The Yankees took a three-run lead in the second, and let the Red Sox claw back into the game, but a two-out RBI double in the eighth proved the difference in New York’s 8-5 win over Boston to earn a split of the doubleheader at Fenway Park.
Here are the takeaways…
– Boston struck first in the bottom of the first off starter Clarke Schmidt with a pair of bloop singles starting things for the Sox. The Yankees attempted a 3-6-1 double play and got one out at second base, but Anthony Volpe’s throw was wide of the bag allowing leadoff man Ceddanne Rafaela to score from third on the error.
Schmidt nearly got out of the inning without further damage, but his two-strike cutter just missed away, and on the next pitch Wilyer Abreu’s liner to left scored Alex Verdugo from second to make it 2-0.
– It was a bullpen game for the Red Sox and after Nick Robertson worked a scoreless first, Brennan Bernardino was greeted by Estevan Florial’s single to left before Oswald Peraza dropped a one-out double and Oswaldo Cabrera walked on four pitches to load the bases.
New York, after going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and leavinv nine on base in Game 1, saw Kyle Higashioka go down swinging on three straight pitches. But DJ LeMahieu just beat out the throw from second baseman Pablo Reyes on a bouncer up the middle, a call overturned by a Yanks challenge, for a two-out RBI.
That hustle allowed Aaron Judge to bat and he slugged a 2-0 center-cut fastball 110 mph off the bat and 418 feet to center for a grand slam to put New York up 5-2.
A Gleyber Torres single and Giancarlo Stanton walk gave the Yankees another RBI chance, but Florial grounded out to second to leave two stranded.
– Rafael Devers would grab his second hit of the night with a first-pitch homer to start the bottom of the third on a ball that caromed off the top of the right field wall. Schmidt struggled to keep the Red Sox off the bases but got ground balls when he needed them inducing a double-play ball in the second, third, and fourth innings to get 12 outs on just 69 pitches.
In the fifth, like every inning so far, the Yanks’ righty allowed the first runner to reach before there were two on and one out after Devers was hit by the pitch. With runners on the corners and two down, Volpe committed a second throwing error of the night and allowed another run to score.
New York’s starter got the leadoff man in the sixth, but a one-out single saw Aaron Boone summon the side-arm throwing Zach McAllister from the bullpen to retire the side. Schmidt’s final line: 5.1 innings, seven hits, four runs, three earned, three walks, three strikeouts on 88 pitches (58 strikes).
– Higashioka would smack a hanging slider high off the 37-foot Green Monster for a double to start the fourth and Volpe would double with one gone in the fifth, but New York failed to capitalize on either chance. After the Judge grand slam, New York would strand five runners and go 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position through six innings.
– Boston would tie things up in the seventh after a single by Rafaela off McAllister and a bloop single by Devers off Wandy Peralta put two on with no out. Peralta would keep the ball on the infield with three straight ground outs, but the tying run would score on a one-out slow roller to third.
– Mauricio Llovera, the fifth Boston pitcher, got into a spot of trouble in the eighth with an infield hit by Volpe and a one-out single from Cabrera. After Higashioka lined out, LeMahieu got his second two-out RBI of the night with a double to put the Yankees up 6-5.
Judge would be intentionally walked to load the bases for Torres but his 346-foot line drive was tracked down by Verdugo just shy of the warning track in right, a ball that would have been a home run at Yankee Stadium and four other MLB parks.
– Tommy Kahnle pitched a clean eighth retiring the side on 10 pitches and the Yankees got some tack-on runs with a two-out, two-run 403-foot two-run shot by Peraza into the Monster seats.
Kahnle walked Devers with two outs in the ninth but struck out the side to end it and earn the six-out save.
– The Bronx Bombers left nine on base and went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but had six runs from the longball and had eight two-out RBI.
The Yankees improved to 74-73 on the season to put the Red Sox (74-73) into last place in the AL East.
– Stanton, who got the start in left field, could have helped Schmidt in the first defensively. He was late to break on Devers’ bloop to put two men on and on Abreu’s single he generated no power on his throw home from shallow left. The throw – which would have been off-target had it not been cut off – was played on a one-hop by the cutoff man who was deep on the infield grass.
At the plate, Stanton finished 0-for-3 with a walk and stranded three on base. He was lifted for Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the seventh.
The Yankees head to The Steel City for a weekend series against the Pirates.
AL Cy Young Award candidate Gerrit Cole (13-4, 2.79 ERA) gets the ball for Friday night’s 6:35 p.m. first pitch. The Buccos will send up right-hander Johan Oviedo (8-14, 4.34 ERA).