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Red Sox steal one in ninth against Yankees

July 15, 2017 GMT

It’s not easy to beat Aroldis Chapman. So the Red Sox used some unconventional ways to pull it off.

Back-to-back singles. A double steal. Then the Yankees couldn’t get out of their own way to blow a ninth-inning lead last night as the Red Sox won in dramatic fashion, 5-4, to claim the first of this four-game set at Fenway Park.

The Yankees led 4-3 going into the ninth with Chapman coming in for the save, but with the top of the order coming up, the Red Sox were unfazed by the closer’s 100-plus mph fastballs. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia both battled for infield singles.

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Then, after a double steal, Xander Bogaerts hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Ronald Torreyes, who couldn’t handle it. That scored Betts and tied the game. The Yankees then intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez before Chapman issued a walk to Andrew Benintendi to end the game.

The late heroics salvaged what could have been a frustrating night for the Sox.

Drew Pomeranz was one of their biggest surprises of the first half, and as the lefty began the fifth inning of last night’s second-half opener, it looked as if he had continued his momentum.

Gary Sanchez didn’t seem to agree.

Trying to hold a lead in the fifth, Pomeranz served up a juicy pitch to one of the best power hitters in the game and one of this week’s Home Run Derby participants. Sanchez then treated Pomeranz’s 1-2 fastball like it was one of those home runs he blasted out of Miami on Monday night, as he put it way over the Green Monster.

The home run gave the Yankees a 4-3 advantage, a lead they held until the ninth. With the win, the Sox increased their lead over the third-place Bombers to 41/2 games. Tampa Bay, 31/2 games to start the day, played late last night.

Sanchez’ blast, an absolute moonshot that went 409 feet, spoiled what had been another solid night for Pomeranz, who closed the book with his third consecutive six-inning start. He gave up six hits and four earned runs and struck out seven.

After working through the first two innings with relative ease, Pomeranz had to work out of a jam in the third. He allowed back-to-back singles to open the inning to put runners on first and third. Then, after striking out Brett Gardner, Sanchez hit a liner to a diving Bogaerts, but the ball bounced off the shortstop’s glove as he reached to his right, which allowed Chase Headley to score.

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Pomeranz then walked Aaron Judge on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. But the lefty escaped the threat when Sam Travis and Christian Vazquez turned a 3-2-3 double play to end the inning.

The Red Sox used that momentum to get it back and then some in the bottom of the third. After Bogaerts singled to left, Ramirez drilled Jordan Montgomery’s 1-0 fastball to the Monster seats in left-center to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. It was Ramirez’ 14th home run of the season, and fourth in his last 12 games.

Pomeranz then executed a shutdown 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, but the offense couldn’t sustain the momentum in the bottom half. They loaded the bases with no outs, but Pedroia’s one-out RBI single was all that showed for it.

That set up the key fifth, in which Pomeranz gave up a leadoff double to Headley. Gardner singled him home before Sanchez gave the Yankees the edge.

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