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Yankees overcome Angels and themselves in ugly 14-inning victory

A strange game ends with a pitcher pinch-hitting for a pitcher.

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Urshela capped off an unusual rally in the top of the 14th inning with an RBI single to lead Yankees past Angels 4-3.

Gleyber Torres opened the top of the 14th by reaching on a strikeout, as Jonathan Lucroy airmailed first base after blocking the third strike in the dirt; Torres would later advance to second on another ball in the dirt, then stole third without a throw. After a Mike Ford intentional walk — his second of the game, which now means he has more career intentional walks than hits — Urshela drove in the go-ahead run for the second time in extra innings.

The Yankees jumped out to an early lead in the first, as Luke Voit extended his on-base streak to 33 games in the most Luke Voit way possible, a home run to right. A two-run home run in the second by Jonathan Lucroy put the Yankees down, 2-1, but the Bombers put together a small rally in the third inning. That stretch went on the backs of a Kyle Highashioka double, walks to Brett Gardner and Luke Voit, and a sacrifice fly by Gleyber Torres to tie the game, with Higashioka scoring on the play thanks to an errant throw by Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun.

That would be the end of the offense until the 12th for the Yankees, as the struggling Matt Harvey and the Angels bullpen limited New York to just five hits on the evening. At one point he retired eleven straight batters.

Clint Frazier had opened the 12th with a double to right field, before moving to third on a ground out to second by Mike Tauchman. Following an intentional walk to Mike Ford, Urshela brought him around to score on a fly out to center.

The lead, however, would prove to be short-lived. Kevan Smith opened the bottom of the 12th with a single to left field, before being removed in favor of a pinch runner, Peter Bourjos, who stole second as Lucroy struck out. Calhoun would then fly out to center, putting the go-ahead run on first. After getting Cozart to a 2-2 count, Chapman hit him with a slider. A single to center by Brian Goodwin tied the game back up.

Despite the Lucroy home run, Happ had his best start of the season by far for the Yankees, giving up only two runs on three hits over 7 innings, striking out five in the process. Following up on last week’s performance against Boston, and things may finally be looking up for Happ as he tries to shake off a rough start to the season. Aside from Chapman, the Yankees bullpen, which has struggled at times to start the season, largely put together a strong performance, with Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kanhle, Luis Cessa, and Jonathan Holder combining to throw six shutout innings, giving up only two hits.

The Yankees infield defense put on a bit of a show, particularly on the corners. Voit, who is not normally known for his defense, made a great play saving a double off the bat of Brian Goodwin in the third. In addition, multiple stretches over the course of the game saved and facilitated groundouts and double-plays that stifled the Angels offense. And, in what seems to be an almost-daily occurrence, Urshela contributed with another web gem of his own to nail Zack Cozart for the first out of the eighth inning.

Frazier had an injury scare in the 12th. After a leadoff single, he appeared to have twisted his ankle on a pickoff attempt. Although he stayed in the game, this might have been due to the lack of outfielders on the roster, as Tyler Wade had been pinch hit for by DJ LeMahieu in the 8th. Due to the Yankees’ injury woes so far this season, this is a story that will need to be watched over the next couple of days.

Jonathan Holder pitched an uneventful 14th inning, capped off with Holder striking out pitcher Trevor Cahill, pinch-hitting for relief pitcher Luke Bard, as the Angels were forced to put the designated hitter spot into the field due to an injury to Cozart in the 12th.

This win starts the Yankees off strong on the road trip as they improve their record to 12-10. Jonathan Loaisiga gets the nod Tuesday for a spot start. The Yankees are looking to give some extra rest to their starters in the midst of a 13-game stretch without an off day. Felix Pena gets the ball for Los Angeles.

Box Score.