The Yankees beat Boston today. They clinched their final series before the All-Star break. They opened up their lead in the American League East to 3.5 games. Rob Refsnyder got both his first hit, and his first home run. Safe to say, today was a reasonably good day.
New York opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Mark Teixeira singled before Brian McCann hit an opposite field two-run home run over the Monster. Nathan Eovaldi gave the lead back in the bottom of the third though, giving up three runs on five singles. Ryan Hanigan, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts all hit seeing eye balls where Eovaldi may have been unlucky to see all three go for hits. A bad two-strike pitch to Pablo Sandoval was then lined to right for the second run, before Hanley Ramirez went up-the-middle to put the Red Sox ahead 3-2.
McCann led off the fifth inning with another opposite field drive, this time a double off the Monster. Chase Headley hit an infield single up-the-middle to put runners and first and third, before Wade Miley balked in the tying run. Headley would eventually be caught off second on a Refsnyder grounder, and the Yankees couldn't bring in another run in the inning despite having a runner on second with nobody out. Still, it was now 3-3.
The fourth Yankee run did come in the top of the sixth though, generated by the legs of Brett Gardner. After reaching on an infield single to second baseman Brock Holt, Gardner came all the way around from first to score on an Alex Rodriguez double to left field. Chris Young then continued his strong season facing left-handed pitching, lining a double off the top of the wall to score Rodriguez and knock Miley out of the game. Headley kept the scoring going against reliever Tommy Layne, another double to left field to make it 6-3.
Adam Warren came in to relieve Eovaldi for the bottom of the sixth. A Ramirez double and a Shane Victorino single later, it was 6-4, with one out in the inning. This brought in Justin Wilson, who gave up a single to pinch-hitter Mike Napoli, but nothing further. Wilson got another two outs in the seventh, sandwiching a base hit. With Ramirez coming to the plate as the tying run, Dellin Betances was brought on to get the big strikeout. An Alejandro De Aza single and a walk to Hanigan put the tying run on first base in the eighth, but once again Betances got the big strikeout to end the threat.
Refsnyder got the first hit of his major league career in the top of the seventh, singling to center field. He also had a nice, no hesitation flip over to Gregrorius to gun down the lead runner at second in the eighth. He looked pretty confident out there, which is promising. The big blow, though, came in the top of the ninth, a two-run home run over the wall in left to give Andrew Miller some breathing room, which would turn out to be very valuable in the end. The home run came off a right-hander as well in Alexi Ogando; perish the thought of ever pinch hitting Refsnyder with Stephen Drew. If the team brought Refsnyder up for two games to get a look at what he can do, well today should have given them a pretty good impression.
A little drama in the ninth. Miller walked Holt, Sandoval reached on a throwing error by McCann. A possible double play was instead an error on Refsnyder who wasn't quite quick enough to cover second base. The defensive instincts at second aren't quite perfected yet, there. This brought in one run, De Aza hit a sacrifice fly to bring home another and make it 8-6 Yankees. Things could have spiraled further as Victorino hit a blooper to shallow center which could have easily dropped in for a base hit but for an absolute gem of an over-the-shoulder catch from Didi Gregorius for the final out.
A fun series up in Fenway, as it turned out. Now four days off for all Yankees except Teixeira, Gardner and Betances. The Mariners come into Yankee stadium for a three game series starting on Friday, and the Yankees will start Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and CC Sabathia.