Red Sox haven’t swept the Yankees in a 4+ game series since June 1990. Until tonight, that is. And the AL East and Wild Card race is glaring at the Yankees in a rather unfriendly manner, and it’s not so pleasant.
CC Sabathia actually did a pretty good job for most of his outing, keeping the Red Sox scoreless for most of the game. It wasn’t until the 5th inning that he got himself into some trouble. The lead-off batter hit a ground-rule double thanks to fan interference (seriously, when will people learn?), though the umpires gathered to review it just to check it out to verify it wasn’t actually a home run. It wasn’t. Just fan interference.
After a walk and an out, another out and a bad throwing error by Sabathia (going for the double play) moved runners to scoring position. And then there was that lingering slider that didn’t slide enough that became a Green Monster 3-run home run. Sabathia came on for the 6th and promptly gave up 3 consecutive singles, one of which gave up the Red Sox’s 4th run.
Overall, Sabathia’s 112 pitches, 8 allowed hits, 4 allowed runs, 3 allowed runs, and 5 strikeouts just weren’t enough to hold off the advancing Red Sox. Blake Parker came on in relief to try to get an out in the 6th, which he did in just 3 batters, with 2 strong strikeouts.
Now, leading up to this, the Yankees actually came out strong and held this game for the good portion of it, while Sabathia held the Sox scoreless. In the top of the 1st, Gardner led-off with a double, moved to 2nd on Butler’s walk, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ single to get the Yankees on the board. Gary Sanchez added to this with a 2-out Green Monster-sized home run in the 3rd. (Seriously, what are they feeding this kid?)
And in the 4th inning, newly signed (see below) Donovan Solano singled (in an entertaining way) and moved to 3rd on Mason Williams’ double. The Red Sox challenge the ruling on Williams’ double, but the call on the field was upheld (as it should’ve been, he’s totally safe). Refsnyder helped load the bases with a walk. Solano then scored when Brett Gardner hit into an odd fielder’s choice ground out/tag out at 2nd, and Williams eased in at the last minute to score on Ronald Torreyes’ fielder’s choice. So the Yankees were comfortably ahead as the Red Sox starter exited the game in the middle of that 4th inning.
This was rather unfortunate as we’ve discovered this weekend that the Red Sox bullpen is pretty good. And they seemed to be able to shut down the Yankees at every turn. The Yankees poked a few holes in their pitching, getting 4 more hits off the next 6 batters in the next 5.1 innings. But it wasn’t enough to add onto their lead and allowed the Red Sox to tie things up right there in the 6th inning.
And they went on to push things further in the 7th against Tyler Clippard, who gave up a 1-out solo home run, again to the Green Monster. That would be the winning run that the Red Sox spent the next 11 outs defending that minuscule lead. It stayed minuscule in part to Tommy Layne, who breezed through the Red Sox in the 8th inning with just 10 pitches.
Final score: 5-4 Red Sox.
Looking back over this series in Boston, Mark Teixeira later commented, “Three out of these four I felt like we just found a way to lose, and that’s tough to take.” And that really was the overwhelming sentiment this weekend. The Yankees had three of these games early on and rather with some strength, but then they just gave them away with either errors or messy pitching or something that shouldn’t have happened.
Roster news: Today, the Yankees activated reliever Anthony Swarzak from the 15-day disabled list, though they haven’t officially moved him back to the 40-man roster. Yet, that is. They also transferred Chad Green from the 15-day to the 60-day DL with that right forearm tendon injury; this removes him from the 40-man roster. And so they signed infielder Donovan Solano from AAA Scranton. Solano is the easy choice with the recent injuries to Ellsbury and Castro (next paragraph).
Injury news: after exams with Dr. Ahmad (the Yankees team doctor), Jacoby Ellsbury was diagnosed with a right knee bone bruise, and Starlin Castro with a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring. Castro’s injury is the most concerning as strains are harder to gauge for recovery time, and talk is already beginning that he may not get any more play time this season, a rather realistic outlook actually. Ellsbury will need some rest and minor treatment, but the outfield is currently well-covered with bench players.
And finally, our prayer are with former Yankee (and current Padre) Yangervis Solarte and his young family after the loss of Solarte’s wife Yuliett. Just 31, Yuliett lost her battle with cancer on Saturday night. She also leaves behind three beautiful daughters and a large extended network of family and friends. My heart breaks for them.