Kiké Hernández comes through in clutch as Red Sox come back to defeat Yankees, 5-4, in extras

The Red Sox were down to their final out in the ninth inning Thursday night, trailing the Yankees by a score of 3-1, and on the verge of dropping their third straight game to their division rivals.

With runners on first and second base, Kiké Hernández came to the plate having already driven in Boston’s lone run of the night. In front of him, Alex Verdugo was at second base, while Jarren Duran — pinch-running for Bobby Dalbec — represented the tying run on first base.

Matched up against Yankees reliever Chad Green, Hernández got ahead in the count at 1-0 before taking a 96 mph fastball down the heart of the plate and ripping a two-run double off the Green Monster.

Verdugo was able to easily score from second, while the speedy Duran came in all the way from first to knot things up at three runs apiece.

After Red Sox closer Matt Barnes allowed one unearned run to cross the plate in the top of the 10th despite tossing a 1-2-3 inning, Boston took advantage of a wild Brooks Kriske in their half of the frame.

The Yankees reliever began his night by throwing a pair of wild pitches that allowed Rafael Devers — who started the inning at second base — to score and tie it at 4-4 while Xander Bogaerts was at the plate.

Bogaerts himself walked, and he, too, moved up to third base on two more wild pitches from Kriske, which set up Hunter Renfroe to drive in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to right field.

With the 5-4 win, their 30th of the comeback variety this year, the Red Sox improve to 59-38 on the season while maintaining their one-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Houck’s solid start shortened by rain

Well before all of Thursday night’s late-inning drama from Fenway Park, Tanner Houck made his third start of the season for the Red Sox, which was also his first major-league start in more than three months.

As he did out of the bullpen in the Bronx last weekend, Houck was fairly dominant against the Yankees this time around. The right-hander retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before a pair of leadoff walks in the top of the fourth did him in, as Gleyber Torres brought in Brett Gardner on an RBI groundout to put New York ahead, 1-0, in that same inning.

Still, Houck got through the rest of the fourth unscathed and got the first two outs of the fifth before the volume of rain in the Fenway-area picked up and forced a 55-minute rain delay that would subsequently end his day prematurely.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (54 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler wound up yielding just one unearned run on two hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts over 4 2/3 strong innings of work. His next start should come against the Blue Jays at Fenway next Wednesday.

After the rain delay

Following that lengthy rain delay, left-hander Josh Taylor came on in relief of Houck, got out of the fifth inning, and tossed a clean sixth inning as well.

In the process of the Red Sox bullpen taking over for Houck, the Sox offense was struggling to get anything going against Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery.

The left-hander held the Boston bats in check throughout his 5 2/3 innings of work, but they were able to finally break through in the bottom of the seventh.

There, after Darwinzon Hernandez had punched out a pair in the top of the inning, two straight one-out singles from Verdugo and Dalbec off New York reliever Lucas Luetge set something in motion.

Michael Chavis proceeded to rip a hard-hit groundball to third base that looked as though it could have gone for a double play, but Tyler Wade bobbled the baseball, thus preventing that from happening.

With the bases now loaded as the Sox lineup turned back over, Hernández came through with his first heroic of the night in scoring Verdugo on a game-tying sacrifice fly.

A Devers infield single very well could have continued the rally, but Dalbec was thrown out at home by Torres after trying to score from second, and that ended the inning.

Former Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino ran into some trouble against his old team in the top of the eighth, as he allowed the go-ahead run — and an additional run — to score thanks in part to allowing two walks, a stolen base, one hit, and one sacrifice fly off the bat of Torres that saw the Yankees go up 3-1.

Fast forward to the ninth, with Green on the hill for New York, Hernández delivered once more with that aforementioned game-tying, two-run double to left field to send this one to extras.

In the top of the 10th, Barnes yielded an unearned run in an otherwise perfect inning of relief, and would later earn his fifth win of the season when Renfroe walked it off on his sacrifice fly a half inning later.

By completing their 30th come-from-behind victory this year, the Red Sox have extended their winning streak to three consecutive games. As was previously stated, they are now 59-38 on the season, which is good for the best record in the American League.

Next up: Cole vs. Rodriguez

Friday’s starting pitching matchup between the Red Sox and Yankees will feature left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston opposite ace right-hander Gerrit Cole for New York.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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