Dellin Betances and the bullpen have been picking up the rest of the Yankees just about all season, but, on Saturday, it was time for the rest of the roster to pick up Betances. They did that with their second straight walk-off win, this one a 3-2 Independence Day victory over the Rays. That’s the fighting spirit. New York has won three straight. Love this team, you guys. Let’s recap with bullet points, for America:
- Grande Miguel: Michael Pineda steps it up on holidays, huh? He struck out 16 on Mother’s Day and then chucked seven shutout innings with ten strike ’em outs on the Fourth of July. Pineda’s afternoon ended on an eighth inning leadoff double, but before that he retired 12 straight and 18 of 19. Five hits, one walk. The Rays swung at 19 of his sliders and missed 14 (!!!) times. Pineda has now turned in back-to-back strong starts after about a month of mediocrity following the 16-strikeout game.
- Dinks & Dunks: Last night’s heroics notwithstanding, the offense hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire of late. The Yankees scored two first inning runs against Nathan Karns thanks to three soft singles — Brett Gardner hit a ground ball with eyes and then Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez found grass with bloops. Mark Teixeira had the hardest hit ball of the inning and it was a sacrifice fly to center. A-Rod singled in Gardner, Teixeira brought in Headley. Quick 2-0 lead.
- Blown Save: Following the leadoff double in the eighth, Justin Wilson came in, struck out the two batters he faced, then Betances came in to face Evan Longoria as the tying run. He got him to ground out harmlessly to third. Then, in the ninth, Betances allowed a leadoff single to the un-get-out-able James Loney before leaving a breaking ball on a tee for Steven Souza. Souza crushed it for a no-doubt game-tying two-run homer. That was unfortunate. First ninth inning blown save of the season for New York.
- Walk-Off: Friday’s walk-off was a good ol’ fashioned dinger. Saturday’s was less conventional. In the bottom of the ninth, Rays relief ace Brad Boxberger got ahead in the count 0-2 on Teixeira, who then pulled a seeing-eye double through the shift and into the right field corner. A seeing-eye double! Boxberger then got ahead 0-2 on Chris Young, who managed to work a walk. Ramon Flores squared around to bunt, got it down, and Boxberger’s throw to first was in the dirt. Jake Elmore couldn’t make a clean scoop and Jose Pirela, who pinch-ran for Teixeira, hustled around third to score. Great hustle by him. And great two-strike hitting by Teixeira and Young.
- Leftovers: In addition to those three first inning hits and Teixeira’s ninth inning double, Garrett Jones doubled into the left-center field corner and Didi Gregorius singled to left. Headley, Young, and Stephen Drew drew the walks … prior to Teixeira’s leadoff double in the ninth, 14 of the previous 16 Yankees to bat made outs … for the record, it was a walk-off error charged to Boxberger … the Yankees didn’t have a walk-off win coming into this series but now have two in the span of 17 hours or so … this is their first set of back-to-back walk-off wins since September 2012 against the A’s.
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Rays wrap up this three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Ivan Nova and Erasmo Ramirez will be the starting pitchers.
Minor League Update: It’s a holiday, so I’m taking the day off from the regular minor league update. All the box scores are right here, so check ’em out at your convenience. Most of the games don’t start until 6:30-7pm ET.