Yankees successfully deploy Betances, Miller

Righty faces heart of Blue Jays' order; lefty earns save with perfect ninth

Yankees successfully deploy Betances, Miller

NEW YORK -- The assignments had been outlined long before the bullpen gate swung open on Wednesday, so it represented no surprise to Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller when they were deployed in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, of Wednesday's 4-3 Yankees victory over the Blue Jays.

With the Yankees declining to name a set closer to open the season, Betances said that he was told to be ready to handle the heart of Toronto's order, whenever it should come up. With Betances working the eighth, Miller drew the ninth inning and recorded the save in his Yankees debut.

"They want us to be flexible," Miller said. "It's my job to be flexible because they asked for that, and I think that makes perfect sense. I'm perfectly satisfied with the way that they've prepared us. It's our job to get outs when called upon. That's all we know."

Betances threw 32 pitches in the eighth, an inning that featured two walks and a Brian McCann throwing error that allowed Jose Bautista to trot home with Toronto's third run. The Yanks scored three times to take the lead in the home half of the inning, assisted by Chris Young's bloop double and two hit-by-pitches.

Yanks score three in the 8th

"I told the guys, this is where you need to be prepared to come in," manager Joe Girardi said. "It was 2-1 [going to the eighth] and I wanted to kind of hold it there to give us an opportunity, and Miller was really good tonight."

Though Betances was unable to pitch a clean inning, a continuation of some of his troubles from the spring, it was not due to a lack of preparation. He said that bullpen coach Gary Tuck told him to be ready for Bautista's spot in the order, so Betances was planning for that.

"It was tough. The conditions weren't the best, but I've got to be more consistent no matter what," Betances said. "The good thing is that we got the win. Awesome job by [Chris] Martin and Andrew Miller to close the game."

Miller retired the Blue Jays in order, striking out one, and he said that it did not feel much different working the ninth inning. It marked Miller's second career save; the other one came in an extra-inning game for the Orioles at Tampa Bay last Sept. 7.

"We had a pretty good idea what parts of the lineup we had tonight," Miller said. "It just so worked out Dellin had thrown the eighth and then we started to get a rally, so I knew it was going to be me. I'm just thankful we got those runs and glad I was able to go out and preserve them."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.