The Yankees can’t win every game, but they sure are trying. The Bombers trailed for most of the series finale against the Red Sox, but their trademark late-inning heroics came through. Sadly, due to a combination of bullpen blunders, poor umpiring, and bad luck, the winning streak ends at eight. Boston topped New York by the score of 5 - 4.
CC Sabathia didn’t pitch well on Thursday night, but he didn’t pitch poorly either. He just so happened to run into a ton of bad luck. It started with Mookie Betts, the very first batter of the game, blasting a ground-rule double to right field. A pair of groundouts resulted in a run scoring, giving the Red Sox a quick 1 - 0 lead. I thought Didi Gregorius could have thrown Betts out at home, but he opted to take a sure out at first. Sabathia escaped without further damage, though.
The left-hander found himself in the biggest mess of the night in the third inning. Three consecutive hits gave Boston their second run with no outs recorded. A fielder’s choice off the bat of JD Martinez resulted in a 3 - 0 lead for the Red Sox. None of these at-bats featured anything well struck. The Sox found some holes and the Yankees couldn’t complete some tough defensive plays. It was just one of those nights.
Eduardo Rodriguez, on the other hand, pitched remarkably well. Through the first five innings he limited the Yankees to just one hit, an infield single for Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth inning. That frame represented the best chance for the Yankees against the left-hander. With one out and the bases loaded, Rodriguez squared off against Tyler Austin. The rookie first baseman clearly entered swing mode, as he took cuts at pitches way out of the strike zone. Austin eventually struck out looking, but that call deserves criticism.
Austin had a dreadful at-bat. Nevertheless, home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater took the bat right out of his hands. I don’t like to pick on the umpires in recaps, but his zone proved laughable.
The Yankees had one last chance to score in the fourth, with Miguel Andujar up. He put up a fight, but flew out to the warning track to end the inning. During his at-bat, the skies opened up and it began to pour rain in the Bronx. The grounds crew insisted they could play through it and so they did.
Sabathia, however, probably wished for a different decision. He took the mound in the fifth and quickly surrendered a solo home run to Hanley Ramirez. Only then did the tarp come out and the game went into a lengthy rain delay. Talk about a tough luck start for CC. He finished the night having allowed four runs in four-plus innings, striking out five. Not the best night for the big guy.
After the rain delay, Jonathan Holder came on to work the fifth. He retired the side which brought Rodriguez back out. I thought this was a questionable decision, but there was no complaining on my end. If the Red Sox wanted to run out a rusty starter, more power to them. Rodriguez then put the Yankees away with ease, looking razor sharp in the process. Of course he did.
Alex Cora pulled Rodriguez after the sixth, and thank goodness. Heath Hembree came on and subsequently loaded the bases. He got Tyler Austin to fly out but then the wheels came off. Joe Kelly came on, to the jeers of the crowd, and walked in a run. The Yankees then tied the game following an Aaron Judge single, a Gregorius fielder’s choice, and a wild pitch. This team refuses to go down without a fight.
Unfortunately, Dellin Betances couldn’t get out of his own way. After working a clean seventh, he came back out for the eighth and instantly surrendered a home run to JD Martinez. It was a wall scraper over the short porch, one that Judge probably could have caught if not for a fan getting to it first.
Unbelievable. That’s probably catchable and features short porch shenanigans, but Aaron Boone has to quit the multiple-innings experiment with Betances. He’s a one-inning only guy now. The other options weren’t great, but I never want to see two innings worth of Betances in a game again.
The Yankees threatened in the bottom of the eighth, and Austin had a chance to face Kelly with a runner on. He took a healthy cut on the first pitch and sent it to the outfield. He just missed it — would have been a real cool way to score the go-ahead run. Kelly somehow worked his way out of trouble though, despite giving the Bombers a few chances to rally.
The ninth inning brought on Craig Kimbrel, who faced the top of the Yankees’ order. He struck out Brett Gardner, forced Judge to fly out, and then got the ice-cold Gregorius to ground out. Bummer. The Red Sox took the series finale, joining the Yankees in the top spot in the AL East.
Oakland visits tomorrow, where Sonny Gray is scheduled to start against his former team. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.