Late rally lifts Red Sox over Yankees
BOSTON — When you average more than six runs a game, you’re going to win a lot of baseball games.
The Boston Red Sox have scored 6.27 runs per game over their last 15.
They’ve won 13. And when you’re hitting like that, being behind doesn’t really matter.
“We are pretty good at the comebacks,” Mitch Moreland said after his two-run pinch single in the seventh inning capped a four-run seventh inning and gave Boston the lead in a 9-6 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night.
“We are never out of the game,” Moreland said. “For us to come back with four in the seventh and take the game back, we just never quit. We stay on the gas pedal the entire game. It has been great for us lately.”
The win, which moved the Red Sox five games ahead of their rivals atop the American League East, came after Boston survived a 65-minute seventh inning — the Yankees scoring four to take the lead and the Red Sox answering right back with four in the bottom half.
A wild inning.
“On both sides,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “You’re talking about two bullpens that have performed very well throughout the course of the year. It’s an hour long, eight runs combined, a lot of different things went the offensive way on both sides.”
Farrell lost his starter, Drew Pomeranz, to back spasms with one out in the fourth inning and then tried to patch things together. Brandon Workman got it through the fifth with his team ahead 3-0 (on homers by Rafael Devers, his seventh in 19 games, and Christian Vazquez), but Matt Barnes gave up a two-run homer to Todd Frazier and couldn’t get through the sixth.
Joe Kelly got out of that inning but gave up a long homer to Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (his ninth in his last 21 games) and he had to be rescued by Addison Reed.
With the bases loaded, one out and the Yankees up 6-3, Reed (1-1) struck out Aaron Judge (his record 35th straight game with a K) and got Sanchez on a soft liner. He worked through the eighth for his first Red Sox win and, after Jackie Bradley Jr. singled home two runs off Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel fanned the side in the ninth for his 29th save.
New York went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14.
“We had more opportunities to score runs that we didn’t cash in on too,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “You can look at a lot of different things.”
It all added up to a second straight bad loss to the Red Sox.
“It’s a tough loss,” Girardi said. “Our guys fought really hard to get in front of the lead, really good at-bats from a lot of different people. It’s frustrating but we’ll be back.”
Ronald Torreyes smacked a long two-run single and Aaron Hicks was hit by a pitch to give the Yankees a 6-3 lead in the top of the seventh.
A Mookie Betts sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Andrew Benintendi set the stage for Moreland’s winner off Tommy Kahnle (2-4).
“The more you are in those situations, the more comfortable you will feel. I think that has shown,” said Moreland. “We get in those situations and we just feed off of each other. Everyone has been a hero at one point. It has been fun to watch and be a part of.”
Before the game, Girardi said Chapman, who has been bothered by a hamstring problem and poor pitching, was still his closer. But Chapman relieved with his team down in the eighth and he failed again.
“We need to get him right,” his manager said, adding he would “sleep on” whether Chapman is still the closer.
Pomeranz, 6-0 in his previous 11 starts and a 12-game winner, left runners in scoring position in the first three innings. After Benintendi made a diving catch of a Didi Gregorius line drive to start the fourth, Pomeranz fell behind Chase Headley 2-0.
Pomeranz, trying to beat the Yankees for a second straight time, could be seen stretching and then, after throwing a few warmup pitches, was removed and immediately began treatment.
“He did have this last year when he first arrived here,” said Farrell. “We’ve got to get the spasms calmed down.”
Vazquez went 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs and three runs scored.Â He also stole second on the back end of a double steal with Devers in the eighth inning.
NOTES: LHP David Price didn’t throw for a third straight day due to stiffness in his troublesome left elbow. ... Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (shoulder) threw at Fenway Park on Friday and is expected to return next week in Detroit. ... Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia, on the disabled list with a sore left knee, will resume baseball activities next week in Boston with the team in Cleveland. ... RHP Rick Porcello will work the series finale against the Yankees with Doug Fister pushed back to Monday in Cleveland. ... LHP CC Sabathia, 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts Boston this season, comes off the DL to pitch against Red Sox ace Chris Sale on Saturday night. Sabathia said Friday he thought about retirement when his right knee acted up Aug. 8. Sale has pitched well in all three games against New York this season but doesn’t have a win. ... The Red Sox unveiled a Tony Conigliaro display on the Fenway concourse on the 50th anniversary of his serious beaning by Jack Hamilton.