4 takeaways as Red Sox fall to Yankees, 4-1, move into tie for last place in AL East

Red Sox

Once again, Boston started strong, fell behind, and couldn’t capitalize late.

New York Yankees’ Everson Pereira, right, scores on a single by Estevan Florial, next to Red Sox catcher Connor Wong during the fifth inning Tuesday night. Steven Senne/AP Photo

COMMENTARY 

Heading into Tuesday’s doubleheader – in spite of their recent struggles – the Red Sox had still managed to rip off seven straight wins against the Yankees.

Now, after a pair of not-too-surprising setbacks, they’ve lost two straight in the head-to-head. After squeaking out Game 1, 3-2, the Yankees did the same in Game 2 by a score of 4-1. 

In each matchup, the Red Sox (73-72) struck first, the Yankees (73-72) responded and took the lead in the sixth, then the Red Sox tried to fight back but ran out of time.

Boston finished a dreadful 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position Tuesday night. The Red Sox scored on the first pitch they faced and didn’t score after that.

The teams are now tied for last place in the American League East. Boston has lost 11 of 15 and New York has won 11 of 15. 

The Red Sox have essentially been out of the Wild Card race for a while now, and these two losses served as reminders that – barring a truly miraculous twist – there will be no postseason baseball in Boston yet again this year.

Here’s a closer look at how Game 2 unfolded.

Ceddanne Rafaela got the action started.

The Yankees threatened in the first inning, loading the bases with no outs, but Kutter Crawford struck out Austin Wells and got Isiah Kiner-Falefa to ground into a 6-3, inning-ending double play. 

Red Sox rookie Ceddanne Rafaela wasted no time in the bottom of the frame, smashing Carlos Rodón’s first pitch of the night over the Green Monster. It was a no-doubter, and Rafaela enthusiastically flipped his bat as he watched his first big league homer ricochet off the light tower.

New York saw 24 pitches in the inning and didn’t score. Rafaela saw one and put Boston in front, 1-0. The blast showcased the potential Red Sox scouts have seen from the 5-foot-9, 165-pound, 22-year-old phenom for quite some time. 

The Red Sox have now homered in 28 of their last 30 games.

Kutter Crawford settled into a rhythm but wasn’t rewarded.

The first inning wasn’t Crawford’s best, but he found a groove after that, retiring 11 straight batters from the second to the fifth to keep the Red Sox in front.

With two outs in the fifth, though, he walked Everson Pereira, who stole second. Estevan Florial battled at the plate, and on the 10th pitch, he lined a single to center. 

Rafaela delivered a low, relatively accurate throw, but Pereira beat it by a smidgen to tie the score. Josh Winckowski replaced Crawford, who allowed one run on three hits and three walks and struck out seven in 4 ⅔ respectable innings. 

It was a tough ending to a promising outing for Crawford, after he allowed six runs to the Astros and five to the Rays in his last two starts. Ultimately, it was enough to keep the Red Sox in it but not enough to keep them in front.

The Yankees did just enough to pull ahead.

Just like they did in the first inning, the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth. 

They didn’t crush the ball this time, either, yet they found a way to take the lead. Jake Bauers hit a slow nubber to third, and Luis Urías had no choice but to corral it and dive to get the out at third.

Urías spearheaded a double play moments later, and that was that, but one run was all the Yankees needed.

The Red Sox had their chances but came up short.

When Rafaela doubled to start the seventh, it appeared more likely than not that Boston would at least tie the game.

Wilyer Abreu moved him to third on a sharp grounder, then Justin Turner uncharacteristically popped out when the Red Sox needed him to send the ball to the outfield. 

Triston Casas walked, then Adam Duvall (0 for 4, four strikeouts; 0 for 17 with 14 strikeouts in his last four games) went down swinging to end the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth – after Wilyer Abreu hosed Kiner-Falefa at the plate in the top of the frame – Trevor Story singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Rafael Devers pinch hit and walked, but Connor Wong struck out and Rafaela flared to second.

The Yankees tacked on two more in the ninth – extending the margin to 3-1 on a single from Gleyber Torres and 4-1 on catcher’s interference.

In both games, the Red Sox had runners in scoring position late with a chance to tie it but couldn’t capitalize. A few weeks remain, as they hover around .500 and look like a team ready for the offseason.


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