This was, frankly, just an incredibly dumb night at Yankee stadium. Things started with an extended delay at the start of the night, all while no rain was falling. Then, the game got started and was played largely amid pouring rain, which only progressively got worse. As that was happening and the rain was reaching its climax, a fan threw a baseball that hit Alex Verdugo, standing in left field, in the back. That caused all hell to break loose, and the flow of the game was gone. It was 1-1 at that point — with Jarren Duran securing his first major-league hit and then scoring the Red Sox’s only run — but then the Yankees got two solo homers before the game was delayed again, and ultimately called.
As the Red Sox were getting set Saturday afternoon for a game later in the day, hoping to grab an eighth straight win over the Yankees to start the season series, forecasts started to call into doubt their ability to actually play the game. After Thursday’s scheduled series opener was postponed due to COVID issues in the Yankees clubhouse, it would have been the second postponement of the weekend. The forecasts were worrisome enough to result in an hour delay for the start (with no rain falling during that time) before the game finally started shortly after 8:00 PM ET. As it turned out, rain would be a constant presence in the game pretty shortly after it got started.
But despite that rain, Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi had a very strong start to his night in the Bronx. The All-Star righty did struggle getting a grip on the ball at times, but it didn’t affect the results of his outing. The perfect example would be that first inning, where he started off with two quick outs before hitting two straight batters. With two men on, Eovaldi settled down and got a fly ball from Gleyber Torres to end the inning without any runs.
That first inning spelled a little bit of trouble, but the Red Sox starter settled in after that. He was perfect in both the second and third innings before issuing just a two-out walk in a fourth inning that included three strikeouts. That gave Eovaldi a no-hitter with seven strikeouts through four innings heading into the fifth. He looked like he’d be able to keep it going through that inning as well after a couple of quick outs, but Greg Allen was able to break up the no-hitter with a double hit out to center field. Even worse, DJ LeMahieu followed that up with a two-strike, two-out base hit and the Yankees were able to get their first run of the night up on the board.
That run would be a big one as well, because for as well as Eovaldi was pitching the Red Sox were having plenty of issues of their own against Gerrit Cole. The Yankees ace has had his struggles since the sticky stuff crackdown, but he used Saturday night as a reminder that he can still throw as well as anyone in the league. That said, the Red Sox did make some good contact in this game, including a leadoff double from Kiké Hernández, who would ultimately be left standing at second in the inning.
In the second, we finally got the moment we’ve been waiting for damn near all year with Jarren Duran getting his first at bat in the bigs. The top outfield prospect in the organization wasted no time making his impact, ripping the first ball he saw into center field for a one-out single. He’d make his way up to second from there on a ground out before really showing off his wheels when Christian Arroyo pulled a single into left field. That’s a small left field in New York, but Duran had enough speed to come around and give the Red Sox that early 1-0 lead.
For a while, that would be the only run to score. After grabbing the lead in the second, Boston’s offense went quiet for a bit, managing just a single over the next three innings. That meant things were still tied up heading into the sixth, when the offense got going again. Cole began the inning with a pair of strikeouts, but then he issued two walks with an infield single mixed in, and suddenly the bases were full in a 1-1 game with Christian Vázquez stepping to the plate. He had a tough at bat that featured a shaky strike call and then a third strike called on a borderline check swing — a call that resulted in ejections for Will Venable and Kevin Plawecki (who was not playing) — ultimately ending the inning and keeping the bases full in a tie game.
And in the bottom of the sixth, things really started to get wacky. It was a full-on downpour at this point, and had been for a bit, and in the rain, with Hirokazu Sawamura now pitching for Boston, we got a different kind of delay as a fan threw a baseball at Alex Verdugo in left field. That resulted in Red Sox players coming off the field for a few minutes. They finally came back on the field, and after a quick first out Sawamura made a couple of mistakes. Gary Sánchez went and got a fastball down in the zone while Gleyber Torres handled a slider on the inner half, and both took advantage of the short porch in New York for back-to-back solo shots. They weren’t moonshots by any stretch, but they gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead and ended the night for Sawamura.
From there, Josh Taylor came on and he seemingly couldn’t get a grip on the baseball. He walked the first batter he faced, and then gave up a base hit to put two men on, still with just one out. That was followed by a ground ball to Bobby Dalbec at first base that wasn’t gripped properly, causing his throw to second base to come in a bit off the mark. Despite originally having no outs call, replay did show Boston got one out at second base, but still needed one more. Taylor was able to get it, mercifully ending a wild inning with New York now up by two.
As they played that whole inning through the pouring rain, it seemed to be with the aim of giving the Red Sox one more chance at the plate. Instead, they put the tarp on after that half inning was over. Why they went through that whole bottom of the sixth is beyond me. There was a little gap in the rain during the delay, but staying true to form for this game they chose that window to call the game. The rain was coming back anyway so it was probably the right call, but it’s still fitting how it all worked out.
Anyway, the 3-1 six-inning loss dropped the Red Sox record to 56-37. The Rays also lost on Saturday, keeping Boston’s edge in the division sitting tight at 1.5 games.
The Red Sox and Yankees are set for what will hopefully be a more normal night on Sunday. Boston will have Martín Pérez on the mound to take on Jameson Taillon. First pitch is set for 7:08 PM ET.