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Yanks' bullpen coming up big when it counts

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ST. LOUIS -- The Yankees' bullpen has been credited with three extra-inning wins during this nine-game road trip, and the work hasn't gone unnoticed.

"They've done a really good job. We've done a good job of giving them days when they need days," manager Joe Girardi said. "The thing that we came into the year with was multiple-inning guys. We weren't really a one-inning seventh, eighth and ninth [kind of team]. We knew we weren't that."

One key to that philosophy has been right-handed reliever Dellin Betances, who has been asked to get more than three outs in 14 of his 21 appearances this season. Betances, a converted starter, has assumed a major role in the bullpen, tossing 30 1/3 innings in the first 51 games.

The results have been powerful, in more ways than one. Betances has allowed only five earned runs, for a 1.48 ERA. And then there are the strikeouts.

Betances has struck out 51 and is holding hitters to a .144 average. But even with his dominance out of the bullpen and multi-inning outings, Girardi is keeping a close eye on his pitch count and innings pitched -- as he is with all of his relievers.

"His workload is very similar to what he's done before, but I'm very cognizant of his workload and how we're using him," Girardi said. "I watch all of the relievers. I'm very careful with the pitches they throw, because we want them year after year after year."

Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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