Yankees - 202 100 000 - 5 14 0 Red Sox - 001 000 015 - 7 9 0After being kept quiet for seven innings by Masahiro Tanaka (7-4-1-3-0, 93), the Red Sox's bats finally awoke from their days-long slumber in the eighth inning. David Ortiz homered to center for one run. Then Boston pulled off the comeback of the season, getting three straight run-scoring hits off Yankees closer Dellin Betances in the bottom of the ninth, capped off by Hanley Ramirez's three-run bomb into the center field bleachers.
Ortiz's home run was #537 and moved him past Mickey Mantle and into 17th place all-time.
Up 5-2, Yankees manager Joe Girardi stayed away from Betances at first, even though it was a save situation (he had blown Wednesday's game against the Dodgers), calling on lefty Tommy Layne to begin the bottom of the ninth. Layne easily struck out pinch-hitter Aaron Hill on three pitches. Chris Young pinch-hit for Andrew Benintendi and Girardi brought in Blake Parker. Parker's 1-1 pitch glanced off the top of Young's helmet for a HBP. Was this a spark? Finally, Girardi signaled for his closer, who had blown four of 15 save chances this year.
Betances could not find the strike zone and walked Dustin Pedroia on five pitches. On Betances's first offering to Xander Bogaerts, FY and Young advanced to second and third. Bogaerts tapped an 0-2 pitch to the third-base side of the infield and Young was (for some bizarre reason) halfway down the line and was quickly tagged out in a 1-2-5 rundown. Two outs, runners at first and second.
Ortiz, up as the potential tying run, got ahead 3-1 and lined a single to center, scoring Pedroia - and making Young's blunder seem even worse. Now it was Mookie Betts's turn as the potential tying run. Betts grounded a 1-1 pitch into left field, past the dive of shortstop Didi Gregorius. Bogaerts scored, making the score 5-4. Betances's first pitch to Ramirez went for a passed ball and Boston had runners at second and third. Even a single could win the game, but Ramirez was not settling for a measly single. With the count in his favour, 3-1, Ramirez crushed a pitch about 10-12 rows up in dead center field. HOME RUN!
It was a stunning, amazing, hard-to-believe ending on a night when nothing seemed to be going right for the Red Sox. Eduardo Rodriguez (2.1-8-4-0-0, 58) faced 16 batters and nine of them reached base. Rodriguez's last six ineffective pitches were: double, RBI-single, ball, double, ball, RBI-single.
Heath Hembree allowed a run in the fourth, putting New York up by four, but the pen held the Yankees from there. Though not without some hiccups. Junichi Tazawa allowed a leadoff double in the fifth, but then struck out the next three batters. Robby Scott pitched three innings - as it turned out, the most of any Sox pitcher - and ran into trouble in the eighth. The Yankees put runners on first and second with one out. Brett Gardner flied to center and Xander Bogaerts, after fielding Jacoby Ellsbury's infield single, threw out Chase Headley at the plate.
Joe Kelly had a rough top of the ninth. Gary Sanchez and Starlin Castro began the inning with singles and after Brian McCann struck out, Kelly walked Gregorius to load the bases. But Kelly rebounded, striking out Headley on a full-count pitch and then throwing up his glove in self-defense and snaring Mason Williams's line drive right back at him.
Then the Red Sox went to work in what became a magical bottom of the ninth.
Pedroia, 2BMark Feinsand, Daily News: "It's hard to believe, but it's been nine years since the Yankees and Red Sox faced off in a September game with meaningful postseason implications for both teams. That ends Thursday."
The Red Sox and Yankees begin a four-game series tonight. They also will play a three-game set in New York on September 27-29.
ESPN: "Ripe For A Renaissance: Is The Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry About To Get Great Again?" Beat writers Andrew Marchand and Scott Lauber discuss the question.
A good showing by Boston could effectively wreck New York's slim chances at the AL East title. The Yankees are two games out of the wild card race.
BOS --- BAL 1.0 TOR 2.0 MFY 4.0