Game 131 Recap: Escape Act

On a rainy Tuesday night in Kansas City, the Yankees were just able to edge out the defending World Series Champions in extra innings in a magic act worthy of Houdini.

New York blew a 4-0 lead. The Royals tied it at four when Lorenzo Cain walked to lead off the eighth, stole second, took third when the throw went to center, and scored on a sac fly. Ho hum, classic Royals comeback, right? Ha ha WRONG!

The Yankees got a run in the 10th when Jacoby Ellsbury got an infield single that deflected off Joakim Soria. With a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the inning, Joe Girardi sends out Ben Heller in his third career game to try to get the save. Heller struggled, so in came Chasen Shreve who had just been recalled that day. Entering with the bases loaded and one out, Shreve somehow manages to strike out Kendrys Morales and induce a lazy fly out from Salvador Perez to end the game.

The Yankees gained a game on the Royals in the Wild Card race but remain 3.5 games back of Baltimore for the second spot.

New York got off to a quick start in the 5-4 win as Aaron Judge belted a two-run home run to left field in the second and Ellsbury followed three batters later with an RBI double. Royals starter Edinson Volquez limped through 3.1 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits while hurling 85 pitches.

Masahiro Tanaka faced off against Volquez and began the game strong, but started to crumble as the innings went along. Tanaka gave up an RBI triple to the real-life Flash (Jarrod Dyson) in the third and a solo shot to Morales in the fourth. His night concluded after five innings and a 55-minute rain delay.

The late innings seemed to play right into the Royals’ hands, yet they couldn’t find a way to break through. Kansas City has had one of the best bullpens in baseball over the past few seasons — though not as good in 2016 — while the Yankees’ middle relief has been downright awful. However, New York was able to hold on and win the game by just one run thanks to Dellin Betances, despite the Royals’ bullpen only allowing two hits in their 5.2 innings of work.


The aforementioned Ellsbury single was the deciding play in this one. It was the unlikeliest of singles, coming only after Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin had struck out with two on and no out. But once Brett Gardner walked, Ellsbury waved his magic wand and the Royals’ ability to mount any comeback was turned on themselves.


Yankees — Jacoby Ellsbury: 4-for-6, 2B, 2 RBI

Royals — Jarrod Dyson: 3-for-5, 3B, R, RBI


— Despite being responsible for the tying run in the eighth, Tyler Clippard continued his hot streak in relief for the Yankees, going 1.2 hitless innings in relief to bridge the game to Betances. As a Yankee (in 2016), Clippard had given up just one earned run in 12.1 innings of work prior to Tuesday.

— The Yankees racked up 14 hits tonight and every starter managed at least one hit except for Tyler Austin. It’s been a bit of a rough go for Austin, as he has just four hits in his last 32 at-bats.

— Gary Sanchez went 1-for-6 and his batting average fell all the way down to .383.


Chaseh Shreve earned his first career save Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, and here’s what he had to say:


In the giant chasm known to many as Kauffman Stadium, there are a lot of fly balls that fall short of the wall. As a result, it is important to play excellent defense in the outfield. Shortly before the rain delay, Brett Gardner made this slick catch in the left-field corner to rob Christian Colon of an extra-base hit.


The Yankees conclude their three-game series in Kansas City looking to earn a series win. New York will send Luis Cessa (4-0, 4.11 ERA) to the mound where he will face Ian Kennedy (9-9, 3.57 ERA).

Photo: John Rieger / USA Today Sports

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