Jacoby Ellsbury hit a go-ahead RBI infield single in the top of the 10th inning and Chasen Shreve escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom half of the inning as the New York Yankees remained 3 1/2 games back of the second Wild Card spot with a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium. >> Read more
- Ellsbury, who went 4-for-5 with an RBI double, hit a single with the bases loaded off Joakim Soria (4-6) after he loaded the bases with two out to break a 4-4 tie.
- After Ben Heller loaded the bases on a hit batter, single and intentional walk, Shreve struck out Kendrys Morales and got Salvador Perez to fly out to center field to end the game.
- A 59-minute rain delay after the fifth inning with the Yankees up 4-2 knocked starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka out of the game.
- Dellin Betances (3-4) blew the save when he allowed the game-tying sac fly to Morales in the eighth inning. With New York up 4-3, Tyler Clippard walked Lorenzo Cain, who stole second and advanced to third base on a Gary Sanchez throwing error and scored on Morales' fly ball.
- Betances retired all six batters he faced, throwing 16 of 22 pitches for strikes and striking out two batters in two innings.
- The Yankees went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.
- Aaron Judge hit a two-run home run in the second inning to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Ellsbury's RBI double later in the inning made it 3-0.
- Chase Headley drove in Didi Gregorius with a third-inning sac fly to make it 4-0.
- Jarrod Dyson hit an RBI triple in the third inning to make it 4-1, and Morales' solo home run in the fourth inning made it 4-2.
- Tanaka allowed two runs and four hits in five innings before the rain delay. He struck out four batters and had thrown 71 pitches.
- Cain hit an RBI double off Adam Warren in the sixth inning that made it 4-3.
That's a huge win for the Yankees, in spite of Joe Girardi's questionable bullpen call in the 10th inning.
After going 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position before his at-bat, Ellsbury finally came through with a big hit allowing the Yankees to take the lead. It wasn't smooth sailing from there because Girardi decided to pull Betances after 22 pitches in two innings, despite the big right-hander being in complete control.
Girardi went to rookie Heller, who was making his third major league appearance. He left with one out and the bases loaded, but Shreve, the struggling lefty, came in and locked down the game, saving Girardi from a good deal of second-guessing.
Girardi constantly talks about winning today's game, but I fully expect he was thinking about tomorrow and wanted Betances fresh if needed. We'll see Wednesday if it was necessary.
Luis Cessa (4-0, 4.11 ERA) faces Ian Kennedy (9-9, 3.57 ERA) in the final game of a three-game series Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. ET.