For each of their final two series coming into the All-Star break, the Red Sox took the first game of a three-game set before dropping the next two to lose both series. After taking the opener in New York on Friday, and then dropping a rain-shortened contest on Saturday, they needed a win on Sunday to avoid the same fate for a third straight series. They didn’t get it. The offense remained cold as it had been for most of the series, giving the Yankees just enough time to really break things open against Darwinzon Hernandez and Brandon Workman. Neither reliever could find the plate, allowing New York to push the game from in reach to out of reach in one inning, starting the second half off on a sour note with a blowout loss to finish the weekend.
For the first time all season, the Red Sox entered Sunday’s game with a bad taste in their mouth due to a loss to the Yankees. It was a particularly frustrating loss with rain shortening it to six innings, and with the game even pausing at one point after a fan threw a baseball at Alex Verdugo. So the team was looking for a strong answer back in this series finale, and also trying to make it another series victory over their biggest rival.
Specifically, the offense was looking to find its groove. It’s been a bit of a quiet start to the second half for the bats, particularly coming off a tough one on Saturday with Gerrit Cole striking seemingly everybody out. They were looking to hopefully have a better time with Jameson Taillon on the mound. That wouldn’t be the case, as the lineup struggled all night long.
They didn’t get their first baserunner until Rafael Devers drew a one-out walk in the second, and that was all they got in that inning. The third made Taillon’s second perfect frame of the night before the Red Sox finally threatened for the first time in the fourth. That one started with two quick outs as well, but Xander Bogaerts kept the inning alive and broke up the no-hitter, ripping a double into left field.
That gave the Red Sox their first runner in scoring position of the evening, and Devers kept things going further with his second walk of the night. With two runners on, Hunter Renfroe came to the plate but he couldn’t come through. The slugger got a 3-1 fastball right down the pipe, but he popped it up to second base to end the inning, still with no runs on the board. They’d get another runner to second in the fifth thanks to a Christian Vázquez double, but again they would strand him.
So with the Red Sox going scoreless through the first half of the night, Martín Pérez found himself in a spot where he basically needed to be perfect. He sure looked like he had the potential to be right off the bat, getting through a 1-2-3 inning that included a pair of strikeouts. But that would be the peak of the evening for the southpaw. Gleyber Torres led off the second, and after getting ahead 0-2 Pérez wanted to get him on a fastball up and away. Instead, the ball stayed in the zone and on the inner half. As a result, Torres ripped it out to left field for his second solo shot in as many nights, giving New York the 1-0 lead.
Pérez did follow up the home run with two straight strikeouts and got out of the inning with the homer as the only blemish in the inning, but after starting the third with his fifth K of the night more trouble came. The southpaw gave up a pair of one-out singles to put runners on the corners with just one out for Giancarlo Stanton. Pérez did get the ground ball he needed, but the Red Sox couldn’t quite turn the double play in time, allowing the Yankees to score another run. To make matters worse, Christian Arroyo, who got his first start at first base in this game, hurt his hamstring trying to stretch for the final out. He had to be removed from the game.
Meanwhile, Pérez continued his start, facing only three batters in a scoreless fourth before giving up two more singles to start the fifth, the first of which came on a bunt. On the second Hunter Renfroe tried to get the runner going to third, but Devers couldn’t handle it. The throwing error prevented a potentially huge out at third, and allowed Ryan LaMarre to move up to second. With two men in scoring position and nobody out in the inning, Pérez’s night was over.
Taking over was Garrett Whitlock with a big situation to try and navigate. The rookie did give up one run right away on a sacrifice fly, but then got a huge strikeout before inducing a ground ball from Stanton to end the inning. It was now a 3-0 deficit for Boston, but all in all it was a big escape for Whitlock in an inning that could have been much worse.
But none of that would really matter if the Red Sox offense couldn’t get anything going. After a strikeout to start the sixth, Boston got a base hit from J.D. Martinez and another double from Bogaerts, putting two in scoring position with just one out. This was the best situation the Red Sox had gotten to that point, and they had Devers at the plate. Although he’d try to check his swing, it was a borderline call and it went against the batter, leaving Devers unhappy but heading back to the dugout as the second out. Renfroe followed that up with a routine ground ball, and the opportunity was wasted with no runs scoring.
Whitlock came back out for a perfect bottom half, but the Red Sox again failed to get anything going in the seventh, managing just a walk. That brought Darwinzon Hernandez to the mound in the bottom of the seventh, and this is when the game started to get away. Brett Gardner started the inning off with a base hit, bringing Rougned Odor to the plate. Hernandez hung a slider to start off the at bat, and Odor hit a no-doubt shot out to right field, extending the Yankees lead to five. Things only continued to go south after that, with Hernandez walking each of the next two batters he faced before being pulled without recording a single out.
From there, Brandon Workman came on. There was some weird delay with a light being shone in the batter’s eye out in center field, and after that the inning only continued to drag on. The righty did get two outs to start things off, but then issued three straight walks, bringing home two more runs to make it a 7-0 game.
Now, the only hope was the struggling offense to suddenly turn it on for a miracle. It wasn’t quite a miracle, though they did get one run in the eighth to break up the shutout. Yacksel Ríos would come on for the Red Sox in the eighth, and his night wasn’t any better. The game went from bad to worse when the righty issued a leadoff walk before giving up a two-run homer to LaMarre, pushing the Yankees lead to 9-1. Boston had no miracle rally in the ninth, and that was that.
The 9-1 blowout loss dropped the Red Sox record to 56-38. The Rays were able to knock off the Braves earlier in the day, and Boston’s lead in the division now stands at just a half-game.
The Red Sox now head upstate to take on the Blue Jays in Buffalo starting on Monday. They’ll have Nick Pivetta on the mound to take on Ross Stripling, with first pitch set for 7:07 PM ET.