Alonso’s HR off Chapman in 11th lifts Mariners Over Yankees

NEW YORK (AP) _ All of a sudden, even left-handed hitters are handling Aroldis
Chapman’s heat.

Yonder Alonso homered on a 100 mph fastball from Chapman in the 11th inning,
and the Seattle Mariners outpitched the New York Yankees for a 2-1 victory
Friday night.

“I’m just trying not to strike out, to be honest with you,” Alonso said.
“He’s as tough as it gets, no question about it. He’s got electric stuff.”

Mike Zunino homered and had three hits for the Mariners, right in the middle of
a crowded race for the second AL wild card. They used seven pitchers to hold
down the Yankees, who lead the wild-card chase but trail first-place Boston by 4
1/2 games in the AL East.

Alonso entered as a pinch hitter in the ninth and sent a drive to center field
with two outs in the 11th against Chapman (4-3), the $86 million reliever who
recently lost his job as closer.

“It’s difficult right now, and what I’m trying to do is get out of it. That’s
my focus,” Chapman said through a translator. “You’ve got to keep fighting.
Don’t give up.”

The struggling lefty was booed again as he walked off the mound.

“It’s frustrating for Chappy, it’s frustrating for us,” Yankees manager Joe
Girardi said. “We’re trying to get it right.”

Acquired from Oakland this month, Alonso became the third left-handed batter to
homer against Chapman in his eight-year career. Just 12 days before, 20-year-old
Boston rookie Rafael Devers became the second.

“That’s about as tough as it gets, off of Chapman on a 100 mph fastball that
he squared up,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.

James Pazos (4-4) tossed a perfect inning against his former team and Edwin
Diaz got three outs for his 30th save in 34 tries.

Todd Frazier flied out to deep left and Brett Gardner later stole second before
Diaz fanned Aaron Hicks on the next pitch for the final out .

New York stranded 13 runners and left the bases loaded three times _ twice on
strikeouts by Frazier, batting ninth for the first time in his career.

“It was a great all-around win for us. I mean, I thought our pitching stepped
up when we needed it to,” Zunino said. “The bullpen has been big.”

One day after brawling with the Tigers in Detroit, Yankees catchers Gary
Sanchez and Austin Romine were among four players suspended by Major League
Baseball. Sanchez was banned for four games and Romine two, but both appealed _
keeping them eligible to play until the process is complete.

Sanchez nearly hit an early grand slam, but his two-out fly was caught in the
left-field corner.

CC Sabathia was in top form for the Yankees, who broke with tradition on
Players Weekend and ditched the famous pinstriped uniforms they had worn
exclusively at home for more than a century.

“It’s awesome. I loved it. It was fun,” Sabathia said.

Wearing the nickname “Dub” across the back of his blue and gray jersey, the
big left-hander allowed only Zunino’s 19th homer in seven sharp innings . He
gave up five hits and struck out six on “Star Wars” night at Yankee Stadium.

“Outstanding performance,” Girardi said. “I thought he had everything
working.”

With the Yankees trailing 1-0 in the eighth, Aaron Judge drew a one-out walk
from David Phelps. Didi Gregorius lined a double to left-center, where Guillermo
Heredia booted the ball as he tried to cut it off. The center fielder’s error
allowed Judge to score the tying run .

Gregorius made an ill-timed baserunning blunder when he got thrown out at third
trying to advance on a grounder to shortstop. Two more walks by Phelps loaded
the bases before Nick Vincent struck out Frazier to end the inning.

Seattle loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but Ben Gamel fouled out
and pinch-hitter Robinson Cano struck out on three pitches against Dellin
Betances. The former Yankees star didn’t start due to a tender hamstring.

“You want to win these games now, especially coming down to crunch time,”
Sabathia said. “It’s tough for us right now, but we’ll bounce back.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: Cano left Wednesday’s game in Atlanta with tightness in his left
hamstring. “He feels OK,” Servais said. “Just play it safe.” … Heredia was
back in the starting lineup. He was removed Wednesday after getting hit on the
right forearm by a pitch.

Yankees: All-Star 2B Starlin Castro was reinstated from the disabled list and
doubled in the fourth for New York’s first hit. Castro had been sidelined since
July 23 and missed 31 games with a strained right hamstring. … With the
Yankees facing a left-hander, 1B Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) remained on the
DL, though it sounds as though he’s about ready to be activated.

ESCAPE ARTIST

Seattle starter Ariel Miranda was pulled with a 1-0 lead in the fifth, one out
shy of qualifying for a win. He walked four and left the bases loaded twice,
throwing only 52 of 99 pitches for strikes.

ROSTER MOVES

Seattle sent OF Leonys Martin outright to Triple-A Tacoma. … To make room for
Castro, the Yankees optioned INF-OF Tyler Wade to Triple-A
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After the game, New York sent 1B Tyler Austin to
Triple-A.

UP NEXT

Seattle RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-9, 5.75 ERA) starts Saturday afternoon against
Yankees RHP Sonny Gray (7-8, 3.38), who has given up two earned runs or fewer in
each of his past 10 starts.

___

More AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

AP-WF-08-26-17 0517GMT<

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