Yankees find relief in marathon win over Red Sox

From ESPN - July 15, 2017

BOSTON -- Following their 16-inning triumph over the Boston Red Sox that spanned 5 hours, 50 minutes, the New York Yankees used phrases you would expect: They said it was a big win, an important win.

But to truly understand the immensity of their 4-1 victory, you really have to think about if they had lost this game.

It would have been their 20th loss in 27 games. It would have wasted their best pitching performance of the season, with Luis Severino nearly matching Red Sox ace Chris Sale pitch for pitch before the entire bullpen combined for nine scoreless innings, culminating with their last reliever, Ben Heller, throwing the final two for the win. They would have lost in the final inning for the second consecutive night.

They would be heading into a tough schedule in which they have a day-night doubleheader Sunday at Fenway Park followed by a three-game trip to Minnesota -- which includes a day game Wednesday after a night game Tuesday -- then a flight to Seattle to play four beginning Thursday. The Yankees will still do this, with a shot bullpen. But at least they have Saturday's victory to lighten their load.

"It is an important win," said manager Joe Girardi, who wondered if the club soda he had opened before the 4:05 p.m. game still had any fizz in it after he finished his postgame talk more than six hours later.

Girardi had not yet figured out the exact impact the win had taken on his roster when he spoke to the media. If the game had gone on, Heller would have probably pitched one more inning, and then starter CC Sabathia was the most likely next man up.

Now with a short bullpen, Girardi will start Sabathia in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader, with Bryan Mitchell likely be called up for relief support. Masahiro Tanaka will still take the ball in Game 2.

Guys like Heller and Jonathan Holder, who threw three scoreless innings, might be sent down before Sunday's twin bill because the bullpen is exhausted two games into the second half.


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