Bullpen meltdown costs Red Sox as Yankees take Game 1 of doubleheader

·3 min read

Aug. 17—The Red Sox dropped a heartbreaker to the Yankees 5-3 in Game 1 of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader, with the bullpen melting down in the fifth and sixth innings before the offense loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh and couldn't score. With the loss Boston is now only one game up on the Yankees in the standings.

1. Wheels come off

When the Red Sox took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning, manager Alex Cora opted to pull starter Tanner Houck despite his having only thrown 58 pitches to that point. The move quickly backfired as Garrett Whitlock proceeded to walk back-to-back batters and Josh Taylor came on and walked a third to load the bases.

All three runners would come around to score on a two-run blooper by Luke Voit and an RBI single by Giancarlo Stanton, and Hansel Robles would walk a fourth batter before getting two strikeouts to strand the bases loaded.

Overall Boston's bullpen allowed six walks and three hits over two innings of work.

2. Rally falls short

Even after the bullpen gave up the lead, the Yankees still remained within striking distance up only 5-3. Boston proceeded to load the bases in the top of the seventh (and final) inning after Kyle Schwarber, Christian Vazquez and Alex Verdugo all singled. The Red Sox couldn't get any runs across the plate, however, as Travis Shaw lined out and Kiké Hernández and Hunter Renfroe both struck out to end the game.

3. Could have been worse

The Red Sox probably wouldn't have even had a chance to take the lead late if not for some clutch outs by new trade deadline additions Hansel Robles and Austin Davis in the fifth and sixth innings. Robles came on with one out in the fifth and got two strikeouts to leave the bases loaded, and Davis came on with two on and one out in the sixth and also got two strikeouts to leave the bases loaded.

4. Vazquez ends drought

With his fifth inning solo home run, Christian Vazquez snapped a streak of 127 plate appearances without a home run. Vazquez's last home run prior to Tuesday came on June 27 and was also against the Yankees.

"About time," Vazquez quipped afterwards.

Vazquez finished Tuesday's game 2 for 3.

5. Shaw ready to go

Travis Shaw, the former Red Sox draft pick who Boston claimed off waivers from Milwaukee this weekend, re-joined the Sox Tuesday in New York and was added to the active roster ahead of the three-game series. Addressing reporters before Game 1, Shaw said he excited to be back where he began his career and for the chance to take part in a playoff chase again.

"It's second life for me this year, the Brewers DFA'd me and I'm just thankful for an opportunity to play again and show that I'm healthy and I'm going to try and contribute in any role that I can down the stretch," Shaw said. "Hopefully we can make it into October and make a little bit of a run."

Shaw came on to pinch hit for Bobby Dalbec in the top of the seventh but lined out to left with no outs and the bases loaded.

Email: mcerullo@northofboston.com. Twitter: @MacCerullo.

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