The Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-3 Monday night. I'm just...really not entirely sure how.
The simple answer is that the Red Sox hit homers and the Yankees did not. We've seen games kind of like this before. Where one team wastes scoring opportunities and the other just ignores the concept entirely by making any given at bat a chance to put runs on the board.
Okay, that's not quite what happened with the Red Sox tonight. They did, after all, produce nine hits. But other than a seventh-inning run produced by a Jackie Bradley Jr. double and Mookie Betts single (and, yes, ultimately a Pablo Sandoval ground ball), it was the long ball that got the job done. In the bottom of the third, with Bradley on base via a single (he would finish the night 3-for-3), Betts cleaned out an inside fastball, sending a high fly ball into the Monster seats to give the Sox their first two runs of the night. In the very next inning, it was David Ortiz taking a hanging outside changeup in the same direction, just high enough for homer #495 to make it three.
The question is how those four runs proved to be enough, and that...I just have no idea.
The Yankees managed to score in the first as the first two at bats of the night ended on catcher's interference and an error from Pablo Sandoval. They would actually load the bases with zero outs on an Alex Rodriguez single, but only managed to push across the one run on a sacrifice fly as Eduardo Rodriguez did good work to erase the threat he really hadn't done anything to earn.
The next two innings were quiet. But then, in the fourth, Rodriguez found himself in uncomfortably familiar territory. The first three batters of the inning reached--this time with no help from the defense--and once again Rodriguez was in danger of seeing his outing completely crash and burn. This time, the Yankees even managed a fourth baserunner to start the inning, with Didi Gregorius singling to drive in a second run. But where the defense had cost him a run in the first, this time it saved him one, if not more. Rodriguez did his own work, fielding a come-backer to the mound and getting the ball to Hanigan for the force out at home, then Jackie Bradley Jr. chipped in by grabbing a line drive off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury and firing home to get Greg Bird by a good few steps for the double play. Not your average left field arm, that.
Having already escaped two bases loaded situations with minimal damage, Rodriguez went ahead and made it three, giving up a double to Carlos Beltran and walking Brian McCann and Chase Headley with two down before striking out Bird to send the game to the sixth. With plenty of pitches on his arm, he was quickly pulled after Didi Gregorius led off said inning with a single, Robbie Ross Jr. entering the game to work around the baserunner while allowing just another walk.
The Yankees would waste yet more baserunners in the seventh and eighth, but the pièce de résistance would come in the ninth, when Jean Machi took the mound to show the world just how hard it is to throw strikes. After giving up a leadoff single to Stephen Drew, Machi walked Alex Rodriguez, was given a gift strikeout of Carlos Beltran after what probably should have been ball four was instead called strike two, then offered up two more free passes to Brian McCann and Chase Headley, the latter bringing in a run to make it 4-3.
Finally, though, Machi was able to get Greg Bird looking at strike three on just four pitches, bringing Didi Gregorius to the plate. And while Machi may have tried to give up the back-breaking bomb to the Yankees shortstop, Gregorius could only manage warning track power on his fly ball to right, which Rusney Castillo reeled in to somehow end the game in a Red Sox win.