BOSTON — After being dominated by Chris Sale, rescued by Matt Holliday’s homer and surviving on outstanding pitching, the Yankees finally won a game that started Saturday afternoon and ended in the evening.
With cheers of “Let’s Go Yankees” filling Fenway Park, the Yankees scored three runs in the 16th inning to cop a 4-1 victory in front of what was left of a gathering of 36,936.
Didi Gregorius, who didn’t start the game, delivered an RBI single off Doug Fister, and Austin Romine, another non-starter, did the same. Gary Sanchez added a sacrifice fly for the final run. Ben Heller, the seventh Yankees reliever, who worked the final two frames, recorded the final three outs for the victory.
It was only the Yankees’ eighth win in 27 games, but it allowed them to gain a game on the AL East-leading Red Sox, and they now trail them by 3 ½ lengths entering Sunday’s double-header, when Bryan Mitchell and Masahiro Tanaka oppose Rick Porcello and David Price in front of spent bullpens.
Red Sox manager John Farrell put the game under protest in the 11th inning, when a baserunner interference call didn’t go the Red Sox’s way.
Sale, the best starter in the American League, blanked the Yankees for 7 ²/₃ innings, allowed three hits and tied a season high by fanning 13. He lowered the ERA to 2.59. Sale has a 1.16 ERA in 12 career games against the Yankees.
Ronald Torreyes, the Yankees’ No. 9 hitter, was the only visitor Sale didn’t strike out.
Holliday, in his second game back from the disabled list, hit a leadoff homer off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth that tied the score 1-1. Holliday had been hitless in seven at-bats, but he cleared the seats above the Green Monster for his 15th homer.
Holliday’s homer kept the Yankees as the only major league team that hasn’t been blanked this season.
Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. greeted Chasen Shreve with singles to start the 10th, and manager Joe Girardi called for Adam Warren to face pinch-hitter Chris Young. Warren went from 1-2 to a full count and struck Young out. Then he pushed the game into the 11th inning by retiring Tzu-Wei Lin and Mookie Betts on fly balls to right.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ throwing error on Starlin Castro’s ground ball after the homer put the potential go-ahead run on. Pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury stole second, but Kimbrel fanned Chase Headley and pinch hitters Gregorius and Ji-Man Choi.
Severino gave up a run in the third and four hits in seven innings but was three outs away from falling to 5-5 when Holliday’s blast allowed Severino to spit the loss out. He hasn’t won since June 10 against the Orioles, a stretch of six starts.
Brett Gardner’s soft, one-out single to right off Sale in the eighth brought Gary Sanchez to the plate with Aaron Judge on deck. Sale made Sanchez look foolish with a two-strike slider for the second out.
That was Sale’s final hitter, and the move by Farrell to bring in Kimbrel, his closer, to face Judge was met by an ocean of loud boos.
Ten pitches later the move looked good when Judge lofted a routine fly to right field to end the inning. Judge walked in the 13th and has reached base safely in 41 straight starts.
Sale, the AL’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, was coming off a 4-1 loss to the Rays in his last outing July 6, when he allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings. Had the Yankees faced Sale for 18 innings Saturday, they wouldn’t have touched the plate four times.
It was Sale’s second strong performance against the Yankees, but on April 27, Masahiro Tanaka outpitched Sale in a 3-0 Yankees win at Fenway. In that game, Sale allowed two earned runs and eight hits in eight innings.
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