Last night really felt like a throwback. Red Sox, Yankees, cold weather, Fenway Park, bench clearing brawl, four-hour game. I would expect that in 2004, but in 2018, not really.
Right from the get go, the Red Sox were trailing in this game. Making his third start of the season, David Price allowed the Yankees to score four times in the top of the first. Half of those runs were scored on a two-run home run off the bat of Gary Sanchez. As it turns out, the first inning is all the action Price would see in this one. The lefty had to take an early exit because of “sensations” he was feeling in his left hand. He said his arm felt great, but his hand did not. From what I’ve heard, Price plans on making his next start against the Orioles on Patriots Day.
On short notice, Alex Cora turned to another lefty in the second, that being Bobby Poyner. After allowing two to reach and retiring the side, Poyner got rocked in the third inning. Three straight hits put the Yankees up by four again, and then we had some good old-fashioned mayhem.
Shades of the Manny Machado incident with Dustin Pedroia last season in Baltimore. Although I don’t think Tyler Austin intended on injuring Brock Holt, it was a pretty careless move by him. I understand why Holt took offense to it. I mean, there’s no reason to do something like that if you’re not trying to start something. What’s worse is the Red Sox could not get a double play out of this after it was reviewed.
Fast forward to the top of the seventh inning and we had even more drama. After scoring two more runs in the sixth, the Yankees entered the inning with a 10-6 lead. Joe Kelly was on the mound, and after he got the first batter he faced to ground out, Tyler Austin was up next. After swinging at the first pitch he saw, Austin took two straight balls, one which came close to hitting him. On the very next pitch, madness…
Gotta love the way Kelly handled this. Compared to the Manny Machado situation last year, I believe this was handled much better. No head shots, solid shot to the ribs, full on madness. Christian Vazquez probably should have restrained Tyler Austin from getting to the mound, but we got this glorious moment out of it:
Joe Kelly, man. He’s a bit of an odd ball, but he’s our odd ball.
In the aftermath of all this, Brian Johnson came in for Kelly with one out in the seventh. Working on zero days rest, I was thoroughly impressed with the outing the lefty put together. He allowed just one hit over 1.2 innings of work while fanning three, keeping his team in the game in the late stages.
Speaking of impressive outings, Carson Smith, like Johnson, kept the Red Sox in the game late. He tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, walking one and striking out one along the way.
Offensively, seven runs was not enough for the Red Sox to pick up their tenth straight win. Like I said, they were down by four right from the start, and although they got to Masahiro Tanaka and chipped away at the deficit more than once, they could not catch up.
Hanley Ramirez got things started in the home half of the first, as he blasted his second home run of the year over the Green Monster to make it a 4-1 game.
After going scoreless the next three innings, the Red Sox lineup erupted for five runs in the fifth. A Mookie Betts RBI double scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from second with one out in the inning, Yankees lead down to six. Two batters later and the bases loaded, JD Martinez entered himself into this rivalry with a huge hit. On the first pitch he saw from Tanaka, Martinez took a 89 mile per hour splitter and launched it over the center field wall.
Third grand slam for the Red Sox as a team this season. Just a reminder, they hit NONE in 2017. All of the sudden, we had ourselves a new ball game. Red Sox down 8-6 going into the sixth, things were looking up. Unfortunately, the Yankees knocked on two more runs to make it a four run game.
Moving ahead to the bottom half of the ninth, the Red Sox were down to their last three outs against Aroldis Chapman, a pitcher who has struggled at Fenway Park in the past. Two straight hits from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez put runners on second and third with no outs. Pinch hitting for Brock Holt, Sandy Leon failed to score either run and popped out to right field. After Mookie Betts struck out on six pitches, a wild pitch with Rafael Devers at the plate allowed Bradley to score from third and cut the deficit to three runs. Unlike last season, Devers could not catch up to Chapman’s fastball, as he struck out to end the game.
Unfortunate result, but a very memorable game. I doubt anything will transpire tonight, but I’m looking forward to what these two teams have in store for the rest of the season.
Rick Porcello gets the ball against Sonny Gray in the rubber match later tonight. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.