Brett freakin' Gardner, man. For the 5th time this week, the Yankees' outfielder went yard, this time a solo shot that gave the Bombers a one-run lead in the 6th, as they would hold on to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 8-7, on Sunday night at Fenway Park of the finale of a three-game series.
David Phelps started on the bump for the Yankees in this Sunday Night Baseball showdown, and he was, well, not good, giving up five runs in the first two innings.
Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia opened the bottom of the 1st with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners ahead of David Ortiz, who hit a sac-fly to score Holt, putting the Sox up 1-0. Phelps then walked Yoenis Cespedes and gave up a single to Mike Napoli to load the bases before Daniel Nava hit a two-run single to make it a 3-0 game. He got out of the inning a batter later when Xander Bogaerts grounded into a double play.
The Yankees came back to tie the game in the 2nd inning, getting all three runs back against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, who walked both Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann, and also served up a single to Carlos Beltran to load the bases with nobody out.
After Chase Headley struck out, Stephen Drew grounded into a fielder's choice at second base, scoring Teixeira for the Yankees' first run. Martin Prado drew a walk against Buchholz to again load the bases for Gardner, who hit a two-run double to right field to tie the game at 3-3.
In the bottom half of the 2nd, Holt grounded into a fielder's choice at second base after Christian Vasquez hit a one-out single, and then Pedroia hit a two-run homerun over The Monster off of Phelps to up Boston up 5-3.
Phelps was done after two innings, and everybody thought that is was because of the fact that he gave up five runs on six hits, while throwing 53 pitches in just two innings. However, the team later announced that he left because of right elbow inflammation, and that he be re-evaluated in New York this week. Sigh.
Drew connected with a double off of Buchholz in the 4th inning driving in McCann, who doubled to open the inning, to pull the Yankees to within a run.
But in the bottom half of the inning, with Chase Whitley now in the game for the injured Phelps, Ortiz hit a monster two-run homerun to center field that extended Boston's lead to 7-4. At this point, you were probably thinking, "can the Yankees actually win this?" Well, you probably also forgot that Buchholz was still on the mound for the Red Sox.
After retiring the first two batters of the 5th, Buchholz gave up a double to Beltran, who picked up two hits for the sixth game in-a-row, then walked McCann ahead of Headley, who hit an RBI double that scored Beltran. A batter later, it was Drew, the former Red Sox, that hit a game-tying two-run single to make it a 7-7 game.
Buchholz was done after giving up five runs on eight hits with five walks in five innings, giving the ball to Craig Breslow to open the 6th inning. A lefty-on-lefty matchup, Breslow served up an inning-opening homerun to Gardner, his 15th -- FIFTEENTH -- homerun of the season, giving the Yankees to 8-7 lead that would go on to win with.
Following Phelps, Whitley gave up two runs in two innings of work, then the Yankees' bullpen showdown Boston for the final five innings. Esmil Rogers, making his Yankees debut after being claimed on waivers on Thursday, pitched three scoreless innings without giving up a hit. Dellin Betances did his thing in the 8th, striking out a pair. And then David Robertson closed things out in the 9th, picking up his 29th save of the season, even after walking Vasquez to open the frame.
The Yankees will head back home to the Bronx, where they will welcome the Detroit Tigers town, as the two teams will open up a four-game series on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. Brandon McCarthy will be on the mound for the Yankees, facing off against reigning Cy Yound award winner Max Scherzer.