By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 21- The Yanks won their third straight over the Cincinnati Reds in an exciting manner as they obtained a walk-off win on Sunday.
Hiroki Kuroda, the only original starting pitcher of this season to still be in the rotation, picked up the slack of those missing by going deep into the game and only yielding one unearned run.
For his second straight start, the veteran hurler only gave up three hits. He walked two while fanning six in 6.2 innings.
Zack Cozart, who was safe on an error by second sacker Brain Roberts to start the fifth, scored the only run off Kuroda when he was plated by a grounds-rule double by Skip Schumaker.
The Yankee skipper Joe Girardi was obviously pleased by the performance of the 39-year-old pitcher, “He did a wonderful job today. He’s been extremely consistent.”
The score was 2-1 in favor the Yankees when he was removed from the game. He was denied a chance to get the winning decision when Todd Frazier hit a solo home run off reliever Dellin Betances in the eighth to tie the score at 2.
The Japanese pitcher viewed the experience with a very mature attitude, “As a pitcher, you always want to get a win yourself, [but] the biggest thing, obviously, is for the team to get a win.”
Betances, a rookie, accepted the blame for the home run, “The pitch to Frazier was up and in. It was a bad pitch for me. I think he just guessed and took a good swing. He’s a good hitter. I felt bad not to help us get a win. I was definitely frustrated.”
The Yankees gained the victory in the bottom of the ninth in surprising fashion as fireballer Aroldis Chapman threw nearly every one of his 18 pitches for at least 100 miles per hour.
In the ninth, Jacoby Ellsbury capped off a perfect day in which he was 4 for 4 with a walk at the plate, stole two bases and made a spectacular catch in center off Frazier in the third.
He led off with a single to left. He then stole second. A wild pitch moved him to third. With one out McCann popped the ball up but three Cincinnati fielders led it drop and Ellsbury scored for the win.
Girardi explained why the opposing fielders had a problem with the ball, “It [the sun] can be very difficult if you’ve never played here.”
McCann, who had his fifth career walk-off hit, gave full credit to Ellsbury, “He runs the table. He can do anything on a baseball field. He showed all his tools today.”
The homestand for the Yankees continues as the Texas Rangers visit for games from Monday through Thursday.”