Note: Apologies for the later-than-usual game story. We promise this will not become a regular thing, but unfortunately it was unavoidable today.
The Red Sox were able to pick up a win on Friday at Fenway despite having Eduardo Rodriguez forced out of the game with migraine symptoms just three outs into the game. And while the bullpen came through in a major way, they also had to work for eight innings, so the team was very much looking for a deep start from Nathan Eovaldi. The righty, who made his first All-Star game this year, has served as the de facto ace for much of this year, and this kind of situation is when an ace is supposed to come through.
Eovaldi came through. He lost his no-hitter very early, giving up a single to the second batter he faced, but there were no runs scored in that inning, which would be the case for most of this outing. There was a little bit of trouble for himself in the third, the first time that happened all night after allowing back-to-back singles to kick off the inning with the top of the order coming back around, but DJ LeMaheiu grounded into a double play before Brett Gardner went down hacking, and that ended any potential rally by the Yankees.
From there, Eovaldi really went into cruise control. He got two straight batters to end that third inning, and then retired six more in a row to get him through five. The sixth saw the streak of perfection come to a close on a double from LaMahieu, but again Eovaldi avoided any real damage. He’d come out for the seventh as well, allowing just a single to get through seven shutout innings.
So, the Red Sox got the start they were looking for. Now it was just about getting enough offense to get out of this one with a win. They certainly got almost as good a start as they could have hoped for against Jameson Taillon, with Kiké Hernández staying red-hot at the top of the lineup. The righty put one off the Monster in left-center field that was misplayed by rookie Estevan Florial, allowing Hernández to get up to third base. The Yankees did try to make a play at the bag, with Rougned Odor handling the relay, but his throw got away and Hernández was able to score. It goes in the book as a triple plus an error, but around here we call it a Little League Home Run, and it gave the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.
Boston would also score in each of the next two innings as well. In the second, they got a leadoff double from J.D. Martinez and Kevin Plawecki would bring him home with a double of his own. In the third, the Sox benefited from another error from Odor. Jarren Duran hit a fairly routine ball to the right side, but Odor let it eat him up and get by him into the outfield. Duran was heads-up, and obviously extremely fast, scooting his way to second to lead off the inning. He’d then move up to third on a ground ball before coming home on a sacrifice fly.
So that gave the Red Sox an early 3-0 lead, but unfortunately they were never able to provide the knockout blow. Through the next four innings, Boston only got a few baserunners on the board, and none of them were able to advance beyond first base.
That brings us to the eighth, where Eovaldi would come back out with seven shutout innings under his belt. The righty got off to a tough start with a double off the bat of Florial, but then got two quick outs to almost escape the inning. Unfortunately, Brett Gardner kept things alive with an RBI single, breaking up the shutout, bringing the Yankees to within two, and knocking Eovaldi out of the game.
Now, it was just up to Adam Ottavino to escape the inning with the lead still in hand, needing just one more out to do it. He did get a weak pop up to right field from Giancarlo Stanton, but unfortunately for the Red Sox it was placed in no man’s land, falling in for a ground rule double. Just like that, the Yankees had the tying runs in scoring position for Odor. His double was no cheapie, crashing off the Monster to bring both runs home and tie this one up at three. For the final nail in the coffin, Torres did exactly what Stanton did, placing a bloop perfectly into right field. This one was just a single, but it was enough to bring Odor home, giving the Yankees their first lead of the night.
They would hold onto that lead, too. The Red Sox got two men on with two outs in the eighth, but failed to bring the run home. In the ninth, after Josh Taylor faced only three batters in the top of the inning, Boston again had a good two-out chance when Christian Vázquez came on to pinch hit after a Hunter Renfroe walk and came through with a softly-hit double of his own. That put the tying and winning runs in scoring position for Hernández, but Aroldis Chapman got him swinging to close out the game.
The loss dropped the Red Sox record to 60-39. With the Rays grabbing a win against Cleveland, Boston and Tampa Bay are now tied atop the AL East.