Hey, whatever gets the job done.
The Yankees notched an unorthodox walk-off win over their cross-town rivals Saturday when old friend Dellin Betances uncorked a wild pitch with runners on the corners and one out in the ninth inning, allowing Clint Frazier to race home with the winning run.
The victory over the Mets snaps a seven-game futility streak marked by late-inning bullpen meltdowns, though this game nearly went down the same path.
Thanks for the free win Betances. All Yankee fans appreciate it pic.twitter.com/1cmHdni1HK— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken) August 29, 2020
The Yankees were nursing a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning when Adam Ottavino, newly inserted into the game for starter J.A. Happ, surrendered a game-tying home run to catcher Wilson Ramos that clanged off the left-field foul pole. The Yankees avoided another dumpster fire of a bullpen performance, however, as Ottavino escaped further trouble and Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth.
That set the scene for a bottom-of-the-ninth showdown with Betances, who signed with the Mets as a free agent last winter after eight seasons in the Bronx. Clint Frazier led off with a walk and advanced to third on a one-out single by Jordy Mercer. Aaron Boone elected to let catcher Erik Kratz hit for himself with Gary Sanchez available on the bench, and he squared to bunt on Betances’ second pitch of the at-bat. But Betances unleashed a high fastball that sailed over Ramos’ glove to the backstop and Frazier cruised home.
The game contained a few noteworthy positives for the Yankees. DJ LeMahieu returned to the lineup after a two-week IL stint for a sprained thumb, going 1-for-4 with a triple. He assumed his familiar leadoff spot and manned third base as Gio Urshela remained sidelined with bone spurs in his right elbow. Miguel Andújar was optioned to the team’s alternate site in Scranton to make room for LeMahieu.
But the biggest bright spot for the Yankees was Happ. The southpaw sparkled over 7.1 shutout innings, allowing just three hits while striking out five and walking none. The hurler was efficient, getting ahead of Mets hitters and using his changeup and breaking ball to keep them off balance. Of the 90 pitches he threw, 64 were strikes.
Luke Voit provided the Yankees’ only offense heading into the ninth, swatting a solo homer into the short porch in right in the first inning. The bats were otherwise quiet, collecting just five hits on the afternoon.
The inter-borough rivals are scheduled to resume hostilities with another doubleheader Sunday. Mike King and Deivi García will start for the Bombers.