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Peter Abraham | On baseball

After blowing lead and losing to Yankees, the Red Sox might be looking for some more relief

Reliever Adam Ottavino (second from right) has a meeting on the mound during a disastrous eighth inning.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Saturday marked the 17th anniversary of Jason Varitek feeding his catcher’s mitt to Alex Rodriguez and sparking a memorable brawl that helped define the 2004 Red Sox.

That the Yankees were at Fenway Park for a day game seemed fitting.

Varitek is still wearing No. 33 and still trying to beat the Yankees, just now as a coach with longer hair.

A-Rod marked the day by posting a video to his social media accounts that showed him doing calisthenics on a huge yacht. That also seemed fitting.

There were no fights this time around. But there was another memorable game that the Yankees may one day look back on fondly if they use it as fuel to turn their wayward season around.


“That was a good one, no question about it,” manager Aaron Boone said after an unlikely 4-3 victory against the Sox.

The Yankees were trailing by three runs in the eighth inning with a runner on second, two outs and Brett Gardner down 0-and-2 against Nate Eovaldi.

Eovaldi had been nails all day, throwing strike after strike without coming close to allowing a run. Gardner, the oldest Yankee at 37, fouled off two pitches to stay in the at-bat.

“Things weren’t looking good,” Gardner said.

Eovaldi’s plan was to throw a curveball in the dirt that he was sure Gardner would swing over like he did striking out in the sixth inning.

But the pitch was too high, and Gardner singled to right field to drive in a run.

“He was able to put a good swing on it,” Eovaldi said. “He’s a good hitter and was able to get the job done.”

Nate Eovaldi came within one out of giving the Sox eight innings on Saturday. That last out proved not only his undoing, but his team's.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Disaster followed for the Sox. Adam Ottavino came in and allowed three consecutive hits as the Yankees took the lead.

The first was a chip shot into right field by Giancarlo Stanton that hopped into the stands for a double. It was his first extra-base hit against the Sox since last year.


Franchy Cordero, in right field for the first time this season, was positioned deep and had no play.

That gave the Yankees a matchup they wanted, lefthanded hitting Rougned Odor against Ottavino. Odor went the other way with a poorly located sinker, driving it off the wall to drive in two runs.

For the first time all day, the Yankees fans in the crowd of 35,136 could be heard.

Another bloop to shallow right field, this time by Gleyber Torres, gave the Yankees the lead. It was the biggest blown lead by the Sox this season.

Ottavino offered no excuses.

“Results are the only thing that matter,” he said. “There’s no context to the score of this game. We lost the game; I didn’t get the job done.”

Adam Ottavino gave the baseball a staredown as the eighth inning came unglued on him and the Red Sox on Saturday.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Ottavino has been one of the best relievers in the game this season but now has given up four runs on four hits in his last two appearances, both against the Yankees.

As the trade deadline approaches, every contending team will be looking for relief help. Two bloop hits won’t change what the Sox think of Ottavino, but it could intensify their search for another pitcher they can trust with a lead in the late innings.

Lefties are hitting .294 against Ottavino with an .830 OPS.

The Sox made Aroldis Chapman throw 26 pitches in the ninth inning but stranded two runners when Kiké Hernández struck out swinging at a 99.5-mph fastball to end it.


It was the first game the Yankees have won at Fenway in six tries this season.

Sox manager Alex Cora often pushes back on questions after a tough loss, reminding reporters how good his team has been this season. But there was no spin to offer on this one.

Boone calls brutal losses “gut punches” and the Red Sox have handed the Yankees a few this season. This time it was the Sox who were left doubled over.

“It’s a tough one. That’s baseball, right?” Cora said. “We always talk about making contact in certain situations. They did.”

Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.