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Yankees 8, Red Sox 5: The Judge and grand jury

Aaron Judge’s grand slam and solid bullpen work netted the Yankees their lone series win against Boston in 2023.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

With the end of their second doubleheader in three days in sight, the Yankees stood alone in last place. But luckily, they still began the nightcap with a chance to even things up once again after getting blanked in the matinee. Clarke Schmidt grinded through his start, getting the job done while Judge and his lineup-mates got things done against a pieced-together Red Sox pitching effort. Final score: 8-5, Yankees, and matched records of 74-73.

Nick Robertson got things started on the bump for Boston, and did exactly what was asked of him by spinning a spotless top of the first. Schmidt, who had a much longer leash than Boston’s opener, would not fare so well in his first try. After giving up back-to-back singles to the first two batters, Alex Verdugo knocked in the game’s first run via a botched double-play attempt and an Anthony Volpe error. A few batters later, Wilyer Abreu stayed hot and pushed Verdugo across on a single, to put the Red Sox up 2-0 after the first inning.

Brennan Bernardino took over after Robertson’s role as the opener, and he did not follow in his ‘pen-mates footsteps. The Bombers loaded the bases quickly on a pair of hits from Estevan Florial and Oswald Peraza, and a walk from Oswaldo Cabrera. Kyle Higashioka got the first crack at the loaded bags, and struck out swinging, but DJ LeMahieu had his back by singling in the Yankees first run and moving the runners up by a station.

Up came Aaron Judge, and folks, he is good!

In a flash, the Yankees’ offensive pillar put them up 5-2 in the second inning with a grand slam.

Both Schmidt and Boston’s third pitcher in as many innings, Zack Weiss, settled down for a clean bottom of the second and top of the third. But the Sox would not be down for long. Rafael Devers, noted Yankee-killer, continued to kill the Yankees, leading off the third with a looping homer over the 380 sign in right field to drop the New York lead to two.

Schmidt avoided any further damage in the inning and did the same in the fourth, while the lineup stayed quiet through their turn in the fifth. The Boston bats got to Clarky again in the bottom of the fifth however, after Luis Urías and Devers reached. With two outs, Triston Casas did his job to prove the “when it rains it pours” hypothesis, by reaching on Volpe’s second error of the game, which scored Urías and made this a one-run ballgame.

The Yankee bats stayed quiet in the sixth, and a combination of Schmidt and Zach McAllister kept Boston at bay through six innings. Schmidt would finish with a gutty line of three earned runs on seven hits over 5.1 frames.

In the seventh, however, Boston squared things as Casas knocked in another run on a squibber against Wandy Peralta that ultimately knotted the score at five after seven innings.

Luckily, it didn’t stay that way for long, as New York finally broke through again in the eighth. Volpe did his best to redeem himself by leading off with a hustle single, while Cabrera advanced him with one of his own. With two outs, LeMahieu once again cashed in on the opportunity by one-hopping a ball off the Monster for a double, knocking in the go-ahead run.

Tommy Kahnle took the hill to defend the lead in the eighth, and did a splendid job, retiring three Red Sox in order. The Yanks headed to the top of the ninth in search of some insurance.

Florial reached on a hit-by-pitch, and ultimately was there with two outs with Peraza due up. In what was a excellent at-bat, Peraza launched a towering blast into seats above the Green Monster. It was an encouraging homer on a number of fronts, just the second of his career, it also gave his squad a much more confidence-inspiring 8-5 advantage headed into the bottom of the ninth.

With no one warming in the ‘pen throughout the prior inning, this was Kahnle’s game to finish. He started things off with a rather theatrical strikeout of Urías, and would do the same in a blink to Ceddane Rafaela. Devers reached, but Kahnle finished off his inning and this game with yet another K, freezing Verdugo with a heater, and sealing the 8-5 win for New York.

In the matter of a few hours, the Yankees had clawed their way out of last place (sort of). This win secured a series win in the odd two-doubleheader/four-game set at Fenway, and closed out the 2023 chapter of Yankees vs. Red Sox.

Looking ahead, the Yankees will head to the Steel City to take on the Pirates in a three-game series beginning tomorrow. Gerrit Cole will aim to bolster his Cy Young case against his former team, starting at 6:35pm ET.

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