Kiner-Falefa helps Yankees squeeze past Red Sox 3-2
BOSTON (AP) — Isiah Kiner-Falefa drove in the go-ahead run with a safety squeeze in the ninth inning and hit his first career homer with New York, sending the AL East-leading Yankees past the Red Sox 3-2 on Saturday night for just their second win in 10 games.
It was manager Aaron Boone’s 400th career victory with the Yankees.
“It feels good to come through with the big homer and small ball,” Kiner-Falefa said. “Showing off both sides of my game. I was just happy to come out with the win, we’ve been playing a lot of close games lately.”
Alex Verdugo had two hits for Boston, which had won its last two games, including a dramatic 3-2 win over New York in 10 innings on Friday night.
Andrew Benintendi sparked New York’s winning rally with a one-out double off the center-field wall against John Schreiber (3-2). Jose Trevino reached on an infield hit before Kiner-Falefa laid down a perfect bunt toward first base on the next pitch, with Benintendi scoring on a headfirst slide.
“The stadium went wild. 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’re waiting for the celebration.”
Aroldis Chapman (1-3) got four outs for the victory. Scott Effross worked a rocky ninth for his second save.
“Great job,” Boone said of Effross. “Nothing’s easy for us right now. We’re going through it, kind of one of those gut-check wins.”
Reese McGuire and Tommy Pham hit consecutive singles for Boston with one out in the ninth. But Rafael Devers bounced into a fielder’s choice and Xander Bogaerts popped out.
Benintendi also made a diving catch in left in his second game back at Fenway Park since being traded by the Red Sox in February 2021.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge went 0 for 2 with two walks a night after hitting his major league-leading 46th homer. He had reached at least three times in his previous five games.
Trailing 2-0, the Yankees tied it in the fifth when Kiner-Falefa drove in Benintendi with a shot to left. Kiner-Falefa is in his first season with New York after he was 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 Judge ball. So I got that done. Who wouldn’t want a Judge ball, though? So I gave it to them. It’s pretty cool. My first home run in pinstripes.”
The Red Sox had jumped in front in the fourth when Jarren Duran was hit on the back leg by a pitch with the bases loaded and McGuire followed with a sacrifice fly.
Making his second start since being acquired from Oakland at the trade deadline, Yankees right-hander Frankie Montas allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two in five innings.
Boston’s Kutter Crawford yielded two hits, struck out five and walked four in six innings.
“He was really good,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Crawford. “Six innings, two runs, good mix of pitches.”
Sitting behind three other teams that are chasing the AL’s final wild-card spot, Cora knows his club needs to go 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 optioned right-hander Kaleb Ort.
Yankees: Boone said OF Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles tendinitis) worked out at Yankee Stadium on Saturday after he “ramped up a little bit more” Friday. Boone said the next step is “a full pregame workout” in the next day or two and then a rehab assignment.
Red Sox: Cora said 2B Trevor Story (right hand) “will be coming with us on the road to take BP.” … INF/OF Kiké Hernández (right hip flexor) and OF Rob Refsnyder (right knee sprain) are both on a rehab assignment with Double-A Portland.
Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon (11-2, 3.95 ERA) is slated to start the series finale Sunday night. Cora said afterward right-hander Michael Wacha (6-1, 2.69 ERA) will come off the IL to start for Boston. He has been sidelined since early July with right shoulder inflammation.
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