Yankees effectively played small ball in their 3-1 series-open win over the Red Sox on Thursday night at Fenway Park.
BOSTON — In a season filling up with horrendous losses, Aaron Boone called the Yankees’ latest defeat “another gut punch.”
How many more can they take?
The Yankees’ crushing 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Red Sox on Thursday night was unique. Reliever Brooks Kriske, who had previously appeared in 10 major league games, threw four wild pitches in the 10th inning to set up Hunter Renfroe’s game-winning sacrifice fly.
That came after Chad Green, filling in again as closer with the undermanned Yankees one out away from a fifth straight win, allowed a two-out, two-run double to Kiké Hernandez in the ninth.
“I’m still pretty sick to my stomach right now,’’ said Jordan Montgomery, who threw 5 ²/₃ scoreless innings, but still had to watch as the Yankees lost for the fifth straight time in one of his starts.
After Hernandez tied it in the ninth, the Yankees took the lead back in the top of the 10th on a Brett Gardner sacrifice fly that drove in free runner Tyler Wade, who had advanced to third on a DJ LeMahieu grounder.
But Kriske entered in the bottom of the 10th and threw a wild pitch that sent Boston’s free runner, Rafael Devers, to third.
With left-hander Justin Wilson warming in the bullpen a day after he threw 1 ¹/₃ innings, a second wild pitch brought Devers home to tie the game before Kriske walked Bogaerts, bringing up J.D. Martinez.
Bogaerts moved to second and third on Kriske’s third and fourth wild pitches of the inning, before Martinez whiffed.
But Renfroe followed with a fly ball to right to win it.
“Just pure execution,’’ Kriske said of his command issues. “It’s part of the game. Obviously, I’ve got to do a better job. I want to be someone the team can rely on in big spots. It’s something I’m gonna have to do better. … It sucks to be the one to blow it for the team.”
According to the YES Network, the four wild pitches in an inning are the most in franchise history.
As the inning got worse for Kriske, the Yankees were handcuffed by the MLB rule that mandates a pitcher must face a minimum of three batters unless he finishes an inning, so Kriske couldn’t have been removed.
Still, Boone said he believed Kriske had the “swing-and-miss stuff” to be able to get out of the jam.
The Yankees went with Kriske because they wanted to stay away from Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton, who had each pitched the previous two days.
As for Green, both Boone and catcher Rob Brantly said the right-hander actually had decent stuff.
“Chad threw a lot of strikes,’’ Brantly said. “And unfortunately, a lot of them got hit.’’
With the loss, the Yankees dropped eight games back of first-place Boston, and the Red Sox remained a game ahead of the Rays — who traded for Twins slugger Nelson Cruz earlier on Thursday.
It was quite a turn of events after Giancarlo Stanton delivered a go-ahead single in the eighth as the Yankees built a 3-1 lead in a game that also included a 55-minute rain delay in the top of the fifth.
With the Yankees up two runs in the bottom of the ninth, Green gave up one-out singles to Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec before pinch-hitter Kevin Plawecki flied to left.
Hernandez then came through, and the Yankees eventually suffered their seventh walk-off loss of the season.
“In this stretch of baseball where we’ve won a lot of games, we’ve had some incredibly tough losses like tonight,’’ Boone said of his team, which has dropped eight of 10 meetings with the Red Sox this season. “Time and time again, guys have bounced back. That’s what we expect to do [Friday].”
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Dan Martin