The past month, as New York watched closer Aroldis Chapman melt in moments he once mastered, reliever Chad Green gave the Yankees plenty of reasons to believe he could close out games if called upon.
Clinging to a two-run lead Thursday against a Red Sox lineup stuck in the mud all night, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called on Green to shut the door.
But where the Yankees saw a shutdown arm out of the bullpen, the Sox saw an opportunity. The Sox stung Green for two runs in the ninth to force extras, then stole a win, 5-4, in the 10th thanks in large part to four wild pitches from reliever Brooks Kriske.
A month ago, the Sox tagged Green for four runs in the eighth inning of a 7-3 comeback. Thursday, Kiké Hernández followed one-out singles by Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec with a two-out, two-run double to tie the game at 3 and give the Sox new life.
“That was cool because I think this was his biggest hit since he was here,” manager Alex Cora said. “We were kind of enjoying that. Just the moment, it was a fun atmosphere.”
Matt Barnes gave up a hard-luck run in the 10th thanks to the automatic runner at second, New York retaking the lead on a ground ball back to the pitcher and a routine fly ball to left. But the door was already open and the Yankees pitching was already coming apart at the seams.
With Rafael Devers on second to start the inning and Xander Bogaerts at the plate, Yankees reliever Brooks Kriske imploded, tying the most wild pitches in a regular-season game in his 11th career MLB appearance.
Two of Kriske’s splitters went wild on him, moving Devers to third, then allowing him to score the tying run. Kriske walked Bogaerts, then put two more in the dirt to put him at third.
“He’s in a similar situation last night and really delivered,” Boone said of Kriske, who threw a perfect 10th inning against the Phillies on Wednesday. “It’s a tough situation for him to be in, you know, at times his issue is struggling with command.”
From the dugout, Hernández said the Sox were in disbelief.
“We were just asking for one more,” Hernández said. “That’s all we were asking for.”
Instead, Renfroe simply put the ball in the air for his fourth career walk-off RBI and Boston’s 30th come-from-behind victory.
The win was Boston’s third straight, and snapped New York’s four-game winning streak. The Red Sox (59-38), who outhit the Yankees, 10-4, maintained a one-game lead on Tampa Bay in the AL East. They’re eight up on the Yankees, and 8-2 against New York this season.
“When it mattered the most, we put some good at-bats against Green,” Cora said.
“Another gut punch,” Boone said. “Lot of good things that went on tonight. An out away there, and they put together some really good at-bats there in the ninth. It certainly stings on a long night here . . . but we also got to get over this and we’ve got a big weekend ahead of us.”
Making his first start since April, the most the Sox could’ve expected from Tanner Houck was five innings of work, and he nearly delivered it. Houck gave 4⅔ innings with eight strikeouts and just two hits allowed before rain delayed play for 55 minutes.
The only run Houck allowed came in the fourth, after he walked Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton. He struck out Rougned Odor, but his slider for strike three got by Christian Vázquez. The passed ball moved the runners up, and Gardner scored when Gleyber Torres shot a ground ball to short.
Houck came back out for the fifth, struck out Greg Allen, got Estevan Florial to line out to second, then gave up a single to Tyler Wade before the rain came.
“Outstanding,” Cora said. “The rain delay killed us there. We had to go to [Josh Taylor] early. But good stuff, he made some great pitches. He made some good hitters look bad. He was good.”
Houck threw 87 pitches, 54 for strikes.
Taylor walked DJ LeMahieu coming out of the delay, but got Gardner to ground out to second to end the inning. He pitched a clean sixth, working around a single to Torres to finish off his 28th scoreless outing in his last 29 appearances.
The Sox offense couldn’t put hits together, let alone capitalize when they had runners in scoring position. Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery allowed just three hits and one walk over 5⅔ scoreless, and struck out six.
Montgomery set down the first six batters he faced before Verdugo singled to start the third, breaking a personal 1-for-19 slump. The Sox squandered a scoring chance when Michael Chavis delivered a one-out single that set up a first-and-third situation. Hernández struck out on four pitches, waving at a curveball in the dirt. Devers walked, but Bogaerts lined out to short to end the inning.
The Sox didn’t have another base runner until the sixth, when Bogaerts singled with two outs. After letting Montgomery return following the delay, Boone called on Sal Romano to finish off the sixth. The Southington, Conn., product gave up a single to J.D. Martinez, which created another scoring situation for Renfroe, but he couldn’t cash in, flying out to right.
Boston tied it in the seventh, Verdugo alerting tagging up on a short Hernández fly to center and scoring with a well-executed headfirst slide, before New York went back ahead in the eighth. They scored two off former Yankee Adam Ottavino via a pair of leadoff walks, a Giancarlo Stanton single, and a Torres sac fly.
“It was a good battle,” Cora said, “and we ended up winning.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.