Even those who would like the Red Sox to lose as many games as possible down the stretch have to be furstrated by this one. Things started off very well for Boston, who was looking for their first win of the year against the Yankees. Martín Pérez cruised through six scoreless innings for what was probably his best performance of the year, taking opponent into account. The offense wasn’t great, but a three-run homer from Christian Arroyo contributed to a 4-0 lead that was brought into the seventh. Then, the bullpen bullpen’d. It all came to a head when Matt Barnes tried to protect a one-run lead in the ninth. He got two quick outs to start things off, but then left a hanger to Gary Sánchez, who blasted a solo shot to send the game to extras. Things went back and forth in extras for a few innings before the Yankees finally secured their win in the 12 innings. Just the worst.
Coming into this game, the Yankees were by far the hottest offense in all of baseball. They were finally healthy again, and they flexed on the Blue Jays by scoring double digit runs in all three games of a sweep. They were averaging about three homers a game for over a week. Frankly, they looked unstoppable.
Enter: Martín Pérez. The lefty has been Boston’s best pitcher this year, but this was going to be his biggest test, even bigger than his previous outing against New York. To say he came to play would be a tremendous understatement. Pérez looked better than he has in any other start this year, particularly with his two-seam fastball. The sinker was sitting 94 mph and he was locating perfectly, getting Yankee after Yankee to watch it go by for strike three.
The tone was set right away for Pérez, too, against the very intimidating top of New York’s lineup. He got a perfect inning against DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton including a pair of backwards K’s against the last two. The southpaw would follow that up with a strikeout of Luke Voit to start the second as well. Things got a bit tougher from there on back-to-back singles, but Pérez was also able to get the big ground ball when he needed it in this game. On this particular occasion, he got one to Christian Arroyo, who made a nice backhanded stab to start the 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
The third was the point where it looked like Pérez might start to lose it, as he followed up a quick first out with some control issues. First, he hit Clint Frazier on the elbow with a pitch, then he issued a walk to put two on with only one out. Once again, though, he’d get the grounder he was looking for. This time it came off the bat of Judge, and it ended the inning. Pérez would come back strong for the fourth and fifth, tossing perfect innings in both frames, each with a pair of strikeouts.
In the sixth, Pérez let the first man reach for the first time in the game when Frazier smacked a leadoff single, but the defense picked up their pitcher. First, Arroyo made a great play going back into shallow left field for the first out, and then Xander Bogaerts followed it up with a tremendous stop going to his right to start the team’s third inning-ending double play of the evening.
So, the starter did his job, but the Red Sox offense wasn’t really getting too much done against Jordan Montgomery on the other side, at least early on. The Yankees tried to give the Red Sox an opportunity in the first when Montgomery made an error on a slow roller from Rafael Devers and Gio Urshela booted a ball from Xander Bogaerts (it was ruled a hit, but I disagreed with that scoring) to put two on with one out. Neither J.D. Martinez nor Christian Vázquez could come through, though.
They’d send only three to the plate in the second before getting another partially gifted chance in the third. This time, Alex Verdugo led things off with an infield single before Devers reached on an error when Gleyber Torres just straight-up whiffed on an easy toss into second base. Again, though, they would not be able to bring a run home. On top of that, Verdugo appeared tweak his hamstring running into second on the error and left the game after this inning.
The fourth would finally bring a little offense into this game. Vázquez got things started with a base hit, and a couple batters later Jackie Bradley Jr. had a base hit of his own. They’d pull off a double steal from there to put a pair in scoring position for Michael Chavis, but he struck out. That left everything up to Christian Arroyo, who came through in a big way. Montgomery served up a 2-0 changeup that stayed right down the middle of the zone, and Arroyo crushed it out to the back row of Monster Seats for a three-run shot.
In the fifth, the Red Sox would add to their lead. This time it was Devers starting things off with a leadoff walk, and Bogaerts would take his spot after a fielder’s choice. After moving up to second on a wild pitch, the Red Sox shortstop then easily stole third. He’d be standing there with two outs and Vázquez at the plate, and the latter poked a double out to left-center field, and just like that it was a 4-0 game.
That was still the score heading into the seventh, and Pérez was out of the game with Darwinzon Hernandez coming on. Things did not go very well. The good news is that Hernandez did have his velocity back to 2019 levels. The bad news is he loaded the bases while recording only two outs, leaving it up to Marcus Walden to take care of Gary Sánchez and hold this lead. It was a bizarre (to put it nicely) decision to use Walden here, and sure enough Sánchez cut the Red Sox lead in half with a ground-rule double out to the right field corner. Fortunately, the damage was limited to that as Frazier grounded out to end the inning.
After the Red Sox failed to get any runs back in the top of the eighth, Ryan Brasier came on for the bottom of the inning. He’s been pitching extremely well of late, but he got into some trouble here. Things got started with a one-out single from Aaron Judge, which was followed by a double from Giancarlo Stanton that was ripped into the right field corner. Judge came all the way around to score on that one, and suddenly it was a one-run game with the tying run in scoring position. Luke Voit came up next and ripped a line drive of his own, but fortunately Devers was able to snag this one behind the third base bag for the second out. That left things up to Gleyber Torres, and Brasier got him looking at a fastball away to end the inning with the lead still barely in hand.
It was still a one-run game heading into the ninth, and it was up to Matt Barnes to close things out. Things started out well enough as he got two quick outs to start the inning, but he still had to get through Sánchez. He did not get through Sánchez. The Yankees catcher got a hanging breaking ball and deposited it into the Monster Seats for a solo shot, and just like that we were all tied up. Barnes did escape without the tie being broken, but the damage was done.
The Red Sox got the winning run to second in the bottom of the ninth, but Martinez went down looking to end the inning, and we headed into extras. For the Red Sox, Weber was on the mound for the tenth, where innings start with a runner at second. He did get a ground out to start things off, but it also moved the runner up to third base with just one out. Weber followed that up with a huge strikeout of Judge, leaving it up to Mike Tauchman. Weber won that one, too, getting a soft liner over to Devers to preserve the tie.
Now, the Red Sox had a chance to walk things off with Martinez somewhat surprisingly staying in the game to run at second and Aroldis Chapman on the mound for New York. They got the first man on with a Vázquez walk to put two on with nobody out. Kevin Plawecki was up next and got a second life when Judge dropped an easy ball in foul territory, but he couldn’t take advantage, flying out to right field. With Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, Chapman threw one to the back stop, putting that go-ahead run at third. In fact, Chapman was asleep at the wheel and the runners were off on the pitch. If Martinez had been pinch run for, the replacement (Jonathan Araúz, most likely) probably wins the game. Instead, Chapman came back with a huge strikeout for the second out of the inning, leaving it up to Chavis. Chapman got another strikeout, and we headed to the eleventh.
Weber came back out for a second inning of work, and it took no time at all for Luke Voit to smack a base hit into left field, giving the Yankees their first lead of the night.
Now, it was up to the Red Sox to try and come back and at least tie it in the bottom of the inning. They got the start they needed as Chavis moved up to third base on a wild pitch two pitches into the inning. Arroyo then came through again, pushing a base hit through the middle to tie the game up at five. Tzu-Wei Lin then dropped a perfect bunt to get the runner to second, and as a bonus made it into first safely thanks to more bad defense from the Yankees. That put two on with nobody out and the heart of the Red Sox order coming up. It looked like Devers hit into a huge 4-6-3 double play, but replay showed he just barely beat the throw into first. They’d then walk Bogaerts after falling behind 2-0, loading the bases (and setting up the potential double play) for Martinez. Martinez instead struck out for the fourth time on the day, and Vázquez followed that up with a fly out, as the Red Sox squandered a golden opportunity and we headed to the 12th
Weber would come out for a third inning in the 12th, and once again he immediately gave up a base hit. This time, however, the runner from second stopped at third, and Weber came back with two huge strikeouts. He almost got out of the inning, but LeMahieu came through with a double out to right field to put the Yankees back up by one. That was all they’d get, and once again the Red Sox had a chance to answer in the bottom of the inning.
They couldn’t do it. They did get the runner to third with just one out, but a fly ball from Bradley wasn’t deep enough to score the run, and the game would end with a 6-5 score in favor of the Yankees.
The Red Sox and Yankees continue their series on Saturday. They’ll have Chris Mazza on the mound to take on J.A. Happ. First pitch is set for 7:30 PM ET.