For the third straight time dating back to before the All-Star break, the Red Sox won the first game of a series and followed by dropping the next two contests, as they fell to the Yankees by a final score of 9-1 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night.
After starting the season with seven wins in seven tries against their division rivals, the Sox have lost their last two to the Bronx Bombers and a scored a total of two runs in those defeats.
Martin Perez made his 19th start of the season for Boston on Sunday, and he ran into some early trouble shortly after tossing a 1-2-3 first inning.
That being the case because Gleyber Torres greeted the veteran left-hander by crushing a leadoff home run off him to begin things in the bottom of the second before back-to-back one-out singles in the third resulted in another New York run crossing the plate on an RBI groundout off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton.
The Yankees added on to their lead in the fifth, which turned out be an inning in which Perez failed to record an out in, as he yielded two straight singles to Rougned Odor and Ryan LaMarre that put runners at second and third with no outs on account of a throwing error from right fielder Hunter Renfroe.
At that point, Red Sox manager Alex Cora pulled Perez in favor of right-hander Garrett Whitlock, who allowed an inherited runner to score on a Greg Allen sacrifice fly before getting out of the inning.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 62 (41 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler ended up surrendering three runs — all of which were earned — on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over just four-plus innings of work. His next start should come against this same Yankees team back at Fenway Park on Saturday.
The Red Sox lineup, which had struggled mightily throughout the night against Yankees starter Jameson Taillon, had a golden opportunity to get on the board in their half of the sixth, with one out and runners in scoring position following a hard-hit double from Xander Bogaerts.
That double knocked Taillon out of this contest, and the Yankees brought in Chad Green to face off against Rafael Devers in a prime run-scoring spot, but the slugging third baseman struck out on a controversial check-swing call, while Hunter Renfroe grounded out to third to extinguish the threat.
Whitlock, after recording the final out of the fifth, came back out for the sixth and proceeded to sit down the final three hitters he faced in order to keep his side within the three runs they trailed by.
From there, however, the Red Sox bullpen let this one get away from them, as Darwinzon Hernanez entered in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner before serving up a two-run blast to Rougned Odor to put Boston in a 5-0 hole.
The left-hander then walked LaMarre and Allen back-to-back, prompting Brandon Workman to take over for him to only issue three consecutive free passes — two of which came with the bases loaded — with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, allowing New York to jump out to a 7-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the eighth, after plating their only run of the evening on a Renfroe RBI single in the top half of the frame, the Red Sox fell victim to more walk issues, as Yacksel Rios walked the first batter who came to the plate against him in Odor before giving up a two-run homer to LaMarre, who spent part of the 2016 season in the Boston outfield.
That put the Yankees up by a commanding eight runs at 9-1, which would go on to be Sunday’s final score.
All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. They left nine men on base as a team.
With the loss, the Sox fall to 56-38 on the season as they have now dropped six of their last eight games despite clinging on to a half-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.
Arroyo suffers hamstring injury
Christian Arroyo was originally starting Sunday’s contest at first base for the first time in his professional career, but his debut at the position did not go according to plan.
The 26-year-old suffered a left hamstring strain after attempting to stretch out for a ball in order to complete a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the third inning.
After doing a split and rising to his feet, Arroyo was in visible discomfort and had to exit immediately. He was replaced by Bobby Dalbec at first base and seems likely to land on the injured list.
Next up: Blue Jays in Buffalo
The Red Sox will make the trek from the Bronx to Buffalo to take on a surging Blue Jays club in the first of a three-game series at Sahlen Field on Monday night.
Right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow righty Ross Stripling is lined up to do the same for Toronto.
First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Rafael Devers: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)