That axiom about seeing something different at a ballgame every day? How about Chasen Shreve saving closer Aroldis Chapman — and the Yankees — from a potential second straight loss to the Mets in the Subway Series.
“It’s not too often you see that happen with Chappy,’’ said Aaron Judge, who had three hits, including his 26th home run, in the 7-6 victory. “That was impressive. He didn’t even break a sweat out there. It was a great job by him.”
Shreve isn’t often used in game-on-the-line, high-leverage situations. His roster spot even looked tenuous in the first half as he struggled with the home run ball. But there he was Saturday, being summoned from the bullpen in the top of the ninth inning with the bases loaded, none out, and the Mets having trimmed a 7-3 deficit to 7-5 when Chapman allowed one hit, three walks and a hit batsman, an outing that included 11 straight pitches out of the strike zone.
“Chappy’s one of the better closers in the game, so when he goes in, usually he’s going to shut the door,’’ Shreve said. “Obviously, that’s not true all the time.’’
Aaron Boone wanted to give Chapman an inning of work. He skipped the All-Star Game to rest after a recurrence of tendinitis in his left knee.
Chapman did not attribute his issue to injury, saying: “It doesn’t concern me at all. It’s a bad outing. I feel good. My arm feels good, nothing to worry about.’’
Still, Boone said he will monitor Chapman.
Shreve quelled the Mets rally by getting Devin Mesoraco to ground into a double play, started by second baseman Brandon Drury, and scoring the sixth Mets run.
Then Shreve fielded Wilmer Flores’ grounder for the final out.
“Excellent job by Shreve,’’ Chapman said. “He came in to solve that problem. He did the job.’’
Catcher Austin Romine, who drove in two runs, including the eventual game-winner, added: “This team has always been about picking each other up. It’s not too often you have to pick up our closer. That’s what was called for today. He realized the situation and he put the whole team on his back.’’
Shreve, 28, earned his second career save in his fifth season in the majors. He had a difficult May and June when he allowed a combined six home runs. He’s been on that Triple-A shuttle to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre enough to know that too many poor outings can lead to a minor-league demotion.
“I’ve been here long enough where I know there’s ups and downs,” Shreve said, “and I just had to grind through it and figure out what works for me and get back on track.’’
Shreve said he was relying too much on his splitter. He has gone more to the fastball and is “using my slider some. Just trying to be not so predictable.’’
Boone said of Shreve: “Huge, huge, pick-me-up. In a perfect world, [I was] actually trying to stay away from Shreve, with [him going] an inning-plus [Friday]. His pitch count was reasonable. He came in pounding the strike zone, which was encouraging, Drury turns a good double play behind him and just keeps making pitches to a tough righty. Really good job by the Shrever, who continues to pitch a lot better.’’
Shreve’s work enabled struggling starter Sonny Gray (7-7) to win consecutive starts for the first time this season. He gave up three runs (two earned) in 5 1⁄3 innings. One was a home run by Michael Conforto.
“I got jumped for a solo homer but that’s going to happen sometime,’’ Gray said. “The [bullpen] guys came in and did what we had to do at the back to get it done. For me, there was only one way to go and that’s up. I guess it couldn’t get any worse. Something needed to change . . . I’m in a much better place within my body, within myself.’’