Aroldis Chapman implodes in ninth as Yankees blow chance to sweep

On the verge of yet another win over the Twins, the Yankees turned to perhaps their most reliable arm to finish a sweep at Target Field.

But instead of a third straight victory, Aroldis Chapman turned into an ugly defeat.

The closer allowed four straight hits without retiring a batter, giving up a game-tying, two-run homer to Josh Donaldson and a game-winning, two-run shot to Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the ninth of a 7-5 loss on Thursday.

“They were looking fastball and they got some right down the middle, and he wasn’t hitting his normal velocity,’’ Aaron Boone said of Chapman, who had allowed just one earned run in 23 innings before Thursday night. “He’s been as good as there’s been in the sport.”

But Boone said the lefty’s “fastball lacked life tonight. They have some really good fastball hitters.”

Asked if he thought Chapman’s ineffectiveness was possibly due to the added scrutiny Major League Baseball is putting on pitchers using foreign substances, Boone said, “I don’t think so” and pointed instead to the fact Chapman’s fastball was sitting at 95-96 mph and he wasn’t able to adjust.

Read more…