BOSTON — The ship Aaron Boone says has to right itself left Boston Harbor early Monday morning taking on serious water with a crew that was stunned by an awful loss at Fenway Park.
With a three-run lead and three outs to get, Boone called for closer Aroldis Chapman to work the ninth inning and help the Yankees avoid getting swept in a four-game series by the Red Sox.
By the time Chapman got those three outs, the Red Sox had scored three runs to send the game into extra innings, where Andrew Benintendi’s ground single up the middle off Jonathan Holder scored pinch-runner Tony Renda from second and lifted the surging Red Sox to a 5-4 win in 10 innings before a sold-out crowd of 38,830 stoked customers.
The Yankees’ season-high fifth straight defeat dropped them 9 ½ lengths back of the AL East-leading Red Sox. More importantly, the A’s are 2 ½ back in the race for the top AL wild-card spot and the Mariners are five behind the Yankees for the second ticket into October.
“It’s a big climb,’’ Boone said of being 9 ½ games out with 52 remaining. “But we can’t worry about that. We have to right our own ship and start playing well.’’
Andrew BenintendiAnthony J. Causi
That could commence Monday night against the awful White Sox in Chicago, but remember this five-game slide started with a dreadful loss to the Orioles, the worst team in baseball, at home.
After being held without a run by David Price for six innings and trailing 1-0 thanks to Mookie Betts’ homer off Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees broke through for four runs in the seventh when Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts botched a sure double play with the bases loaded and no outs by booting Aaron Hicks’ hard grounder.
Zach Britton worked the seventh, Dellin Betances the eighth and Chapman climbed the mound for the ninth with a three-run bulge. Three walks, a two-run single and a colossal throwing error by third baseman Miguel Andujar — his second error of the game — and the score was tied, 4-4.
When Chapman got Bogaerts to hit the ball to Andujar with two outs, J.D. Martinez’s two-run single that made it a one-run game didn’t seem to sting so much. But Andujar sat back on the ball instead of charging it, which would have made the long throw a lot shorter. It one-hopped first baseman Greg Bird and when the ball spilled out of Bird’s glove, pinch-runner Jackie Bradley Jr. raced home from second to tie the score.
“It was a bad throw,’’ Andujar said of the killer error. “It was low, just a bad throw.’’
Holder retired the first two batters in the 10th before Sandy Leon singled softly to center. Following a wild pitch with Betts at the plate that sent Leon to second, Tony Renda pinch ran ran for Leon and the Yankees intentionally walked Betts. Benintendi’s ground single to center ended the 4-hour, 39-minute marathon.
Chapman hadn’t pitched since Tuesday and was asked if the layoff was the reason for walking three.
Xander Bogaerts is safe at first in the ninth inning.N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg
“I don’t think so. I can’t use that as an excuse,’’ said Chapman, who blew his second save in 31 chances. “It’s a bad outing.’’
Bad isn’t the word. Not only did the Yankees get swept out of New England’s living room, they are facing almost a double-digit deficit in the AL East and now have serious company in the wild-card chase.
“These guys are tough-minded,’’ Boone said of his club, which is playing without Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. “It’s tough for us right now and we will lean on each other and count on each other.’’
And hope the ship fares better on the shores of Lake Michigan than it did in Boston Harbor.