Jun 24, 2016 11:41 PM
Betances, Miller, Chapman perfect again, Yanks top Twins 5-3
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) Aroldis Chapman reared back and fired strike after strike at the Minnesota Twins.
Eduardo Escobar swung past pitches of 101 mph, 102 and 102.
Byung Ho Park took a 102 offering, fouled off a 103 and swung over a 103.
After three straight 103s, taking the first and fouling two more off, Kurt Suzuki managed to foul off Chapman's fastest pitch of the night at 104. And then Chapman froze him with a 91 mph changeup on the inside corner at the knees, completing three straight strikeouts with 11 consecutive strikes.
Game over. Another perfect game of nine up, nine down for the New York Yankees' "No Runs DMC" relief trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman.
"He's an animal," Betances said after the Yankees' 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
New York is 11-0 when the three pitch together. In the Yankees' past two games, they've retired 18 in a row striking out 11 and haven't allowed the ball out of the infield.
"One, two and three. Are you kidding me?" Escobar said.
New York took advantage of three errors that led to three earned runs, Rob Refsnyder hit a tiebreaking single that put the Yankees ahead 4-3 in the fourth, and former-Twin Aaron Hicks hit his first right-handed home run this year, an eighth-inning drive off Buddy Boshers.
Fans oohed and aahed after the scoreboard posted the velocity of each Chapman pitch, locked in with the same intensity of brokers focused on the rise and fall of the Dow. Chapman threw his five fastest pitches this season, topping out at 103.8 mph, according to MLB's Statcast. He has thrown the fastest 57 pitches in the big leagues this season.
"I can feel the energy of the fans once I make a pitch," Chapman said through a translator. "It's something that you can see and you can feel."
Betances and Miller watched from the clubhouse.
"It's hard to take your eyes off of it," Miller said. "It's just an impressive feat of athleticism."
Even Chapman tries to catch a glance at his velocity readout.
"Once in a while I'll take a peek," he admitted. "It gives me an idea of how I'm pitching that night."
Suzuki, who homered against Chapman at Target Field last weekend, was surprised by the final offering.
"That was the last thing on my mind," he said. "I was thinking either slider or heater."
Masahiro Tanaka (5-2) defeated the Twins for the second time in seven days, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings. New York beat the Twins for the fourth time in five meetings this season and won for just the 10th time in 24 games when opponents started a left-hander. The Yankees (35-35) got back to .500, while the Twins dropped to a big league-worst 23-50.
Making his first big league start since April 25, Tommy Milone (0-2) allowed four runs three earned six hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. He also forgot to cover first on Hicks' fourth-inning grounder that went off first baseman Joe Mauer's glove for an error that loaded the bases.
Former Yankee Eduardo Nunez hit a two-run single in the third for a 2-0 lead, and Suzuki had an RBI double in the fourth that put the Twins ahead 3-2.
But Milone struggled at times against a Yankees batting order that had just two left-handed hitters. After Escobar allowed Austin Romine's leadoff grounder in the third to kick off his glove at shortstop for an error, Carlos Beltran hit a two-out RBI double and scored on Alex Rodriguez's single. Romine's sacrifice fly tied it in the fourth.
With the trio waiting, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was confident.
"It's kind of how we draw it up," he said. "That's really how this club is built."
With the Yankees 3 1/2 games back of a wild-card berth at the start of the night, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, "We are definitely not sellers righty now."
Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira, who hasn't appeared for the Yankees since June 2 because of torn right knee cartilage, is expected to be activated Saturday and start. He went 1 for 9 during three minor league injury rehabilitation games, then was given Friday off. "You have to watch his at-bats carefully. You have to watch how he's moving, and make decisions from there," Girardi said. ... LHP CC Sabathia, who rolled his right ankle twice during Wednesday's start against Colorado, said should be able to pitch with the ankle wrapped.
RHP Ervin Santana (2-7) starts Saturday for Minnesota and RHP Michael Pineda (3-7) for New York. Santana beat the Yankees on June 19, allowing three runs two earned in 7 1/3 innings. Pineda didn't get a decision at Minnesota on June 18.