The Blue Jays may have locked up the AL East earlier in the day, eliminating the Yankees from the race for the division, but with a 9-5 extra-innings win, the Red Sox kept them from securing a playoff spot for at least another day.
Making his return to the mound for New York for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the middle of the month, Masahiro Tanaka certainly showed his rust. While he got off to a good start in the first, striking out Mookie Betts and getting an easy pop-up from Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz both managed to reach base with two outs, bringing Travis Shaw to the plate. After working Shaw inside and out to run the count full, Tanaka finally came over the plate with a splitter, and it was an ugly one, hanging up on a tee for Shaw to crush it to right for a 3-run shot.
The Yankees would put together their own two-out rally in the bottom of the second, grabbing a run back from Wade Miley on a Rob Refsnyder double which, had it not bounced up into the seats in right, might have wound up going for two runs. But the Yankees were held to just the one, and the Red Sox quickly struck back when David Ortiz drove in Dustin Pedroia in the third.
Unfortunately, Wade Miley was not up to the task of ending his season with anything dramatically different from what we've seen out of him all season. Entering the fifth inning with just one run allowed, Miley saw his night fall apart in a hurry, allowing a leadoff double to Jacoby Ellsbury, walking Alex Rodriguez, and having flashbacks to the second when Carlos Beltran hit a ground rule double into the bullpen, making it 4-2 but keeping Rodriguez on third.
This time, though, there's be no escaping that extra run. Or the game-tying one represented by Beltran, for that matter. A ground out brought Rodriguez in to score, and when Deven Marrero's diving effort could only knock Chris Young's ground ball into foul territory, the Yankees had their 4-4 tie. In the end, Miley finished the year perfectly mediocre. A 4.47 ERA, an 11-11 record.
"Here, take my card." pic.twitter.com/MBCXmpjruZ— OverTheMonster (@OverTheMonster) October 1, 2015
Miley's abbreviated start also left the bullpen with plenty of work to do. And at first, that went about as well as you might expect, with Alex Rodriguez putting the Yankees ahead by taking Matt Barnes deep to left. But Mookie Betts responded in kind with two down in the seventh, evening things back up at 5-5, and from there, the pen held.
Oh, it was not for a lack of trying to give way. The Yankees drew not one, not two, not three, but four walks in the bottom half of the eighth inning, but Jacoby Ellsbury wound up getting caught straying too far towards second after drawing the first, and somehow, against all odds, New York could not take any more advantage of the other three, with Brett Gardner grounding out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
If the Red Sox had survived that threat, though, that of Alexi Ogando in the bottom of the ninth loomed large. But hey, this is a team which saw Craig Breslow start a shutout. Anything can happen. And tonight, it did, with Ogando working around a leadoff single in the ninth and two-out walk in the tenth to send the game into the eleventh.
There, with the likes of Betances and Miller already used up, the Red Sox got a chance to face off a against a familiar opponent in Andrew Bailey. Red Sox fans remember him for his disappointing tenure in Boston, and apparently it's somehow going worse in New York. With a little help from Rob Refsnyder, Travis Shaw reached first to start the inning, and while Brock Holt couldn't bunt him into scoring position, Blake Swihart followed up with a base hit to put runners on the corners for Deven Marrero. The infielder hit a ground ball single up the middle and under a diving Refsnyder to bring the go-ahead run home, and after a successful squeeze from Jackie Bradley Jr. made it 7-5, Mookie Betts was there to put the game on ice with his second home run of the game, giving Robbie Ross Jr. a comfortable four-run lead to work with.
Three games later, and the Yankees are still not quite in the playoffs, 100% out of the AL East race, and yes, still looking for franchise win number 10,000. With one more win on Thursday, the Red Sox can complete the sweep, and take one more big step towards finishing the year at .500, or perhaps even better.