Edgy Happ, confident Urshela propel Yankees

Southpaw takes no-hitter into fifth; pinch-hitter drives in insurance runs

May 10th, 2019

NEW YORK -- carried a full tank of pent-up frustration, spilling over from his most recent effort on the Yankee Stadium mound. was brimming with confidence, fueled by his continued success in clutch situations.

Combined, Happ and Urshela sent the Yankees into their weekend showdown against the first-place Rays on a winning note. Happ pitched scoreless, one-hit ball into the sixth inning and Urshela came off the bench to deliver a key hit, powering New York's 3-1 victory over the Mariners on Thursday evening at Yankee Stadium.

"I think I just held some frustration from that last start," said Happ, who lost to the Twins earlier this homestand last Saturday. "Pitching with an edge, whatever you want to call it. I was definitely focused out there, and I think that helped a little bit."

Urshela's two-run, eighth-inning single off Connor Sadzeck provided valuable insurance, a policy that the Yanks cashed when Domingo Santana broke up the shutout with a two-out homer off in the ninth. Chapman polished off the save, sealing the Yanks' 14th win in 19 games.

“I’ve been working for this kind of a chance," Urshela said. "What I’m doing right now, I’m trying to get better every day. Confidence is the key for me. I’m trying to have that confidence in every game."

One night after the Yanks' hitters were stymied by lefty Yusei Kikuchi -- perhaps with the help of a sticky substance affixed to the underside of his cap -- it was the home team's turn to silence the bats.

Sensing better life on his four-seam fastball and using that pitch aggressively, Happ strapped his sinker, slider and change into the back seat as he held the Mariners hitless until Tom Murphy's two-out single in the fifth.

"I think that [four-seamer] helped," Happ said. "We were pitching out there. We were mixing. I had a little better drive and a little more consistency on that four-seamer. I think it allows the other stuff to play better."

Happ's control was not pinpoint in the three-walk, seven-strikeout effort -- he drilled Dee Gordon on the right wrist in the third inning, forcing the infielder to leave the game and prompting his ire -- but it was much improved over his underwhelming results against the Twins.

"He’s been fighting hard," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I feel like he’s been really grinding. He’s really tried to find that way, and he’s done a good job of making different adjustments at times. To see him go out, throw it like he did tonight and really pound the zone like he did was really good to see. He was pretty intense throughout that game."

Supported only by 's second-inning RBI double off Mariners starter Mike Leake, Happ barked at home-plate umpire Ed Hickox after getting squeezed on his 94th pitch, a close sixth-inning offering to Dylan Moore that resulted in a walk.

That prompted Boone to hand the game off to the bullpen, as Happ wondered where the last pitch had been. relieved and extinguished a jam, inducing Santana to roll a slow grounder to shortstop for a 6-6-3 double play.

"We haven't had too many nail-biters," Ottavino said. "We've been winning by a couple of runs each time, usually. To have it be 1-0 for that long was a little weird, but we know what we're capable of doing out there. I have all the confidence in everyone who came in after me, and Happ as well. We believe in our guys."

and also fired scoreless frames, setting up another memorable moment for Urshela, who entered the game as a defensive replacement after third baseman went 0-for-3. Andujar is hitless in his last 15 at-bats.

“He’s searching for it a little bit right now," Boone said of Andujar.

Urshela sustained a bruised left knee in Wednesday's loss, and Boone had planned to rest him in advance of a weekend on Tropicana Field's artificial turf. But Urshela's contact ability proved timely, and he was inspired when Seattle intentionally walked Torres to load the bases in favor of facing him.

“That created more confidence for me," Urshela said. "I went up there and tried to do my best. I’m just trying to shorten my swing, and that’s what I did."

After looking at a pair of called strikes, Urshela did not flinch when Sadzeck's slider sailed outside of the zone. The next pitch was a 98.7 mph fastball that Urshela stroked into right field, chasing home and with the runs that would provide the Yankees with their happy flight to the Sunshine State.

"Baseball is hard to predict," Ottavino said. "I know we all try with the projections and all that stuff, but you've got to play the games. There's a lot of games. Sometimes a group can come together unexpectedly, and that's what's kind of happening now."