In a game that started on Sunday night and ended early Monday morning, it was the Red Sox who came out on top in ten innings of play for their fourth-straight win over the Yankees, opening up a 9.5 game lead atop the American League East.
Started by David Price, who was surprisingly outstanding against a team he owned a 24.92 ERA against in two outings prior to Sunday, the Red Sox managed to fight their way back on a night it looked like they could have settled for taking three out of four from their division rival.
Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, Price surrendered two earned runs, both of which were scored with him out of the game, on four hits, three free passes, and one HBP to go along with five punch outs on the night.
The lefty found himself dealing with traffic on the base paths right away in the first, as he allowed three of the first five hitters to reach, loading the bases with two outs in the frame. Fortunately, a 1-3 put out on a softly hit ground ball from Luke Voit allowed Price to escape unscathed.
Including the Voit ground out, the 32 year-old hurler retired 16 of the next 19 Yankees batters he faced going into the middle of the sixth inning in a 1-0 game in his team’s favor.
At that point, Price’s pitch count had reached 95, and given the fact he had just completed his sixth scoreless frame against a team he has a bad history with, maybe that was a good time for Alex Cora to call it a night for the big left-hander.
Instead he came back out for the seventh, gave up a leadoff single that was followed by a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs, and that was how Price’s fine night would come to a bit of a disappointing end.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 108, the second most he has thrown all season, 85 of which went for strikes, the Tennessee native relied heavily on his changeup Sunday night, as he went to it more than 31% of the time he was on the mound. He also topped out at 94.1 MPH with his two-seam fastball in the third inning. Although nothing has been announced by the team yet, I would expect Price’s next start, which would be his 23rd of the year, to come next weekend in Baltimore.
In relief of Price, Heath Hembree, who has turned into one of the best relievers with runners on base, got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen to try and get out of a seventh inning jam.
Instead, with runners on first and second, Hembree refused to give up a sacrifice bunt to Yankees right fielder Shane Robinson, as he threw up and near his head on three consecutive occasions, which eventually led to a seven pitch walk to load the bases.
From there, New York tacked on all four of their runs in a rather lengthy sequence. Gardner and Austin Romine scored on an E6 committed by Xander Bogaerts to close the book on David Price’s start and Robinson came around to cross the plate on a Giancarlo Stanton single a few minutes later. 3-1 Yankees.
Two batters and one pitching change later, Ryan Brasier, in the game for Boston now, got Gleyber Torres to fly out to center for the second inning, but that allowed Aaron Hicks, who reached base on the E6, to tag up from third and score his team’s fourth and final run of the frame.
Brasier, while escaping the seventh, also tossed a scoreless eighth inning to make way for Tyler Thornburg in the ninth.
Thornburg, who had not gotten any work since July 30th, worked his way around two walks to retire the side and give the Red Sox one last chance in their half of the ninth trailing by three runs.
After a crazy ninth that eventually saw these teams tied up again, Matt Barnes, who was also making his first appearance of August, retired all three Yankees he faced in order to send this thing to the bottom of the tenth, where he would eventually collect his fourth win of the season thanks to the heroics of Andrew Benintendi.
Speaking of Andrew Benintendi, the Red Sox lineup really saved their best for last on Sunday night/Monday morning, because they really could not do anything off of Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.
Despite pitching less than five innings, Tanaka made just one costly mistake, and that was serving up a solo home run to Mookie Betts in that fifth inning to put the Red Sox on the board. Betts’ 26th long ball of the year traveled 437 feet into the night sky, per Statcast.
Up until this thing reached the ninth inning with their backs against the wall, that home run was the only scoring the Red Sox could manage off the likes of Tanaka, Zach Britton, and Dellin Betances.
With Aroldis Chapman in to close this game out in the ninth with a three-run lead to protect, it was Sandy Leon who got the rally started by drawing a one out walk.
Keep in mind, Chapman hadn’t blown a save since May 4th, yet he always seems to struggle at Fenway Park.
Three walks in the frame, one to Leon, one to Mookie Betts, and one to Steve Pearce, who was replaced by Jackie Bradley Jr., loaded the bases for Boston with two outs and JD Martinez coming to the plate.
On the first pitch he saw from Chapman, the Red Sox’s slugger scorched a 99.1 MPH single into center field to drive in Leon and Betts and cut the Yankees lead to one run.
With Xander Bogaerts at the plate looking to redeem himself for the previous error over at short, a 1-1 85 MPH slider from Chapman resulted in Bogaerts tapping a grounder to third in what appeared to be the final out of the contest.
Instead, a bad throw from Yankees’ third baseman Miguel Andujar over to Greg Bird at first base allowed both Bogaerts to reach first safely and Bradley Jr. to come in to score. Tied game headed into extra innings.
Fortunately for those who had to wake up early in the morning, extras did not take all that long, thanks to old friend Jonathan Holder, who gave up seven earned runs on Thursday, making an appearance out of the Yankees bullpen in the tenth.
It all happened with two outs in the inning, but a Sandy Leon single followed by an intentional walk of Mookie Betts put the go-ahead run for the Red Sox at second base.
Given the difference in speed around the base paths, Leon was replaced by the recently called up Tony Renda to represent the winning run.
Following a brief mound visit, Andrew Benintendi put an end to this marathon game by delivering the clutchest hit of the night, an RBI single to center field to score Renda from second and give the Red Sox the 5-4 win. Sweep completed.
Some notes from this win:
The Red Sox are 79-34. They are now 9.5 games up on the Yankees in the American League East. Also, the Red Sox have not lost a game against New York since Brian Cashman said this:
Against the Yankees in 2018, the Red Sox are 8-5 in head-to-head matchups, including a 6-1 record at Fenway Park.
In his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform, Tony Renda scored the winning run to complete a four-game sweep over the Yankees. That’s pretty cool.
From @RedSoxStats: Since Price’s meltdown on Sunday Night Baseball he’s made 5 starts, pitching into the 7th 4 times, with a 2.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, and 5.3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.
Andrew Benintendi’s career numbers against the Yankees: 39 G, .293/.355/.493 slash line, 6 HR, 27 RBI.
After enjoying the well-deserved off day on Monday, the Red Sox will open up a three-game series in their last trip to Toronto of the season against the 51-60 Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Chris Sale was schedules to start one of these games, but he has been pushed back. Instead, Drew Pomeranz, Brian Johnson, and Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston in games one, two, and three of this series, and then it’s on to Baltimore for the weekend.
First pitch of the first game north of the border is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET on Tuesday. This team is special.