Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
NEW YORK — For the better part of 2 1/2 hours Friday night, it seemed grim for the New York Yankees. Held to two hits through seven innings, the Yankees were six outs away from falling another game behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. Yankee Stadium was silent and expecting another quiet loss for New York.
A little over an hour later, the silence was gone and the prognosis was better for the Yankees, thanks to Aaron Hicks.
Hicks sparked a stunning five-run eighth inning with a two-run homer and made the defensive play of the game by throwing out Eduardo Nunez at third in the ninth as New York rallied before holding on for a 5-4 victory over Boston.
“He’s got an incredible arm, we’ve seen him throw people out,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Just the two-run homer kind of got us going and made it a different game.”
In his second game back after missing over a month with an oblique injury, Hicks had one of the two hits for the Yankees through the first seven innings.
Hicks then helped the Yankees from being shut out for a second straight night to being on their way to moving to within 3 1/2 games of the Red Sox.
Facing Addison Reed (0-1) for the first time, Hicks sparked the comeback by lifting a full-count slider into the lower rows of the right field seats near the foul pole, turning silence into noise for the sellout crowd.
After Hicks homered, the Yankees tied it on Didi Gregorius’ bloop single off Reed. New York took a one-run lead on Todd Frazier’s bloop single in front of left fielder Andrew Benintendi off Joe Kelly’s 100 mph fastball and scored a crucial fifth run on a sacrifice fly by Ronald Torreyes.
The final run was crucial because Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman was unable to find the strike zone early, issuing three straight walks on 15 pitches. He gave up a long fly ball near the warning track in left to Benintendi and, realizing he had no chance to get Jackie Bradley Jr., Hicks made a strong throw to Frazier at third.
“I was just ready to make the throw to third,” Hicks said.
Frazier applied the tag on Nunez’s back as the second baseman attempted to make it with a headfirst slide. Third base umpire C.B. Bucknor called Nunez out and the call was upheld following a 67-second review.
“If it happened tomorrow, I’d take the chance tomorrow again,” Nunez said.
“Big time, big-time throw,” said outfielder Brett Gardner, who led off the eighth by getting hit by a pitch.
Chapman then recorded his 15th save by retiring Mitch Moreland and the Yankees exhaled after beating the Red Sox for the seventh time in 10 meetings.
“That’s the play that saved the game for me to relax,” Chapman said through an interpreter.
Reed allowed a season-high four runs — his most in a game since allowing four run June 20, 2015, for Arizona against San Diego.
“I didn’t help myself out,” Reed said. “I put us in a bad position.”
Long before the drama of the eighth and ninth, the Red Sox built a 3-0 lead on a two-run homer by Hanley Ramirez in the first and a solo shot by Benintendi in the fifth.
Eduardo Rodriguez blanked the Yankees, allowing only doubles to Hicks and Torreyes in six innings.
New York left-hander Jaime Garcia allowed the two homers in his home debut but little else. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and Adam Warren (3-2) pitched 2 1/3 innings before Chapman nearly blew the game.
NOTES: Boston LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) made throws from 120 feet during a long toss session Friday afternoon. Manager John Farrell said it was the best Price looked so far since being placed on the DL on July 28. … New York LHP CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) said he expects to only miss one start after being placed on the disabled list Friday. Sabathia’s next scheduled start was slated for Sunday opposite LHP Chris Sale but LHP Jordan Montgomery will get the nod after getting recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Friday. … Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia was not in the lineup Friday because his left knee flared up after Wednesday’s game. Farrell said there was some swelling and inflammation and Pedroia will get further examined.