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Yanks' bullpen shuts down Nats in nightcap

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- With Nationals runners on first and third base and no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday night, it seemed like the Yankees' one-run lead would soon be gone. That was until Jonathan Holder entered.

Holder replaced starter Sonny Gray and struck out Mark Reynolds. The Nationals tried to create offense by pinch-hitting Daniel Murphy, but he also struck out. Pedro Severino then popped out, as Holder escaped the frame. Yankees manager Aaron Boone admitted he was hoping at best for the Nationals to score only one run.

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WASHINGTON -- With Nationals runners on first and third base and no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday night, it seemed like the Yankees' one-run lead would soon be gone. That was until Jonathan Holder entered.

Holder replaced starter Sonny Gray and struck out Mark Reynolds. The Nationals tried to create offense by pinch-hitting Daniel Murphy, but he also struck out. Pedro Severino then popped out, as Holder escaped the frame. Yankees manager Aaron Boone admitted he was hoping at best for the Nationals to score only one run.

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"After he did that you could feel a jolt across the bench," Gray said, "and we kind of knew we were going to win this game."

New York's bullpen stymied Washington's offense the rest of the game, and the Yankees added an insurance run to defeat the Nationals, 4-2, in a makeup game from May 16 and securing a split of the day after dropping the conclusion of the May 15 suspended game, 5-3. The Yankees and Red Sox are still tied for first place in the American League East.

"Our 'pen tonight," Boone said, "just a big-time performance from them."

Video: NYY@WSH: Yankees talk about 4-2 win over the Nats

The Yankees couldn't get the bats going in the modified doubleheader's first game, which resumed in the sixth inning with the score tied at 3. But the Yankees' offense offered more support in the second game.

Aaron Hicks provided the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning with a two-run homer, his third home run in the past five days. Giancarlo Stanton, who went 4-for-5, then ripped an RBI double in the seventh, creating "Let's Go Yankees" chants from many in attendance.

The Yankees opened the scoring in the first inning when Stanton's single down the middle of the field drove in Hicks.

Video: NYY@WSH: Stanton goes 4-for-5, picks up 2 RBIs

Reynolds helped give the Nationals a lead with an RBI groundout and sacrifice fly in the second and fourth innings, respectively. Both knocks drove in Anthony Rendon.

But on the same night the Nationals traded three prospects for Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera, the Yankees showed Washington what a dominant bullpen looks like. After Holder escaped, David Robertson and Dellin Betances threw no-hit innings.

Aroldis Chapman allowed two runners on base in the ninth, but right fielder Aaron Judge caught Trea Turner's knock at the warning track to secure the final out, as Chapman smiled and raised his arms in relief.

"It got me to hold my breath for a sec," Boone said. "It looked like [Judge] had a bead. He made a couple good plays out there. He made that one look routine."

Video: NYY@WSH: Judge makes catch to complete Chapman's save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hicks continues surge: Hicks has hit nine home runs this season, but three of those have come in the past five days.

Hicks' two-run homer off Erick Fedde's sinker gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning, an advantage they never gave up.

The 28-year-old hit 15 home runs last season.

"It was big for us," Hicks said.

Video: NYY@WSH: Hicks launches a 2-run home run to right

SOUND SMART
Holder hasn't allowed an earned run since April 6, a span of 22 innings. The right-hander has inherited 11 runners during in that time and permitted only three of them to score.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the third inning, Judge ran past the right-field foul line to make a diving catch on Turner's fly ball. Statcast™ rated it as a four-star catch, with a 47 percent catch probability. The 26-year-old traveled 122 feet in six seconds, flashing an elite-level 30 feet/second sprint speed.

"He's a really good defender," Boone said. "He takes a lot of pride in it. Obviously he's made some tremendous throws that have been kind of highlight worthy, but he seems to always get the right break on the ball. Judge takes so much pride in being an all-around player, and defense is part of it."

Video: NYY@WSH: Statcast™ measures Judge's superb diving grab

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Hicks doubled leading off the game and one out later was doubled off at second base on Didi Gregorius lineout to second baseman Wilmer Difo on a play that would have ended the inning with the game still scoreless. However, the Yankees challenged, and the call was overturned, as replays showed that Hicks got back to the bag in time. That extended the inning for Stanton's RBI single.

Video: NYY@WSH: Hicks avoids getting doubled up after review

UP NEXT
Domingo German will take the mound at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday as the Yankees return home to open a three-game series against the Mariners. The right-hander has allowed three runs over six innings in each of his past two starts, both of which were Yankees wins. German, who hasn't faced Seattle in his two-year career, will square off against Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks, Jonathan Holder