Well, after two days of waiting, Jarren Duran’s highly-anticipated major-league debut was certainly an eventful one.
The Red Sox ultimately fell to the Yankees by a final score of 3-1 in a rain-shortened, six-inning contest at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night, but not before two rain delays, two ejections, one player getting hit in the back by a baseball thrown by a fan, and a period of time where baseball was being played in an absolute downpour.
Still, Boston saw their unbeaten run against their division rivals come to a close on Saturday, as they are now 7-1 this year when facing off against New York.
Nathan Eovaldi made his 19th start of the season for the Sox, and he was once again solid while going up against his former team.
Over five strong innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded just one earned run on two hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.
While Eovaldi was rolling early on, the Red Sox lineup backed him up in their half of the second inning.
There, with one out and the bases empty, Duran stepped up to the plate for the very first time in his big-league career with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole on the mound waiting for him.
On the very first pitch he saw from Cole, a 95 mph fastball on the lower half of the plate, Duran ripped a line-drive single to center field for his first career hit.
The speedy outfield prospect would not be on first base for long though, as he advanced to second on a groundout before coming in to score on an RBI single off the bat of Christian Arroyo that gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 1-0.
From there, Eovaldi continued to sit down Yankees hitters left and right — and even took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before yielding a two-out double to Greg Allen to break up the no-hit bid.
Allen, known for his speed, was driven in on a game-tying RBI base knock from D.J. LeMahieu moments later, which resulted in Eovaldi’s outing coming to a close as soon as he recorded the final out of the fifth.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (66 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler did not factor into Saturday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season down to 3.57. His next start should come against this same Yankees team back at Fenway Park next Friday.
Venable, Plawecki ejected for arguing strikes
In the top half of the sixth, the Red Sox failed to score off Cole, though they certainly had a golden opportunity to do so.
A two-out walk drawn by Rafael Devers followed by a Hunter Renfroe single and Duran free pass filled the bases for Christian Vazquez, who fell behind in the count at 0-2 before offering a half-hearted swing on a slider that was well outside.
While the argument can be made that Vazquez did not break the plane in his swing attempt, the veteran backstop was called out on strikes anyway, prompting a bit of an eruption from the Red Sox dugout in protest of the call.
Because of said reaction, bench coach Will Venable and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki were ejected from the contest, which — in theory — left the Red Sox with only one catcher.
Chaos in the bottom of the sixth
As Hirokazu Sawamura prepared to take over Eovaldi out of the Red Sox bullpen, rain continued to pour in the Bronx-area.
Before a pitch could even be thrown in the sixth inning, pandemonium ensued when a Yankees fan in the left field bleachers threw a baseball at Alex Verdugo that struck the outfielder on the back.
That sequence, which came as a result of Verdugo attempting to throw the ball he was playing catch with to a Red Sox fan in the stands, led Verdugo to become visibly upset, as he began to charge towards the left field wall in search of the fan who hit him.
Duran and some Red Sox coaches were able to hold Verdugo back, but manager Alex Cora opted to pull his team off the field until things cooled down a bit.
By the time Boston had retaken the field and Sawamura was ready to go, Gary Sanchez greeted the right-handed reliever by crushing a solo home run that just snuck over the right field fence to give New York a 2-1 edge.
Gleyber Torres followed suit by clubbing another solo shot to right field, and the Yankees went up 3-1 over the Red Sox because of it.
Left-hander Josh Taylor was deployed after Sawamura gave up his second homer of the night, and he was able to escape the sixth without giving anything else up.
At that point, though, the volume at which the rain was falling from the sky truly began to pick up, and that led to the tarp coming on the field and another rain delay.
Approximately 52 minutes into said rain delay, the game was called, resulting in a 3-1 win for the Yankees in six innings.
With the loss, the Red Sox drop to 56-37 on the season, though they remain 1 1/2 games up on the Rays for first place in the American League East.
In his major-league debut, Duran — starting in center field and batting out of the six-hole — went 1-for-2 with a single, a walk, a strikeout, and one run scored.
Next up: Perez vs. Taillon
The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Yankees in the rubber match of this three-game set on Sunday night.
Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston in the finale, while right-hander Jameson Taillon will do the same for New York.
First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.
(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)