The last time the Yankees finished a series against the Red Sox, they’d lost three of four at Fenway Park — including two in brutal fashion and trailed the first-place Sox by nine games.
Less than three weeks later, the Yankees swept Boston out of The Bronx, winning their sixth straight, 5-2, Wednesday night and broke a three-way tie for the two AL wild-card spots.
Andrew Heaney, last seen getting pummeled again by the long ball in the cornfields of Iowa, allowed just one run over seven innings and the lineup used a four-run second inning to provide the offense.
And Anthony Rizzo, in his return from the COVID IL, had a two-run single in the second.
Aroldis Chapman, also coming off the injured list (left elbow inflammation) made things interesting in the ninth, allowing a run and leaving with runners on the corners with two outs.
Lucas Luetge got Kevin Plawecki to ground into the hole, where Andrew Velazquez made a sliding stop and a strong throw to first which Rizzo picked in time to get Plawecki. The play was upheld on review.
Heaney had allowed eight homers in his first three starts since arriving in a trade with the Angels and his home run woes continued in the top of the first.
After Kiké Hernandez opened the game by driving a ball to the wall in right that Aaron Judge tracked down, Heaney gave up a two-out opposite-field shot by Xander Bogaerts into the second deck in right to put the Yankees in an early 1-0 hole.
But Heaney was superb after the first and gave up just one hit and a pair of walks following the homer in his seven-inning outing, matching a season-high.
The Yankees broke through in the bottom of the second, as Giancarlo Stanton led off with a sharp single to left and Rougned Odor walked on a close 3-2 pitch by Nick Pivetta.
Gary Sanchez followed with a bloop to right that a charging J.D. Martinez nearly caught.
But the ball squirted out of his glove. Martinez threw to second, where Odor was initially ruled out on a force, but the Yankees challenged the play and it was reversed.
That brought up Brett Gardner with the bases loaded and no one out. Gardner’s sacrifice fly to center tied the game at 1-1.
Velazquez’s single up the middle drove in Odor from second to make it 2-1.
With LeMahieu at the plate, Velazquez stole second. LeMahieu hit a chopper to Rafael Devers’ left at third and Devers made an excellent stop and throw to get LeMahieu at first and prevent the runners from moving up — briefly.
Rizzo, who’d been out since Aug. 8, singled when Bobby Dalbec couldn’t handle his hard grounder to first. Sanchez and Velazquez both scored to build a 4-1 lead.
Velazquez added another RBI single in the eighth to drive in Sanchez and extend the Yankees’ lead to 5-1.
Heaney bounced back from the Bogaerts homer to retire seven straight and didn’t allow another hit until Plawecki led off the fifth with a single.
It was a stark turnaround from Heaney’s first three outings, when he’d given up 15 runs in 15 innings.
Zack Britton returned to his eighth-inning role and retired the side in order, as he tries to regain his form for the stretch run.
The one concern of the night was Chapman, who was shaky after having not pitched since Aug. 5.
He allowed a mammoth homer to Hunter Renfroe and struggled with his command, going to a full count against Hernandez and walking Bogaerts.
With Bogaerts on first and one out, Rizzo made a nice play on Devers’ hard grounder for the second out.
Martinez then came to the plate and ripped a single to right, ending Chapman’s night, as the Yankees went to Luetge to face Plawecki.
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