Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx
NEW YORK — Facing one of the more powerful arms in the majors, the New York Yankees worked the pitch count up, brought some power of their own and made some progress in their pursuit of the American League East title.
Chase Headley went deep of Sale in the third inning, Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back homers in the fourth, and the Yankees chased the Boston Red Sox ace early and coasted to a 9-2 victory Sunday night.
New York’s Aaron Judge hit his first homer in more than two weeks in the sixth inning against Boston’s Addison Reed.
The Yankees won three of the four games in the series against the Red Sox, cutting their deficit to 3 1/2 games. New York finished the 19-game season series against Boston with 11 wins.
Four of those New York victories occurred in starts made by Sale. On Sunday, the Yankees constantly fouled balls off as Headley, Holliday and Frazier hit two-strike homers against the left-hander, who was hardly as sharp as in his previous appearance in the Bronx on Aug. 13 when he fanned 12 in seven innings.
“We have a bunch of guys that grind out at-bats,” Holliday said. “That’s what it takes. With a (pitcher) like that, you have to go up there and compete and grind. You know that he’s going to get you. You try to get him and hope that he makes mistakes.”
Sale turned in his second-shortest start of the season, allowing three runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked two, struck out six and fell to 1-3 with a 6.88 ERA in his past four starts.
“They put good at-bats together, fouling some pitches off, taking some good pitches,” Sale said. “It was up to me to make an adjustment. Today I didn’t.”
Once the Yankees got Sale out of the game after 109 pitches, New York pulled away with a six-run sixth against four relievers.
Gary Sanchez reached on a bases-loaded infield single after the Yankees challenged the original call, and Starlin Castro followed with a bases-clearing double down the right field line off Reed.
New York’s big inning concluded with perhaps the club’s most encouraging sign. Judge drove Reed’s 1-1 fastball an estimated 469 feet halfway up the left field bleachers. It was Judge’s league-leading 38th homer but first in a season-high 57 at-bats.
“I told you I thought his at-bats have been better, and it’s kind of hard to evaluate at-bats sometimes against the Corey Klubers and Chris Sales of the world, but I think his at-bats have been better,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
The ball traveled 115.1 mph. It was Judge’s hit his first homer since a fourth-inning, upper-deck shot off New York Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman on Aug. 16 at Citi Field.
“He’s leading the league in homers,” Holliday said. “I don’t think he should be too down on himself.”
While the Yankees brought the power at the plate, Luis Severino delivered a powerful six-inning showing, allowing an unearned run and two hits against the same team that pounded him for 10 runs on Aug. 12.
“He was powerful,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “He’s pitched a couple of good ones. Their entire pitching staff has pitched well against us this whole season, take nothing away from them.”
Sale’s second loss in three outings was hardly the only problem for the Red Sox. Boston’s runs occurred when Eduardo Nunez scored on a passed ball by Sanchez in the sixth and a ninth-inning single by Sandy Leon.
The Red Sox continued to struggle with runners in scoring position against the Yankees. They were 1-for-27 in the series, batted .143 (20-for-140) overall in the season series and .111 (7-for-63) in the games in New York.
“It’s probably historic when you look at it,” Farrell said.
NOTES: The Yankees and Red Sox teamed up to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief by auctioning off autographed team memorabilia from the game. In a pregame ceremony, Boston manager John Farrell and New York manager Joe Girardi unfurled the Texas state flag in support of the cause. … New York OF Aaron Hicks was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. … Boston LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) played catch before the game. He will throw a 30 to 35 pitch bullpen session before Monday’s game. … New York OF Clint Frazier (strained left oblique) will start a rehab assignment Wednesday with Double-A Trenton. … Girardi said he did not hear anything about the results of the appeals for C Gary Sanchez (four-game suspension) and C Austin Romine (two-game suspension). … Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis was ejected by plate umpire Sam Holbrook in the sixth inning.
NORTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Justin Thomas and Australia’s Marc Leishman share a one-shot lead at 12-under-par 201 after the third round of the Dell Technologies Championship, the second of four FedExCup Playoffs events, on Sunday in Norton, Mass.
Thomas carded a bogey-free 63 and sank eight birdies on a rainy day at the par-71, 7,342-yard course at TPC Boston. The world’s sixth-ranked player has played his past 49 holes without a bogey, his last coming at the par-4 fifth hole during the opening round on Friday.
“I’m extremely pleased,” Thomas said. “It was a great day. I just felt I had total control of my game. I drove it beautifully. I hit my irons really well, and my short game was good if I needed it.”
Leishman fired a bogey-free 65 to grab a share of the 54-hole lead with Thomas. The 30th-ranked Aussie rolled in six birdies on the day and has played his past 28 holes bogey-free. He never previous held a lead or a co-lead heading into the final round of a PGA Tour event.
Leishman, a two-time Tour winner, entered the week ranked 20th in the FedExCup standings but is now projected to jump into the top five heading into the BMW Championship.
“Knew coming in here that I needed to play well to try and obviously rise up the rankings, but you know, firstly, get to the Tour Championship,” Leishman said. “So you know, happy with my start, but I need another good round (Monday) to really turn it into like a good chance to contend in that FedEx.”
Thomas is projected to jump from third in the FedExCup standings to first should he be able to close out a victory.
England’s Paul Casey (third-round 67) is one shot back of Thomas and Leishman in solo third, while world No. 2 Jordan Spieth (66) Grayson Murray (67) and
Canada’s Adam Hadwin (68) round out the top five in a tie for fourth, two shots back.
Jon Rahm of Spain, the world No. 5 who carried a two-shot advantage into Sunday’s round, fired a third-round 71 and is tied for seventh at 204 along with 18-hole leader and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (66).
Johnson, the winner of The Northern Trust last weekend in the playoff opener, is projected to drop from first to second in the FedExCup standings if he finishes in his current spot.
“I just wanted to get myself in a position where I’m at least in range of the leaders,” Johnson said.
Phil Mickelson (69) and Patrick Cantlay (68) are both at 205 in a tie for ninth. World No. 10 Rickie Fowler (66) jumped up 17 spots into a tie for 11th at 206.
Last year’s Olympic champion Justin Rose of England (69) and Pat Perez (67) are also tied with Fowler.
Masters winner Sergio Garcia of Spain (75) provided some entertainment Sunday when he slammed his putter to the ground, breaking it, on his fourth hole of the day. He resorted to putting with his 3-wood after that, even draining a 13-foot putt with the club. Garcia finished his round with a weekend-worst 75 and is tied for 53rd at 215
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
BRONX – The New York Yankees need a series win this weekend not only to stay in the race in the American League East, but also to maintain their stranglehold on the top AL wild card spot. All the Yankees need to do is beat Chris Sale when they host the Boston Red Sox in the finale of a four-game series on Sunday.
New York cut its deficit to 4 1/2 games in the East with a 5-1 win on Saturday and got a big boost from slugger Matt Holliday, who came off the disabled list on Friday after sitting out a month with a back injury. The veteran slugged a three-run homer in Saturday’s win and could provide the Yankees lineup with some of the thump it’s been missing from Aaron Judge, who went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts on Saturday and is homerless in his last 15 games. The Red Sox are guaranteed to leave New York no worse than 3 1/2 games up in the East but would like to make it more before heading back to Boston for a nine-game homestand beginning Monday. The Yankees will send their best to the mound in Sunday’s finale as Luis Severino gets the call against Sale.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Chris Sale (15-6, 2.77 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Luis Severino (11-6, 3.14)
Sale ended a three-start winless streak with a dominating effort at Toronto on Tuesday, when he struck out 11 without walking a batter and scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings. The Cy Young front runner leads the majors with 264 strikeouts and is 10 away from matching his career high, set with the Chicago White Sox in 2015. Sale owns a 2.12 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings against New York this season but is just 0-2 in four outings due to poor run support.
Severino is fourth in the AL with 192 strikeouts and punched out nine over 6 2/3 innings against Cleveland on Monday but could not come away with a win. The Dominican Republic native was charged with four runs — three earned — on four hits and three walks in that outing after surrendering a total of one earned run in his previous two turns. Severino’s worst start of the season came at home against Boston on Aug. 12, when he was ripped for 10 runs — eight earned — over 4 1/3 frames.
1. Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (thumb) came off the DL on Saturday and went 1-for-3.
2. Yankees OF Aaron Hicks (oblique tightness) left Saturday’s game and is day-to-day.
3. Boston SS Xander Bogaerts, who is 2-for-23 with 10 strikeouts in his last six games, has been out of the starting lineup the last two contests.
By TERRY LYONS, Editor in Chief
NORTON – Born of a summertime habit, the kitchen and living room windows were left wide open as August gave way to September in Boston, Massachusetts and the reading off the new-fangled iPhone weather App registered a low we haven’t seen in quite a while – a four – as in 40-something degrees. A chilly nest minus two children, now young adults in college, was half-empty except for the mother and father who chose New England over any other place in the world when they decided to pack-up an Upper East Side apartment in 2008 and move from the city that never sleeps.
Nine summers ago, the question frequently asked of us: “Why Boston?”
The answer is simple and it’s illustrated very well this weekend as sweaters, hoodies and jackets are unpacked along with the mini-vans over in Harvard Square, along Commonwealth or Beacon where the kids return to school in Cambridge to Back Bay to Somerville to Chestnut Hill where the Boston College Eagles become “Exhibit 1-A” in an ode to the sports scene in Boston.
Boston College defeated Northern Illinois last night in their season-opener for college football. Last September, in Dublin, Ireland, the Eagles lost a heartbreaker to Atlantic Coast Conference (can you call it ‘rival?’) Georgia Tech after a slew of missed field goal attempts did them in. Last night, the same kicker who missed the FG as a sophomore, hit the winning 37-yarder with 2:13 remaining in the game to give his beloved BC Eagles their first win of the new college football season.
They’ll be playing college football at UMass and Harvard and at schools all over the joint as the leaves fall all around this amazing college town. It’s one reason why I love it here, but, while a collegiate spirit fills the air and Boston becomes one of the most diverse and vibrant towns in all the world because of the influx of thousands and thousands of USA-born and international students each year, the truth is, Boston is a pro sports town and that’s one of the real reasons why it’s the best place in all of the USA.
Yes, Chicago and Philly can make their claims, and some will “try” to defend New York as a top-notch sports town.
I say, “No way.”
Boston is the best and the vibe this week is proof enough.
The American League East division-leading Red Sox are sparring with the New York Yankees in The Bronx after Long Island’s Billy Joel and Manhattan’s Lady Gaga took to Fenway Park for a threesome of rock shows before the best audience a performer could ever imagine. The Red Sox are winning games as frequently as Chris Sale strikes-out batters or as Mookie Betts steals bases or as rookie-of-the-year candidate Andrew Benintendi flashes his smile to the co-eds and follows through on a swing that brings back memories of Freddie Lynn as they both easily knock baseballs 20-feet over the right field wall at Yankee Stadium.
The defending Atlantic Division champion Boston Celtics, the most decorated sports franchise in the town, spent get-away day for summertime’s final holiday weekend introducing two new acquisitions to the assembled media, a crew stretched too thin this weekend. The Celtics ironed the big green backdrop and rolled-out all the brass for a press conference to formalize the two biggest “gets” in an always-interesting NBA offseason. The C’s signed free agent scoring machine Gordon Heyward along with NBA Finals-proven, Olympic gold medalist, World Champion and perennial NBA All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.
The overhaul for the Celtics, a team that actually had the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference just this past season, took on a life of its own this summer as GM Danny Ainge tinkered with a roster he deemed ‘not ready for primetime‘ against the Eastern-rival Cleveland Cavaliers or league champion in the Golden State Warriors. Ainge pulled off one hell of a deal, sending fan-fave Isaiah Thomas packing with a bum hip, and handed young coach Brad Stevens a potent blend of winners, athletes and sure-fire title contenders. Ainge’s gutsy NBA Draft night deal to ignore a consensus No. 1 and instead drop-down to draft a more NBA ready and savvy Jayson Tatum will prove to be a deal only Celts’ patriarch Red Auerbach would have the chops to pull-off.
The Celtics are primed and Boston sports fans will be ready when the time is right to cheer – indoors.
But first, there are more pressing needs for the fans of New England and there is an outdoor sport to endure.
The National Football League, the great American pastime of watching athletes contract chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as they bash the bejeezus out of each other, kicks-off this Thursday with the New England Patriots playing host to the Kansas City Chiefs in a regular season-long tournament to decide who will lose to said Patriots when the Super Bowl rolls around in February.
Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, oft-injured tight end Rob Gronkowski and a roster full of “Do Your Job” fill-ins are stretching the hamstrings, suffering the ACLs and MCLs, spiking the footballs and readying for another season of greatness before Brady goes the way of Boston’s two other GOATs (Bill Russell in hoops and Bobby Orr in ice hockey), and one other “almost GOAT” (Ted Williams in baseball).
Not to be overlooked as footballs are kicked nationally, tennis balls are volleyed in Flushing and basketball greats are enshrined in Springfield all during this busy sports week, is a wonderful golf tournament staged each Labor Day weekend, here in Norton, Mass – about 20 minutes from Providence, Rhode Island and 40-minutes from The Heights in Chestnut Hill. The Dell Technology Championship (nee Deutsch Bank Championship aka DBC) brings the best 100 professional golfers to Boston every year, or at least until the PGA Tour screws it up and reschedules its postseason away from terrific and passionate crowds here where the greatest sports fans in the world reside to place its postseason at a course like Glen Oaks in Old Westbury where fans stood – none-deep – last weekend in the first round of the PGA Tour’s FedEX Cup Playoffs.
The TPC Boston hosts the hidden gem on the annual Boston sports calendar. There is no better fan experience and no better setting, as the world’s No. 1, Dustin Johnson, tries to outlast Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and fan-faves like defending champions Rickie Fowler, Ireland’s Rory McIlroy or Aussie Adam Scott, all take their swings with their Pings and Callaways and Taylor Mades and do what Brady, Orr, Russell or even Tour wanna-be Michael Jordan only wish they could do – hit a drive 315-yards – consistently – off a tee and land it in a fairway.
Meanwhile, the Revs and the Bruins will be fighting for recognition from WBZ-TV, NESN, WEEI, The Sports Hub and column-inches (remember them?) from The Boston Globe and Boston Herald as the summer houses at The Cape – all vacated and, so sadly, left empty for the best month of the year – September in New England,
September in Boston is the reason we moved here, to the greatest city in the world with the greatest sports teams in the world. It’s my town.