KANSAS CITY -- Summoned to serve as the Yankees' 26th man in Saturday's doubleheader, Chance Adams zipped his bags in Syracuse, N.Y., clutching a ticket for a connecting flight in Chicago. That sequence earned the pitcher about a thousand air miles, but he received a more meaningful reward at the end of the journey: his first Major League victory.
Entering in relief of opener Chad Green, Adams hurled four solid innings to position himself for the win before Aroldis Chapman recorded his 250th career save in an eventful ninth inning, completing a doubleheader sweep of the Royals with a 6-5 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
"It's pretty cool, my first one in the big leagues," said Adams, who said he secured a baseball to signify the milestone. "It's a good feeling. Obviously, the more important thing is the team got the 'W,' but it feels good for me to get a first big league win."
"Obviously a long day, and we weren't sure what the weather was going to be like," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I'm glad it held off. To rack up two more wins, you take it."
In that first game, Luke Voit hit a 470-foot go-ahead homer to back a quality start from J.A. Happ. The good vibes kept rolling early as the Yankees chased starter Jorge López without recording an out in a five-run second inning. Romine and Maybin each collected a pair of RBIs, and DJ LeMahieu chased the right-hander with a run-scoring single.
That provided a healthy cushion for Adams, who was once ranked as the organization's top pitching prospect but saw his stock fall with a rough 2018 season. The 24-year-old said he has made mechanical adjustments to stand taller on the mound, at the advisement of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitching coach Tommy Phelps.
"I feel good right now," said Adams, ranked No. 20 by MLB Pipeline in the Yankees' system. "I've been tweaking some things. I just comfortable with myself out there."
Boone was impressed by Adams, who deserved a cleaner line.
"Man, [Adams was] really good," Boone said. "Really big pickup for us. He's come up here now twice and pitched well both times. Hopefully it's something that's a building block for him. He's been throwing the ball well in Triple-A. You can tell he's pitching with more confidence up here. He'll be back and he'll help us at some point this year, especially if he continues to throw the ball like that."
Gardner had Adalberto Mondesi's third-inning fly ball hit his glove near the wall for a run-scoring double, though Frazier retrieved the ball in time to throw out Mondesi attempting to stretch the play into a triple.
"That's happened to me one other time, in Detroit a long time ago," Gardner said. "Both those balls, once they got up out of the infield, I just completely lost them. It's a bad feeling. Clint did a good job of getting the ball and throwing it back in. We got a big out right there. We won the game, so that's what's important."
Boone acknowledged that the nightcap was not the Yanks' crispest effort, but they were able to squeak by. Chapman made it a one-run game in the ninth, walking pinch-hitter Billy Hamilton on four pitches and then firing an errant pickoff throw to first base that allowed the speedster to reach third base.
Cam Gallagher lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, with the putout recorded on a sliding grab by Maybin, and Chapman retired Terrance Gore looking at a called third strike to seal his 14th save in 15 opportunities.
"The slider was the key tonight, and it helped me get out of it," Chapman said through an interpreter. "Definitely, we're having a great moment right now as a team. A lot of guys have come up and contributed. I think it has to do with the harmony and union that this team has. We're excited that we are going through such a good moment right now."