BOSTON -- By the time Red Sox righty Rick Porcello pumped his fist after the last out he recorded in a one-hit complete game on Friday, the Yankees had spent nine innings trying to dig themselves out of a hole. And not just on the scoreboard.The hole appeared in each
BOSTON -- By the time Red Sox righty Rick Porcello pumped his fist after the last out he recorded in a one-hit complete game on Friday, the Yankees had spent nine innings trying to dig themselves out of a hole. And not just on the scoreboard.
The hole appeared in each at-bat, as the Yankees consistently fell behind in the count against Porcello, unable to create an offensive spark.
Miguel Andujar's homer leading off the third inning was the only hit the Yankees could muster against Porcello at Fenway Park, as the right-hander retired the final 21 batters in a row to finish off an 86-pitch one-hitter in New York's 4-1 loss to Boston.
"I didn't think we had bad at-bats against him," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I just -- he was filling up the zone."
The Yankees, who have lost a season-high-tying three straight games, racked up 11 strikeouts against starter Christopher Johnson in Thursday's 15-7 loss. Boone said before Friday's game that total was a side effect of consistently falling behind in the count. But because they also hit four home runs, that number was not an issue.
That's the Yankees' offensive formula -- home runs. Boone said before Friday's matchup that he wasn't concerned about the Yanks' tendency to strike out, because they hammered more than enough home runs to make up for it.
But against Porcello, only Andujar delivered. With his team trailing after a three-run first inning by the Red Sox, Andujar stepped up to bat in the third and ripped an 81.9-mph changeup into the Monster Seats in left field. He was the last batter to reach base.
With the loss, the Yankees fell 7 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East standings. The loss marked the Yankees' lowest hit total in a game all season, and the lowest since May 29, 2016, against the Rays in a game the Yanks actually won.
The homer was Andujar's second against the Red Sox this year. He had blasted 12 by the end of June, but didn't hit any in July until Tuesday against the Orioles.
The Yankees have smashed five home runs against the Red Sox in this series. It was the Yankees' 175th home run of the season -- the most of any team in the Majors -- and extended their home run streak to eight games.
With Porcello's early pitches so precise, the Yankees' trend of falling behind in the count continued.
"Porcello was on top of his game," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. "Commanded the strike zone really well, got ahead of guys, and the few balls we hit well were right at guys. I mean, they made some good plays behind him, and just a tough game."
Yankees ace Luis Severino allowed four runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out two and walking three.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
On Severino's first pitch of the game, he came up and in on Mookie Betts, knocking him to the ground. That came after Porcello hit Gardner with an 0-2 pitch leading off the top of the first inning. Home-plate umpire Adam Hamari issued warnings to both benches after Severino's pitch, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora came out to argue, earning his first career ejection as a manager. But Severino said he was not trying to hit Betts. He was just trying to throw a strike inside.
"I wasn't trying to hit anybody," Severino said. "And not even Mookie, you know. Mookie's a great guy, and if I'm gonna hit somebody, I'm not gonna do it to the head. I mean, that's not right."
"If you're going to go into Mookie Betts, you don't want to miss in there," Boone said. "So I think it just went up and in a little bit."
While Severino was frustrated with a warning on the first pitch, he said it did not change his approach. But the added tension changed the state of the game. The Red Sox went on to score three runs in that inning, highlighted by Steve Pearce's two-run homer, his fourth home run in the first two games of this series.
The one-hitter was the first time a pitcher had held the Yankees to one or no hits in a complete game since Roy Halladay accomplished the feat for the Blue Jays on Sept. 4, 2009.
HE SAID IT
"Look, I know we're not in the best situation, obviously, as we're in early August here. I understand all that. But I also understand all we can be is hyper-focused on where we're at. We're definitely going through a little tough stretch right now. We're being tested to a degree, which is ultimately going to happen in a big league season. But the bottom line is, we're still in position here to potentially have a special season. We have to right the ship a little here, we have to play better. Everyone can do a little bit better. But it's important that those guys in there understand that this is a test. It's not always going to be easy. But I have no issue with our focus and where we're at, and I do feel like it'll turn -- I know it'll turn around. We just have to keep grinding through this tough time right now." -- Boone, on the Yankees trailing the Red Sox by 7 1/2 games
Chance Adams will make his Major League debut on Saturday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Adams has a 4.50 ERA at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and impressed Boone with his most recent outing, in which he struck out eight while allowing two hits and a run in 7 1/3 innings. It will be the 11th time a Yankees pitcher has made his first MLB start against the Sox -- the last being Randy Keisler on Sept. 10, 2000. Adams will face Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched for the Yanks in 2015-16. First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m. ET.
Blake Richardson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.