MIAMI — For seven innings Sunday afternoon, it looked like so many of the Yankees games this season that preceded it. So many that have resulted in a loss, with the opposing pitcher shutting down a slumbering lineup.
But things turned in the eighth — not uncoincidentally after Marlins righthander Sandy Alcantara left the game — with newest Yankee Anthony Rizzo again in the middle of it.
Rizzo delivered the tying RBI single in a two-run eighth as the Yankees earned a 3-1 win in front of 20,758 at loanDepot park that completed a three-game sweep.
"Obviously, he’s been playing for a really good team [the Cubs] for a long time and he knows what it takes to get to where we want to go," said Brett Gardner, who scored on Rizzo’s opposite-field hit. "Just a lot of energy. Keeps coming up with big hit after big hit for us."
Aaron Judge followed with a single to leftfield that made it 2-1. He likes what he sees from Rizzo and Joey Gallo, too: "A boost of energy, just instantly. Coming to the clubhouse, you look at the lineup and you see those names in there and it just gives you that extra little bit of confidence, that extra little bit of juice."
And now the Yankees (56-48), who have won 15 of their last 22 and clearly look invigorated by the trade deadline deals, return to the Stadium for a seven-game homestand that begins against the Orioles on Monday night.
"Just excited to go there and feel that atmosphere and feel that energy," said Rizzo, whose parents were born in New Jersey and who attended his share of Yankees games as a kid.
After Alcantara allowed two hits and a walk and struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings — "he was kind of mowing through us," Judge said — the Yankees trailed 1-0 entering the eighth.
Gardner led off with a sharp single to left-center against Anthony Bass. After pinch hitter DJ LeMahieu struck out, pinch hitter Giancarlo Stanton bounced one to third baseman Brian Anderson, who committed an error and could have been charged with two on the play. He bobbled the potential double-play ball, then threw wildly past first to put runners on first and third.
Former Yankees lefthander Richard Bleier came on to face Rizzo, who lined an RBI single to left to make it 1-1. Rizzo has reached base in nine of 13 plate appearances as a Yankee and is 5-for-9 with three RBIs. Despite being a lefthanded hitter, he is batting .356 against lefties (32-for-90) and .219 against righties (53-for-242) this season.
Judge followed with his RBI single, with Stanton scoring as the Marlins cut off the throw to retire Rizzo trying to take third.
Zack Britton walked Miguel Rojas with one out in the bottom half but got Jazz Chisholm Jr. to ground sharply to first, where Rizzo started a 3-6-3 double play.
The Yankees added a run in the ninth with additional help from the Marlins. With two outs, Gleyber Torres singled and Gardner chopped a grounder to second. Chisholm muffed the ball several times, and with the infield overshifted, Torres never stopped running as shortstop Rojas, near second base, desperately tried to cover third. When Chisholm finally corralled the ball, he threw wildly toward Rojas and Torres scored easily.
Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 26 chances.
Jordan Montgomery allowed one run and three hits in five innings but received three or fewer earned runs of offensive support for the 16th time in 21 starts. He has received a total of four runs in his last eight starts.
The Yankees remained 2 1/2 games (one in the loss column) behind Oakland in the race for the second wild card. They are a game ahead of Toronto and Seattle.
Gallo doubled in the seventh for his first hit as a Yankee. He is 1-for-12 with five strikeouts.
"We brought in some new, really good players that have come in and been contributors right away, and I think everyone’s excited about that," Aaron Boone said. "We know what’s ahead and know the tough road that’s ahead of us but feel like we’re ready to embrace it."