BOSTON (AP) — Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a safety squeeze on the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and hit his first career homer with New York, putting the AL East-leading Yankees 3-2 at the Reds on Saturday The Sox came over the night for only their second win in 10 games.
It was manager Aaron Boone’s 400th career win with the Yankees.
“It feels good to get away with the big homer and the little ball,” said Kiner-Falefa. “I show both sides of my game. I was just happy with the win, we’ve played a lot of tight games lately.”
Alex Verdugo had two goals for Boston, who had won their last two games, including a dramatic 3-2 win over New York in 10 innings on Friday night.
Andrew Benintendi sparked New York’s triumphant run with a one-out double from the midfield wall against John Schreiber (3-2). Jose Trevino scored with an infield hit before Kiner-Falefa planted a perfect bunt towards first base on the next pitch, with Benintendi scoring with a headfirst slide.
“The stadium was raging. I thought he was out,” he said of the Bunt. “I was like, ‘Oh man.’ I was thinking in my head. I looked in the dugout and they are waiting for the celebration.”
Aroldis Chapman (1-3) scored four outs for the win. Scott Effross posted a rocky ninth place for his second save.
“Great work,” Boone said of Effross. “Nothing is easy for us at the moment. We go through it, sort of a gut check victory.”
Reese McGuire and Tommy Pham hit back-to-back singles for Boston with an out in the ninth. But Rafael Devers bounced into the choice of an outfield player and Xander Bogaerts showed up.
Benintendi also made a dive left in his second game at Fenway Park since being traded from the Red Sox in February 2021.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge went 0-to-2 with two walks a night after hitting his Major League-leading 46th homer. He had scored at least three times in his previous five games.
The Yankees were 2-0 down and moved into fifth place when Kiner-Falefa entered Benintendi with a shot to the left. Kiner-Falefa is in his first season with New York after being acquired in a trade with Minnesota in March.
“They gave it to me,” he said of the home run ball. “The kids asked for a judges ball. So that’s what I managed to do. But who wouldn’t want a judge’s ball? So I gave it to them. It’s pretty cool. My first home run in pinstripes.”
The Red Sox had jumped forward in the fourth when Jarren Duran was hit in the hind leg by a loaded bases pitch and McGuire followed with a sacrificial fly.
Yankees right-hander Frankie Montas made his second start since being acquired by Oakland at the close, allowing five hits, hitting four and walking two in five innings.
Boston’s cutter Crawford hit two, batted five and went four in six innings.
“He was really good,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Crawford. “Six innings, two runs, good field mix.”
Sitting behind three other teams chasing the AL’s last wildcard spot, Cora knows his club must get on a run soon.
“It’s a sprint now. It’s not a marathon,” he said before the game.
Boston recalled right-hander Jeurys Familia from Triple-A Worcester and selected right-hander Kaleb Ort.
Yankees: Boone said OF Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles tendonitis) trained at Yankee Stadium on Saturday after “putting on a little more” on Friday. Boone said the next step is “a full pre-game practice” over the next day or two and then a rehab assignment.
Red Sox: Cora said 2B Trevor Story (right hand) “will come out on the road with us to take BP.” …INF/OF Kiké Hernández (right hip flexor) and OF Rob Refsnyder (right knee sprain) are both in rehab -Application at Double-A Portland.
Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon (11-2, 3.95 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday night’s series finale. Cora then said right-hander Michael Wacha (6-1, 2.69 ERA) will join from the IL to start for Boston. He has been out since early July due to an infection in his right shoulder.
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