Here After Yankees Won a Baseball Marathon, the Real Race Begins

The buses and the truck pulled onto the tarmac, and players and equipment were whisked through security and loaded onto the plane. At 3:08, the flight was in the air — with 14 minutes to spare.

Tuliebitz is not sure what would have happened if the plane had not gotten airborne in time. It is a 310-mile bus ride to Cincinnati, but the collective bargaining agreement limits the distances teams can travel by bus.

“I was so excited that we made it,” Tuliebitz said. “There were a lot of smoke and mirrors to make it look smooth and easy.”

The conspiracy of circumstances — a game that was played Sunday night to accommodate ESPN; Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman’s blowing a three-run lead in the ninth inning; and neither team’s being able to score until Starlin Castro’s grounder brought home Aaron Hicks in the top of the 18th inning — left the Yankees bleary-eyed when they arrived at Great American Ballpark on Monday afternoon.

Of course, the Cubs had it worse. They traveled farther for their Monday night game — to Colorado.

“You feel like you have that hangover without the benefits of actually drinking,” Cubs Manager Joe Maddon told reporters in Denver.

The Yankees landed in Cincinnati at 5:08 a.m. Eastern and reached their hotel as the sun was coming up. Many of them were in bed by 6 a.m.

“I usually get a little more sleep than that,” said Manager Joe Girardi, who was up at 11 a.m. “It’s part of the schedule and you’ve got to deal with it, and you know these games are going to happen.”

Girardi also had to deal with fielding a team for Monday’s game with a roster full of exhausted players. He rested two regulars: second baseman Castro, who had been the only Yankee to play in every game, and right fielder Aaron Judge, who has been icing his knees after games since tumbling into the stands in Boston two weeks ago.

“He’s got enough strawberries to last for a couple months,” Girardi said of Judge. “You see a lot of Band-Aids on him, too.”

Also getting a reprieve was the backup catcher Austin Romine, who caught the first 12 innings Sunday before moving to first base, where he finished the game. Most of the bullpen, including Jonathan Holder, Adam Warren, Shreve and Chapman, was expected to be out of commission on Monday night. Hicks and Didi Gregorius, who both played the full game Sunday night, were in Monday’s starting lineup, but Girardi implied that both could get a day off on Tuesday.

Immediately after Sunday’s game, Girardi huddled with General Manager Brian Cashman, who informed him of a bit of good fortune. The Yankees’ Class AAA affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had been rained out Sunday in Pawtucket, R.I., so that team’s best pitcher, Chad Green, was fresh and ready to go.

Word was relayed to Green, who was awakened by a phone call at 2:30 a.m. from his manager, Al Pedrique.

“I watched the game up until the 10th inning, and then I went to bed,” said Green, who was available Monday to throw 100 pitches out of the bullpen, if needed, in relief of starter Masahiro Tanaka. “When I got the call, I got ready to go.”

To make room for Green on the roster, the Yankees sent down Rob Refsnyder, a reserve outfielder and infielder. Typically, though, when the Yankees have overextended their bullpen and need reinforcements, a pitcher with options is sent to the minors, where he must remain for at least 10 days — unless there is an injury.

It happened to Warren, when he threw six shutout innings in an 18-inning loss at Oakland, and to Shreve two years ago, when he threw a career-high three and two-thirds innings in a 19-inning loss to Boston. Warren and Shreve were naïve then, heading to the ballpark the next day wondering whom the Yankees would call up — neither of them considering the other part of the equation: who would be sent down.

“I remember riding the subway to the stadium with Miller,” Shreve said, referring to his former teammate Andrew Miller. “We were talking about the bullpen being dry, and they were going to have to call somebody up. When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘I pitched really well.’ You think, ‘Why would they send me down?’ You don’t think of it the other way.”

For Shreve, who, like Holder, threw three one-hit scoreless innings, one of the highlights was facing an old high school teammate, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, whom he retired on a fly ball and then walked with two outs in the 18th.

“You try to forget who’s up there and treat him like any other reigning M.V.P.,” Shreve said of Bryant, the reigning National League most valuable player.

A personal connection also enhanced the memories of the marathon for Castro, who said it was the longest game he had played in. The ground ball he hit came against his good friend Pedro Strop, with whom he had lunch last week when the Yankees and the Cubs were both in Boston.

“That’s my boy,” said Castro, who cursed himself after swinging at a pitch in the dirt for the second strike. “I forgot about who he was, but I think he knew it was me because the only strike he threw me was the one I hit. I’m just happy I hit it — otherwise, maybe we’re still playing.”