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Yankees 3, Red Sox 2: Kiner-Falefa’s big day propels Bombers to much-needed win

IKF’s first Yankee homer and an RBI squeeze bunt got the Yanks the runs they needed to pull out a win in Boston.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

Even if he ends up having a perfectly nice Yankees career, someone might ask you years from now, “Hey, remember that big game from Isiah Kiner-Falefa?” There’s a very good chance that they’ll mean this one.

Kiner-Falefa ended up driving in all three of the Yankees runs, on two completely polar opposite hits. The first two RBI came on his first home run of the season, taking a pitch into the Green Monster seats. Then late in the game, he bunted for a single, scoring a runner from third to break a tie, and give the Yankees the cushion they needed to win the game. IKF’s big night propelled the Yankees to a much needed 3-2 win over the Red Sox.

Frankie Montas had managed to escape some minor jams already when he got into one he into another in the fourth, which would lead to Boston getting on the board, in an annoying fashion. After Alex Verdugo led off the inning with a walk, he moved to second on a groundout. Eric Hosmer then dropped a single in, which wasn’t quite enough to score a run, but put runners on the corners. Montas then got a little wild, uncorking a wild pitch, walking a batter, and then hitting one, leading to the Red Sox getting on the board. A sac fly added a second run before Montas finally got out of the inning.

The Yankees would immediately answer back, in maybe literally the most unexpected way possible. With Andrew Benintendi on first after a walk, Kiner-Falefa got his home run to get the Yankees on the board.

It was a pretty good time for his first of the season, and also got him the joking silent treatment from his teammates.

Montas would bounce back in the fifth inning, which ended up being his final of the day with Lucas Luetge coming in for the sixth. It was definitely an improvement on his first start since coming over to the Yankees. The former Athletic ended up going five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks, striking out four.

Pitching for the first time in 11 days, Luetge ended up throwing a scoreless frame, thanks to some big help from a diving catch by Benintendi.

Lou Trivino came in for the seventh and got two quick outs before Xander Bogaerts doubled. With the go-ahead run in scoring position, the Yankees went back to the bullpen and brought in Aroldis Chapman. While he had been good lately, it looked like he might not have it on this night, as he plunked Verdugo and then missed wildly to start the next at-bat. However, Bogaerts then took off for third way too early, allowing Chapman to easily pick him off to end the inning.

After Anthony Rizzo very narrowly missed a home run (that probably would’ve been gone anywhere else), Chapman came back out for the bottom of the eighth. He quickly threw a 1-2-3 inning, keeping his scoreless run going.

With one out in the top of the ninth, Benintendi continuing his solid game at his old stomping grounds, doubling to deep center field. He then moved to third when Jose Trevino reached on an infield single after Eric Hosmer was pulled off the bag stretching for the throw. That brought IKF to the plate again. This time, he laid down a perfect squeeze bunt single that left Boston with no play at home or first. Benintendi scored and the Yankees were in front.

Now in position for the win, the Yankees called on Scott Effross for the ninth inning. While he got one quick out, two-straight singles put the potential winning run on and brought the heart of the Red Sox order to the plate. Rafael Devers was the first man in that sequence, and he hit a grounder right in front of home plate. Trevino made a pretty nice play to field it and throw down to second to get an out and keep at least one runner out of scoring position. The second man was Bogaerts, who ended up hitting a shallow infield pop up that Rizzo caught to seal the heart-pounding win.

Even with the win, you can’t be sure that the Yankees are completely out of their rut just yet. However, if they do go on a nice run from here, it would’ve been kickstarted by a crazy performance in a crazy win. They maintained their 10-game lead over Toronto (who beat Cleveland tonight), and they’ll go for the series win at Fenway tomorrow night on Sunday Night Baseball with Jameson Taillon on the bump. First pitch is at 7:08pm.

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