BOSTON — Flush it.
And, really, what choice do the Yankees have?
After two impressive victories to open their four-game series at Fenway Park, the Yankees turned in two decidedly unimpressive performances.
On Saturday, it was the bullpen blowing two saves in the late innings of Boston's comeback victory.
Sunday night brought all sorts of hideous baseball from the road team — from another Jameson Taillon clunker to another downturn on the Aroldis Chapman roller coaster to DJ LeMahieu's failure to catch a pair of bloopers.
All of that and more contributed to an ugly 11-6 loss to Boston in front of a delirious Sunday night crowd of 37,291.
The Yankees took an early 6-2 lead behind two-run homers by Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Carpenter, but helped by a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez, a solo homer and RBI double by Christian Vazquez, a three-run double by Trevor Story and the two misplays by LeMahieu, the Red Sox pulled away.
Aaron Boone, frustrated with the strike zone of plate umpire Tripp Gibson, had his anger boil over after Stanton was punched out on a pitch out of the strike zone to end the seventh.
“It was about that at-bat and even going back to last night,'' Boone said. "I’ve felt like G’s been putting together some good at-bats here these last two days, and calling balls strikes, and I thought a lot of them in that at-bat. Tripp, I have a ton of respect for, I think he’s a really good umpire. Jerry [Layne, Saturday night’s plate umpire], the same down at third, so just the last couple of nights with G where I feel the bat’s been taken out of his hands.”
Boone, ejected for the fourth time this season and 21st time as Yankees manager, likely wasn’t thrilled with his team, either, which trailed by only 7-6 at the time of his ejection.
That lead quickly ballooned when Story lined a three-run double off the Green Monster in left-center against Miguel Castro and scored as Albert Abreu threw away Franchy Cordero's sacrifice bunt. Isiah Kiner-Falefa had begun the inning with a throwing error on a routine play.
The Yankees still have baseball’s best record at 61-25, so this is hardly a crisis. But Taillon has to be at least a moderate concern.
Taillon, 9-2 with a 3.63 ERA coming in but with a 6.16 ERA in his previous six starts, resembled the pitcher of that latter number. The righthander allowed six runs and seven hits, including a season-high three homers, in five innings.
“I’m kind of taking it on the chin right now. I’m kind of in the Twilight Zone; I keep saying the same thing,'' Taillon said. "The same type of mistakes keep happening. It feels pretty bad. You get spotted a nice lead by the offense, they come out and attack. That should be a pretty much guaranteed win and I should go much deeper in the game. So not a good situation to be in, but I think we identified some things last time that could help me move forward and I’m going to keep showing up, putting the work in and hopefully the results follow.”
He added, “I think the stuff’s in a really good spot. I think it just really comes down to, when guys are on base, making the right pitch to the right area. We’re putting the wrong pitch in the wrong area far too often. Missing with the slider over the middle, maybe getting beat on my worst pitch, that happened twice tonight — a changeup and cutter get out of the yard — so those are the types of pitches that I don’t execute that are going to keep me up.”
“Just the mistakes are hurting him,'' Boone said. "That’s what we have to work to correct. Making sure when we do make a mistake that it’s not into an area where it’s getting slugged. That’s really hurting him.”
Chapman, who recently returned from the injured list, made it two of four outings since then in which he wasn’t sharp, though the onus wasn’t only on him this time.
Chapman replaced Taillon in the sixth and Story sent a blooper to right. Second baseman LeMahieu nearly caught it in front of the onrushing Aaron Judge, but it fell out of his glove. Chapman walked Cordero and pinch hitter Rob Refsnyder to load the bases.
He rebounded to strike out Bobby Dalbec swinging at a 100-mph fastball that appeared to be out of the strike zone, but pinch hitter Jeter Downs sent a looper to short center that again couldn't be caught by LeMahieu, who got twisted around. An alert Judge threw to second for the forceout, but Story scored for a 7-6 Boston lead.
Said LeMahieu: “Two kind of tough plays, do-or-die plays, really. Just couldn’t handle them.”
Was he waiting to hear an outfielder call for those pop-ups or was he thinking off the bat that they were his responsibility? “Off the bat, it’s a tough play so you’re hoping the outfielder gets a good read on it,'' he said, "but I don’t think, either of those plays, the outfielders could have gotten them, so I think I was the only guy that had a chance at them.”
The Yankees led 6-3 entering the fifth, but Taillon allowed Vazquez’s two-out RBI double off the Green Monster and a tying two-run homer to right-center by Martinez.
Stanton gave Taillon a lead before he threw a pitch. Judge flared a one-out single to center, and with two outs, Stanton lasered a fastball from Nick Pivetta into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center for a 2-0 lead. The blast, a screaming line drive that came off his bat at 114 mph, gave Stanton his 22nd homer and improved the outfielder to 7-for-17 (.412) with three homers in his career off Pivetta. Of Stanton’s last 16 hits to that point, 11 were homers.
Carpenter and Aaron Hicks began the second by drawing walks and Jose Trevino lined a curveball into the leftfield corner to make it 3-0 (he was thrown out at second trying to stretch). Kiner-Falefa lined a single to center to make it 4-0.
Cordero hit a two-run homer to dead center in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-2, but Carpenter lined an 0-and-2 fastball for a two-run homer to right in the third to give the Yankees a 6-2 lead. The blast gave Carpenter 10 homers in 74 plate appearances after hitting seven homers in 418 plate appearances the previous two seasons.
Vazquez homered off a light tower in leftfield in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-3.
“I think we played well enough to win four, so it’s disappointing,'' LeMahieu said of settling for a split after winning the first two. "But I guess two’s all right, and we’ll see these guys [again] in a few days.”
Said Boone, “You win the first two, you want to finish off with a great series. But credit to them. They got behind again tonight and kept banging and took advantage of some mistakes that we made. A little frustrating in the moment, but we’ll turn the page from this one and try to finish off the half at home in a good fashion.”