NEW YORK -- They were the guys who weren't supposed to play on Tuesday night, but they ended up winning the game for the Yankees.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius, both out of the starting lineup against the Dodgers, hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh as New York scored a 3-0 victory before 32,615 at Yankee Stadium. With the win, the Yanks ended a two-game losing streak and moved to four back of Boston in the American League East. New York is two back of the Orioles and Blue Jays in the Wild Card race.
Ellsbury entered the game after the fourth inning when Aaron Judge had to exit with a right oblique strain. He didn't come to bat until the seventh and won a nine-pitch battle with Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling by hitting a 3-2 pitch into the second deck in right field.
"It's a great feeling going in there in the fifth, getting an at-bat in the seventh and contributing," Ellsbury said. "I just tried to put a quality at-bat together, that was my approach. ... I fell behind 0-2, he threw me some tough cutters and he ended up hanging a curveball in a good spot for me."
Gregorius came off the bench to pinch-hit for Ronald Torreyes and hit the very next pitch from Stripling into the bleachers in right-center field.
"I'm not surprised. I thought Jacoby put on a really good at-bat on Stripling, kept fouling pitches off, got a curveball up," Girardi said. "And Didi, I think he feels better. Hopefully he's a player for us tomorrow, for sure, but I wanted to get him better because he was sore."
Neither team was able to produce any results against the opposing starter. The Yanks' CC Sabathia threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out seven.
"[Sabathia] did a tremendous job, to give us 6 1/3 great innings. [He] did a tremendous job, kept them in check for the most part," Girardi said. "Had a couple situations where he had to make big pitches, he was able to make them."
Los Angeles' Julio Urias went 3 2/3 innings and dealt with traffic but didn't allow a run; he surrendered four hits and walked three with two strikeouts. Louis Coleman came in to finish the fourth by getting a forceout with the bases loaded.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game that this would be Urias' last start, with the first-place Dodgers moving him to the bullpen to manage his innings and prepare him for the postseason.
"That's up to the team whether it's my last outing," Urias said through an interpreter. "I think it's been an excellent year. What I was able to do in Triple-A and then here, I think it's been great."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED There goes the Judge: Judge was forced from the game after the fourth inning due to a right oblique strain. Batting with two on and two outs, Judge winced fouling a ball off, sparking Girardi and a member of the training staff to come out of the dugout to consult with him. Judge stayed in the game and drew a walk before being forced at second for the final out. He did not return for the fifth, and the club said he will have an MRI on Wednesday. More >
"Obviously it's his right rib cage. He'll have an MRI tomorrow," Girardi said. "We won't see him for a while."
Big Apple struggles: Only three times in Urias' first 14 starts has he been unable to finish the fourth inning. Two of those were in New York. He gave up three runs and threw 81 pitches in 2 2/3 innings in his May 27 debut at Citi Field against the Mets. He didn't allow any runs Tuesday, but struggled so much with his command that Roberts pulled him after 3 2/3 innings and 78 pitches.
"He's not going to be on every night," Roberts said. "But I can't say enough about him."
Left searching: The Dodgers hoped adding Carlos Ruiz and Yasiel Puig to their starting lineup would help with their problems against left-handed pitching, but they had just three hits against Sabathia. Only one of the last eight lefties to start against the Dodgers has taken a loss, and the eight lefties combined for a 2.08 ERA in those games. More >
"As we finish the last 18 games, we're going to see some left-handers, and rightfully so," Roberts said. "There's got to be some point we break through."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Dodgers won a challenge in the second inning, after first-base umpire Eric Cooper called the Yankees' Starlin Castro safe at first base on a pickoff attempt by Urias. After review, the call was overturned, as first baseman Adrian Gonzalez tagged Castro before he got back to the base.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: Left-hander Clayton Kershaw (11-3, 1.89 ERA) will make his second start since returning from the disabled list when the Dodgers and Yankees complete their three-game Interleague series Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. PT at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees: Enigmatic right-hander Michael Pineda (6-11, 5.07 ERA) will make his 29th start as the Yankees close a 10-game homestand with Wednesday's 4:05 p.m. ET rubber game. Pineda allowed only two runs last Friday against the Rays and was visibly upset when Girardi lifted him with two outs in the fifth inning. Pineda has held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 14 of his starts, but he has allowed five or more in 10 starts.