NEW YORK – A tipped call at the plate in the eighth inning led to another loss in what turned out to be the New York Yankees’ worst season in decades.
The Yankees extended their losing streak to eight straight for the first time in 28 years, allowing Justin Turner to double in the ninth inning in a 6-5 defeat of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
“We have to be incredible the rest of the way,” said head coach Aaron Boone after the Yankees fell to 60-64 and fell nine games behind Seattle to clinch the last collegiate championship spot.
New York appeared to break the 5-5 tie in the eighth when Isiah Kiner-Falefa scored from the first on rookie Anthony Volpe’s single. Plate umpire Junior Valentine signaled it safe, and Kenner Valeva’s left foot stepped in before Conor Wong’s marker, but the call was reversed in a video review, which also upheld that the catcher had not blocked the plate in violation of the rules.
“I got the go-ahead, and I got in there,” said Kiner-Falefa. “I didn’t feel like I had a pass. I think the rule is if I’m caught and it crosses the foul line, it counts as blocking the bag there. The ball beat me but I didn’t feel like they had enough to turn it over.”
Kiner-Falefa took off first right before Volpe made contact. He raced home after left fielder Rob Refsnyder slipped before hitting a layup to shortstop Trevor Storey.
“From the start, I thought he was out,” said Boston coach Alex Cora, who was ejected twice earlier for arguing with the third batter and watched the key play from the clubhouse. “I was wondering why Junior was waiting. He waited, waited to call him safe and I was like what he’s doing.”
Swept in consecutive series by Atlanta and Boston, the Yankees lost eight in a row for the first time since August 19-26, 1995 when Buck Showalter’s final team fell to 53-58 before finishing 26-7 to earn a wild card,
New York, in danger of ending its streak of 30 consecutive winning seasons, is 24-39 since June 4 — the day after basketball player Aaron Judge tore a ligament in his right toe at Dodger Stadium.
“Every loss at this point is difficult,” Volpe said.
Turner had four RBIs for Boston, is 8-1 against the Yankees this year and has won seven in a row against New York.
“They outdid us,” said Kenner Valeva. “I feel like they swing the bat really well. They have a good pitched game plan. They are better than us now.”
With the score at 5-5, Pablo Reyes singled out Clay Holmes (4-4) ahead of the ninth and stole second, walking Alex Verdugo. Turner doubled to the right caution lane on sinking.
“He’s a good hitter,” said Cora. “He’s a great captain and I’m glad he’s playing with us.”
It was Turner’s first hit of the season that gave the Red Sox a lead of the ninth or so and the sixteenth of his career. Turner hit . 372 with runners in the scoring position his first year with Boston after a decade with the Dodgers and bats . 395 against the Yankees.
“That header feels like a real playoff, especially in those last three back-and-forth innings and the fans were in,” Turner said. “It was good to get this win.
The Red Sox swept the Bronx Series for the second time in three seasons. Boston won for the eighth time in 11 games and stayed three games behind Seattle.
Chris Martin (4-1) allowed two hits in the scoreless eighth, and Kenley Jansen got his 29th save in 32 opportunities. Greg Allen doubled the lead off the ninth and DJ Limahiew hit a groundout, but Jansen hit Judge and Torres, then Ben Rortvedt retired on a fly.
“I’ve seen Mr. Clutch do his thing for a decade,” said Jansen, Turner’s longtime Dodger teammate.
Rafael DeVerse scored in the first off of Clark Schmidt and scored on Volpe’s layup, but Kyle Higashioka and Jiliber Torres blocked layups in the third and sixth off Nick Pivita. New York has won 17-0 in the first two innings of its past five games.
Turner hit a three-run homer in the seventh off Michael King, one pitched after Devers was intentionally walked. Volpe tied the bottom half with No. 17 home, in a three-run drive against John Schreiber. Torres and Volpe reached 50 RBIs; Prior to Sunday, the Yankees were the only team in the league not to have anyone reach 50.
Red Sox: LF Jarren Duran left after the seventh with a bruised left toe. … RHP Tanner Houck (facial fracture) will be activated for the first time since June 17 Tuesday in Houston. … 1B Tristan Casas (tooth injury) missed a second game in a row. He has a follow-up appointment on Monday in Houston and could return.
Red Sox: LHP James Paxton (7-3, 3.34 ERA) takes on RHP Cristian Javier (8-2, 4.49) in the opener of a four-game series Monday in Houston.
Yankees: LHP Carlos Rodón (1-4, 7.33) will be activated after missing two weeks with a left hamstring strain Tuesday against visiting Nationals, starting RHP Josiah Gray (7-10, 3.96).