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Santos impresses with relief in tight spot

MIAMI -- After a forgettable Yankees debut on Saturday, right-hander Sergio Santos -- like any pitcher -- wanted to get back on the mound to put the rough outing in the past.

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But a no-out, bases-loaded situation in a one-run ballgame?

When righty Jose Ramirez exited following a single, a hit batsman and a walk, Santos came in to clean up the mess during the eighth inning of Monday night's 2-1 loss to the Marlins.

"From what I've learned, taking it pitch by pitch," Santos said. "Once you start thinking ahead, things tend to happen so my main thing was getting ahead of hitters, attacking them. That's basically it. Attacking them and knowing that I can live with whatever happens."

Santos struck out both J.T. Realmuto and pinch-hitter Marcell Ozuna on sliders in the dirt before forcing Adeiny Hechavarria to line out to right. Nine of his 10 pitches went for strikes. All 10 were sliders in the low-to-mid 80s.

"He had a great slider and he threw it for strikes and then expanded with it," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's tough on right-handers, and we could use that."

The 31-year-old righty, who has spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues with the White Sox and Blue Jays, began 2015 with Triple-A Oklahoma City before being selected to the Dodgers' 25-man roster on April 24. He posted a 4.73 ERA in 12 appearances, getting designated for assignment a month later and electing free agency.

Santos signed a Minor League deal with New York last Wednesday and tossed a scoreless outing for Double-A Trenton. His contract was selected prior to Saturday's game at Baltimore, where he allowed two runs on three hits -- including a homer -- with a strikeout over two frames.

The start to his Yankees tenure was less than ideal for Santos, who hopes to stick around. Monday's appearance sure helped.

"Obviously, when you come to a new team, you want to show what you're capable of," Santos said. "That first game wasn't quite what I had in mind and I think what the Yankees had in mind. It's nice to have this and build on it. Build on that second inning of the last game and this inning, and hopefully I can continue that."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to
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