Karpin’s Korner: Another Gut Punch Dooms Yanks

by Howie Karpin/The NY Extra/

It was too good to believe.

The Yankees were one out away from a huge win in the opener of a crucial four game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park but when it was over, it became the latest in a string of crushing losses that have plagued the team this season.

Yankee Manager Aaron Boone has seen this act before against the Twins, Angels, Mets and Astros.

“Another gut punch,” Boone said. “A lot of good things that went on tonight, an out away there. They put together some really good at bats there in the ninth. Certainly stings, a long night here. Lookin’ like you’re gonna get out of here with the first game of this series.”

Hunter Renfroe’s sacrifice fly scored Xander Bogaerts with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Red Sox stunned the Yankees with a come from behind, 5-4 win. The loss snapped the Yankees four game winning streak and it was the eighth defeat in ten games this season against their hated rivals.

The Yankees had a 3-1 lead with two on and two out in the ninth, but Chad Green, who seems to wilt when he’s asked to close, gave up a game tying, two-run double to Kike Hernandez.

With one out, Green gave up back to back singles to Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec, the #7 and #8 hitters, to put the tying runs on first and second. Green got pinch hitter Kevin Plawecki, the former Met, to line out to left field for the second out, but Hernandez jumped on a 1-0 pitch and drove it to left center field where it took a high bounce off the wall, allowing both runs to score and tie the game.

The Yankees retook a 4-3 lead in the tenth, thanks to the extra inning rule. Tyler Wade, who was the runner who started on second, went to third when D.J. LeMahieu bounced back to the pitcher and scored on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly. The Yankees had a three up, three down inning, yet scored a run.

Of course, the Red Sox had the same chance with a runner on second, but they didn’t even need to put the ball in play to tie the game against Brooks Kriske, who was called upon to close and had one of the worst innings of pitching that you could ever see from a major leaguer.

Rafael Devers was the runner at second to begin the bottom of 10th inning. A wild pitch allowed Devers to take third and then he scored on Kriske’s second wild pitch of the inning. The Red Sox had tied the game without their first batter completing his at-bat. That batter was Xander Bogaerts who walked.

Two more wild pitches left Bogaerts at third with no one out. After J.D. Martinez struck out, Renfroe, who has killed the Yankees all season long, ended the game with a deep fly to right.

Kriske tied a modern major league record with four wild pitches in one inning but it goes right along with some of the bizarre ways that the Yankees have lost games this season. To his credit, Kriske addressed his issues on the post game zoom. “It was just pure execution, it’s part of the game. Obviously, I gotta do a better job,” he said.

Starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery was superb as he tossed shutout ball for 5 2/3 IP, but the Yankees could only support him with one run on an RBI ground out by Gleyber Torres in the fourth. (In Montgomery’s five previous outings, the offense did not score any runs for him) There was some doubt as to whether Montgomery would continue after a 55 minute rain delay in the top of the fifth, but he came out strong with an easy 1-2-3 inning that featured two strikeouts.

In the 6th, Montgomery gave up a two out single to Xander Bogaerts and was replaced with Sal Romano who had been brought up from Triple-A. The right hander gave up a Martinez’ single to put runners at first and second but Renfroe popped out to end the inning.

Romano got the first out in the 7th, but Boone went to Lucas Luetge who gave up back to back singles to Verdugo and Dalbec. Wade’s error at third loaded the bases and Hernandez tied the game at one with a sacrifice fly.

Former Yankee reliever Adam Ottavino reverted to his 2020 form as he walked LeMahieu and Gardner to start the eighth. Giancarlo Stanton stroked a clutch RBI single with two strikes to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Rougned Odor laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third and Torres scored Gardner from third with a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-1 lead.

The Yankees are at a point of the season where a split in this four game series is not good enough. They’ve made the task even harder with another brutal loss.

Gerrit Cole will take the mound Friday night to try and get the Yanks even in the series. Boone feels his club will rebound from yet another brutal defeat. “In this stretch of baseball, we’ve won a lot of games,” Boone said, “we’ve also had some incredibly tough losses like tonight and time and time again, the guys have bounced back and that’s what we expect to do tomorrow.”

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