BOSTON -- In the wee hours of Monday morning, the Yankees left Fenway Park 9 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East. Sunday night's 5-4 defeat in 10 innings sealed the Red Sox's first four-game sweep of the Yankees since 2016 and just the seventh in the last 100 years.
"It's a tough way, obviously, to end a tough weekend, but we can't let this define what's been a great season for us," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Facing Jonathan Holder, Boston's Andrew Benintendi singled home pinch-runner Tony Renda in the bottom of the 10th inning after the game had turned for good the inning prior.
Manager Aaron Boone had set up his bullpen in textbook fashion, with the urgency that goes along with a season-defining game. He'd gotten 4 2/3 effective innings from Masahiro Tanaka before he turned the ball over to Player Page for David Robertson, Zach Britton, Dellin Betances and Albertin Chapman.
Robertson, Britton and Betances did their jobs, but the hard-throwing Chapman couldn't harness his heat. With the Yankees leading, 4-1, after a four-run seventh, he walked Sandy Leon, Mookie Betts and Steve Pearce to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and then, after J.D. Martinez hit a two-run single, an errant throw by Miguel Andujar on a Xander Bogaerts ground ball allowed pinch-runner Jackie Bradley Jr. to score the tying run.
It was Chapman's first blown save since May 4 after he'd converted 22 straight save opportunities. He has allowed three earned runs in two of his last five outings. Of the 12 runs he's allowed this season, six have come since July 21.
"Just a bad outing," Chapman said.
For a time it looked as though the Yankees would be leaving with a come-from-behind win. Red Sox starter David Price yielded a leadoff single to Brett Gardner in the seventh inning and then walked Austin Romine, prompting the Red Sox to go to their bullpen.
Next up for the injury-depleted Yankees was Shane Robinson, who had dropped a sacrifice bunt in his previous at-bat. Robinson stepped to the plate against Boston reliever Richard Hembree intending to do the same, but Hembree buzzed him up around the head three times and ended up issuing a free pass.
That wasn't the only gift the Red Sox handed the Yankees. Aaron Hicks went down to get a two-strike fastball at the knees and rolled what looked like a harmless ground ball to shortstop. Bogaerts misplayed it, and by the time he tracked it down, Gardner and Romine had scored the tying and go-ahead runs, respectively.
All the Yankees can do now is press on, though the task ahead is more than formidable.
"We're going to keep at it," Chapman said. "We're going to keep playing ball. There's no looking back. We lost these four games. We've got to put it away and move forward and keep playing, keep at it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Yankees beat up on Price twice earlier this season and had a chance to get to him early on Sunday night, too, but the moment slipped away. A single, a hit batter and another single loaded the bases with two outs for New York in the first inning, but Luke Voit rolled a checked-swing ground ball back to Price for the third out of the inning. The Yankees wouldn't score their first run until after Price had left the game, though two of the runs were ultimately charged to Price.
Tanaka matched a season high with nine strikeouts despite not finishing the fifth inning. The last Yankees pitcher to strike out nine or more without finishing the fifth? Tanaka, of course, who struck out 10 in four innings on June 17, 2017.
The Yankees acquired longtime starting pitcher Lance Lynn last week to pitch out of the bullpen. It didn't take long for him to wind up starting again, thanks to the struggles of Sonny Gray. Lynn will take the ball on Monday night in Chicago against the White Sox, opposing Dylan Covey. Lynn posted a 5.10 ERA in 20 starts with Minnesota this season but has a 3.55 ERA in more than 180 career starts in the big leagues. First pitch is at 8:10 p.m. ET.