Jacoby Ellsbury manages to catch up to Aroldis Chapman's heat

Brian McCann of the Yankees celebrates his ninth-inning,
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Brian McCann of the Yankees celebrates his ninth-inning, game-winning hit against the Cincinnati Reds with teammate Zelous Wheeler at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, July 20, 2014.(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

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The first three pitches Jacoby Ellsbury saw from Reds lefthander Aroldis Chapman came in at 100 mph. The next two reached 102. Three of the next four were at 101.

But Ellsbury, who had never faced the All-Star pitcher before leading off the ninth inning against him Sunday, fouled off four of the first eight pitches and said he felt oddly relaxed.

"You don't have much time to think," he said. "You just have to go up there trusting your hands."

Those hands came through. Ellsbury grounded a single to left, stole second and scored the winning run on Brian McCann's bloop single.

"Don't try to do too much," Ellsbury said. "When someone is throwing that hard, you want to be nice and relaxed, maybe shorten up your swing a little bit and just try and put a good swing on it. Fortunately, I put it in play."

Joe Girardi praised Ellsbury's work against a pitcher who came in with a 2.12 ERA, a WHIP of 0.78 and 60 strikeouts in 292/3 innings.

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"Really, really good," Girardi said. "The guy's throwing 100 miles per hour plus. And to be able to stay in there and get the count in your favor and foul off some tough pitches [is impressive]."

Ellsbury went 4-for-4 with a walk, stole two bases, scored a run, drove in a run and robbed Todd Frazier of an RBI single with a sliding catch to end the third.

Pineda still throwing

Michael Pineda, rehabbing his right shoulder at the club's minor- league complex in Tampa, is close to seeing his first game action, according to Girardi. "He's thrown one live BP and I think he's scheduled to throw another one [this week]," he said. "And then you might start seeing him a couple innings [in simulated games]."

Brian Cashman has said the Yankees hope Pineda can return by late August or early September.

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Beltran getting there

There still is no set date for Carlos Beltran, exclusively a DH since June 5 as he deals with a bone spur in his right elbow, to start throwing in the outfield. However, Girardi said that process "could probably start happening pretty soon."

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