Chapman blows first save since return

Chapman blows first save since return

CHICAGO -- Long before the clock ticked past midnight at Wrigley Field, the Yankees were celebrating a terrific pitching performance from Luis Severino, a go-ahead triple off Aaron Judge's bat and a two-run insurance homer from Jacoby Ellsbury that landed in the basket in right field.

Those would have been the talking points had Aroldis Chapman protected a three-run lead in the ninth inning. Instead, the flame-throwing closer watched from the tiny visiting clubhouse as nine more innings were needed to decide the Yankees' 5-4 victory over the Cubs in 18 frames.

"I felt normal. It just wasn't my night tonight," Chapman said. "I think that's what's important, that the team can come back from a tough situation like that and win the ballgame. I think the team has shown that so far this year, [it] has shown a lot of character."

Chapman blew his first save in eight chances since returning to the Yankees after Severino and Dellin Betances combined to hold Chicago to a run over eight innings. Chapman had closed out the Cubs on Friday, hours after receiving his World Series ring in an on-field ceremony, but his former teammates had his number this time.

Albert Almora Jr.'s pinch-hit RBI single drove home Addison Russell to cut the lead to 4-2, and Javier Baez followed with a single through the hole at shortstop that scored Jon Jay. Yankees manager Joe Girardi could tell Chapman wasn't on point.

"He got ahead of Russell 0-2 and ended up walking him, and then he gets a ball off the end of the bat and they get some balls in the hole they hit," Girardi said. "It's just, some days you're going to be a little off. I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to it."

Baez stole second before Chapman struck out Kyle Schwarber for the second out, but after an intentional walk to Kris Bryant loaded the bases, Chapman drilled Anthony Rizzo on the left forearm to force home the tying run.

Chapman said that his thought was to "just get ahead in the count, but the first pitch I hit him in the arm." That was Chapman's 36th and final pitch, as Tyler Clippard was summoned.

"To come back and get those [runs] against Aroldis, bully for us," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That was some really great at-bats right there culminating in a hit by pitch. That's not easy to do, to get three runs against that fella under these circumstances."

The blown save was Chapman's first in the regular season since Aug. 19, for the Cubs against the Rockies, though he had a much more high-profile one in Game 7 of the World Series on Rajai Davis' homer.

"You kind of have to turn the page," Chapman said. "You look at video and see what you did wrong, learn from that, turn the page and be ready for the next one."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.