The New York Yankees hope to leave a recent skid in the past when they conclude a three-game series against the host Boston Red Sox on Sunday night.
New York had lost three straight games and eight of its last nine before coming up with a 3-2 victory over Boston on Saturday.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit his first homer of the season and drove in the go-ahead run with a safety squeeze in the ninth inning to help secure manager Aaron Boone’s 400th career victory with the Yankees.
“Nothing’s easy for us right now,” Boone said. “We’re going through it, but that’s one of those gut-check wins where a lot of people did a lot of good things. We’re fighting and guys are continuing to make plays. This one feels really good.”
Scott Effross recorded his second career save after escaping a jam in the bottom of the ninth. Effross got the nod over All-Star closer Clay Holmes, who has four blown saves in his last 12 appearances.
“I’ll try to put him in the best positions to be successful. Some nights that will be the ninth,” Boone said of Holmes. “But we’ll keep working with him. Got to get him consistent.”
Boston is 4 1/2 games back in the race for the final wild-card spot in the American League. Despite the steep odds, manager Alex Cora remains optimistic about his team’s chances.
“We just have to keep playing,” Cora said. “There’s a winning streak somewhere, and this is a good baseball team that’s going to get healthy, and that’s what people haven’t seen, but that’s not their job. It’s my job to keep them positive and keep pushing, and the coaching staff is doing an amazing job.”
The Yankees will send right-hander Jameson Taillon (11-2, 3.95 ERA) to the mound Sunday in the rubber game of the series. He allowed three runs on as many hits over seven innings against the Seattle Mariners last Monday for his first win since July 16.
Taillon, 30, had allowed 19 earned runs over his last 29 2/3 innings pitched before the win against Seattle.
Tommy Pham is 4-for-14 with two doubles against Taillon, who is 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA in six career starts against Boston.
Taillon will face the Red Sox for the third time this season after going 1-0 with a 5.73 ERA in his previous two outings covering 11 innings.
Boston will counter with right-hander Michael Wacha (6-1, 2.69), who hasn’t pitched for Boston since June 28 because of right-shoulder inflammation.
Wacha, 31, made his second rehab start on Tuesday with Double-A Portland, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five in 4 1/3 innings.
He has been sharp in six starts at Fenway Park this season, going 3-1 with a 1.39 ERA across 32 1/3 innings.
Anthony Rizzo is 21-for-47 (.447) with three homers and seven RBIs against Wacha, who is 1-1 with a 3.35 ERA in eight career games (six starts) vs. the Yankees.
Boston could use a spark from third baseman Rafael Devers, who went hitless in five at-bats on Saturday and is 4-for-40 with one homer and three RBIs in his last 10 games.
–Field Level Media