BOSTON — Aroldis Chapman’s confidence is completely shot.
And the Yankees’ already slim chances of winning the AL East may be shot as well.
Chapman looked lost on the mound once again, giving up two more runs, and the Bombers’ bullpen imploded in a demoralizing 9-6 defeat to the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park.
Boston is now five games ahead of New York in the division, with ace Chris Sale set to take the mound on Saturday.
Red Sox fans chanted “Chapman! Chapman!” as the $ 86 million man allowed Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez to complete a double-steal in the eighth inning without even noticing before Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-run single. In his last four appearances, the 29-year-old flamethrower has allowed seven runs.
The Yankees led the majors in bullpen ERA (2.15) in the second half heading into game, but their relievers combined to give up six runs in four innings on Friday night.
Extremely reliable relievers Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle combined to give up four runs in the bottom of the seventh alone after the Yankees scored four runs in the top of the frame to take a 6-3 lead.
Mookie Betts started Boston’s comeback with a sacrifice fly. Andrew Benintendi followed with an RBI single. And Mitch Moreland saw three consecutive changeups from Kahnle — the final one a two-run single that put the Red Sox ahead 7-6.
Gary Sanchez had ignited New York’s four-run inning with his 23rd homer. Ronald Torreyes aka “Big Toe” gave the Bombers a 5-3 lead in the frame with a key two-run single off the Green Monster. Aaron Hicks was hit by his second pitch of the night to make it 6-3 New York before Aaron Judge struck out with the bases loaded — stranding three for the second time in as many frames. The teams combined to send 19 hitters to the plate and score eight runs in the seventh alone.
Rafael Devers (two-run shot) and Christian Vazquez homered off Jordan Montgomery to stake Boston to a 3-0 lead. Todd Frazier responded with a one-out, two-run homer in the sixth to bring the Bombers within 3-2.
Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz left the game due to back spasms with one out in the fourth. Switch-hitter Hicks was hit by pitches in both the left foot and the right foot.
Greg Bird blasted a pair of homers in his third minor-league rehab game at Triple-A Scranton. Right ankle surgery has given Bird the ability to drive the ball, an ability he had lost while injured.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Andrew Benintendi went full extension to rob Didi Gregorius of a potential extra-base hit leading off the fourth inning. Clearly, Benintendi doesn’t just do it with his bat. He had nine RBIs during Boston’s recent three-game series in the Bronx.
The Red Sox’ response to adversity after the Yankees took a three-run lead. It’s remarkable how good Boston is at home against some of the best relievers in the game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Rafael Devers went 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored. The 20-year-old rookie has been fantastic since his promotion to the big leagues.
STAT OF THE GAME
Aaron Judge tied pitcher Bill Stoneman (1971) with his 35th consecutive game with at least one strikeout in a single-season.
Brett Gardner had three hits, a walk and also played stellar defense in left field as he has all season. He had a terrific read to snare Hanley Ramirez’s liner in the third.
The Yankees went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14.
Saturday at Boston, 7:10 p.m. CC Sabathia (9-5, 4.05 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (14-4, 2.51)
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