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Michael King bails out Aroldis Chapman, saves Yankees win over Blue Jays


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Michael King escaped a goal-laden, no-out jam created by Aroldis Chapman to preserve the New York Yankees’ 3-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night after Luis Severino became the first pitcher to take out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. three times.

Guerrero hit four in all for the first time in his career, one night after hitting three homers and going 4-for-4.

Given a 3-0 lead, Chapman threw just four of 16 pitches for strikes. He walked the last three batters in Toronto’s order: Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal and pinch hitter Matt Chapman.

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New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman, right, hands the ball to manager Aaron Boone as he drives off in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Thursday, April 14, 2022 , At New York.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Yankees manager Aaron Boone retired Chapman in favor of King, a 26-year-old right-hander.

“It’s a tough decision,” Boone said of Chapman’s withdrawal. “I felt he could have got away with it.”

In the first saveout opportunity of his big league career, King knocked out George Springer on three pitches, throwing a fastball for a called third strike.

“A ton of adrenaline and knowing you have to run,” King said.

With Guerrero in the circle on the bridge, Bo Bichette took a called strike, then hit a soft understudy to second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who threw to first base to double Chapman for the final. The Yankees shut out Toronto for the second time in the four-game series.

“He was terrific,” Boone said. “Obviously going up against the guys he was coming up there, doing what he did there with Springer was huge, and then getting ahead of Bo there and getting a soft touch.

“It made you nervous like he was heading to the outfield, but DJ looked like he had a really good read and made a really good double play on it.”

King’s breakout act continued a strong start for the New York bullpen. The Yankees closed their first homestand with a 1.30 ERA in their first 34 2/3 innings.

Severino (1-0) allowed two hits in five innings, struck out six and walked two. Lucas Luetge, Miguel Castro, Clay Holmes and Chad Green followed before the ninth inning drama.

After a 95-minute rain delay, Severino earned his first win as a starting pitcher since Sept. 22, 2019, also against Toronto. He threw 83 pitches, 18 more than his season debut on Saturday against Boston and he averaged 97.4 mph for 33 fastballs.

“Trevino, (pitching coach Matt) Blake and I did a really good job trying to look at (Guerrero’s) weakness,” Severino said. “He’s a great hitter. So anytime you can contain him, it’s great.”

Jose Trevino hit RBI singles in the third and fifth innings against Kevin Gausman (0-1) and Isiah Kiner-Falefa also had three hits and scored on Trevino’s hits. New York’s 8-9 batter went 4 for 43 with an RBI.

Giancarlo Stanton added an RBI groundout in the eighth.

Guerrero struck in the first on a substitution, took a third strike called on a cutter in the outside corner in the third and sniffed on another Severino substitution in the fifth. He hit on a slider from Holmes opening the eighth.

“You have to give Severino credit, he had what it took today,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Gausman allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked none.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: OF Teoscar Hernández was placed on the 10-day IL with a left oblique stump and manager Charlie Montoyo is optimistic it will be a short absence. Hernández was injured Wednesday in the sixth inning. … RHP Ryan Borucki (straight right hamstring) will throw an inning in a mock game at the Dunedin Spring Training Complex on Friday. … INF Gosuke Katoh was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Hernández

NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Ross Stripling (0-0, 9.00 ERA) will start against Athletics RHP Daulton Jefferies (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Friday night in Toronto.

Yankees: LHP Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 8.10 ERA) will start against the Orioles RHP Jordan Lyles (0-1, 9.00 ERA) Friday night in Baltimore. Montgomery pulled off a 103 mph return to his left knee on Sunday to Boston’s Xander Bogaerts.


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