The Yankees bounced back on Saturday following a disappointing loss on Friday. J.A. Happ strung together his second consecutive great start, and the Yankees’ bats finally got to the Red Sox bullpen after last night’s dud. Let’s look at how it happened.
The pitchers dueled to begin the game. The first 12 outs of the game featured just one hit and five strikeouts. J.A. Happ shut the Athletics out for six innings last Sunday, and he kept up that level of performance this afternoon. He threw 6.1 shutout innings and only gave up two hits along the way. Happ struck out seven and walked just one too.
Despite only sitting at about 92 mph, Red Sox hitters couldn’t touch Happ’s fastball. Twelve of his 16 swinging strikes came off the pitch. Five of his seven strikeouts came from fastballs up and out of the zone, too. This clearly has been his best stretch of play all season. I don’t know whether this effectiveness will stick, but it’s definitely a welcome change of pace from how his August went.
For the Red Sox, Travis Lakins turned in two perfect innings to start the game, including three strikeouts, and Bobby Poyner went three up, three down in the third. Ryan Weber came on in the fourth, and the game broke open.
DJ LeMahieu singled to start the inning, and with one out, Didi Gregorius hit a liner to right field. It was ruled a hit, but it looked like maybe J.D. Martinez could’ve made the catch if he hadn’t lost it in the sun. With runners on second and third, Alex Cora brought on Colten Brewer. Gary Sanchez popped one up in short right field near the line. Not only did it fall in for a hit, but the ball spun off the hop and into the stands, scoring two runs.
Edwin Encarnacion doubled the lead on the next pitch of the game, taking a curveball over the Green Monster and out of the stadium. It was Encarnacion’s 32nd homer for the year:
After the fourth-inning outburst, the pitcher’s duel resumed for the next few innings. The Red Sox continued their parade of relievers and J.A. Happ kept working his magic. Following Happ, Adam Ottavino came on in the bottom of the seventh to record two outs.
Tommy Kahnle entered the game in the bottom of the eighth, but after getting the first out of the inning, he allowed back-to-back singles, necessitating a Yankee pitching change. Zack Britton replaced Kahnle and got two outs without allowing any runs to cross.
In the ninth inning, the Sanchez-Encarnacion duo paired up again to plate the Yankees’ fifth run of the night. After Sanchez was plunked on a slider that didn’t slide, Encarnacion knocked a double off the center field wall that allowed Sanchez to score.
Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth in a non-save situation. He recorded two relatively quick outs, but Martinez tagged him for Boston’s only run of the game. Martinez planted one in the bullpens right off a 99-mph Chapman fastball. The Yankees’ closer buckled down for the last hitter of the game and got Andrew Benintendi to fly out to first.
With the win today, the Yankees now have 93 victories on the season, and their magic number sits at now 11. The four-game series continues tomorrow with game three on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. Masahiro Tanaka will face off with Rick Porcello.