Yankees Recap: Yankees Fall 4-3 to Red Sox in Series Opener
Following their three game sweep over the Atlanta Braves down south in the land of the peach, the New York Yankees shipped up to Boston where they would meet their arch rivals for game one of a crucial three game series. Though the season is essentially over for the Boston Red Sox, pride is always on the line when these two teams meet, and the Bo Sox would love nothing more than to play the spoiler role and push the Yankees even further behind the Blue Jays as the calendar turns to September.
It was a pitching matchup that featured Ivan Nova (5-6, 4.52 ERA) against Eduardo Rodriguez (7-5, 4.25 ERA).
The Yankees jumped out to an early lead in the top half of the first inning when Carlos Beltran launched a sacrifice fly to deep left centerfield that plated ex-Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury. Interestingly enough, Ellsbury only reached base on a bizarre catchers interference call.
The Red Sox answered back in the bottom half of the third with a two-run homer off the bat of Mookie Betts to dead centerfield. It was Mookie Betts’ 13 homer of the season, and just like that, the Red Sox were up 2-1.
In the top of the fourth sir Didi Gregorius singled in Brian McCann, tying the ball game up at 2.
However, in the bottom of the frame, Yankees killer David Ortiz did what he does best, and launched a solo home run off Nova onto the green monster, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. It was Ortiz’ 29th home run of the season, and the 495th of his professional career.
Eduardo Rodriguez, who is vastly approaching his innings limit for the season was pulled in the top of the sixth after giving up a leadoff single to Didi Grgorius. His final line on the day was 5.0 innings pitched, seven hits, two runs (one earned), three walks and four strikeouts. Rodriguez was able to pitch into an out of trouble numerous times in the ball game, as the Yankees left the bases loaded three times while he was on the mound, including a big out at the plate that saw Greg Bird get gunned out on a throw from the outfield.
Ivan Nova on the other hand was pulled after 6.0 innings pitched, allowing seven hits, three runs (all earned), one walk and three strikeouts. Though it wasn’t a dominant performance by any means, Nova did a good job commanding his off-speed pitches, which is a positive step in the right direction for Nova, who is still trying to regain his form after returning from tommy john surgery.
Adam Warren came on in relief, and he continued to look fatigued. He was able to get Ryan Hannigan to strikeout to start the seventh, but he followed that up by allowing back-to-back hits on a deep double off the green monster to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a hard hit single by Mookie Betts. Good news for the Yankees is that they should be getting plenty of bullpen relief when rosters expand to 40-men tomorrow.
Anyway, with one out and runners on the corners, skipper Joe Girardi turned to Chasen Shreve to get the Yankees out of the jam. He was able to get Pablo Sandoval to ground into what looked like an inning-ending double play, but unfortunately rookie first baseman Gregory Bird dropped the ball, which allowed Bradley Jr. to score from third, giving the Red Sox a 4-2 lead.
Shreve walked the next two batters he faced, and with two outs and the bases loaded, he worked a big inning-ending pop out off the bat of Travis Shaw in a nail-biting 11-pitch at-bat.
The Yankees looked to carry that momentum into the top of the eighth as Didi Gregorius launched his fourth hit off the ballgame down the line with a hard-hit single, propelling his batting average up to 2.68 on the year. Brett Gardner followed that up with a single, but with the runners on the corners and one out, Junichi Tazawa was able to induce a 1-6-3 inning-ending double play off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury, as he doubled up two of the fastest players on the Yankees roster in the process.
Shreve was able to regroup well, and pitch a 1-2-3 eight inning.
The Yankees threatened in the top of the ninth, as newly appointed Red Sox closer Jean Machi walked in a run with the bases loaded. With the Yankees down 4-3 and the bases loaded with one out, Machi was able to get Greg Bird to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to fly out to the warning track to end the ball game.
Oddly enough, Gregorius would have been 5-for-5 and the hero of the ball game if this game was played at Yankees stadium, as that very same swing would have probably landed in the second deck in right-field in the Bronx.
Anyway, you can’t leave the bases loaded four times and 14 runners in scoring position and expect to win a game at the major league level.
This was undoubtedly a wasted opportunity for the Yankees, as they failed to gain ground on the Toronto Blue Jays who finally lost a game tonight to the Cleveland Indians.
The Yankees are back in action at Fenway Park tomorrow night at 7:10 pm as Michael Pineda (9-8, 4.19 ERA) is set to take on Rick Porcello (6-11, 5.47 ERA).
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