October 10, 2020 | 3:26am
Zack Britton has said he’s more effective when he works often.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone gave him his wish in the ALDS. The left-hander came back after getting five outs in Game 4 on Thursday and entered in the sixth inning of Friday’s Game 5 against the Rays.
Again on Friday, Britton got the job done — but it came in a season-ending defeat, as the Yankees lost, 2-1 at Petco Park in San Diego.
Though he wasn’t as overpowering as he was on Thursday, when Britton needed just 22 pitches in 1 ¹/₃ innings, he fought his way to get the final two outs of the sixth in relief of Gerrit Cole and the first two outs of the seventh before Aroldis Chapman came in.
Britton made it interesting in the sixth after Cole allowed a long fly ball to Randy Arozarena to lead off the inning that Brett Gardner brought back to prevent a go-ahead homer.
Britton allowed an infield single to pinch hitter Mike Brosseau and then walked Yandy Diaz.
But he recovered and struck out Joey Wendle and got Willy Adames to line out to Aaron Judge in right.
He came out for the seventh and got Kevin Kiermaier swinging before Mike Zunino reached on an error by Gio Urshela. Britton then got Austin Meadows to fly out to left and was replaced by Chapman after throwing 26 pitches. It was the first time this year he had thrown 20-plus pitches on back-to-back nights.
Britton pitched well in recent weeks, finishing the regular season with eight straight scoreless appearances, covering eight innings. Britton faltered in Game 2 of the wild-card series against the Indians, when he allowed a pair of runs, but was strong against the Rays.
Before the game, Britton noted the balls being used in the postseason have occasionally been subpar.
“I think throughout the postseason, it’s been kind of hit-or-miss on the baseball you get out of there,’’ Britton said. “I think there was a period in Cleveland when Gary [Sanchez] was getting a ball and chucking it out because of the quality of the balls.”
Asked what made for a poor quality ball, Britton said: “That’s a good question. Mostly just the way it’s rubbed down now. You don’t worry about it in this weather [in San Diego], but when it’s really cold and it’s not rubbed down, it’s really slick.”