NEW YORK (AP) – Clint Frazier helped the Yankees solve Milwaukee’s Brent Suter after the left-hander baffled New York without reaching 90 mph Saturday.
In just his sixth major league game, Frazier showed he can handle some velocity, too.
Frazier pulled a three-run homer off Corey Knebel with one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Yankees over the Brewers 5-3 for a walk-off bash in the Bronx.
“We went wild,” teammate Aaron Judge said. “I went wild. I almost tripped over the rail right there.”
Frazier turned on a 1-0, 97 mph fastball from Knebel (0-2) for his first game-ending hit and second career homer. He threw his helmet as he approached his teammates at home plate, unveiling his mop of red hair, which was then doused in yellow Gatorade.
“The hair is all right,” Frazier said.
Frazier also chased Suter with an RBI triple in the seventh inning. He finished with a career-high three hits and four RBIs.
“I was really amped up,” Frazier said of the homer. “I was trying to make sure that I didn’t go up there and take a big swing.”
The 22-year-old Frazier is the youngest Yankee with a game-ending homer since 21-year-old Melky Cabrera on July 18, 2006, against Seattle. Frazier was acquired last season from Cleveland in a deal for reliever Andrew Miller.
“That’s a big win,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Clint’s at-bats all day were good, and to hit a three-run walk-off homer, we needed that.”
It was New York’s third win in its final at-bat this season and ended a three-game slide. The Yankees improved to 7-17 since going a season-best 15 games over. 500 on June 12.
Knebel walked Didi Gregorius and Jacoby Ellsbury and threw first-pitch balls to three of his four batters, including a curveball that missed to Frazier.
“Just didn’t throw strikes,” the closer said.
Dellin Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth for New York, and Aroldis Chapman (2-0) struck out the side in the ninth. Yankees pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.
The NL Central-leading Brewers wasted an impressive showing by Suter, a 27-year-old Harvard graduate who has never reached 90 mph in the majors. They had won five in a row.
Suter didn’t allow a hit until Frazier’s groundball single with two outs in the fifth. He pitched two-hit ball through six scoreless innings before the Yankees got to him for two runs with one out in the seventh.
Suter compensates for his underwhelming heater with a hyper-quick pace. During one at-bat, Judge didn’t even bother moving out of his batting stance between offerings.
“There’s different ways that pitchers disrupt hitters’ timing,” manager Craig Counsell said. “They do it with speed of the ball, he does it with some deception and the pace at which he works.”
Counsell said Suter will remain in Milwaukee’s rotation after the All-Star break. This was just his fourth major league start and third this season.
Luis Severino – an All-Star who can reach 100 mph – struck out 10 and gave up three runs over seven innings for New York. Milwaukee’s only damage against the right-hander was Domingo Santana’s three-run homer in the first.
New York chased Suter with a trio of hard-hit balls in the seventh. Chase Headley doubled, Jacoby Ellsbury singled and Suter’s errant pickoff attempt let Headley score.
Frazier then drilled a standup triple off the wall in left-center to make it 3-2.
Santana’s homer came one at-bat after Girardi furiously argued with plate umpire Mike Estabrook over a hit-by-pitch. Estabrook granted Travis Shaw first base after the batter claimed Severino’s pitch brushed his jersey, and Girardi waved his arms furiously while talking with Estabrook and crew chief Larry Vanover. Girardi eventually challenged, but video officials did not overturn the call.
The Yankees sent pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Luis Cessa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and called up right-handers Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder. Montgomery has become a dependable member of the big league rotation, but pitched Friday and won’t be needed again for at least a week because of the All-Star break. Cessa also threw two innings Friday. Both players must remain in the minors for 10 days, unless the Yankees add a player to the disabled list.
Brewers: OF Ryan Braun left the game in the eighth inning due to cramping.
Yankees: OF Matt Holliday (viral infection) was expected to make his first rehab appearance with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night.
The Brewers and Yankees conclude the unofficial first half of the season Sunday. RHP Jimmy Nelson (7-4, 3.20 ERA) leads Milwaukee with 10 quality starts. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-7, 5.25 ERA) has a 1.29 ERA in his past three outings after an inconsistent open to the season.
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