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New York Yankee bullpen zeroes in on victory

By
Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
New York Yankees pitcher Andrew Miller. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Yankees pitcher Andrew Miller. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- With two out in the sixth inning, the New York Yankee bullpen began stirring.

Holding a one-run lead, virtually anyone watching knew the Yankees were likely to unveil their hard-throwing trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman for the first time this season.

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The Yankees finally had the chance to do so and the trio did not disappoint, getting the final 10 outs of a 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

"It's fun," Betances said. "Obviously going out there and doing what I did today was pretty good. Then I get to watch Drew what he's been doing all year since last year, it's been tremendous.

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"Chapman's like a video game. He's impressive. He's a show every time he's out there."

To get to the point where they could use their vaunted trio of high velocity arms, the Yankees had to have a lead. They went ahead in the second when Aaron Hicks doubled and scored on a single by Didi Gregorius.

Ivan Nova (2-1) kept the lead, allowing one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

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Nova was beaten on a first-pitch fastball by Todd Frazier with one out in the fourth but other than allowing the third baseman's 12th home run, he was effective.

Still it didn't prevent manager Joe Girardi from pacing the dugout during the next encounter with Frazier and when Nova walked him, Betances came on.

"We all know who they've got," Frazier said. "It seemed like Girardi couldn't wait to get Betances in there after they walked me and you know, they did good."

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Betances recorded the first four outs, getting Melky Cabrera, Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia and Dioner Navarro to strike out swinging on a combined 21 pitches.

Miller struck out Austin Jackson for the first out of the eighth and it was possible the trio might get all 10 outs via strikeout. Miller gave up a single to Adam Eaton and retired Jimmy Rollins on a groundout before striking out Jose Abreu on a breaking ball.

"Strikeouts are fun," Miller said. "The fans like them. Like home runs they're exciting plays. Not the level of that, but it's something that I think fans can appreciate and get excited for."

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Chapman entered to a graphic with flames around his name and his third appearances began with him blowing a 101-mph fastball by Frazier for a strikeout.

The left-hander reached a full count on pinch hitter, Jerry Sands before getting a strikeout on a 99-mph fastball.

Chapman fell behind Lawrie on a 2-and-0 count but finished off his second save by getting the second baseman to fly out to right on a 101-mph pitch.

The trio combined to get eight strikeouts on 11 hitters, threw 37 of 54 pitches for strikes and has 63 strikeouts in 35 innings.

"We're ready to take on this kind of work," Chapman said through an interpreter. "This is the outcome that we expect to have."

Nova's outing did not have the electricity of the final 10 outs but he did his part, throwing 74 pitches and getting numerous ground ball outs.

Other than Frazier's home run, Nova allowed two other runners in scoring position, but even he knew what was coming in the sixth when the Yankees had a one-run lead.

"I feel comfortable with all the guys we have," Nova said. "Those three guys, especially are strikeout machines."

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Chicago left-hander Jose Quintana (5-2) gave up the Yankee runs on consecutive pitches when Hicks doubled to center field and scored on Gregorius' single to right field.

Quintana gave up little else, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings, marking the eighth time in as many starts, Quintana gave up two runs or less.

"He was sharp," Ventura said. "He had one inning that ends up tripping him up, but he's sharp as usual. That's just what you expect out of him. We couldn't get anything going."

NOTES: The Yankees made eight transactions Saturday. They placed RHP Luis Severino (right triceps strain) on the 15-day disabled list, recalled RHP Chad Green and purchased the contract of RHP Conor Mullee from Scranton/Wilkes Barre. New York also optioned C Gary Sanchez back to Triple-A, acquired RHP J.R. Graham from Minnesota and optioned him to Double-A Trenton. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees moved 1B Greg Bird, RHP Bryan Mitchell and OF Mason Williams to the 60-day disabled list. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Chicago LHP Chris Sale is the fifth pitcher to win his first eight straight starts while recording an ERA under 2.00. The others were Ed Lopat (1951), Sal Maglie (1952), Fernando Valenzuela (1981) and Pedro Martinez (1997).

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