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Yankees 2, Red Sox 9: Yanks stomped out, get swept

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After waking up on the wrong side of the bed, the Yankees sleepwalked into an afternoon nightmare.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

On a sunny Sunday ripe for baseball, the Yankees entered the afternoon with an opportunity to earn a game back against their rivals with their ace on the mound. Entering the game, they’d dropped five straight to their rivals, trailing them by 5.5 games for the Wild Card’s first seed. With a win, they’d avoid the sweep, and regain some momentum they’d built up after winning each of their previous three series against Toronto, Oakland, and Kansas City.

In utter disregard of the inviting environs, things went from bad to worse and teetered on worst in an all-around laugher in favor of the Red Sox.

A 1-2-3 top of the first tempered any prevailing optimism about their paltry offense turning things around before the Red Sox put a nail in the coffin of the still asleep Yanks.

On the first pitch of the game, Kiké Hernandez took Gerrit Cole’s first-pitch fastball over the Green Monster, a deep deficit for a team that can’t figure out a way to score. Unfortunately for the Yankees, the deficit accelerated rapidly from there.

Still in the first, Cole served up an elevated changeup with two strikes to Alex Verdugo for a double. Then, he walked JD Martinez to put runners on first and second with Boston’s most dangerous hitter coming up. Fortunately, Xander Bogaerts missed the barrel, flying out to Miguel Andújar. Unfortunately, Andújar fielded the lazy fly ball with an even lazier play, recording the out on his heels and boneheadedly heaving the ball up the line at third. Miggy’s throw allowed both runners to tag up and advance instead of throwing the ball to second base.

Having just one out recorded in the first still, Rafael Devers made Andújar’s incompetence irrelevant, parking a 113.7 mph blast 451 feet from the plate into right field and making the score 4-0. Devers turned Cole’s 100 mph heater into his fastest pitch ever hit for a homer, reminiscent of this shot from his rookie season when he accomplished the same feat against Aroldis Chapman:

Despite summoning nearly the same spin as he had before the foreign substance ban enforcement, Cole lost confidence in his pitches after being battered around in the first, and with it, his control. Of his 89 pitches, he threw 59 strikes leading to six runs (five earned), the most he’s ever allowed as a Yankee.

Gleyber Torres took his turn at merging poor play with worse luck to plumb the depths of ineptitude, with a brutal showing across the board. Attempting to replicate a Bogaerts gem robbing Luke Voit from a two-out knock with two runners on from the previous half-inning, Torres fielded Bogaerts’ own grounder to his right, transferred the ball from glove to hand in hyperspeed, and fired it up the line and out of play. Later, he sat back on a slow grounder up the middle and then rushed an errant throw, gifting the hustling Devers a base hit to conclude the poor play portion of his performance.

Mixing in a dash of bad luck, Eduardo Rodriguez stabbed at a meekly hit liner up the middle by Torres, knocking it down for Hernandez to collect and flip to first, for a run of the mill 1-4-3 putout.

In the top of the sixth, the Yankees showed signs of life when Aaron Judge homered onto Lansdowne Street, plating DJ LeMahieu cut the Red Sox’s lead to four. However, his blast was all they'd get in the contest, though the Sox continued adding insult to injury.

In the seventh, the Yankees finally got to Rodriguez with an Andújar walk and a Frazier single, bringing in former Yankee Garrett Whitlock. Instead of leaving Higashioka in the nine-hole, Boone opted to bring in his hottest bat — Gary Sánchez — off the bench with Cole out of the game and the tying run in DJ LeMahieu on deck. After working the count full, Sánchez fouled off a pair of pitches before taking an outside changeup, walking the bases loaded with just one out.

As they’re apt to do this season, the Yankees tightened up when it counted most. DJ LeMahieu went down without removing the bat from his shoulder, including a brutal strike-two call below the zone. Then, Judge took a pair of pitches for a ball and a strike before popping up a slider on the outer third to Danny Santana at first, leaving three more runners stranded aboard.

The fun didn’t stop there: Luis Cessa approached a pair of scoreless innings in relief but surrendered a two-out double to Bogaerts to conclude a seven-pitch at-bat, who then scored on a flare to left by Bogaerts for his third hit of the ballgame, making it 7-2 Red Sox.

In the bottom frame, Luke Voit smoked a first-pitch single into right, only to have his work undone by a Giancarlo Stanton strikeout and a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Gio Urshela. Between the trio of the Yankees’ three, four, and five-hole hitters, they finished the day with Voit’s single as their lone hit to go along with five strikeouts as a part of a 1-for-12 outing.

Brooks Kriske entered in the bottom of the eighth for mop-up duty and looked just like Gerrit Cole. On almost any other day, that’d be a compliment, but not today. Christian Vazquez hammered Kriske’s first pitch of his outing over the Green Monster to raise their tally to 8-2. Beating a dead horse, Hernandez’s check-swing caught just enough of the ball to send it rolling softly up the right-field line well beyond the reach of Voit at first for a run-scoring double, stretching the lead to where it was finally laid to rest, 9-2.

In the ninth, they went out as they arrived, pathetically and without a whimper. Yacksel Rios earned the last three outs needed for a victory without allowing a ball past the infield grass, giving up only a walk to the four batters he faced while striking out two.

In the three games against the Red Sox, the Yankees scored a couple of runs in each contest but permitted 18 total, getting nearly tripled-up by their rivals. This, as they say, ain’t it, chief.

Tomorrow, they’ll look to turn things around by setting off a homestand against the Angels with Dylan Bundy taking on Mike King at 7:05 p.m. EST in the Bronx.