The Yankees’ revamped bullpen again failed to protect a lead Saturday, but as so often has been the case this season, Miguel Andujar’s bat delivered.
The rookie third baseman’s two-out, two-run homer in the seventh broke a tie game and sparked the Yankees’ 5-3 win over Texas on a rainy afternoon in The Bronx.
Aroldis Chapman picked up his first save since July 31 with a scoreless ninth in the pouring rain. The closer loaded the bases with two outs before striking out Jurickson Profar swinging with a 98-mph fastball.
The victory was the Yankees’ fifth in six games but didn’t completely mask some disturbing trends — including another less-than-stellar outing from Zach Britton.
The lefty acquired from Baltimore prior to the non-waiver trade deadline gave up a pair of runs for the second time in three appearances as Britton couldn’t protect a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh.
He retired the first two hitters before two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Adrian Beltre. Following a visit by pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Britton fell behind Beltre 3-0 before going to a full count.
Britton walked Beltre to force in a run and make it 3-2 and was replaced by Dellin Betances.
With the count 1-2 to Profar, Betances balked as Odor danced off third. That tied the game at 3-3, but Betances fanned Profar to end the inning.
But Andujar, whose ninth-inning throwing error in Boston on Sunday led to a crushing defeat, bailed out the bullpen Saturday.
Giancarlo Stanton, who hit a solo homer earlier in the game, singled with one out in the seventh. Didi Gregorius followed by flying out to deep right to bring up Andujar.
Facing ex-Yankee Chris Martin, Andujar jumped on the first pitch and smacked his 17th homer of the season into the right-field seats.
The Yankees looked to be on their way to an easy win when they scored twice in the first off Drew Hutchison, who was making just his second major league start since 2016.
Stanton’s fourth homer in five games — as he continues to play with left leg tightness — gave them a 1-0 lead.
Andujar reached on an infield single with two outs and scored on Greg Bird’s double to the gap in right-center. It was the slumping Bird’s first RBI of the month.
Lance Lynn, making his third appearance — and second start — since joining the Yankees, was solid again.
After giving up a leadoff single to Shin-Soo Choo, Lynn struck out the next three batters he faced. And in the second, he pitched around a one-out double by Joey Gallo — which eluded a diving Neil Walker in right — to keep the Rangers scoreless.
In the third, though, the Rangers broke through after Choo’s leadoff double. He reached second in part because of a weak throw by Shane Robinson in center. Choo moved to third on a Rougned Odor groundout and scored when Elvis Andrus dunked a single into right to make it 2-1 as the rain first began to fall.
With a runner on second and one out in the fifth, Lynn got Andrus looking and Beltre swinging at a 96 mph fastball up in the zone.
Stanton just missed his second homer of the afternoon off Hutchison in the fifth, when his pop fly into the right-field seats landed a few feet foul.
Hutchison, who allowed six runs in three innings in his first start against Baltimore, had appeared just in 11 games out of the Phillies’ bullpen earlier this season and also pitched for the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.
But he settled in after his rough first inning.
David Robertson threw a scoreless sixth, and the Yankees added to their lead in the bottom of the inning as Bird opened with another double and Walker followed a Gleyber Torres strikeout with a single to left that scored Bird. Walker moved to second on the throw home but was stranded there.
Chapman walked pinch hitter Isiah Kiner-Falefa to start the ninth and after striking out Choo, allowed a single to Odor through the left side of the infield left vacant by the shift. But Chapman got Andrus to pop to first and hit Beltre to load the bases before ending it with a strikeout.