The seven-game winning streak that the Yankees were on is over as they had a 4-2 lead entering the top of the eighth inning but ended up losing to the Washington Nationals 5-4 in 11 innings. Denard Span hit an RBI infield single in the 11th off of Chris Capuano to score Tyler Moore in what was the winning run.
“Dellin Betances was down today and Andrew Miller is going to end up on the DL with a strain in his flexor muscle (forearm),” Joe Girardi said. “He will not throw the ball for 10 days to two weeks and then we will go from there.” Girardi didn’t use Betances because he had been used a lot recently.
The bullpen ruined a solid start by Nathan Eovaldi as he threw seven innings while allowing three runs on eight hits. He had four strikeouts and was able to give the team much more length than he did in his previous two starts. Span drove in the first run of the game in the third inning as his double down the left field line scored Danny Espinosa.
If Betances did not need a day off he likely would have been pitching in the eighth inning when the Nationals tied the game. With rookie Jacob Lindgren pitching, pinch-hitter Michael Taylor hit a two-run homer to right to drive in Ian Desmond to make the score 4-4. However, if Stephen Drew didn’t have trouble getting the ball out of his glove and converted the double play in the eighth then Taylor would not have come to the plate in the eighth.
The Yankees scored four runs in the seventh inning, but they ended up needing one more run to get the win. Brandan Ryan, who was appearing in his first game of the season, hit better than expected as his triple to center scored Chris Young (and was his second hit of the day). Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez both hit run scoring doubles and then Brian McCann had an RBI single after his grounder up the middle hit second base and prevented Desmond from catching it.
Rodriguez now needs only eight more hits to be the 29th baseball player with 3,000 hits. The seventh inning was the only positive from the offensive standpoint as the Yankees left eight runners on base and were 0-6 with runners in scoring position outside of the seventh inning.
Miller told Girardi after the game on Tuesday that he had pain in his flexor muscle. During his nine pitches thrown during Tuesday’s game his body language was different than normal, which was an indication of his injury. Girardi said that everyone will be pushed back an inning and that Betances will be the closer while Miller is on the DL.
“It was hard to get loose sometimes and it became too much of a distraction,” Miller said. His control has not been as efficient as it was earlier in the season since he has thrown much more pitches recently. This hurts the Yankees since they will not have a shutdown reliable eighth inning pitcher like they have had with Betances.
The loss of Miller for what will probably be more than three weeks will hurt since he was having an All-Star season to this point. He has pitched 26.1 innings (26 games) and has a 1.03 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 17 saves in 17 chances, 43 strikeouts and only 10 walks.
Girardi will now likely use a mixture of Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson in the eighth inning with Miller out. It will be important for Betances to continue pitching in the ninth the same way he did in the eighth, but he is more of a sure thing than the eighth inning options are.
Pinch-hitter Garrett Jones struck out swinging to end the game. Before today’s game, Jones had raised his average from .186 to .262 from May 23 to June 5.
The Yankees, who are 33-26 and have a two-game lead in the AL East, have another off day on Thursday and will start a series against the fourth place Baltimore Orioles on Friday.