BOSTON — Buried toward the end of Joe Girardi’s nearly 20-minute pregame meeting with the media, the vast majority of which was spent on Alex Rodriguez, was a throw-away topic.
Or, at least the time seemed a throw-away one.
“Our bullpen is a bunch of one-inning guys,” Girardi said. “We don’t really have a long man.”
That became a very real, front-and-center issue one inning into Wednesday night’s game when starter Nathan Eovaldi left with right elbow discomfort.
A phalanx of seven relievers followed and, with none of them individually setting fire to the game, so too did the Yankees’ most unlikely victory of the season, a 9-4 win over the Red Sox in front of an irritated crowd of 37,779 at Fenway Park.
“It’s frustrating, it’s concerning,” Girardi said of Eovaldi, sent back to New York for further examination as the 4 hour, 15 minute game dragged along. “We probably won’t know anything until tomorrow.”
Girardi said he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild noticed a dip in Eovaldi’s velocity during his perfect 12-pitch first inning and, after some prodding, the pitcher, who missed the final 3 ½ week so of last season with right elbow inflammation, admitted to feeling “a little something” in the elbow.
The Yankees (57-56), who had 15 hits, rallied from a 4-1 deficit, taking the lead with a five-run seventh that gave them a 6-4 lead, getting that two-run cushion on Starlin Castro’s two-run double.
The third of rookie Gary Sanchez’s four hits, a moon shot to dead center for his first career homer, in the eighth made it 7-4. The Bombers scored two more in the inning to make it 9-4.
The Red Sox (61-51) suffered an injury of their own when David Ortiz, leading off the ninth against Dellin Betances, had to be helped off the field after fouling a ball off his lower right leg.
As was the case Tuesday night, much of the crowd started chanting “We want A-Rod” in the late innings but unlike Tuesday, they got their man Wednesday.
With the Yankees trailing 4-2 and runners at first and second and none out in the seventh, an inning in which the Bombers sent 10 to the plate, Girardi sent up Rodriguez to pinch hit for Aaron Hicks. A-Rod, booed long and lustily, flied to right against righty Matt Barnes, deep enough to allow the runners to tag. Lefthander Fernando Abad struck out Brett Gardner but Jacoby Ellsbury delivered a two-out single to make it 4-3. Chase Headley’s single to left tied it at 4 and Castro’s double off Junichi Tazawa later in the inning made it 6-4.
“The guys,” Girardi said, “did an incredible job.”