After seven innings that could only be generously described as lifeless, the Yankees staged a comeback in the eighth and escaped with a 4-3 win over the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon in Fenway Park. A very good start from Jameson Taillon and some clutch (and fortuitous) hits from Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Rougned Odor, and Gleyber Torres in a four-run eighth inning led to the win. Despite matters looking bleak for most of the afternoon, the Yankees can now salvage a split from the four-game series tomorrow at Fenway.
Yankee fans got a pretty bad vibe after just one Red Sox batter came to the plate. A ball was batted into the outfield, the batter stood at home for a second or two, before starting to walk, then jog, until he got about two-thirds of the way up the first baseline, then went into a run.
The ball stayed in the park – and he still scored.
Kiké Hernández is the batter to whom I refer, and he lined a 2-0 Jameson Taillon fastball off the green monster in left-center field. After an odd ricochet that Yankees’ center fielder Estevan Florial didn’t play particularly well, Hernández strolled into third base. That was before Yankees’ second baseman Rougned Odor tossed an ill-timed, and even more ill-placed, relay throw out of play, allowing Hernández to finish his jog. When the dust settled, the Red Sox led 1-0.
The Sox tacked on another run in the second inning. After a J.D. Martinez double led off the frame, light-hitting catcher Kevin Plawecki followed shortly thereafter with a one-out double of his own. Taillon, apparently sensing he was finding too much of the plate to this point in the game, issued a walk to number-eight batter Franchy Cordero but was able to avoid further damage by getting Michael Chavis to strike out to end the inning. Nevertheless, the Yankees were down 2-0.
A misplayed ground ball from Rougned Odor combined with some hustle and speed from Boston center fielder Jarren Duran led to a two-base error to lead off the bottom of the third inning for Boston. After a grounder to the right side from Xander Bogaerts and a sacrifice fly from Rafael Devers, the Red Sox had tacked on to their lead and led 3-0 after three complete.
Jameson Taillon and Nathan Eovaldi then traded zeros through seven when, as David Cone said on the YES broadcast, the Yankees got some help from the “BABIP Gods” and changed the tenor of the game in a big way.
With two outs, and Estevan Florial on second base, Brett Gardner ended the night of Eovaldi with an RBI single, giving the Yankees their first run. Boston manager Alex Cora decided Adam Ottavino was a better option against Giancarlo Stanton, who was representing the tying run at the plate. A bloop double from Stanton, followed a double off the Green Monster from Odor, and a bloop single from Gleyber Torres gave the Yankees – quite miraculously - a 4-3 lead after seven and a half innings.
Of course, no one expected this would end smoothly, so it was no surprise that the Red Sox got back-to-back two-out hits from Bogaerts and Devers to create a first and third two-out situation in the bottom of the eighth. Jonathan Loáisiga, who entered at the start of the inning to replace Taillon, induced a harmless fly ball into right-center field from the very scary J.D. Martinez – but that didn’t end the threat. Florial and right fielder Greg Allen crashed into each other when both were attempting to catch the ball, necessitating a gasp from all Yankee fans, which fortunately only lasted a second when Allen held up his glove showing he had possession of the ball.
Despite an obligatory Yankees baserunning blunder in the top of the ninth by Rob Brantly, and the obligatory control problems from Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the inning, the Yankees held on for a very improbable, and tension-filled 4-3 win. The win ends their two-game losing streak and gives them a chance at a series split tomorrow afternoon in the finale. Domingo Germán will take the ball for the Yankees opposing Boston’s Martín Pérez – first pitch, 1:10 pm EDT.