HOUSTON -- The back end of the Yankees' bullpen was not supposed to be among the team's concerns, but it is now. Dellin Betances endured his second straight meltdown on Saturday, allowing the Astros to rally for a 7-6 victory that spoiled Clint Frazier's Major League debut.Assigned to protect a
HOUSTON -- The back end of the Yankees' bullpen was not supposed to be among the team's concerns, but it is now. Dellin Betances endured his second straight meltdown on Saturday, allowing the Astros to rally for a 7-6 victory that spoiled Clint Frazier's Major League debut.
Assigned to protect a three-run lead in the eighth inning, Betances issued three walks and served up a long homer to Evan Gattis that forced Albertin Chapman to try for a four-out save. Yuli Gurriel then delivered the deciding hit, a two-run double.
"I gave up one hit today, and they scored four runs. That can't happen," Betances said. "I've got to be better than that. It's tough losing this game. Obviously, these guys fought to come back. [Jordan Montgomery] had a really good start. I didn't do my job. That's the reason we lost."
Betances said that he became too predictable in his previous outing, against the White Sox on Wednesday, throwing 13 breaking balls out of 21 pitches -- including each of the last nine. He tried to show his fastball to the Astros, though his control evaporated after he struck out George Springer to open the inning.
"Right now, my breaking ball, I'm not throwing it for strikes," Betances said. "That's what hurt me today and the last couple of times. That's a pitch that I rely on, and they've been laying off some good ones. I haven't been able to throw it for strikes, and that's gotten me into trouble."
Betances threw a curve for a first-pitch strike to Jose Altuve, then missed the zone with his next four offerings. Unable to hold the speedster, Betances watched Altuve turn that free pass into a triple, as he swiped second and third.
"[Holding runners is] something that we focused on with him, and he has been better," manager Joe Girardi said.
A Carlos Correa groundout cashed Houston's fourth run of the evening, and Gattis followed by turning on an inside 98.6-mph fastball, putting the train in motion above the Crawford Boxes in left field.
Carlos Beltran walked on four pitches, replaced by pinch-runner Josh Reddick representing the tying run, and first baseman Chris Carter lost his glove on a pickoff throw that sent Reddick to second base. Carter was charged with an error.
"That's not the reason we lost," Betances said. "The reason we lost is because I had bad command. I've got to be able to challenge guys."
Reddick swiped third and, after Marwin Gonzalez walked on a 3-2 pitch, Girardi finally removed his struggling setup man in favor of Chapman.
"He's so good, and we expect so much from him, that sometimes you forget he's normal," catcher Austin Romine said. "He was trying to battle, he was trying to throw strikes and get guys out for the team. Some days it goes the other way."
Gurriel and Chapman were teammates on the Cuban National Team, and Chapman left little mystery about what was coming, pumping seven straight fastballs to the Astros' first baseman. The final one was slapped down the third-base line for the go-ahead knock, sealing the Yanks' 15th blown save in 32 opportunities this season.
"Sometimes you've got to tip your cap," Romine said. "He turned on [a 100-something pitch]. There's not a lot of guys that turn on Chapman's fastball. ... He was ready to hit a fastball. It just wasn't a good day for us."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.