Yanks' path to postseason hits speed bump
NEW YORK -- The Yankees were hopeful that Tuesday would be the day they'd celebrate a postseason berth and 10,000 regular-season wins, but once again, those plans were put on hold following a 10-4 loss to the Red Sox combined with other action around the Majors.
The Yankees needed a win on their end, a Twins loss and either the Rangers or Angels loss on Tuesday to clinch their first playoff berth since 2012. The Minnesota-Cleveland game was postponed due to rain, while both the Rangers and Angels won their respective games.
When the Yankees arrive to work Wednesday, they need a similar scenario to unfold in order to clinch their first postseason berth since 2012. To clinch a Wild Card berth and make the playoffs a reality, the Yankees must win and two of the following three outcomes must occur:
• Twins lose either of their two games vs. Cleveland
• Astros lose to Seattle
• Rangers lose to Detroit or Angels lose to Oakland
Michael Pineda gave up six earned runs, including one that stood upon a replay review, in the first frame as the Red Sox batted around. It was too much damage for the Yanks, who scored four runs in the bottom half of the frame, to overcome.
"Sometimes when you leave the bullpen, you feel one way and you get out there and it takes you a while to find your stuff," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But you've got to find a way when you're going through that to get outs. We kind of gave him the extra out on the play at the plate, and that led to a tougher inning for him."
Blake Swihart had a two-homer, five-RBI night to lead the Red Sox. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Travis Shaw and Brock Holt each added an RBI. Rick Porcello (9-14, 5.02 ERA) shook off a tough first inning and went eight frames for the win.
Pineda was charged with his ninth loss of the season after giving up seven hits, seven earned runs and two homers in six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Quite a turnaround by Porcello: It looked like it might be a short night for Porcello when he surrendered four runs in the first, but the righty gave up just two hits and no runs over his final seven frames to continue the strong run he's been on since returning from the disabled list. Porcello credited a first-inning visit from pitching coach Carl Willis for turning his night around.
"Kind of after Carl came out and really woke me up a little bit and told me to make some adjustments and get the ball down and stop making mistakes and then we were fine after that," said Porcello. "Sometimes you need a kick in the butt. I didn't feel like I was sleep-walking out there, but your offense goes out there and grinds out six runs in the first inning, the last thing you want to do is give four back. Really, that mound visit kind of locked me back in." More >
A rally in the first: After Pineda put his teammates in an immediate hole, the Yankees' offense went to work. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a leadoff double and Brett Gardner followed with a single. Brian McCann grounded out to score Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran brought in Gardner with a double. Dustin Ackley then sent a two-run homer over the right-field wall, but that would cap their scoring.
"We've come back before and we got it to 6-4, so it was definitely manageable. It seemed Porcello started making good pitches again like Michael was after that," Girardi said. "You get 10 runs scored in the first inning combined and then both guys settled in. We never did much after that. We did have a few opportunities, but we didn't do much."
Swihart's power surge: Swihart entered the night with a modest three homers in his rookie year, but he went on a long ball tear in this one. The 23-year-old Swihart is the youngest Boston catcher to have a multihomer game since Mike Ryan on May 2, 1965.
"You see the ball pretty well here. I don't know if those balls I hit are home runs anywhere else but here," said Swihart.
Settling down, but not for long: After Pineda gave up six earned runs in the first inning, he retired 11 straight batters. Betts ended that streak with a leadoff homer over the left-field wall to give the Red Sox their seventh run of the night. Pineda then struck out all three batters in the sixth and was replaced in the seventh by Bryan Mitchell, who gave up two more earned runs on two hits and a homer. Chris Martin relinquished the 10th and final run to the Red Sox.
"Those guys are hot as a firecracker, and give those guys credit, coming in here and playing hard. This is their playoff and they want to make an impact. We would be the same way against them, but I like where we're at. We've just got to take a deep breath and come back and win a game tomorrow." -- Alex Rodriguez, on the Red Sox, who have won five consecutive games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Betts is closing his first full season in the big leagues with his best month. The leadoff man sparked the six-run rally in the first with a double, his 42nd of the season. In the fifth, Betts lined a solo shot to left. In September, Betts is hitting .382 with 12 doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the top of the first with one out and the Red Sox already ahead, 1-0, Shaw reached base on a fielder's choice and brought in Bogaerts for Boston's second run. Bogaerts slid into home and was called safe, but Girardi challenged the call, thinking catcher Brian McCann tagged Bogaerts. Following a short review, the call stood.
Red Sox: Lefty Wade Miley makes his final start of 2015 on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. Miley (11-11, 4.39 ERA) is trying to finish over .500 for the first time since 2012. In 17 road starts, Miley is 4-6 with a 4.47 ERA.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.38 ERA) takes the mound Wednesday night in his first start since Sept. 18, when he sustained a Grade 1 torn right hamstring. The Yankees have said Tanaka will not have any limitations as far as pitch count goes, and Tanaka has indicated that he feels that he can pitch at 100 percent. Against the Red Sox, Tanaka is 4-2 in six career starts with a 4.84 ERA.
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