Well, the worst-case scenario for this series in the Bronx has come true. After finally injecting some positivity into their season for the first time in weeks last weekend with a sweep of the Orioles, the Red Sox just needed to not get swept themselves in three games over a two-day stretch. They did not succeed. The offense was AWOL for all three games, this time around getting shut down by Andrew Heaney, who had allowed at least four runs in each of his first three starts with the Yankees. Boston managed only two hits. Nick Pivetta melted down in the second, and while the bullpen — led by Garrett Richards — was mostly great, it didn’t matter. It was another loss.
After losing both ends of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the biggest thing the Red Sox were looking for on Wednesday to avoid the sweep was some momentum. And specifically, the offense was looking for momentum, as they were quiet for most of the day on Tuesday aside from some major blown opportunities. Going up against Heaney, who had already allowed eight homers with the Yankees since arriving at the deadline, it was a perfect chance to maybe not get momentum back, but at least have it not too far in the wrong direction.
It did look pretty good early on, all things considered. Kiké Herández started the game with an out, but it was just shy of being a Yankee Stadium special out in right field, and did foreshadow another at bat later in the inning from Xander Bogaerts. The shortstop fell behind 0-2, but then Heaney threw a fastball just off the plate towards the top of the zone, and Bogaerts appeared to have poked it the other way. But the ball just kept carrying and ultimately landed in the second deck for a solo shot. The Red Sox made it nine homers for Heaney in his new uniform, and more importantly they took a 1-0 lead.
And things looked good to start on the other side as well. Pivetta has typically had trouble in the first inning this year, but this time he issued a walk but nothing else for a scoreless inning. Unfortunately, the second was going to be a totally different story.
Following a 1-2-3 inning from his offense, Pivetta came back out and immediately got into trouble. Giancarlo Stanton started the inning off with a solid base hit, and after a walk Gary Sánchez hit a weak fly ball out to right field. J.D. Martinez was in the field tonight despite Kyle Schwarber being on the bench — Kevin Plawecki was the DH — and that proved to be costly. He couldn’t get to a ball that most major-league outfielders would have gotten, and it loaded the bases for the Yankees, still with nobody out.
And from there, the wheels came off. New York tied it on a sacrifice fly, and then number nine hitter and new Certified Red Sox Killer Andrew Velazquez brought home another run on a single. The Yankees now held a 2-1 lead, and Anthony Rizzo would later bring in two more to extend that lead to three. Pivetta would not even make it out of the inning, with Garrett Richards being called upon to finish the frame.
The good news is Richards did look very good for a second straight relief appearance. His stuff looks sharper in this role, and he was able to keep the Yankees at bay. The righty did issue a walk to start the third inning, but that was the only baserunner against him as he brought the Red Sox through five innings. He’d also come out and record two outs in the sixth before Martín Pérez came on to finish that inning for him.
The bad news is the Red Sox offense against went cold, making Heaney look like someone he very much is not. The Yankees lefty tossed back-to-back perfect innings in the second and third. The fourth did see a runner get to second on a walk and wild pitch, but no further. Boston would proceed to get the leadoff runner in both the fifth and the sixth, but those runners did not advance beyond first base. Heaney finished his outing with a perfect seventh.
It was Adam Ottavino coming on for the seventh, putting two men on but not allowing a run, keeping the deficit at three. But with the Yankees turning to the bullpen, nothing changed for the offense. They went down in order in the eighth against Zack Britton.
Josh Taylor came on and allowed another run in the eighth, giving the offense a four-run deficit to try and make up in the ninth. They did get one run when Hunter Renfroe demolished a solo home run, but it was too little too late. They did get a walk from Bogaerts and a base hit from Martinez, bringing Kevin Plawecki to the plate representing the tying run. He hit a ground ball to the left side that was scooped up on a nice play by Velazquez, who threw Plawecki out by a half second to end the game.
The 5-2 loss dropped the Red Sox record to 69-54. As this is being written, Oakland is trailing Chicago by a run. If that result holds, both teams will trail New York in the wildcard race. They also got a walk, but Boston will be tied in the standings with Oakland for the second spot, though they technically do trail by percentage points.
The Red Sox now have another day off on Thursday before welcoming the Rangers into town for three games over the weekend. That series kicks off Friday with Dane Dunning taking on Chris Sale, first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.