NEW YORK -- The therapy session took place in the first-base dugout after Albertin Chapman bailed the Yankees out of a hairy situation, having been summoned to extinguish a bases-loaded, one-out jam. With the lefty's triple-digit heat doing so, Dellin Betances was relieved in more ways than one.Off the hook
NEW YORK -- The therapy session took place in the first-base dugout after Albertin Chapman bailed the Yankees out of a hairy situation, having been summoned to extinguish a bases-loaded, one-out jam. With the lefty's triple-digit heat doing so, Dellin Betances was relieved in more ways than one.
Off the hook after loading the bases on a hit batsman and two walks, Betances approached Chapman and told him, "My bad." Chapman smiled and offered a few encouraging words, then polished off a five-out save in a 2-1 Yankees victory over the Twins that provided the aroma of a postseason contest.
"You're coming into a situation with the bases loaded. You want to protect the lead," Chapman said through an interpreter after his first five-out save since Aug. 31, 2015. "You don't want those runs to score because they belong to your teammate. You definitely want to be more aggressive facing the batters in a situation like that."
Coming off a sharp inning in Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Orioles, Betances entered for the eighth inning and was unable to repeat his delivery. He drilled Robbie Grossman with a curveball, and after a sacrifice bunt, issued a four-pitch walk to pinch-hitter Max Kepler before uncorking a wild pitch that moved the potential tying run to third base.
Betances had a 2-2 count on James Dozier but couldn't put the infielder away, dotting two sliders out of the strike zone, and manager Joe Girardi sprang out of the dugout to signal for Chapman.
"I put Chapman in a tough situation," Betances said. "He did an unbelievable job but I know I can be better. I feel good when I'm warming up in the bullpen. My timing has got to be a little better and I think that will fix the control problems that I've had, today especially."
The Yankees do not lack for bullpen options -- both Player Page for David Robertson and Chad Green could be more than capable of spelling Betances in his eighth-inning role, but Girardi was not prepared to discuss those machinations after Monday's game.
"We've got to get him straightened out because he's really important to us moving forward," Girardi said.
It has been only a month since Chapman was demoted from his closer's job following a string of poor outings, but that step back seems to have restored the flame-thrower's dominance. Chapman struck out Joe Mauer on three fastballs, whiffing him on a 102.7 mph offering, then got Byron Buxton to hit an easy fly ball to Aaron Judge in right field.
"It's what you're supposed to do," Robertson said. "Chapman is unbelievable and Dellin had a little bit of a hiccup out there. It's nice that it didn't really matter and Chapman was able to come and clean it up. He looks amazing to me. I wish I had his arm. It's unfair, what he throws."
Breezing through the ninth, Chapman retired Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar in order. Chapman's final pitch blew past Escobar's bat at 103.6 mph, the fastest strikeout pitch recorded in the Majors this year.
Chapman credited pitching coach Larry Rothschild and bullpen coach Mike Harkey, as well as Robertson and Betances, for helping get him back on track.
"When things weren't going right for me, they were always there to give me confidence," Chapman said. "They're the reason why I was able to get my command back and my control back."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.