Hanley Ramirez was just happy J.D. Martinez took his advice.
The same couldn't be said for Hembree, who retired the first man he faced in the seventh before Miguel Andujar's single to right center and an excuse-me looper to right by Torres. The Yankees are 17-2 in their last 19 games and are tied with the Boston Red Sox for the best record in baseball.
Thanks to the win, Boston and NY are tied atop the AL East at 26-11, the best record in the major leagues.
Austin came up after Kelly walked leadoff hitter Gary Sanchez to face his new rival for the second time as a big leaguer. and, to the best of his recollection, for the second time ever.
NY managed to take two of three games from the Red Sox to tie Boston for first place in the AL East. Because batters tend to gain an advantage when facing a pitcher multiple times in the same game, and because relief pitchers can summon elite velocity pitching at maximum effort in short stints, managers are going.
Martinez answered with the homer in the 8th and Craig Kimbrel finished the game with a 9th inning save. They had lost nine games by April 20 and the roster was plagued with injuries. The Red Sox were reeling and looked ready to be swept by the white-hot Yankees, who had won eight straight overall and 11 in a row at home. Kelly threw a called third strike past Neil Walker to end the inning with two on - the seventh Yankees batter caught looking as NY repeatedly questioned the strike zone of plate umpire Stu Scheurwater. The move by coach Peter Laviolette initially seemed to work when Predators defenseman P.K. Subban blasted home a one-timer to make it 2-1, but the Jets pulled away later in the second period.
The Yankees had been trailing most of the game before fans' new favorite villain, Joe Kelly, let the pinstripes tie the game in the 7th inning. After Didi Gregorius popped out - to continue his own hitless streak - Giancarlo Stanton singled on a liner that third baseman Rafael Devers couldn't handle. He left one also as he helped salvage Thursday's finale with a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning. Anyway, Gohara was impressive in his call-up as a starter last season, but groin and ankle injuries suffered in spring training forced him to rehab in the minors (where he struggled with 10 walks and five home runs in 15⅔ innings).
Mookie Betts had three hits, raising his batting average to a major league-leading.361.
Kelly's first pitch was a 98-mph fastball to Austin, who went for it and hit a flyball to deep left that ignited a brief roar from the crowd. He gave up two runs and two hits while getting two outs for Double-A Portland. Martinez was in left field as the road trip began the last of its three legs, with Texas and NY in the rearview mirror. Those were the other three teams that reached an American League division series last October.
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