For the second straight day, the Red Sox found themselves with an early lead over the Yankees but were unable to hold onto it in the end.
Boston fell to New York by a final score of 4-2 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, marking their second consecutive loss to open the 2022 campaign.
The Sox lineup did all of their damage off Yankees starter Luis Severino in their half of the second inning. After going down in order in the first, J.D. Martinez led off the following frame with a single and was driven in when Alex Verdugo took Severino deep to right field for his first home run of the season.
Verdugo’s two-run blast came on a 2-1, 98 mph fastball from Severino and left his bat with an exit velocity of 104.1 mph. It also traveled 382 feet into the right field seats to give Boston the early 2-0 lead.
Nick Pivetta, on the other hand, was in the midst of his first start of the season when Verdugo went yard. The right-hander faced first the minimum nine batters through his first three innings on the mound.
Jackie Bradley Jr. helped him out by gunning down Joey Gallo, who was attempting to stretch a two-out single into a double, at second base for the final out of the second and recorded his first outfield assist of the year in doing so.
Josh Donaldson, the hero of Opening Day, led off the fourth with a line-drive single. Aaron Judge then lifted a 411-foot flyout to the deepest part of the park in straightaway center field that Enrique Hernandez was able to come up with.
Anthony Rizzo, who homered off Nathan Eovaldi on Friday, proceeded to mash his second two-run home run in as many days by depositing a 93 mph Pivetta fastball 389 feet to right field to pull the Yankees back even at two runs apiece.
After standing two more base runners in the fourth on a pair of walks, Pivetta bounced back by retiring the side in the fifth. He was unable to carry that momentum into the sixth, though, as he issued a leadoff walk to Judge and a booming, 437-foot two-run blast to Giancarlo Stanton that had an exit velocity of 112 mph.
Stanton would be the second-to-last batter Pivetta would face, as he was pulled by Red Sox manager Alex Cora after recording the second out of the inning. The 29-year-old finished his day having allowed four runs (all earned) on four hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work. 50 of the 81 pitches he threw went for strikes.
In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Austin Davis came on to finish things in the sixth and did just that by getting Gallo to fly out to left. From there, Hirokazau Sawamura twirled a 1-2-3 seventh inning and Phillips Valdez did the same in the eighth. It was a combined perfect showing for the trio of relievers making their 2022 debuts.
While the likes of Davis, Sawamura, and Valdez did their job by holding the Yankees to four runs, the Yankees bullpen did their job by holding the Red Sox to just two.
Severino may have lasted just three-plus innings in his first start since 2019, but six different New York relievers held their own from there. The Boston bats stranded Rafael Devers at second in the third, and Bradley Jr. and Verdugo at first and third in the fourth.
Fast forward all the way to the ninth, Christian Arroyo came on to pinch-hit for Bradley Jr. and reached base off Aroldis Chapman via a throwing error committed by Isiah Kiner-Filefa.
Arroyo was able to advance to second on the error and brought the potential tying run to the plate with just one out in the frame. Chapman, however, did not lose his composure. The Yankees closer got Christian Vazquez to fly out and Hernandez to ground out to secure his first save and send the Red Sox to 0-2 on the young season.
Some notes from this loss:
The Red Sox went a whopping 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Saturday and left eight runners on base as a team. They did that while still outhitting the Yankees, 5-4.
Saturday’s contest took less than three hours to complete and was played in front of 46,882 spectators in the Bronx.
Next up: Houck vs. Montgomery
Looking to avoid a three-game sweep to start the year, the Red Sox will turn to right-hander Tanner Houck in Sunday night’s series finale against the Yankees, who will roll with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.
First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.
(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)