In the most crucial month of the season, the Yankees started off with a hard-fought series win. They dropped the first game in close fashion, then rattled off two wins with gusto and offensive bravado. A hot streak seems to be brewing now for the pinstripes, who have won 5 of their last 6 and are trailing the Blue Jays by just 1 game in the AL East standings.
The first game featured a Boston win in the manner that they had hoped all year long. The underperforming squad was led by homers from David Ortiz and Mookie Betts, whose 3 combined RBI spurred the Sox to a 4-3 win. Ivan Nova didn’t pitch terribly, but he was hindered by the longball and an inefficient offense. The final blow, however, was off of Adam Warren in the 7th on a Pablo Sandoval groundout. Besides those homers, Jackie Bradley stood out with 3 hits and Xander Bogaerts added one for the home side.
It looked as if the Yankees were going to make a game of it in the 9th against Jean Machi. Chase Headley walked with the bases loaded to make it a 1-run game, but Gregory Bird and Didi Gregorius hit a frustrating 377-foot flyout to end the game. Gregorius tied the game in the 4th with an RBI single, and had 4 hits on the day. Carlos Beltran also had an RBI on a 1st-inning sac fly, but nothing else was happening at the plate for the Yanks.
While it wasn’t pretty, the Yankees eked out a 3-1 win in the middle game. They scored 3 runs, 2 unearned, off of Rick Porcello in 8 innings, with the big blow being a Stephen Drew two-run double in the 5th. They managed only 5 hits, but were able to scratch across a third run on a rare Brett Gardner homer in the 8th. Drew, who has recently become an offensive machine, had 2 hits to lead the charge against the rivals.
Michael Pineda pitched well, lowering his ERA to 4.07 while giving up just 1 run on 4 hits in 6 innings. Pablo Sandoval gave Boston an early lead with an RBI single in the 3rd. Bogaerts and Bradley each had 2 hits, and Betts and Sandoval had 1 each. Dellin Betances was a little shaky in his 1.1 innings of relief, giving up 3 hits, but he held it down until Andrew Miller shut the door in the 9th for his 29th save.
An offensive explosion was just what the doctor ordered in the finale. The Yankees used an 8-run, 3-homer 2nd inning to win 14-8. Back-to-back homers by Bird and John Ryan Murphy highlighted the spurt, and a 2-run bomb by Carlos Beltran capped it off. The powerhouse Stephen Drew then followed with his own 3-run homer in the next inning to put the game out of reach. Gregarious, who has been the hottest hitter on the team of late, also homered to continue the barrage. In total, the Yankees hammered 15 hits and 7 extra-base hits and hit .500 with runners in scoring position.
Masahiro Tanaka was very average in his start, giving up 4 runs in 6.1 innings, but he didn’t need to be spectacular to earn his 11th win. Boston scored in each of the final 5 innings, but it was too little too late in this one. They had 13 hits of their own, including 3 by Bogaerts, 2 by Rusney Castillo, and 2 by Blake Swihart. Andrew Bailey pitched in his first game since 2013 in mop-up duty and allowed a run on a hit and 2 walks.
Overall, the Yankees bolstered their in-house record with a nice series win against the Sox, who have struggled mightily this year. Now they play two straight weeks of AL East games, including a weekend series against the Blue Jays.
Offensive MVP: Stephen Drew- I thought I would never say this, but he hit the lights out of the ball. 5-8 with a homer and 5 RBI.
Cold Streak: Jacoby Ellsbury– A quiet 0-8.
Pitcher of the Series: Michael Pineda- 6 strong innings of 1 run ball in a tight win.
Mound Misery: Mashairo Tanaka- He didn’t need to be great, and he wasn’t. 4 runs in 6.1 innings isn’t that good.