With huge late rally, Sox punch back and prove Yankees are beatable

Jul. 11—This was the kind of game the Yankees had been winning all season.

The Yankees, who have laid waste to the American League and came in with 61 wins in their first 85 games, jumped all over Nick Pivetta early. It didn't matter that the Red Sox had come back and walked off against them the night before, they tagged the struggling Red Sox starter for six runs in 3.1 innings, including a pair of two-run home runs by Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Carpenter, and from there their dominant pitching and defense would take care of the rest. Right?

Not so fast.

Fresh off their best win of the season, the Red Sox delivered a brilliant encore Sunday as they ripped off nine unanswered runs in a thrilling 11-6 comeback win. In doing so Boston salvaged a series split, which even Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts acknowledged would have seemed unlikely a couple of days ago.

"I don't think anyone would have bet that we'd split it after the first two, you're definitely lying if you say that, especially based on how the first two games went," Bogaerts said. "But we're definitely happy with the split, especially with the way the first two games went it felt like it got out of hand quick, but it's nice to give the fans something to come back to the ballpark and look forward to and have some bragging rights."

Trevor Story delivered the decisive blow, hammering a three-run double off the Green Monster with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the seventh to break the game open after the Red Sox had squandered a similar chance the inning before.

The seeds of the comeback were planted early after Franchy Cordero hit a two-run home run in the second and Christian Vazquez hit a solo shot in the third to cut the early deficit to 6-3. Then the rally really got going in the fifth, when Vazquez hit an RBI double and J.D. Martinez smashed a two-run home run off Yankees starter Jameson Taillon to tie the game at 6-6.

It was Martinez's first home run since June 15 and from that point the Red Sox were off to the races.

Boston took the lead after loading the bases with no outs in the sixth against Yankees flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. The club was only able to get one runner across, but it was a big one after Jeter Downs came on to pinch hit for Jarren Duran and blooped one into center that DJ LeMahieu just barely couldn't hang onto.

Then in the seventh Martinez reached on an error, Xander Bogaerts walked and Verdugo singled, and Story drove them all in. All along the way the bullpen stepped up, with Kaleb Ort, Hirokazu Sawamura, Matt Strahm and Ryan Brasier combined for 5.2 scoreless innings of relief, and Downs made a great play at third base in the ninth inning to help close out the victory.

"He put the ball in play and good things happened, played great defense too," Cora said of Downs, who also scored the game-winning run in Saturday's win. "Defensively he hasn't played third that much so for him to make those plays, it was good to see."

With the win Boston improves to 47-39 and coupled with Tampa Bay and Toronto's losses earlier in the day the Red Sox now hold a 1.5-game lead over the Rays for the top spot in the AL Wild Card race. Boston will now fly down to St. Petersburg for a four-game series against the Rays, with the first game set to begin at 7:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field.

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