I don't even know how to write an effective introduction to this recap. This game went from incredibly frustrating to incredibly awesome to incredibly stressful in a span of about 20 minutes at the end, and when it was all over the Yankees had stolen the first game on the road to regain the AL East lead.
In one sense, the Yankees had a pretty good night against David Price. They racked up 11 hits again him in his 7+ innings of work and gave themselves plenty of run-scoring opportunities. In the only sense that matters, they did nothing. They couldn't put any of those hits together in a sequence that brought a run across the plate, and Price exited with a 3-run lead in the 8th.
That 3-run lead came courtesy of a 3-run 3rd inning against New York starter Ivan Nova. He hit leadoff batter Kevin Pillar and then gave up a single to Ben Revere on an 0-2 pitch to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Troy Tulowitzki hit a ball that Nova deflected, turning a potential double play into just a single force out while scoring a run. Josh Donaldson singled, Jose Bautista doubled home the second run, and Edwin Encarnacion hit a sac fly to bring in the third. Nova was pretty good in his other 6 innings, but that rough 3rd loomed large in the late innings.
So back to that top of the 8th. Mark Teixeira got the rally started with a single, Brian McCann followed up with one of his own to put a ton of speed on the bases, and Chase Headley knocked Price out of the game with a ground-rule double to left to score Teix and make it 3-1. Righty reliever Aaron Sanchez (not the "Chopped" judge) came on and Joe counted with pinch hitter Carlos Beltran. Sanchez started him off with 2 swinging strikes on heaters up in the zone. He went higher for ball 1 on the third pitch of the at-bat, tried to go even higher with the fourth, but didn't locate, left it belt high, and Beltran was all over it. He crushed the ball out to deep right field for a stunning go-ahead 3-run shot.
So Betances, Miller, let's go home, right? Not exactly. Betances cruised through the 8th, but Miller had to battle his way out of the 9th. He issued a 1-out walk to Chris Collabello, Pillar singled, and both moved up to second and third base on a wild pitch. Miller was clearly a bit rattled by that, but he channeled it into a burst of adrenaline and struck out Ben Revere for out number 2. This cycled the lineup back around to Tulo at the top, and in one of the great individual AB battles you'll ever see, Miller struck him out on the 12th pitch of the at-bat. Ballgame over, Yankees win. Maybe the most satisfying win of the year.
- Seriously, that last at-bat. Tulowitzki fouled off 7 sliders before finally swinging through the last one. Give him props for staying tough and keeping the at-bat going, props to McCann and Miller for sticking with the slider and not giving in with a fastball, and major props to Miller for finally snapping off a nasty one to get Tulo to swing and miss. Great drama.
- 7 innings of 3-run ball will do just fine from Nova, and he actually became the first Yankee starter to finish 7 innings in a start since late July. Yowza.
- Before the 8th, the Jays had shut the Yankees out for 33 innings. Double yowza.
- Big 3-hit, 2-double night at the plate for Headley. Brett Gardner also had 2 hits.
- By only throwing 7 pitches, Betances may have left himself available for today. Miller is definitely out day though. You could see he was putting everything he had into every pitch after the wild pitch, and he admitted after the game that he was running out of gas. We'll see how Joe uses Shreve/Wilson/Warren today to cover.