The New York Yankees' three middle infielders helped lead the Yankees to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday at Comerica Park.
Rob Refsnyder started at second base and started a four-run seventh-inning rally with a tiebreaking RBI single, then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's two-run triple that gave New York a 5-1 lead.
But it was the defense of Didi Gregorius, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, and Starlin Castro, who started at shortstop but moved to second base once Gregorius entered, that saved the game.
Gregorius threw out Justin Upton at home plate trying to score on Ian Kinsler's RBI double to end the eighth inning, then started a game-saving, highlight-reel double play with Castro after Aroldis Chapman loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth.
"He saved the game with those two defensive plays," manager Joe Girardi said after the game. "No doubt about it."
With the Yankees up 5-3, J.D. Martinez grounded up the middle, and Gregorius reached with his glove and flipped the ball to Castro, who reached behind him and caught it bare-handed to get the force at second, then turned and fired to first for the double play.
"We got ground balls, we got out of it and we got the win," Gregorius told reporters after Chapman got Miguel Cabrera to ground out weakly to end the game, "and that's what's important, the only thing that matters right there in that situation."
Added Girardi: "We got some big defensive plays out of Didi tonight to really save that game. He's always ready to play."
Girardi said he wanted to give Gregorius a day off after playing 10 consecutive games and 17 of the last 18, so he started Refsnyder, who went 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
"I wanted to give him a day, because we had an extra game and he's playing so hard every night," Girardi said. "I knew we'd have him back out there tomorrow, but it turned out that we needed him tonight."
Refsnyder, who is 4 for 10 in limited action this season, hit a leadoff double in the sixth inning, advanced to third on Aaron Hicks' flyout and scored on Ellsbury's sac fly to tie the game at 1. An inning later, his RBI single off Matt Boyd broke a 1-1 tie. Hicks followed with another RBI single to make it 3-1, and Ellsbury's two-run triple made it 5-1.
"He had a big night for us," Girardi said of Refsnyder.