Yankees’ Domingo German turns easy win into nail-biter

Wednesday was a painful day for Domingo German. First, he underwent an emergency root canal, then he experienced even more pain.

Scratched from his start after oral surgery, German came on in relief and turned what looked like it was going to be an easy victory into a nail-biter in the Yankees’ 5-4 victory over the Mariners.

The right-hander served up a three-run Tom Murphy homer in the sixth inning that trimmed a four-run Yankees lead to one, creating anxiety for a team that has blown so many leads of late.

Though Aaron Boone said he liked what he saw, the outing continued German’s recent issues. He had a woeful 7.27 ERA in June, allowing six homers in 26 innings pitched after entering the month with a 3.06 ERA.

He has now allowed at least three runs in each of his last five appearances, though the runs in this performance were unearned since Mitch Haniger had reached on Gio Urshela’s errors leading off the frame. Overall, German allowed two hits and struck out five over three innings while walking nobody.

Domingo German
Domingo German

“He made one mistake on the homer, but that was Domingo German out there after a few struggling outings,” Boone said. “He was out there with confidence. Really encouraged to see Domingo also throw the ball well.”

In German’s place, recent call-up Nick Nelson got the start, but he didn’t last long. Nelson was pulled after walking three and allowing a run in two-thirds of an inning. His replacement, Luis Cessa, was terrific. Cessa allowed just one hit over 3 ¹/₃ innings, helping the Yankees build a 5-1 lead behind Aaron Judge’s mammoth two-run homer in the second. He inherited a bases loaded, two-out jam from Nelson and got out of it by retiring Shed Long Jr. on a groundout.

“He was awesome,” Boone said. “To be as pitch efficient as he was, to be able to give us three and a third [innings], that was huge. That was the bridge.”

The Yankees were cruising until German grooved a 1-0 fastball to Murphy with two men aboard, the 16th homer he has allowed this season. To German’s credit, he rebounded to retire the next four Mariners and got the ball to the back end of the Yankees’ bullpen.

Boone said he didn’t start German because around 3 p.m. Pacific time he still had swelling and was unsure if he could pitch, so they made the switch. But a few hours before the game, German was feeling good and wanted to pitch.

“He was ready,” Boone said.

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