Starters David Price and Masahiro Tanaka went toe-to-toe, but New York ultimately lost the battle of the bullpens tonight. The Yankees rallied late to take a 4-1 lead, but Aroldis Chapman blew the save — aided by a Miguel Andujar error — and they lost 5-4 in ten innings.
New York was nine outs away from getting the broom, when the Empire finally struck back. With the Yankees trailing 1-0, Brett Gardner led off the seventh with a single and moved up when Austin Romine walked, ending Price’s night. Reliever Heath Hembree kept throwing up-and-in to Shane Robinson with the Yankees’ right fielder trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt, and ultimately walked him to load the bases.
The Yankees took a 2-1 lead when shortstop Xander Bogaerts booted a potential double-play grounder by Aaron Hicks. Gardner and Romine both scored on the play, with Robinson moving to third. Giancarlo Stanton knocked him in with a single. Hicks then moved up to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gleyber Torres to give the Yankees a seemingly decisive 4-1 advantage.
Tanaka battled all night, giving the Yankees the start they desperately needed. He came out of the gate throwing strikes, and never let up. The veteran worked around a one-out double in the first, a pair of singles in both the second and the third, and a leadoff walk in the fourth. Tanaka gave up just one run on six hits, while notching nine of his 14 outs on strikeouts.
After striking out Sandy Leon to begin the fifth inning, Tanaka allowed a mammoth home run to Mookie Betts. The 437-foot shot over the left-center field wall gave Boston a 1-0 lead. Tanaka bounced back to strike out Andrew Benintendi looking, but Steve Pearce reached on a fielding error by third baseman Miguel Andujar, ending Tanaka’s night.
The Yankees bullpen took over from there, and proceeded to exert its dominance — for awhile. David Roberston struck out J.D. Martinez to end the fifth, and pitched around a two-out single to retire the Red Sox in the sixth.
Zach Britton came on in the seventh and issued a leadoff walk to Leon, but rebounded to strike out Betts looking. With Benintendi batting, Leon moved to second on a passed ball. He was left stranded when Britton retired Benintendi and Pearce on a pair of ground outs.
Dellin Betances fell behind Martinez 2-0 before hitting him with a pitch to start the eighth. He then struck out Bogaerts and Moreland, and got Eduardo Nunez on a groundout to put the Yanks three outs away from a win.
Aroldis Chapman climbed the hill in the ninth, aiming for his 30th save in 31 chances. He faced eight batters, walking three — all of whom scored. It was an ugly inning for Chapman and the Yankees.
Chapman got Holt looking at a 3-2 slider to begin the frame. He then threw a first-pitch strike to Leon, before losing him on four straight pitches out of the strike zone. With the Boston crowd chanting “M-V-P,” Chapman walked Betts on a 3-2 pitch to bring the tying run to the plate. He went 3-2 to Benintendi, but got him looking at a slider for the second out. He then lost Pearce on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for Martinez, who promptly smashed the first pitch he saw for a two-run single over the glove of a leaping Torres.
Bogaerts then hit what should have been a game-ending groundout to third base. Andujar fielded it cleanly, but bounced his throw to first. Bird wasn’t able to handle it, allowing pinch-runner Jackie Bradley Jr. to score the tying run. Chapman struck out Moreland to finally end the frame, but the damage was done.
After throwing 39 pitches in the ninth, Chapman was unavailable to pitch the tenth. Manager Aaron Boone turned to Jonathan Holder, who last pitched on Thursday when he allowed seven runs without recording an out. Holder retired the first two batters he faced tonight, before allowing a single to number-nine hitter Leon.
With Betts batting, Leon advanced to second on a wild pitch. The Yankees consequently opted to issue a free pass to Betts, and Boston put Tony Renda in to pinch-run for Leon. Benintendi then laced a single to center, driving Renda home with the winning run.
The Bombers have only been swept in a four-game (or longer) series at Fenway five times before (2016, 1990, ‘69, ‘59, ‘44) since the park opened in 1912. With the loss, the Yankees fall to 68-42. They are now 9.5 games behind Boston in the AL East Race, and hold only a 2.5 game lead over the Athletics for the top Wild Card berth. New York begins a three-game series with the White Sox in Chicago tomorrow night. Lance Lynn (7-8, 4.89 ERA) toes the slab for the Yankees, while Dylan Covey (4-7, 5.57 ERA) gets the start for Chicago. Join us, first pitch is 8:10 PM EDT.