October 9, 2020 | 4:04am
This time, there were no fireworks.
Aroldis Chapman faced the Rays for the first time since his 101-mph fastball sailed over Mike Brosseau’s head on Sept. 1 and nearly led to a benches-clearing brawl, but there were no issues in the Yankees’ 5-1 Game 4 win, as Chapman got Brosseau swinging to end the game.
He closed out a game that featured the best of the Yankees’ high-powered relief corps, as Chapman, Zack Britton and Chad Green combined to throw five no-hit innings, and all of them could be ready for Friday’s Game 5.
“We count on our bullpen all year, and tonight they were great,’’ Gleyber Torres said.
Chapman entered with two out in the eighth after Britton shut down the Rays by retiring five straight, after he entered to start the seventh. Chapman whiffed Randy Arozarena with another 101-mph fastball to end the eighth.
Prior to the series, both teams said last month’s incident was in the past, and at least for now, it seems that it is.
There are higher stakes at this point.
On Thursday, Aaron Boone said he’d be “aggressive” with the use of his high-leverage bullpen arms and he was.
He got Jordan Montgomery out of the game after four innings and went straight to Chad Green, who had as important an outing as anyone out of the Yankees’ bullpen.
After another brilliant regular season, when he finished with a WHIP of 0.818, the lowest on the staff, Green had faltered again in the postseason.
He’d struggled in outings in the wild-card series and in Game 2 of the ALDS.
Green got up three times in the bullpen before finally entering the game to start the fifth.
He retired all six batters he faced, getting Mike Zunino to fly out and striking out Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe in the fifth.
After the 13-pitch inning, Green came back out for the sixth and got Arozarena to ground out and Ji-Man Choi to fly to center before Manuel Margot gave the Yankees a scare by drilling a ball to deep center that Aaron Hicks tracked down.
Green’s appearance didn’t just help the Yankees stay alive for at least another day, it may have gotten him back on track in the playoffs after an ugly start to the postseason.
It started in Game 2 of the wild-card series, when Green came on in relief of Masahiro Tanaka and quickly allowed both runners he inherited to score, when he gave up a two-run double to Jose Ramirez.
Green recovered to throw a key scoreless seventh inning in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Rays to preserve a one-run lead.
But again in Wednesday’s loss to Tampa Bay in Game 3, Green entered after another subpar outing by Tanaka and made things worse, this time by allowing a leadoff double in the sixth to Kevin Kiermaier and then an opposite-field two-run homer to Michael Perez.
In all, Green had given up six hits in just 3 ¹/₃ postseason innings before Thursday. But in Game 4, he, Britton and Chapman showed how dangerous they can be.