Ron Marinaccio went from a mini-vacation to the cauldron that is the ninth inning.
From six days without throwing a pitch to being given the ball against the best offense in baseball while nursing a one-run lead.
His response to the opportunity?
“It’s exciting,” the right-handed reliever said after nailing down the Yankees’ 1-0 victory over the Rangers on Saturday in The Bronx. “We’re all down there, we got an unbelievable bullpen here. We always say, we’re all ready for any situation that might come. It was another one of those situations, keeping myself ready no matter the days off.”
Initially, it wasn’t so fun.
The first two Rangers reached base, creating extra tension. Marinaccio didn’t blink, even after Ezequiel Duran, a former Yankees prospect dealt away in the Joey Gallo trade two years ago, nearly tied the game with a line drive down the left-field line that just went foul.
Marinaccio responded like closing games wasn’t new to him even though this was only the second save of his career.
He got Duran to chase a high fastball for the first out.
He fanned Leody Taveras after falling behind 2-0 in the count.
And he retired Marcus Semien, who already had three hits in the game, on a shallow pop-up.
“They have a great lineup. I just tried to tell myself, just throw my pitches in the zone with conviction and that’s all I can do to give us the best chance,” Marinaccio said.
Manager Aaron Boone only went to Marinaccio after having to use Clay Holmes in the eighth inning against the middle of the Rangers’ order. With Holmes having thrown 24 pitches the night before, Boone wasn’t going to push him, and he had already gone to Tommy Kahnle and Wandy Peralta. Marinaccio was fresh and up for the challenge.
“That’s the thing about Ron. Whatever’s going on, he’s fearless,” Boone said. “No hesitation. … We liked Ron for that part of the lineup all day long. He was in play there. We were going to ride him. He made a lot of big pitches.”
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