The ninth-inning meltdown Friday night in which the Yankees almost blew a seven-run lead started with Esmil Rogers, who allowed all five hitters he faced to reach base (although one got there because of a miscommunication on a pop-up).

It was the latest in a string of rough outings this season for Rogers, which Joe Girardi attributed to inconsistent use.

"I know his work has not been consistent, and sometimes it's difficult as a pitcher when you're, in a sense, the long man. That happens," Girardi said. "Thing is, we've got to get him going."

The Yankees gave Rogers somewhat of a vote of confidence this past week, choosing to keep him when Masahiro Tanaka was activated from the disabled list. Instead, another struggling righthander, David Carpenter, was designated for assignment.

But on Friday night, Rogers did nothing to reward the Yankees for their decision to keep him. He entered an 8-1 game and had to be relieved by Dellin Betances as the Yankees held on for an 8-7 victory.

"I believe his stuff is there," Girardi said. "We've seen it where he gets swings and misses and he gets quick outs and has a good fastball and a good curveball. But his stuff has been inconsistent.''

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Rogers has a 6.39 ERA in 17 games and 31 innings this season. But in his last 10 appearances, he has given up 20 runs (18 earned), 25 hits and 10 walks in 142/3 innings.

"Part of that could be not working on a normal basis as a long man," Girardi said, "but you've got to figure out a way to do that and be ready to pitch when called upon."

Extra bases

Brian McCann, who hit a two-run homer during a six-run first inning Saturday night, was in the lineup for the second straight game after getting new orthotics to treat his lingering foot issue. Girardi expects to give him a rest Sunday . . . Carlos Beltran returned to the lineup after missing two games because of a sore foot.