Home Sports Aroldis Chapman crusher keeps Yankees reeling as AL East gap widens

Aroldis Chapman crusher keeps Yankees reeling as AL East gap widens

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An early four-run Yankees lead vanished from Citi Field, as did a three-run cushion late when Aroldis Chapman gave up a two-out homer to J.D. Davis in the ninth inning that sent Thursday night’s Subway Series game into extra innings.

Having used Adam Ottavino, Chad Green, Zack Britton and Chapman in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings, Aaron Boone turned to Albert Abreu in extra innings and it wasn’t a fair fight.

With Dominic Smith on second as the designated runner, Abreu faced Pete Alonso, who was hitless in four at-bats and looked bad on two strikeouts.

After using Britton and Chapman, it was Abreu, who had one big league inning on his résumé, against Alonso. And nobody should have been surprised when Alonso drove a one-strike pitch into the left-field seats to send a 9-7 dagger into the struggling Yankees’ hearts.

Alonso’s game-winner stole the show but Davis taking Chapman over the center-field wall shortly after pinch-runner Billy Hamilton was thrown out attempting to steal third base hurt more.

Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis ChapmanCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“We were set up there to close it out and it just didn’t happen today,’’ said Boone, whose reeling club has lost 10 of 14 and dropped five games back of the AL East-leading Rays.

There were others who can share the blame for the crushing defeat. J.A. Happ was presented with a 4-0 lead in the second and spit it out two innings later. Tyler Wade, who started the 10th as the designated runner, took off for third on DJ LeMahieu’s soft fly to right and was doubled off second. Boone thought Britton was OK, but he allowed three hits and two runs that made it a one-run game.

Yet, this one was on Chapman, who watched a 0-2 fastball clocked at 99 mph to Davis clear the center-field fence and tie the score, 7-7.

“In that inning the only thing I would take away is I executed that pitch and he made good contact,’’ said Chapman, who has two blown saves in five appearances and is working to improve his fastball command. “Other than that I felt good out there.’’

Nothing about the 20-14 Yankees looks good. A season-high five games out with two dozen to play is a big hurdle to clear.

Normally, the pitching-poor Orioles would be a welcome sight for a team that is playing as badly as the Yankees are. However, the funk is so widespread nothing can be assured heading into a four-game series that kicks off with a doubleheader in Camden Yards on Friday.

In a 60-game season every loss hurts, but a win that gets away due to late-game bullpen failure cuts to the bone.

“There is high expectations there. Those are some of the best pitchers in the game. More often than not we take our chances with those guys for sure,’’ said Happ, who gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings after blanking the Mets last Saturday for 7 ¹/₃ innings. “I think it was one of those baseball days and we have to get over it.’’

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