NEW YORK (AP)Aroldis Chapman bent over sharply and cursed at himself after blowing a save with a four-pitch bases-loaded walk and falling behind on an infield single.
Just 13 minutes later, the closer and the rest of the Yankees were all smiles. Gary Sanchez’s tying home run off Greg Holland and Luke Voit’s winning single that landed inches from the top of the left-field fence sent them running onto the fieldwith yet another late come-from-behind win.
”I need to get in the weight room. These last two games I keep hitting the top of the wall,” Voit said with a chuckle after the Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 Wednesday night in a game that see-sawed three times in the last two innings.
New York has won six of its last eight games, cutting a nine-game deficit in the AL East to 4 1/2 games behind first-place Boston ahead of the Yankees’ first trip to Fenway Park this season. In five of the victories, the Yankees came from behind in the seventh inning or later.
New York came from behind three times Wednesday.
Ryan O’Hearn homered for the second straight day following his recall from the minors, putting Kansas City ahead with a two-run drive in the first off Michael King.
Clint Frazier tied the score in the fourth against Carlos Hernandez with a two-run, opposite-field double off the base of the manual scoreboard in the right-field wall, which due to the coronavirus has not been used since 2019.
Carlos Santana gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the eighth with the first home run off Zack Britton since the 2019 AL Division Series only for Rougned Odor to hit a two-run homer in the bottom half against Jake Brentz.
Chapman (5-2) converted his first 11 save chances but has blown three of his last eight. He allowed a one-out single to Michael A. Taylor and a two-out bloop single to Whit Merrifield that put runners at the corners.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone went to the mound, then returned to the dugout and ordered an intentional walk to Santana.
”Probably not really what Chapman wanted to do there,” Sanchez said.
Rookie Sebastian Rivero, a rookie who is 0 for 7 in his career and entered in the fourth inning after Salvador Perez took a foul tip off his mask, came up with the bases loaded. Chapman threw a fastball in the dirt, then bounced a slider into Sanchez’s chest protector and then another fastball that sent dust flying. Chapman fired a fastball about a foot outside for a four-pitch walk and screamed.
On the very next pitch, O’Hearn checked his swing and hit a slow roller to third, just beating DJ LeMahieu’s throw to first. When Chapman reached the dugout after Jarrod Dyson’s inning-ending groundout, he slammed his glove.
Aaron Judge struck out for the fourth time leading off the bottom half against Holland (2-3), who got his fifth save Tuesday night in the Royals’ series-opening 6-5 win.
Sanchez lined a fastball into the left-field seats for his 12th homer, his seventh in his last 22 games.
”I pride myself in not making two-strike mistakes and that’s what burned me with the first one,” Holland said.
Giancarlo Stanton singled to right, pinch-runner Tyler Wade advanced on a wild pitch and up came Voit, who homered Tuesday in his return from the injured list but struck out three times Wednesday, stranding the bases loaded in the seventh.
Voit fouled off a pair of two-strike sliders and reached down for a curveball and turned it around at 105 mph, sending it 370 feet off the wall. Wade scored standing up with Voit’s first game-ending hit in the majors and New York’s sixth walk-off win this season.
”This is the type of win,” Voit said, ”coming back twice and winning it in a big way, to get us back on a good hot streak and rolling into the second half of the season.”
Holland has blown four of nine save opportunities.
”That ball was supposed to be in the dirt,” Holland said. ”I thought the pitch was pretty close to hitting the dirt, but it must not have been close enough.”
Kansas City walked 11 batters, its most since July 5, 2019, against Washington, and New York’s most since April 9, 2017, at Baltimore. Danny Duffy lasted two innings and 42 pitches in his return from a left flexor strain that had sidelined him since May 12. Duffy walked three, as did Hernandez. Scott Barlow and Brentz walked two apiece, and Josh Staumont one.
”Hopefully,” Boone said, ”we can continue to carry this.”
Fans booed umpires when they checked King for banned foreign substances after the second inning.
Royals: Perez took a foul tip off the mask on Duffy’s fifth pitch of the game, with LeMahieu leading off the first. The 31-year-old Perez, a six-time All-Star, has played in all 72 games this season. Metheny said he had a headache from the mask jamming his chin but was negative for a concussion.
Yankees: 3B Gio Urshela did not play, a day after he was hit in the left shin by Jake Brentz’s pitch. The shin was swollen and sore.
RHP Jameson Taillon (1-4, 5.59) is 0-2 in his last eight starts for the Yankees heading into Thursday’s series finale. Kansas City has lost the last three starts of RHP Brad Keller (6-7, 6.34) after winning the prior five.
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