Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fast Track

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fast Track

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The pitches were coming in at a crackling speed, each one topping 100 miles per hour from Aroldis Chapman. And Jacoby Ellsbury hung in, fouling them off, tipping them, stepping out to catch his breath, and then finally poking a 101-mph fastball into the hole for a single.

He then moved nearly as fast as a Chapman pitch, getting a huge jump to steal second and moved to third on a wild pitch that bounced in the dirt. And then with one out, Brian McCann lofted a pop-up just behind first base. And on this sunny afternoon, three Reds converged, arms up in confusion, and the ball plopped to the ground as Ellsbury raced home on the gift-wrapped single with the winning run in a 3-2 Yankees win.

"It's not every day you see someone throwing 102," said Ellsbury, who went 4-for-4. "You just try to put a good at-bat together, hope to put something hard in play. Fortunately, I fouled some pitches to get a pitch I could hit. In that situation, I mean, I'm just trying to scrape one run across; I'm trying to get in scoring position as fast as possible. Good thing I did."

The win gave the Yankees a sweep of the Reds in the three-game series to start the second half. Entering the post-All Star break portion of the schedule with so many questions, the Yankees answered with a definitive slap back at all the criticism. Just 18-23 at home in the first half, they swept a three-game series in the Bronx for just the second time this season, and they did it with timely hitting and another solid starting pitching performance.

For the third straight game, the Yankees' banged-up staff delivered a strong start. Hiroki Kuroda allowed just three hits and one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings, leaving with a 2-1 lead after 99 pitches. The patchwork rotation has now given up three or fewer runs in six straight starts -- the longest streak since July 16-21, 2011.

But it still took the late-game heroics of Ellsbury after Dellin Betances, who had surrendered just one home run all year, gave up a game-tying solo shot to Jersey native Todd Frazier in the eighth inning. …

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