Not long ago, the ninth inning belonged to Dellin Betances.
Of course, it was on a temporary basis, as Andrew Miller worked his way back from a forearm strain.
Three bad outings -- out of nine total -- as the Yankees closer from June 14 to July 7 hurt Betances' numbers as Miller's substitute: 5.56 ERA in 11 1/3 innings. But that never shook Betances' confidence.
"I feel good," he said. "As long as I'm healthy, I'm going to go out there and do the best I can."
Since Miller returned, Betances has not allowed a run in 21 innings. He has pitched the ninth inning three times during that span, but never in a save situation until Wednesday against the Twins.
With Miller having pitched on consecutive days, Yankees manager Joe Girardi called on Betances with a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning. Betances struck out two and got a pop out to end the game, throwing a perfect inning to seal a three-game sweep and earn his eighth save.
"It was fun," Betances said of his return to a save situation. "Obviously, Miller was down, and I knew I had the chance to come in there."
Betances understands his role, that he is ordinarily Miller's setup man. He said the bullpen, which leads the majors with 5.3 wins above replacement, has thrived because the relievers know their roles and they feed off each other.
Nobody needed a reminder Wednesday of the Yankees' bullpen depth, but, nonetheless, a one-run lead remained intact after Nathan Eovaldi exited before the eighth with Miller and Justin Wilson -- who threw 39 pitches over the previous two games -- unavailable.
Chasen Shreve allowed an infield hit and struck out two in a scoreless eighth.
"It's fun, man," Betances said. "The bullpen, we rely on each other. We try to match each other's effort or even better. I think that keeps us going."
Though he worked a 1-2-3 inning Wednesday, Betances said he was disappointed he couldn't get his curveball over for first-pitch strikes. He fell behind Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar -- the second and third batters of the inning -- with his breaking ball after getting ahead of Trevor Plouffe with a fastball.
"I stuck with the game plan," he said. "[John Ryan] Murphy was calling great pitches. I was just trying to do my best job."