanaka didn’t have his best stuff tonight, he kept the Yankees in the game and provided a quality start. Although the Yankees were out-hitting the Marlins, they were even on the scoreboard through six frames.

It would become a bizarre battle of the bullpens from then on out as Tayron Guerrero, Zach Britton, Adam Conley and Dellin Betances all traded scoreless innings. Improbably, the game remained tied 1-1 entering the ninth inning.

Drew Steckenrider led off the ninth by walking Walker, which marked his third time reaching base. However, the Yankees squandered yet another chance to take the lead back as Romine struck out and Gardner and Ronald Torreyes flew out. The Yankees would end up leaving 12 total runners on base by the time the game ended.

Chad Green came in to pitch the ninth, and walked J.T. Realmuto to start the inning. Brian Anderson singled him over to third, putting the winning run just 90 feet away. Green got the best of Derek Dietrich with a nine-pitch strikeout, but intentionally walked Starlin Castro to load the bases with Austin Dean at bat. Dean struck out swinging though, leaving it up to J.T. Riddle not to waste a gift-wrapped chance to win the ballgame.

Instead, Green dug in and got Riddle to ground out to second base. Although Green deserves props for navigating through a very slippery situation, the Marlins seriously turned a corners-with-no-outs situation into two strikeouts and a ground ball. Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly must be going crazy having to deal with this club every day.

Drew Rucinski took over in the 10th inning for Miami and set the heart of the Yankees’ lineup down in order. Jonathan Holder got the call to pitch the 10th inning for New York and worked a scoreless frame, sending the game to its 11th inning. Meanwhile, Rucinski came back out for the Fins and set down the Yankees again. Through five innings of team relief, the Yankees had mustered just one hit off of the Marlins’ bullpen.

A.J. Cole became the new Yankees pitcher, and he walked Brian Anderson to lead off the 11th inning. Dietrich followed with a single, and Cole walked Castro to load the bases again. While Green had gotten out of this same jam just two innings prior, Cole had his work cut out for him to send this game into the 12th inning.

Cole, however, was up to the test! He got Yadiel Rivera to ground out and struck out J.T. Riddle before getting Magneuris Sierra to pop out. Somehow, the Marlins had left the bases loaded with the winning run just 90 feet away, twice! It’s truly a wonder how they’re even 50-78.

The Yankees came alive after Cole’s Houdini act. Javy Guerra came in to pitch, and Kyle Higashioka led off with a single and Gardner walked, setting the scene for Stanton. Stanton, however, struck out. Guerra plunked Hicks though, loading the bases with one out for Miguel Andujar, the team’s hottest hitter. If the Yankees were ever going to break through after two amazing pitching performances and an ungodly amount of stranded baserunners, now was the time.

Andujar came through, working a tough at-bat and lifting a sacrifice fly into left field that plated Higashioka and gave the Yankees the 2-1 lead. Aroldis Chapman came in to close out the ballgame, and just when it seemed like this game couldn’t get stranger, he left with an injury after walking the only batter he faced. The onus fell on Tommy Kahnle, the last available reliever, to finish the job. Luckily, Kahnle delivered. Three outs later, the Yankees had finally beaten the Marlins, 2-1 in 12 innings.

The Yankees will look for the series sweep against the Marlins on Wednesday night. Lance Lynn will get the ball for the Yankees while Trevor Richards will go for the Marlins. Game time is set for 7:10 PM.