Yankees 'pen hiccups, but Chapman seals it

Yankees 'pen hiccups, but Chapman seals it

NEW YORK -- As Trevor Brown scurried across home plate, the pocket of fans clad in Giants orange at Yankee Stadium erupted Friday night. Yankees manager Joe Girardi looked on from the dugout, his hands resting over the guardrail and his face bearing no expression. His plans had been squandered.

Masahiro Tanaka had thrown just 83 pitches through six scoreless innings, but Girardi pulled him before the seventh in favor of Dellin Betances. The Yankees claimed the 3-2 win in the series opener, but not before a pair of rare slipups from Betances and Andrew Miller, in the seventh and eighth, respectively, left the game's outcome in jeopardy.

"You don't see it very often, so I think when it happens, we're a little bit shocked," Girardi said. "I'm going to bet on 'em every time."

Girardi's bets have usually proved bountiful. Betances (2.63 ERA), Miller (1.49 ERA) and closer Aroldis Chapman (2.15 ERA) have combined for perhaps the scariest bullpen in the Major Leagues.

With the Yankees hovering around .500 for much of the summer, Girardi has made a habit of liberal use of his bullpen. Plus, he successfully turned to the trio after Tanaka's last start. On Sunday, the Yankees' ace left after throwing 87 pitches in six innings and earned the win after dominant showings from Betances, Miller and Chapman.

But Friday didn't go as smoothly when Betances entered with a 2-0 Yankees lead.

Jarrett Parker, who began the seventh with a walk, advanced to third on a double off the bat of Denard Span and scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-1.

Then, in the eighth, pinch-hitter Mac Williamson worked a full count against Miller with two outs. He ripped a line drive off the left-field fence, allowing Brown to score the tying run.

Williamson's RBI double

"I didn't throw the pitch I want to, but I still didn't expect to see that swing," Miller said. "Whether he guessed or saw something, it doesn't matter. I didn't throw the right pitch."

The Yankees fought back in the bottom half of the frame, though, as Chase Headley scored the winning run when shortstop Brandon Crawford's throw to first on a grounder was wild.

It left the Giants to face Chapman, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefty who fired a 105 mph fastball last week. After allowing a leadoff double to Gregor Blanco, he induced two straight outs before working Brandon Belt into a 3-2 count.

Belt swung through an 103 mph offering, and Chapman shot a mean glare toward home from the tip of the mound. Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" blared through Yankee Stadium.

"I want to be a part of it, New York, New York ..." Sinatra croons.

"I'm glad I was able to save the game," Chapman said through a translator.

He might've saved more than just the game, though. With the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline looming, Sinatra's lyrics proved especially meaningful.

Chapman's name, among others, has reportedly floated in trade talks. A poor homestand could spell the end of Chapman's short tenure in pinstripes.

But on a sweltering summer night in the Bronx, Yankees fans spilled out of the stadium to Sinatra's smooth baritone.

"If I can make it there
I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you
New York, New York"

Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.