PHOENIX -- If there was ever a test to see if Joe Girardi could resist turning a game over to his power bullpen, this was it. Nathan Eovaldi cruised through six innings and retired 18 straight D-backs on Wednesday, needing just 85 pitches to get there.As such, Eovaldi believed that
PHOENIX -- If there was ever a test to see if Joe Girardi could resist turning a game over to his power bullpen, this was it. Nathan Eovaldi cruised through six innings and retired 18 straight D-backs on Wednesday, needing just 85 pitches to get there.
As such, Eovaldi believed that he was going back out for the seventh, but Girardi was taking no chances after his Yankees were outplayed in the first two games of the series. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman teamed for the final nine outs, locking down a 4-2 victory at Chase Field.
"If the score's a little bit different, maybe I do it a little bit differently," Girardi said. "But we had Betances, Miller and Chapman rested. That's what they're there for. Nate did his job and it was the responsibility of the next three guys to do their jobs."
Eovaldi permitted just one hit, watching Jean Segura's leadoff grounder kick off the second-base bag for a quirky double. From there, he was dominant, striking out five while walking none. His excellent command provided the brand of starting performance the Yanks have sorely lacked of late.
"In the bullpen, I felt really good, but I feel like that stuff changes when a batter gets in the box," Eovaldi said. "The first inning, I was able to locate the fastball both in and away and had a real good feel for my slider early on."
Getting into a good rhythm with catcher Brian McCann, Eovaldi shrugged off Paul Goldschmidt's run-scoring groundout -- on a ball that third baseman Chase Headley appeared to have time to throw home on -- and pounded the zone with efficiency in his best start of the year.
"I'm just trying to work ahead in the count and keep attacking," Eovaldi said. "It was good having Mac back there; we had a good connection from all the starts last year. It was nice having him back there and I felt we were on the same page the whole game."
Given that, Eovaldi admitted to being surprised to see Betances warming for the seventh.
"I thought I was going back out," Eovaldi said. "I was a little disappointed, but you've got those three guys coming in. You can't be too frustrated about that."
With "Done BMC" dispatched, Betances made things interesting in the seventh, issuing walks to the first two batters he faced before settling down to escape via two strikeouts and a flyout.
Betances joked that he was just trying to keep the game interesting for viewers staying up late back on the East Coast, and said that he wasn't shocked to see Eovaldi get the hook after the sixth.
"Oh, no; I'm coming in that situation," Betances said. "Obviously it's Joe's call, but in my mind I'm coming in if we're winning by one, tie game, two, three. I'm coming in the seventh inning; that's my mindset. He did a tremendous job and I'm sure he would have done a good job. I think Evo doesn't mind sharing the seventh with me."
Chris Owings opened the eighth with a homer off Miller, just the D-backs' second hit, but Miller recovered to strike out the next three hitters. Chapman touched 102 mph several times in a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out one. Girardi left with no regrets with how he deployed the trio.
"I'm going to take my chances probably 99 percent of the time with Betances, Miller and Chapman, just because they're so good," Girardi said.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.