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Yankees let another one slip away: This time, defense is to blame

BOSTON — The New York Yankees were in an optimal position to win their first game back from the All-Star break on Friday night against the first place Boston Red Sox. Heading into the ninth inning with a 4-3 lead, it was up to Aroldis Chapman to nail down the last three outs of the game.

Even without any balls leaving the infield in the ninth inning, the Red Sox came away with a 5-4, walk off victory — another crushing defeat for the Yankees. Chapman was given the loss in the record books but the Yankees’ defense let him down in more ways than one.

Chapman allowed an infield single to Mookie Bets, the first batter of the ninth inning. Betts has tremendous speed so there was no chance that shortstop Didi Gregorious could make a play at first.

Following Betts’ at bat, Dustin Pedroia hit a ball in the same spot as the Red Sox right fielder but Gregorious had a chance to make a play at second base for the force out. Ronald Torreyes was forced to jump and try to make a catch on Gregorious’ errant throw. Had Starlin Castro been playing, the out is most likely made because he is six inches taller than Torreyes.

Instead, the Red Sox continued the ninth inning with runners on first and second with no outs. With Xander Boegarts up at the plate, Betts and Pedroia successfully performed a double steal with Chapman failing to keep either runner close. The Yankees brought their infield in to try and prevent the tying run from crossing the plate, but Torreyes booted the sharp grounder hit right at him.

With the game tied at 4-4, Chapman intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez and then unintentionally walked in the game-winning run on a pitch than ran inside on Andrew Benintendi.

Another heart breaking loss for the Yankees marks their 18th blown save this season — dropping their record to 45-42 on the year. Chapman did walk in the game-winning run, but the blame falls solely on the Yankees’ defense for not getting him the sure outs he needed to get through the inning.