Red Sox

4 takeaways as the Red Sox rallied 3 times to outlast the Yankees, 5-4, in 10 innings at Fenway Park

Hunter Renfroe’s sac fly was ultimately the difference in a back-and-forth battle.

The Red Sox congratulate Hunter Renfroe. Elise Amendola/AP Photo

The Red Sox erased three deficits against the Yankees on Thursday and earned an improbable 5-4 win in 10 innings to open a four-game series at Fenway Park.

Here’s what happened as the Red Sox snapped the Yankees’ four-game winning streak.

The big picture

Down to their final out, the Red Sox tied it at 3 in the ninth on a clutch two-run double to left-center from Kiké Hernández that scored Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran. Hern​​ández joked that it would have probably been a home run in Buffalo, but nonetheless, he was thrilled to help the Red Sox in what manager Alex Cora called his biggest hit with the team to this point.

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“It was definitely the loudest I’ve heard Fenway this year,” Hernández said.

The Yankees responded in the 10th, as Brett Gardner drove in Tyler Wade on a sacrifice fly. Rafael Devers scurried home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the frame to knot it at 4. Xander Bogaerts walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and third on yet another, and came home on a sacrifice fly from Hunter Renfroe that sealed it and sent the Fenway faithful into a frenzy.

Both teams took advantage of the runner at second in extras, and the Red Sox had the last laugh as All-Star closer Matt Barnes picked up the win. Yankees reliever Brooks Kriske’s four wild pitches in one inning tied a Major League regular-season record.

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“There’s a lot of guys battling their butts off,” Kriske said. “It sucks to be the one to blow it for the team.”

Stars of the game

For the Red Sox, it was Verdugo – who finished 3-for-4 with two runs and was sharp on the base paths – and Hernández for his late-game moxie. Without Verdugo’s hustle, the Red Sox wouldn’t have tied the game up in the seventh and given themselves a chance. Without Hernández’s hit, they wouldn’t have gotten to extras. 

For the Yankees, it was starter Jordan Montgomery, who struck out six in 5 ⅔ scoreless innings. The lefthander allowed just three hits and was just as sharp following a rain delay that lasted nearly an hour.

What it means

The Red Sox, who swept the Toronto Blue Jays in a two-game series, are still undefeated against the Yankees at home and 8-3 against them on the season. They’re 4-2 overall since the All-Star Break and are 59-38 on the year.

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The Tampa Bay Rays outlasted the Cleveland Indians, 5-4, in 10 innings, so the Red Sox are currently still one game up on the Rays in the American League East. Boston has three more against the Yankees, four against the Blue Jays, and three versus the Rays in the coming weeks.

Takeaways

1. Red Sox starter Tanner Houck was electric to start the night, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced and striking out six of them. He kept the Yankees guessing and relied heavily on his slider.

His command was terrific through three, but walking Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton to start the fourth proved costly. They both advanced on a passed ball, Gleyber Torres plated Gardner on a grounder to shortstop, and the Yankees took a 1-0 edge.

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Houck settled back into a rhythm in the fifth, registering another strikeout before allowing a rain-induced infield single where the ball skipped along the grass and was essentially unplayable. Then came the 55-minute rain delay, and Houck didn’t return – a decision he understood and supported. He finished with eight strikeouts in 4 ⅔ innings, allowing just one unearned run on two hits. 

“Outstanding,” Cora said of Houck. “The rain delay killed us right there.”

Houck remained 0-2 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.50. His 44 strikeouts are tied for the third most by a Red Sox pitcher through their first eight career games.

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He threw 33 sliders Thursday, getting the Yankees to swing at 11, including seven misses. 

“I knew right away the slider was feeling right on point,” Houck said. “You’re not going to wake up every day and feel your best with everything. I went out there and competed with what I had.”

2. Boston tied the game at 1 in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Hernández that plated Verdugo. Verdugo, who legged out an infield single and hustled to third on a hit moments prior, sprinted home and slid his left hand in just before Rob Brantly could slap on the tag. 

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Moments later, the Red Sox immediately let the Yankees seize momentum once again. New York threw Bobby Dalbec out at home, then plated two runs in the top of the eighth on an RBI single from Giancarlo Stanton and a sacrifice fly from Gleyber Torres. Adam Ottavino walked the first two hitters, Hernández misplayed a ball in center, and the Yankees were effective playing small ball.

When the Yankees scored again, though, so too did the Red Sox – and again in the 10th. Every time New York surged in front, Boston responded.

“It was a good battle,” Cora said, “and we ended up winning.”

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3. This was the Red Sox’s MLB-best 30th come-from-behind win, and it was one of the most unlikely. 

Though they ended up with 10 hits to the Yankees’ four, and didn’t make any errors, the odds were still stacked against them at several points throughout the night.

They relied on a variety of sources, including Duran, who whizzed from first all the way home on Hernández’s bullet.

“As soon as the ball was hit in the gap, we knew he was going to score,” Cora said. 

They also turned to Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Ottavino, Yacksel Rios, and Barnes in relief. Ottavino struggled in the eighth, but the other relievers combined for 4 ⅓ shutout innings. 

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4. Many familiar faces were in the house, including former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, former Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew, and 2021 first-round pick Marcelo Mayer, to name a few. 

The Red Sox gave the fans a treat, piecing together another thrilling win and staying atop the division.

Said Houck: “The atmosphere, there’s nothing else like it.”

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