Friday, July 15, 2022

Boston Wins Classic Battle Over Yankees At Stadium


The Red Sox celebrate their big win over the Yankees, as catcher Christian Vazquez has his arms raised at the mound. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Boston Red Sox won a classic from the Yankees on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, 5-4, in 11 innings. It was a game in which the Yankees had plenty of chances to win it, and Boston won it as Xander Bogaerts made the gutsy play to run home on a wild pitch, and that turned into the winning run.

This was one of those nights where the records (the Yankees fell to 62-28 and Boston improved to 48-43, still 14 1/2 games behind them in the American League East) didn't matter, that the rivalry is as intense as ever, with 47,473 fans on hand, the Yankees' biggest crowd of the season, into it all night.

Boston, who split with the Yankees last weekend at Fenway Park and then were swept by the Rays in Tampa Bay this week, wasted no time picking up how they played against the Yankees.

After Rob Refnsyder worked out a walk against Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery to open the game, Rafael Devers hit yet another home run against the Yankees, this one into the New York bullpen in right field, to make it 2-0. It was Devers' 21st home run of the season, with four of them against the Yanks.

J.D. Martinez then doubled, and Xander Bogaerts singled, but Montgomery got two shallow fly outs to left field from Alex Verdugo and Christian Vazquez and a strikeout of Bobby Salton to keep the Sox at just two runs.

Jordan Montgomery pitching to J.D. Martinez in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees' first chance against Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi, in his first game back after a stint on the injured list, in the second inning when they got a pair of runners on, but Isiah Kiner-Falefa lined out to third base and Kyle Higashioka frounsed out to shortstop.

They came right back in the third, as DJ LeMahieu singled, and then with two outs, Anthony Rizzo kept the inning alive with a walk to bring Giancarlo Stanton to the plate, and he creamed one to right field for a three-run homer to give the Yankees a 3-2 edge. 

That would be short-lived, as Christian Vazquez hit a solo shot in the fourth, to tie it at 3.

In the fifth, DJ LeMahieu led off with a single, and then Aaron Judge struck out, and that was all for Eovaldi. In came John Schreiber for Rizzo, and he got him to hit into a double play to prevent a big Yankee inning. 

Eovaldi's final line was: 4 1/3 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 4 strikeouts.

Montgomery outlasted him, as he went six innings, also allowing three runs on six hits, with a walk, and four strikeouts.

First out of the Yankee bullpen - this is gonna take some getting used to - for the seventh inning was Aroldis Chapman.

Bobby Dalbec greeted him with a blast into the left field corner for a solo shot to give Boston the lead back, at 4-3. Chapman, who has struggled all year, kept it there, as he retired the next three Sox and got two strikeouts.

Boston turned to Garrett Whitlock for the seventh, which is a sign that their tumultuous bullpen is getting some order back to it. Whitlock was their prime set-up man out of the bullpen this year, but due to injuries to their starting rotation, he took on that role, to much success. He pitched the seventh and eighth innings, retiring six Yankees in order, with three strikeouts.

In the ninth, Boston turned to their relatively new closer, Tanner Hauck (he got the job around the time Clay Holmes became the Yankee closer in late May).

Gleyber Torres opened the frame with an infield hit, and then with Matt Carpenter up, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone got ejected after a low strike was called. This was the same pitch that Whitlock struck Aaron Judge out on, so it was building. (More at the end of of this column on Boone in postgame discussing this)

Aaron Boone chewing out home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn for his strike zone. Photo by Jason Schott.

Carpenter eventually got hit by a pitch to give the Yankees two runners on and nobody out, and then Isiah Kiner-Falefa laid down a bunt, which Hauck fielded, and he threw to third to try to nab Torres, but the throw was low, and it went into left field, allowing Torres to score and tie the game at 4.

Boston then elected to intentionally walked Aaron Hicks to load the bases for Jose Trevino, who was pinch-hitting for Joey Gallo (who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and was booed lustily. It paid off as Trevino hit one to third, and Devers threw home for the first out, and then Vazquez fired one to first to complete the 5-2-3 double play. LeMahieu then lined one back to Hauck for the final out of Hauck's Houdini act.

Tanner Hauck facing Jose Trevino with the bases loaded, when Yankee Stadium was at its loudest. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees were right back at it in the tenth, as they had loaded the bases with one out for Torres, and he hit into a double play to end the inning, and he slammed his helmet as he ran through first, knowing the Yankees missed a golden opportunity.

In the top of the 11th, Michael King came on after Clay Holmes pitched his usual solid inning in the top of the tenth in which he struck out the side (making Tuesday's nightmare against the Reds an anomaly).

King got Alex Verdugo to fly to left field, and since it was deep, their "ghost runner" Xander Bogaerts took third base. Christian Vazuqez then grounded out to third, and LeMahieu looked Bogaerts back, keeping him there with two outs.

With Bobby Dalbec at the plate, King bounced one in the dirt that went about a third of the way between the catcher and pitcher, so Bogaerts took off, and he was proven right, as Trevino and King both went for it, leaving the plate clear for him to slide right through, as Trevino did lunge back towards the plate, without the ball however, and that gave Boston a 5-4 lead. 

Ryan Brazier came on for Boston in the tenth, and he retired the Yankees in order, as he struck out pinch-hitter Josh Donaldson, got Kiner-Falefa to ground out to third, and then struck out Hicks to end the epic battle.

The Sox get ready to shake hands, as they say. Photo by Jason Schott.

Boone said afterwards, "I wouldn't use the word crushing, you know, we should have won that game. We had our chances, and just couldn't break through, so it's frustrating, you know, gotta turn the page on this one and get after it tomorrow and try and close out this half the way we're capable of."

On if his frustration with the low strike call on Carpenter was specific just to that or to other instances, such as Judge's K in the eighth, Boone said, "It was just, Judge, Rizzo, Carp, balls were low."

When asked if there's anything they can do specific to Judge repeatedly having that low strike called against him, a frustrated Boone said, "I don't know, what can we do. I get asked a lot, I don't know, I don't talk to people, they're doing the best they can, I don't know."

When he was asked again, Boone then emphatically said, "I don't know what to tell you guys on this, okay, I mean, you know, sure, we talk to the league, my answer to this question every so often, you know, I don't know what to tell you."

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