In the series finale rubber match at Fenway, the Yankees were looking to do what they always want to do (but most especially at Fenway) — win. So it’s rather fortunate when not even the Green Monster or a late-inning rally can stop the Yankees from achieving their goal. There’s a nice story that came out late tonight that Alex Rodriguez, in his last game ever at Fenway, promised a kid behind home plate, a Yankee fan, that if the Yankees win, the kid would get to keep Rodriguez’s bat. Kid walked out of Fenway with the promised souvenir.
Michael Pineda got the start tonight and gave the Yankees what they needed the night after depleting their bullpen: length, albeit he certainly depended on the defense who were certainly there to hold him up. Pineda went a full 6 innings in just 89 pitches, giving up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs, striking out 3 Boston batters.
A 2-out ground-rule double in the 1st inning scored on an RBI single to get the Red Sox on the board. But the Red Sox didn’t cobble together anything more until a blip in the 5th. A 1-out single scored on a 2-out double to double the Red Sox score to 2 runs. And that would be it for them tonight.
Recent recall Luis Cessa took over for Pineda for the 7th and 8th innings, and just took command of the game, setting the Red Sox down in 6 straight outs. It was so ridiculously impressive and the exact kind of “fresh arm” the Yankees needed. Dellin Betances got the nod for the 9th inning and kept things interesting. All 3 of his outs were strikeouts (of course), but he still gave up a double, a wild pitch and a walk just to keep fans on the edge of their seats while he earned his 3rd save of the season.
The Yankees barely dented into the Red Sox starter, only getting 3 hits off of him. Of course, one of those hits was a giant 1-out solo shot over the Green Monster by Austin Romine in the 3rd inning to get the Yankees on the board.
Things got remarkably better for the Yankees when they went to their bullpen. Sanchez led the 8th inning off with a single, and then after a strikeout, Hicks and Gardner also singled to load up the bases. Jacoby Ellsbury’s double scored both Sanchez and Hicks, and for some reason, the Red Sox opted to intentionally walk Chase Headley. I suppose it was to go after Alex Rodriguez next for his final at-bat at Fenway, as Rodriguez hasn’t exactly been on an upswing in his offense lately. He did get out, but it was a soft ground out that still scored Gardner and gave the Yankees the desired insurance run.
The Yankees were effectively shut down in the 9th by the Red Sox new reliever, but the Red Sox didn’t have enough of a rally in them to beat Betances. So the Yankees closed out this series on a high note on their way back to the Bronx for a very busy weekend (more below).
Final score: 4-2 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.
Scranton Shuttle: Like I mentioned yesterday, the Yankees did indeed send for some “fresh arms” for tonight’s game. But they made some interesting selections. As you know from above, they recalled Luis Cessa, whose immediate impact was exactly what they were looking for. They also selected the contract of the young reliever Ben Heller, part of the Andrew Miller trade with Cleveland, who has yet to make his MLB debut.
In exchange, the Yankees optioned Nick Goody and Rob Refsnyder back to AAA Scranton. And that had a lot of people scratching their heads. The truth is that they need “fresh arms” more than they need a utility player right now, so that is the only logic one needs to follow for this move. It’s not a “farewell” to Refsnyder for the season, but rather more of a “we’ll catch up in a few”.
So, this weekend in the Bronx is packed with events, and if you’re in the New York area, you really need to be there. Tomorrow night is Alex Rodriguez’s final game as a Yankee. Pre-game ceremonies start at 6:50 pm. (For those not in New York, tomorrow’s game is one of the national broadcasts. And I’m sorry.) Then Saturday, the Yankees will have a special ceremony to commemorate the 1996 championship team, and it looks like everyone from that team is going to be there to celebrate. And on Sunday, the Yankees are going to dedicate a plaque to Mariano Rivera in Monument Park. Oh, and there’s also 3 games against the Rays this weekend.