Yankees storm into first place after stunning Red Sox
How many times have you heard reaching the big leagues isn’t the hardest thing? Staying in the world of chartered jets and five-star hotels trumps that.
Well, that logic somewhat applies to the Yankees reaching the top of the AL East on Wednesday evening in dramatic fashion. Now the task is to stay there.
Brett Gardner’s two-run triple and Aaron Judge’s two-run homer in the eighth inning off Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel lifted the Yankees to a come-from-behind 9-6 victory that was witnessed by a jazzed sold-out crowd of 47,088.
One night after hitting two homers Giancarlo Stanton delivered a two-run double in the third inning that helped the Yankees extend their winning streak to eight games. The 26-10 Yankees have won 17-of-18 and lead the Red Sox by a game in the AL East. It’s the first time the Yankees have won 17-of-18 since June 1953.
“We know at some point he will get rolling,’’ manager Aaron Boone had said of Stanton before the victory.
The Yankees and Red Sox play Thursday night and then don’t see each other until the final week of June.
Neil Walker opened the eighth with an opposite-field double to left off Matt Barnes and Miguel Andujar’s grounder to the right side moved Walker to third in front of Gleyber Torres drawing a five-pitch walk.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora called for Kimbrel to face Gardner with one out. Gardner, who started the game in a 7-for-56 (.125) slide, doubled in the first and third innings and saved the most muscle for the eighth by driving a 3-2 pitch over center fielder Mookie Betts’ head for a triple that scored two and put the Yankees ahead by a run. Judge bumped that to 9-6 with a two-run homer to dead-center field.
Aroldis Chapman recorded the final three outs for his ninth save.
Chasen Shreve started the eighth down a run and promptly walked Moreland and gave up a double to Eduardo Nunez. With the infield in, Shreve fanned Rafael Devers and was replaced by Jonathan Holder. He struck out Christian Vazquez, walked Betts intentionally and retired Andrew Benintendi on a grounder to shortstop Didi Gregorius.
When starter Masahiro Tanaka retired Mitch Moreland on a grounder to the right side for the first out of the sixth and moved Xander Bogaerts to third, Boone called for Chad Green.
Green traded a run that reduced the Yankees’ lead to 5-4 for an out on Nunez’s fly to center and ended the inning by striking out Devers.
Boston starter Rick Porcello hurt himself in the fifth when the Yankees loaded the bases without an out and scored a run when, after fielding Judge’s dribbler toward third, he threw past first baseman Moreland and allowed Judge to get to second starting the inning.
Following a four-pitch walk to the frigid Gregorius who was in a 0-for-17 slump, Porcello hit Stanton with a first-pitch fastball on the left arm to load the bases. Gary Sanchez’s liner to center scored Judge and gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead.
After throwing out Christian Vazquez attempting to stretch a single into a double in the third inning on Tuesday night, Judge took away a base hit from J.D. Martinez to close the fifth inning. Judge took the ball in right-center out of the air with a dive toward the middle of the outfield.
Two batters before Judge’s catch Benintendi had cut the Yankees’ lead to 4-3 with a homer to right.
Two ice-cold hitters played a big part in the Yankees scoring three runs in the third inning and erasing a 2-1 Red Sox lead.
The slumping Gardner, who had doubled and scored in the first, doubled again to open the third. Judge walked in front of Gregorius who produced a grounder to the right side that moved Gardner to third and Judge to second.
Stanton, who ended the first inning by banging into a 4-6-3 double play, ripped a 2-2 pitch on the outer half of the plate into right field for a double that plated Gardner and Judge. Sanchez’s ground single to left moved Stanton to third and he scored on Aaron Hicks’ fly ball to center for a 4-2 Yankees advantage.
Moreland followed Bogaerts’ one-out single in the second with a homer to right field that put the visitors ahead, 2-1.
Gardner scored on Judge’s hard-hit single up the middle after doubling to lead off the bottom of the first.
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