The Red Sox did not open up the season they way they had hoped, dropping game one to the Yankees in the Bronx on Opening Day. There were early fireworks, with the two sides combining for five first-inning runs. But the pitching settled in from there, and eventually this one would go 11 innings. The Red Sox missed a couple of opportunities at the plate, and the lack of bullpen depth came through in a big way already, with Kutter Crawford giving up a walk off single to Josh Donaldson to end it. It’s not the way you want to start a season, but it is of course just one game. Of greater importance is likely that Xander Bogaerts left the game in the 10th, though the extent of the apparent hamstring injury is not know at the time of writing.
More robust game notes below.
The Red Sox came out of the gates firing for their 2022 season, picking up exactly where they left off against Gerrit Cole after hitting him around in the Wild Card Game last October. The Yankees ace had no semblance of command early on in this game, and he started things off by issuing a four-pitch walk to Enrique Hernández. Rafael Devers then came up next, and after letting a pitch right down the middle go by, he got another one over the plate and punished it. On a high fastball, something he’s had issues with at times in the past, Devers blasted one 382 feet out to right field for a two-run shot, and the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead two batters into the game.
They didn’t stop there, either. The command was still lacking from Cole continuing after the home run, and Xander Bogaerts just missed a bomb of his own, instead settling for a bullet of a single off the left field wall. J.D. Martinez followed that up with a double into the right field corner, bringing Bogaerts all the way around for an RBI double. Still with nobody out in the first, Boston had already built up a 3-0 lead.
From there, though, Cole was able to settle in and the Red Sox were stymied for the next few innings. Martinez would be left standing at second base after the next three batters went down in order. Christian Vázquez did then reach with one out in the second when he was hit by a pitch, but Hernández grounded into a double play to end the inning. It was his first of two double plays on what was a tough afternoon for him. Cole proceeded to retire Boston in order in the third before working around a leadoff single for a scoreless fourth. For the Sox, the good news was that the first inning got the pitch count up enough that Cole was lifted after those four innings, but they still settled for just three runs off the 2021 Cy Young runner-up.
And then over on the other side, Nathan Eovaldi had something of a mixed bag of a day, showing really impressive stuff right out of the gate with a fastball sitting 98-99 and a bevy of nasty secondaries, but also the occasional lapse in command that led to hard contact. As an example, right away in the first he was the victim of a bloop single from Aaron Judge before leaving a splitter right over the heart of the plate without any drop. Anthony Rizzo was the recipient of that offering, and he sent it 414 feet out to the power alley in right for a two-run shot. With just one out in the bottom of the first, the gap was closed to just one run.
From there, though, the Red Sox ace settled in a bit. He struck out Giancarlo Stanton immediately after the strikeout and got out of the inning without any more activity on the bases. Eovaldi then started the second off with two straight strikeouts before getting into a bit of trouble with a single and an errant pick off attempt putting the tying run in scoring position, but he escaped without any runs. After a perfect third as well, Eovaldi still had Boston up 3-2 after three.
The fourth brought more trouble, though, with some mild assistance from the umpire Laz Diaz and Yankee Stadium. Stanton led off that inning and watched an 0-1 pitch that was clearly in the zone go by, but it was erroneously called a ball. Instead of it being 0-2 it was 1-1, and Eovaldi left one right over the plate. Stanton did what Stanton does, which is to say hit a rocket, and his 116 mile an hour line drive snuck over the wall in right for a solo homer to tie the game. The bad call from Diaz didn’t help, and that homer wouldn’t have left most any other park, but at the end of the day Eovaldi made a bad pitch and Stanton legitimately smoked it.
Fortunately, he got out of that inning without any more runs after the homer despite a bad error on a too-casual attempt from Bogaerts, but there was more trouble ahead in the fifth. Josh Donaldson started that inning off with a base hit, and then Rizzo was hit by a pitch with one out to put a pair on. Eovaldi was able to buckle down, though, getting a big strikeout of Stanton before Alex Verdugo came through with a huge diving catch to rob DJ LeMaheiu of at least one RBI on a sinking line drive.
So we were still tied in the sixth, and the Red Sox got a little action going against Clay Holmes in the top of that inning with a leadoff double from Bogaerts, who’d then move over to second on a ground ball to put him 90 feet away with just one out. Sure enough, a half inning after making a big day in the field, Verdugo smacked his second single of the day, this one bringing home Bogaerts and giving the Red Sox the 4-3 lead. Vázquez had a chance to add on with the bases loaded and two outs, too, but went down swinging and Boston settled for the one-run edge.
Now with the lead in hand, we got our first look at the Red Sox bullpen with Garrett Whitlock coming out for the sixth. He did give up a one-out single to Aaron Hicks, but struck out the other three batters he faced to keep the Yankees off the board. He’d come back out for the seventh with the same score as well, and he came through with a perfect inning there as well to keep the score at 4-3.
After another 1-2-3 inning for Boston in the eighth, Whitlock was back out for a third inning of work. He did well to start, getting Stanton looking, but then he made a mistake. DJ LeMahieu got a fastball up in the zone, but was able to get the bat around on it to send it out just over the right field wall, tying this game up at four runs apiece. That ended the day for Whitlock, with Matt Strahm coming out to make his Red Sox debut. Things got off to a tough start with a leadoff walk, but Strahm followed that up by getting Hicks swinging after falling behind 3-0 and then got a pop up to get out of the inning.
So now the Red Sox needed to get going again at the plate, and Aroldis Chapman was on the mound for New York. The bottom third of the order went down 1-2-3, and it was Hansel Robles coming on for the bottom of the inning, trying to send this one into extras. He did well to get two quick outs, but then Judge smacked the first pitch he saw into the left field corner for a double, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. He then intentionally walked Rizzo, going after Stanton to try and end the inning. The move paid off, as Robles got the slugger swinging and we headed to the tenth.
With the Manfred Man rule still in place starting each extra inning with a runner on second, this time Jonathan Araúz as a pinch runner for Vázquez, Hernández continued his rough day with a leadoff strikeout before the Yankees put Devers on intentionally. That brought Bogaerts to the plate, and while he didn’t hit it hard a bloop into left was enough to bring Araúz home and put Boston up by a run once again.
To try and close it out, the Red Sox turned to another new lefty, this time Jake Diekman, who signed a two-year deal after the lockout. They also had Araúz staying in the game at shortstop, with Bogaerts exiting the game with an apparent injury after he looked a bit hobbled getting out of the box in the 10th. Diekman got off to a bad start, hitting the first batter he faced. He did get an out after that, but it was a weak ground ball to move both runners up, putting the winning run in scoring position with the tying run at third.
After intentionally walking Hicks to load the bases, Diekman’s day was done with Ryan Brasier trying to escape this bases loaded, one out situation. He couldn’t do it, with pinch hitter Gleyber Torres getting a fly ball plenty deep enough to bring the tying run home. Brasier was able to get a strikeout after that, but enough damage was done to lead us into an 11th inning.
The offense couldn’t get another run on the board in that inning, going down in order, leaving a tough task for Kutter Crawford. The rookie came on for the 12th — with Matt Barnes notably not even warming up to this point in the game — to face the top of the order. The game didn’t last long from there. Donaldson led off the inning with a base hit through the middle, and that was that. The Manfred Runner came home to score, and the Yankees took the opener.
The Red Sox will try again for their first win of 2022 on Saturday, with Nick Pivetta taking on Luis Severino. First pitch is set for 4:05 PM ET.