Aroldis Chapman thrilled the sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night with multiple pitches above 100 mph in the ninth inning as he tried to save what would have been a gritty Yankees win against the Red Sox.
Then Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers turned around one of those sizzling fastballs, sending a 103-mph heater over the left-centerfield wall for a tying home run. It was only the second homer the lefthanded Chapman has allowed to a lefthanded batter in his big-league career.
The Red Sox went on to beat the Yankees, 3-2, in 10 innings on Andrew Benintendi’s RBI single off Tommy Kahnle. The run and the loss, however, were charged to Chapman, whom Joe Girardi kept in for the 10th after his fourth blown save in 19 chances.
Chapman recorded an out in the 10th before hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. with an 0-and-2 pitch and walking Eduardo Nuñez. Girardi called on Kahnle as Chapman — who signed a five-year, $85-million contract in the offseason to return to the Yankees — walked off to boos. Kahnle walked Mookie Betts to load the bases before Benintendi lined the go-ahead single to right.
The Yankees failed to score in the bottom of the 10th against Craig Kimbrel, with Aaron Judge striking out for the second out. Judge, who fanned three times in four at-bats, has struck out in 30 consecutive games, two short of Adam Dunn’s major-league record. He has struck out 51 times in 104 at-bats in that span.
The Yankees fell 5 1⁄2 games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox. They will play the Mets the next four nights before facing the Red Sox again next weekend in Boston.
Despite Chapman’s recent struggles, Girardi said he is not considering a change in the ninth inning, even though he could turn to David Robertson or Dellin Betances. “He’s my closer,” Girardi said.
Girardi called the pitch to Devers a “mistake,” but Chapman chose to give the rookie credit. It was Devers’ fourth home run in his 57th big-league at-bat. “To me, it was a good pitch, a good fastball,” Chapman said through a translator. “Credit to him . . . I think it’s been a while since a lefty has hit a home run off of me.”
The last — and only other — lefthanded batter to homer off Chapman was the Orioles’ Luke Scott on June 26, 2011, when Chapman was with the Reds. Including the postseason, he has faced 444 lefthanded batters.
In Chapman’s previous appearance, he recorded a shaky save Friday after walking the bases loaded. He’s still throwing hard, but his control has not been there for most of the year.He also spent time on the disabled list with an inflamed rotator cuff.
“I have high expectations with myself,” he said. “The last couple outings haven’t been what I’d like them to be, so you definitely feel bad when you lose the game like that. You put that on your shoulders.”
Red Sox starter Chris Sale allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, striking out 12. In three 2017 games against the Yankees, he is 0-1 with a 1.19 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 22 2⁄3 innings. Overall, Sale is 14-4 with a 2.51 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and 241 strikeouts in 168 1⁄3 innings.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Brock Holt walked with one out, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Bradley’s two-out single.
Chase Headley lined a one-out single in the bottom of the inning, and one out later, Austin Romine hit a drive to the wall in right. Mookie Betts, who might be the best defensive rightfielder in baseball, had the ball in his sights, but it hit off his glove at the top of the wall and bounced away. Romine had his first career triple and the score was tied.
Todd Frazier’s sacrifice fly gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the eighth.
Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery, who allowed one run in 5 1⁄3 innings, hadn’t appeared in the big leagues since Aug. 5. On that date, he gave up one run in five innings in Cleveland but was removed after only 65 pitches by Girardi. The score was tied at 1 at the time and Montgomery was cruising, but Girardi wanted to go to his deep bullpen. The Yankees went on to a 2-1 win.
Montgomery said all the right things, but it was clear he wasn’t thrilled about being lifted. A day later, he was sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because the Yankees had too many starting pitchers after the trades for Jaime Garcia and Sonny Gray. Montgomery, who was 7-6 with a 4.05 ERA, was the odd man out.
He never threw a pitch for Scranton, though. CC Sabathia went on the disabled list with a knee injury. Masahiro Tanaka went on the DL with shoulder inflammation. Suddenly, the Yankees didn’t have enough starters. Montgomery was back.
On Saturday, Montgomery was signing autographs down the rightfield line during Boston’s batting practice when he was hit in the head by a foul ball. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured.