The Red Sox were five outs away from avoiding a sweep, clinging to a 3-2 lead over the Yankees in the eighth inning Sunday night. But a pair of miscues would prove costly, extending the at-bat of Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who made the Sox pay.
It began with Red Sox reliever Garrett Richards walking DJ LeMahieu and allowing a double to Anthony Rizzo. Alex Cora then summoned Adam Ottavino, who got Judge to pop up in foul territory, but first baseman Bobby Dalbec thought he was closer to the stands than he really was, and dropped the ball.
Ottavino appeared to retire Judge a second time with a strikeout, but catcher Christian Vázquez dropped the ball on strike three. Home plate umpire Joe West ruled that it was a foul tip, but replays showed that wasn’t the case, with Vazquez dropping the ball on the transfer, meaning Judge would be out. But the play is not reviewable.
Given a third chance, Judge delivered by smoking double to center, scoring LeMahieu and Rizzo to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Giancarlo Stanton followed and blasted a two-run homer to left on an 0-1 pitch as the Yankees cruised to a 6-3 win and took the top spot in the AL wild card.
It was the second straight game that the Sox blew a lead in the eighth inning, with Stanton blasting a grand slam Saturday night to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 win for the Yankees.
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.