Yanks fall in 10th in tense finale with Sox

June 7th, 2021

NEW YORK -- The howls began with a disputed third-strike call that delivered extra innings, prompting the ejections of two coaches from the Yankees’ bench and language generally deemed unsuitable for a national television broadcast. Then came the groans, accompanying the Red Sox completing their first three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium in nearly a decade.

A cocktail of anger and disappointment flowed within the Yankees’ clubhouse walls as they concluded their “rivalry week” homestand with a fourth consecutive loss on Sunday evening, a 6-5 defeat in 10 innings on their home turf. The Yanks lost five of seven games hosting the Rays and Red Sox, having dropped 10 of 13 overall.

“They were the better team tonight, but a lot of good things happened tonight,” said the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. “A lot of good at-bats, a lot of clutch at-bats late in the game, guys picking each other up. There’s a lot of positives out of this game, even though we didn’t get the win. It’s tough getting swept at home, especially against your rival, but a lot of guys showed a lot of heart.”

New York hadn’t been swept at home by the Red Sox in a three-game series since June 7-9, 2011. Xander Bogaerts helped make it happen, stroking a two-run single off right-hander Luis Cessa in the 10th inning before the Yankees fell short in the home half.

Tyler Wade legged out an infield hit that trimmed the deficit to one run, but DJ LeMahieu smacked the game’s final pitch on the ground. What remained of the crowd of 19,103 briefly roared, sensing it might reach center field, but second baseman Marwin Gonzalez smothered the ball with a slide and tossed it to first base.

“An awful week for us, culminating in the end of this homestand,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve got to get right. We’ve got to get better. And it starts now, on the road, as we head to Minnesota.”

By the final out, Yankees coaches Phil Nevin and Carlos Mendoza had both been ejected. An IV port dangling from his left arm after recent health issues, Nevin was run by home-plate umpire Gabe Morales for arguing a generous third strike on pinch-hitter Rougned Odor in the ninth inning, shown to be at least four inches outside by pitch data.

“We saw it a little different, of course,” Judge said. “But we want balls off the plate, too, when our guys are on the mound. It’s just part of the game.”

That cut down New York’s rally, one sparked when stroked Matt Barnes’ 0-2 curveball on a line into left field, chasing home Judge from first base to tie the game at 4.

Bench coach Mendoza was tossed in the 10th inning by second-base umpire Bill Miller, an ejection that Boone said was “absolutely ridiculous.” Asked whether Miller offered an explanation for why Mendoza was thumbed, Boone replied: “Not a good one.”

“We’re obviously very frustrated, and you saw some of that emotion spill over,” Boone said. “That’s just playing for a lot and going through a really tough stretch.”

Stop, drop and roll
Torres’ second hit of the night tied the game after LeMahieu and right fielder Clint Frazier converged on Vazquez’s towering eighth-inning popup. The ball tipped LeMahieu’s glove and fell for a double in shallow right field. Bogaerts followed with a sacrifice fly off left-hander Wandy Peralta that put Boston ahead, 4-3.

Boone said that he wasn’t sure whether Frazier should have called off LeMahieu. Statcast indicated the play would have had a 95 percent catch probability for the right fielder.

“It was a long way for everyone to run, a little bit in that triangle,” Boone said. “It looked like [LeMahieu] overran it a little bit and it was working its way back.”

Domingo on Sunday
Supported by Gary Sánchez’s two-run double in the first inning, right-hander Domingo Germán limited Boston to one run and three hits over 5 2/3 innings -- a run produced when Alex Verdugo slugged Germán’s fifth pitch of the night over the left-field wall.

Germán was lifted after issuing a two-out walk in the sixth, ending his night after 84 pitches.

“Especially the at-bat with Bogaerts, he wasn’t anywhere close,” Boone said. “A guy with his command, I thought he was having a little bit of trouble out there, so that made my decision for me.”

Lucas Luetge finished that inning with a strikeout of Rafael Devers, but the lefty permitted Gonzalez’s game-tying two-run homer in the seventh.

The Yanks are winless in their last four series.

“I felt like guys really stepped up tonight. But when it came down to it, [the Red Sox] had the last punch,” Judge said. “That’s a tough one.”