Yankees, Royals take turns blowing leads as New York prevails in ninth

Kansas City overcame a ninth-inning deficit to take a 5-4 lead over New York Wednesday, but Greg Holland fell apart in the ninth inning as the Yankees rallied for a walk-off, 6-5 win.

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June 24, 2021 - 8:31 AM

The New York Yankees' Luke Voit, left, and Rougned Odor celebrate after a walk-off single by Voit against the Kansas City Royals aWednesday. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images / TNS

NEW YORK (AP) — Aroldis Chapman bent over sharply and cursed at himself after blowing a save with a four-pitch bases-loaded walk and falling behind on an infield single.

Just 13 minutes later, the closer and the rest of the Yankees were all smiles. Gary Sánchez’s tying home run off Greg Holland and Luke Voit’s winning single that landed inches from the top of the left-field fence sent them running onto the field with yet another late come-from-behind win.

“I need to get in the weight room. These last two games I keep hitting the top of the wall,” Voit said with a chuckle after the Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 Wednesday night in a game that see-sawed three times in the last two innings.

New York has won six of its last eight games, cutting a nine-game deficit in the AL East to 4 1/2 games behind first-place Boston ahead of the Yankees’ first trip to Fenway Park this season. In five of the victories, the Yankees came from behind in the seventh inning or later.

New York came from behind three times Wednesday.

Ryan O’Hearn homered for the second straight day following his recall from the minors, putting Kansas City ahead with a two-run drive in the first off Michael King.

Clint Frazier tied the score in the fourth against Carlos Hernández with a two-run, opposite-field double off the base of the manual scoreboard in the right-field wall, which due to the coronavirus has not been used since 2019.

Carlos Santana gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the eighth with the first home run off Zack Britton since the 2019 AL Division Series only for Rougned Odor to hit a two-run homer in the bottom half against Jake Brentz.

Chapman (5-2) converted his first 11 save chances but has blown three of his last eight. He allowed a one-out single to Michael A. Taylor and a two-out bloop single to Whit Merrifield that put runners at the corners.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone went to the mound, then returned to the dugout and ordered an intentional walk to Santana.

“Probably not really what Chapman wanted to do there,” Sánchez said.

Rookie Sebastian Rivero, a rookie who is 0 for 7 in his career and entered in the fourth inning after Salvador Pérez took a foul tip off his mask, came up with the bases loaded. Chapman threw a fastball in the dirt, then bounced a slider into Sánchez’s chest protector and then another fastball that sent dust flying. Chapman fired a fastball about a foot outside for a four-pitch walk and screamed.

On the very next pitch, O’Hearn checked his swing and hit a slow roller to third, just beating DJ LeMahieu’s throw to first. When Chapman reached the dugout after Jarrod Dyson’s inning-ending groundout, he slammed his glove.

But wait!

Aaron Judge struck out for the fourth time leading off the bottom half against Holland (2-3), who got his fifth save Tuesday night in the Royals’ series-opening 6-5 win.

Sánchez lined a fastball into the left-field seats for his 12th homer, his seventh in his last 22 games.

“I pride myself in not making two-strike mistakes and that’s what burned me with the first one,” Holland said.

Giancarlo Stanton singled to right, pinch-runner Tyler Wade advanced on a wild pitch and up came Voit, who homered Tuesday in his return from the injured list but struck out three times Wednesday, stranding the bases loaded in the seventh.

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