NEW YORK (AP) — The last time the New York Yankees lost eight in a row, it was a different millennium.
One game a day suited them much better Saturday.READ MORE: Gov. Lamont: Connecticut Man Who Tested Positive For Omicron Variant Has Mild Symptoms, Resting At Home
Clint Frazier scored the winning run on Dellin Betances’ wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Yankees averted their longest losing streak in a quarter-century with a 2-1 victory over the crosstown New York Mets.
“It was big. It was definitely a grind-out win. Not the prettiest win, but we needed that bad,” said All-Star infielder DJ LeMahieu, reinstated from the injured list before the game. “Hopefully that sparks us and we get back to playing how we should be playing, how we know how to. It was a tough little stretch there.”
J.A. Happ pitched brilliantly into the eighth and Luke Voit homered early at Yankee Stadium as the injury-ravaged Bronx Bombers stopped a seven-game slide that followed six straight wins. They haven’t dropped eight in a row since August 1995 — just before their most recent dynasty of three consecutive World Series titles and four in all from 1996-2000.
The Mets had won three straight and six of eight, including a doubleheader sweep Friday at Yankee Stadium. Prior to that, the Yankees were also swept in a doubleheader Wednesday at Atlanta.
“Really good to get a victory and come in here and hear music,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Just a really good battle and had some winning at-bats there at the end.”
Wilson Ramos greeted reliever Adam Ottavino with a tying home run in the eighth off the screen attached to the left-field foul pole. The vaunted Yankees bullpen has blown late leads in all three games of this Subway Series so far.
Frazier drew a leadoff walk in the ninth from Betances (0-1), a four-time All-Star with the Yankees before signing with the Mets last offseason. Frazier went to third on a soft single by Jordy Mercer, bringing up backup catcher Erik Kratz with one out.
“I definitely felt like I didn’t have anything today,” Betances said.
Kratz squared to bunt on an 0-1 delivery, then pulled his bat back as Betances’ fastball sailed high over Ramos’ mitt. Frazier didn’t break from third on the pitch, but scored easily when the ball went to the backstop.
“I did that on my own,” Kratz said. “I didn’t make contact with too many pitches today. We’ve got to get the run in somehow.”
Aroldis Chapman (1-1) threw a hitless ninth, rebounding from a blown save and loss Friday night when he gave up a game-ending homer to pinch-hitter Amed Rosario.
Happ held the Mets to three hits in 7 1/3 shutout innings, becoming the first Yankees starter to reach the eighth this season. The 37-year-old lefty struck out five and walked none in his second consecutive stingy outing.READ MORE: Bob Dole, Former Senate GOP Leader And Presidential Nominee, Dies At 98
Left fielder Brett Gardner robbed J.D. Davis of extra bases with an outstanding catch to begin the seventh. With the right-handed Ramos due up in the eighth, Happ was pulled after 90 pitches.
“I know he’s been under pressure the past couple of weeks,” Voit said. “We needed that really bad.”
It was only the fourth start of the season and second since Aug. 5 for Happ, who recently spoke up about the shortage of assignments and seemed to think it might be related to his $17 million vesting option for next season.
“I feel like I answered some of the stuff maybe I wanted to say and will kind of leave that there,” Happ said. “I’m just going to focus on the season.”
Before the game, general manager Brian Cashman said Happ struggled last year and slots at the back of the rotation, so the decision has purely been based on trying to win games and navigating postponements.
“Look, it’s no secret what he’s been through this year,” Boone said. “With the long rest, his focus has never altered.”
Voit launched his 12th home run on the fourth pitch from Mets starter Robert Gsellman, but the Yankees later had two runners thrown out at home plate.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz struck out two in a hitless inning of relief but exited with shoulder discomfort. … Davis got drilled in the left hip by a 98 mph fastball from Chapman but stayed in the game. … Michael Conforto banged hard into the right-field wall trying to catch LeMahieu’s third-inning triple. Conforto was checked by a trainer, but remained in the game.
Yankees: LeMahieu returned after spraining his left thumb Aug. 15. INF-OF Miguel Andújar was optioned to the alternate training site. … LeMahieu played 3B in place of Gio Urshela, who sat out again with a bone spur in his right elbow. Urshela could be back in the lineup Sunday, according to Boone. … RF Aaron Judge, who re-injured his right calf this week, has a lesser strain but will likely need to rehab twice as long this time, Cashman said. … C Gary Sanchez was rested.
The teams play their second seven-inning doubleheader in three days Sunday afternoon to make up games postponed last weekend at Citi Field after a Mets player and a coach tested positive for the coronavirus. The Mets will be the “home” team at Yankee Stadium in the second game.
Prized pitching prospect Deivi Garcia will start one game for the Yankees, making his major league debut. RHP Michael King (1-1, 6.59 ERA) will start the other game, but the order was still to be determined. The Mets plan to start RHP Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.43 ERA) and RHP Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.03).
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