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Tommy Kahnle saves his worst for last

HOUSTON — In Game 2 of the ALCS, it was Aroldis Chapman that faltered at Minute Maid Park.

Then it was David Robertson in Game 6, when he surrendered four runs without retiring a batter.

And in Game 7 on Saturday, Tommy Kahnle saw his scoreless streak ended, as the Yankees ended their season with a 4-0 loss to Houston.
For a team built largely around its bullpen — especially for this time of year — it was an untimely demise.

There was no more important reliever to the Yankees’ run to the brink of the World Series than Kahnle, who tossed 10 straight shutout innings before Saturday.

Even when he first entered Saturday’s season-ending loss to Houston, Kahnle came through.

When CC Sabathia left with one out and two on in the fourth, Kahnle induced an inning-ending double play from George Springer with the only pitch he threw in the fourth to keep it a one-run game.

But the right-hander collapsed in the fifth inning.

With one out, Kahnle gave up an opposite-field shot to Jose Altuve that gave the Astros a 2-0 lead.

Carlos Correa followed with a single to center and Yuli Gurriel a hit through the right side of the infield.

Kahnle recovered to get Evan Gattis looking for the second out, but he wasn’t able to finish the inning as former Yankee Brian McCann made his old team pay for a second straight night, this time with a two-run double to right that gave Houston a 4-0 lead.

Instead of riding Kahnle through the fifth — and maybe even the sixth — before Robertson and Chapman could have been summoned — Joe Girardi had to go get Kahnle and bring in Adam Warren, who got the final out.

By then, though, Kahnle had given up three runs on four hits in just 1¹/₃ innings and the Yankees faced a seemingly insurmountable 4-0 deficit.

It was a sudden turn for Kahnle, who had emerged as the Yankees’ most reliable reliever this postseason. He had made six appearances, giving up just two hits and a pair of walks in retiring 28 of the 32 batters he faced.

Kahnle was a major part of the July trade that brought third baseman Todd Frazier from the White Sox, in addition to Robertson, that fortified the Yankees’ bullpen.

And after Robertson allowed four runs without retiring a batter in Game 6, Kahnle turned a close game into one in which the Astros had a healthy cushion heading into the sixth inning.

The Yankees didn’t expect to have to rely on Kahnle as much as they did, but Dellin Betances’ continued control issues made him all but an afterthought for much of the playoffs.

Betances vowed to improve next year.

“How I finished my season was a little disappointing, but there were good things as well,” Betances said. “Obviously, I need to keep my walks down, but I’ll be ready to go next season.”

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/10/22/tommy-kahnle-saves-his-worst-for-last/

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