What an unlikely way for a remarkable streak to end.
Yankees closer Clay Holmes didn’t implode in Aroldis Chapman-like spectacular fashion Monday, but the box score from the Yankees’ 4-2 win against the Rays still shows a blown save and a run allowed by Holmes for the first time since Opening Day.
Asked to get a five-out save with an inherited runner on first base in the eighth inning, the hard-throwing sinkerballer allowed a double and two 60-foot bouncers that plated runs.
“The soft contact got him,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I didn’t think it was much off what he normally is.”
How dominant is Holmes normally? He carried a streak of 31 ¹/₃ consecutive scoreless innings — third-longest in Yankees’ history — over 29 appearances into the game.
“Maybe a new streak starts,” Holmes said, “but you’ve got to take it one at a time, and that’s kind of the mindset I’ve had this whole season.”
After Francisco Mejia’s double put runners on second and third with one out, the Rays tied the score at 2-2 on a groundout fielded by Holmes and an infield single down the third-base line. Holmes struck out Randy Arozarena to strand the potential go-ahead run and record at least one punchout for the 16th time in his last 17 outings.
“Probably one pitch there to Mejia I wish I could have back,” Holmes said, “but just a couple little knocks that found a way to either get the guy in or be a hit. A couple unlucky bounces, but they did a good job of putting the bat on the ball when they needed to.”
Boone pulled Holmes (25 pitches) after the Yankees scored twice in the top of the ninth. With Michael King among those relievers unavailable as Boone avoids using pitchers on three straight days, the Yankees turned to left-hander Wandy Peralta instead of right-hander Clarke Schmidt.
Peralta, who allowed three runs Sunday in a loss to the Blue Jays, showed a short memory, worked around third baseman DJ LeMahieu’s error and earned his seventh career save by escaping a two-on one-out jam. Holmes (5-0) wound up with the win.
“I wouldn’t say that it feels different [in the ninth inning] because at the end I just want to do my job,” Peralta said through a translator. “The mentality is I have a tie game no matter what the score is. There’s urgency, but it’s all concentration.”