They’d dealt with it all. The hour-plus rain delay, the deflating defensive missteps, two late, unearned runs and missed scoring chances. Gio Urshela made a rare error, Cameron Maybin grounded into a rally-killing double play. Masahiro Tanaka lost his splitter, and Clint Frazier struggled in the outfield.
There was every reason for the Yankees to lose on Tuesday night, but one very good reason they didn’t.
“I’ve talked to them about being resilient,” Aaron Boone said after the Yankees walk-off, 5-4 win over the Mariners. “We didn’t play perfect, obviously, but we hung around.”
They hung around long enough for some of the very guys who had miscues to turn around and become heroes. Down by two runs in the ninth, it was Urshela who hit a two-run home run with one out in the ninth, off Anthony Swarzak. And it was Maybin who singled right after him, stole second base and then, with two outs, scored on DJ LeMahieu’s soft single to right.
The Yankees have now won three straight games and are an improbable 13-4 in their last 17 games, a stretch that has included a string of injuries, and has been highlighted by big plays from lesser-known players.
“We didn’t have a whole lot going there” before Urshela hit the home run, LeMahieu said. “For him to hit that home kind of gave us new life there. Once he tied it up, you kind of got the feeling that — all of us on the bench were like, ‘We’re going to win this game.’”
That seemed very unlikely for the first eight innings.
“It snuck up, actually,” Boone said about the comeback.
Tanaka, looking for a bounce-back start, did well enough despite not having that splitter, but a number of defensive gaffes — including three by Frazier, one of which led to a run — had him leaving the game on the hook for a 2-1 deficit. He threw 95 pitches, 61 for strikes, and allowed two runs, both earned, five hits and two walks, with four strikeouts. Tanaka left the game when the rain started, with one out in the sixth, and the delay lasted for an hour and 12 minutes.
Things didn’t look much better when the skies cleared.
Still down by one, the Yankees managed to put runners on the corners with one out off reliever Cory Gearrin, but Maybin — in his own words — “decided to kill that rally,” he joked. He hit a comebacker for an inning-ending double play. The Mariners tacked on two unearned runs in the eighth, after Urshela booted a ball to put runners on first and second with one out. Both scored, on a single by Domingo Santana and a double by Jay Bruce, making it 4-1.
The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the eighth, when Brett Gardner scored on a wild pitch.
The game included a series of defensive miscues, including Frazier misjudging a hit by Bruce in the second, allowing it to go to the wall for a double; Bruce later came around to score on a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Bruce hit a high fly ball that seemed to stay in the air for an eternity — only to fall between Gardner and Frazier, both of whom thought the other had it. Frazier committed an official error in the seventh, when a fly ball tipped off the lip of his glove.
“We made some mistakes tonight but guys just kind of kept playing and are enjoying playing the game, enjoying these moments, and just a really good job of stringing together a little bit of a rally,” Boone said. “That’s a fun one to be a part of. That’s one of the things about this group that’s been cool. I’ve talked about them being resilient and they’re really good at just flipping on to the next play. We talk about that a lot.”
Maybin added that that’s the thing that’s stuck out the most about his new team.
“Believing in ourselves,” he said. “That’s what this team has continued to show, a lot of fortitude, a belief in each other.”
Even when every other thing would point to doubt.