KANSAS CITY -- The Yankees presented Ben Heller with the lineup card from Wednesday night's 5-4 win in 13 innings over the Royals, offering a nod to his first Major League win. If they wanted to acknowledge everyone who earned recognition, they could have easily handed out seven different copies.Starter
KANSAS CITY -- The Yankees presented Ben Heller with the lineup card from Wednesday night's 5-4 win in 13 innings over the Royals, offering a nod to his first Major League win. If they wanted to acknowledge everyone who earned recognition, they could have easily handed out seven different copies.
Starter Luis Cessa and six relievers limited the Royals to one hit over the final 10 frames, with Kansas City's last hit coming off Salvador Perez's bat in the fifth. The bullpen worked seven hitless innings, with Heller picking up the victory and Dellin Betances locking down his seventh save in eight opportunities.
"Tonight was just so awesome, to be able to show the team, my coaches and everybody that I'm worthy of being here and I can help the team win," said Heller, who came to the Yankees from the Indians in the Andrew Miller trade. "That's all that really matters to me right now."
After Cessa limited the Royals to four runs (three earned) over six innings, Chasen Shreve worked two innings, less than 24 hours removed from picking up his first Major League save. Tommy Layne recorded an out, Adam Warren got two and the game headed into extra innings.
"I thought these last couple of games were big for us," said Betances, who recorded the final three outs after Brian McCann's go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the 13th. "K.C. has been playing very well. For us to lose the first game and come back and win these next two in extras, I thought it was huge."
To get there, Blake Parker set down the side in order in the 10th and pitched out of trouble in the 11th, getting Paulo Orlando to line out to second baseman Starlin Castro, stranding runners at second and third after a hit-by-pitch and walk.
The names may not be as familiar as they were a month or so ago, when Aroldis Chapman and Miller ruled the roost, but manager Joe Girardi is beginning to appreciate what he has on hand.
"There's a lot of guys we really don't know, in a sense," Girardi said. "I hadn't seen Parker. I hadn't seen Layne a whole lot. I wasn't exactly sure how we were going to do it, but we went and got [Tyler] Clippard, he's done a really good job and we went and got Adam, and we're familiar with him."
Heller experienced some jitters when called upon in Tuesday's 5-4 win in 10 innings, drilling the first batter he faced and leaving a bases-loaded jam for Shreve, who needed just five pitches to escape. This time, Heller was collected, inducing a trio of infield grounders that rolled the game over to the lucky 13th.
"[The win] was kind of in the back of my mind, but at the moment it was just such an awesome atmosphere in the dugout," Heller said. "To come in and win a series against the Royals, who we're chasing down in the Wild Card [standings] -- in extra innings, at that -- it's just such a huge team win."
After McCann's sacrifice fly sent Didi Gregorius home with the go-ahead run, Betances walked Cheslor Cuthbert, but stuck his glove in just the right spot on Eric Hosmer's grounder up the middle, starting a 1-6-3 double play that was short on style points, but couldn't have come at a more opportune moment.
"Those are probably two of the best wins I remember all year, against a club that's playing really well," Chase Headley said. "This is the World [Series] champions from last year and they're hot. ... Our relief pitching was outstanding. We had four, five, six different guys step up and really throw well."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.