One-night stand in Motown lifts Yanks’ spirits

Thursday night’s game in Detroit was a nuisance stop for the Yankees. The makeup of an April 10 rainout came amid a three-city, nine-game trip and has forced them to play in three different cities in three days. Yet it turned out to be a stop that may get them going again.

The Yankees may have had to sweat through a 5-4 victory, but it was very welcome perspiration. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman each gave up a run over the final three innings to shrink nearly all of a four-run Yankees lead, not the way these these three flame-throwing demons normally close out games, but the fact that they were all in the same game was a positive sign in itself.

It meant that come the seventh inning the Yankees had a lead, which never occurred in Toronto earlier this week when they were swept in three games. In fact, the Yankees had more hits with runners in scoring position in the seventh inning Thursday night (three) than they had in all three games combined at Rogers Centre (two).

Rob Refsnyder, who started at second base and is giving the Yankees reason to find him a place to play on a regular basis, got the club’s first run-scoring hit in four games with an RBI single for the first of fours runs in the seventh off lefthander Matt Boyd, who flirted with a perfect game for 5 2/3 innings and a no-hitter through six. An RBI single by Aaron Hicks off Bobby Parnell and a two-run triple by Jacoby Ellsbury off Kyle Ryan climaxed the first real rally for the Yankees since last Saturday night at St. Pete in a 9-5 loss.

Miller and Chapmen received clutch defense from keeping their innings from getting uglier. Refsnyder, who also doubled to break up Boyd’s no-no bid and scored in the sixth to end a 21-inning scoreless drought for the Yanks, came out of the game for defense two innings later. Starlin Castro, who started at shortstop, gave way to Didi Gregorius and returned to his regular patch at second base.

Fresh into the game, Gregorius made immediate impact with a strong relay to the plate to gun down Justin Upton trying to score behind Miguel Cabrera on a double into the left field corner by pinch hitter Ian Kinsler. After Chapman loaded the bases in the ninth with none out, Gregorius and Castro teamed on a dazzling double play against J.D. Martinez that put a clamp on the Tigers’ last licks. Chapman came through by retiring Cabrera on a weak infield grounder for his eighth save.

Statistically, it was a no-decision for starting pitcher Michael Pineda, but his work may have convinced the Yankees to decide to leave him in the rotation. His fastball had sink and his slider had depth through two outs into the sixth inning over which he gave up seven hits but no walks and struck out eight.

The previous time the Yankees had a one-game rainout makeup during a trip was in 2014 at Kansas City. Pineda pitched that game, too, and was a winner. This time, he pitched like a winner as well.

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