BOSTON — (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – New York shortstop Didi Gregorius ripped a go-ahead RBI single into right-center field to highlight a three-run 16th inning for the Yankees in a 4-1 win over their longtime rival Boston Red Sox. The game was a five-hour, 50-minute nationally televised epic on Saturday at Fenway Park. In the decisive 16th, former Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury doubled off Boston reliever Doug Fister (0-3) to open the Yankees’ 16th. Chase Headley’s bloop single to center field put runners on first and third to set up Gregorius’ single to center.
Austin Romine followed with another RBI single and Gary Sanchez added a sacrifice fly after a Ronald Torreyes sacrifice bunt and Fister’s intentional walk to Brett Gardner.
Matt Holliday clubbed a game-tying solo homer in the ninth, his 16th of the season, for New York (46-42), which bounced back after blowing a 4-3 ninth-inning lead in Friday’s 5-4 loss.
New York had lost 19 of its last 26 games coming in and pulled within 3 1/2 games of American League East-leading Boston (51-40).
Yankees starter Luis Severino permitted only one run, four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in seven innings. The New York bullpen tossed 9.0 innings of scoreless baseball, the club’s best relief effort since September, 2013 in Arizona.
Ben Heller (1-0) struck out three and pitched the final two innings for the victory.
Boston starting pitcher Chris Sale, the American League starter in the All-Star Game last Tuesday, matched a season high with 13 strikeouts in 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He raised his MLB-leading strikeout total to 191 on the season.
Sale became the first Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2003 with multiple 10-plus strikeout games against the Yankees in a season. The southpaw allowed three hits and two walks before being relieved by Craig Kimbrel, who proceeded to blow his second save since July 3 and his first at Fenway.
Kimbrel had converted a Fenway-record 30 consecutive saves.
Mitch Moreland drove in the lone run for Boston, which suffered just its second loss in nine extra-inning games this season.
Sale was greeted with an ovation when he came back out to start the eighth, but the cheers turned to boos when manager John Farrell gave him the hook with two outs, a runner on first and Aaron Judge coming to the plate.
After a 10-pitch at-bat, Kimbrel coaxed Judge into an inning-ending flyout to right field.
Kimbrel wasn’t as fortunate in the ninth as Holliday took him deep to lead off the inning, sending a 1-1 pitch approximately 443 feet over the Green Monster in left.
Dellin Betances tossed a scoreless ninth to push the game to extras.
A strange sequence highlighted the Yankees’ 11th as Ellsbury sent a grounder to first with Holliday on first. Moreland fielded the ball on a bounce and fired to second for the first out, but Holliday turned around and slid back into first just as Ellsbury reached. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ throw to first was blocked by Holliday, leading to an umpires review for a rules check. The original call that Ellsbury was safe was upheld after a nearly five-minute review. Farrell told the umpires that the Red Sox would play the rest of the game under protest.
Red Sox reliever Blaine Boyer was removed from the game in the 13th inning with right elbow tightness.
Bogaerts’ infield single with one out in the third loaded the bases for Moreland, who drove a ball to center for a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: New York and Boston entered the game having split their last 82 meetings (41-41) since 2013, going 20-20 at Fenway Park and 21-21 at Yankee Stadium. … Yankees 2B Starlin Castro was activated from the 10-day disabled list and returned to the starting lineup. Castro had not played since June 27, missing 13 games with a strained right hamstring. INF/OF Tyler Wade was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … Red Sox RHP Joe Kelly was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. RHP Brandon Workman was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. … Trade talks between the Red Sox and White Sox surrounding Chicago 3B Todd Frazier “intensified,” ESPN Deportes reported. Boston designated 3B Pablo Sandoval for assignment Friday. … Yankees RHP Brian Mitchell (1-1, 5.06 ERA) opposes Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (4-11, 4.75) in Game 1 and Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-8, 5.47) counters Red Sox LHP David Price (4-2, 3.91) in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader