In their highest-scoring game since Opening Day, the Red Sox still found a way to lose to the Yankees on Sunday night, as they fell to the Bronx Bombers by a final score of 9-7 and were unable to avoid getting swept by their division rivals.
Utilizing the opener strategy in this one, the Sox first turned to right-hander Austin Brice on Sunday, who was technically making his first career major-league start although he only pitched a scoreless first inning while walking two and striking out the side.
From there, left-hander Matt Hall, who served as an opener for Boston last week, had a tougher time of things from the middle of the second on. That being the case because the 27-year-old served up a three-run blast to Aaron Judge in his first frame of work and back-to-back, two-out RBI doubles to Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela in his second.
Heath Hembree was next up, and after tossing a perfect bottom of the fourth, the veteran righty got taken deep by Luke Voit on a two-out solo shot in the fifth. At the time, Voit’s homer pulled the Yankees back even with the Sox at 6-6.
The Boston offense was able to tack on another run in between Marcus Walden’s two shutout frames of relief in the sixth and seventh, but things took a turn for the worse for the Red Sox bullpen in the bottom of the eighth.
There, Matt Barnes entered with his side up one run at 7-6, got the first two outs of the inning rather easily, and then walked Mike Tauchman, the Yankees’ No. 9 hitter, on five pitches.
As the saying goes, “walks will haunt,” and that walk certainly would come back to haunt Barnes later on.
With New York’s lineup turning back over, Tauchman took off for second base with D.J. LeMahieu at the plate and got to the bag safely. Having to deal with a runner in scoring position now, Barnes couldn’t sneak a 2-2, 96 mph fastball past the Yankees second baseman and instead gave up a game-tying, run-scoring single back up the middle. 7-7.
It would have been one thing if Barnes managed to escape the eighth with the 7-7 stalemate still intact, but the ever-dangerous Judge had other ideas in mind.
Arguably the girthiest No. 2 hitter in baseball, the Yankees slugger took a 2-0, hanging 84 mph curveball from Barnes and deposited it 468(!) feet to the bleachers in left field.
That soul-crushing missile of a two-run home run put the Yanks up 9-7, which would ultimately go on to be Sunday’s final score as Barnes was hit with his first loss and blown save of the season.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another familiar foe in the form of Yankees southpaw James Paxton.
With the Canadian-born Paxton on the hill, the Boston bats actually got on the board in the first inning for the first time all weekend when after J.D. Martinez reached base on a two-out double that could have been caught, Xander Bogaerts crushed his second big fly of the season 386 feet to right-center field to put his side up two early on.
In the third, more damage off Paxton came when Kevin Pillar led things off with a ground-rule double and came around to score moments later on a Rafael Devers RBI base knock to right.
A Martinez strikeout followed by consecutive one-out, run-scoring singles off the bats of Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez brought in two more runs, and the Red Sox had themselves a 5-3 lead just like that.
Fast forward to the fifth, and Bogaerts struck once more, this time taking Yankees reliever Michael King 437 feet to left-center field for his second dinger of the evening. 6-5 Boston.
And in the seventh, it was Devers’ turn to put his pull-side power on display, as he watched King hang a 2-1, hanging changeup on the inner half of the plate and proceeded to send it all the way to the right field bleachers, or more specifically, 427 feet away from home plate.
Devers’ long-awaited first long ball of the new season looked to be the all-important go-ahead hit in this one as it put the Sox up by one run at 7-6. A las, as previously mentioned, the Yankees staged a rather soul-crushing comeback in their half of the eighth, and 9-7 would go on to be your final score. Red Sox get swept.
Some notes and observations from this loss:
The Red Sox are 3-7 through their first 10 games of 2020.
From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:
From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:
Despite the loss, Rafael Devers had an impressive night on both sides of the ball.
10 games into the season, the Red Sox have one of the worst records in baseball. Not great! It’s not a total surprise, but it’s still not great!
Anyway, the Sox have an off day on Monday before opening up a rare two-game set against the Rays in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and left-hander Martin Perez are slated to start for Boston, while right-hander Charlie Morton and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough are lined up to do the same for Tampa Bay.
This will be the first of two trips to St. Pete for the Sox this season. They won 60% of their games at Tropicana Field in 2019.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Enjoy the off day.