BOSTON — The Red Sox couldn’t place an exclamation point on their surge.
It’s been a solid stretch for the Red Sox, who won five of their final seven games before the All-Star break. But Boston ended its first half Sunday with an 8-6 loss to the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox outhit the Yankees 12-11 in the teams’ series finale, but the offensive effort went for naught. Boston will enter the break 6 1/2 games behind New York in the American League East.
GAME IN A WORD
Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez called Red Sox starter Wade Miley for a questionable balk in the fifth inning. It allowed the Yankees’ tying run to score from third base and it might have thrown Miley off his game, because while the left-hander retired three straight after the call, he then faltered in the sixth inning as New York seized control.
Leave it to Hernandez to make his presence felt in a rather unnecessary manner.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Justin Wilson escaped trouble in the sixth inning.
The Yankees broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run top of the sixth. Alex Rodriguez, Chris Young and Chase Headley each connected on an RBI double. A-Rod and Young victimized Miley. Headley feasted against Tommy Layne.
The Red Sox made noise in the bottom of the frame. Shane Victorino singled home Hanley Ramirez from second base with one out — the Yankees’ relay home took forever — and Mike Napoli, pinch-hitting for Travis Shaw, added to the threat with an opposite-field base hit. Victorino and Napoli then executed an uncontested double steal with two outs.
Mookie Betts couldn’t provide a clutch knock, though. Wilson retired Betts on a well-struck fly ball to right field, leaving two runners in scoring position with the Yankees ahead 6-4.
Betts also left two runners on base in the eighth inning. He struck out against Dellin Betances.
The Yankees ended up increasing their lead to 8-4. And though the Red Sox threatened in the ninth inning with two unearned runs, it wasn’t enough to overcome the damage that already had been done.
ON THE BUMP
— Miley had pitched well, for the most part, since his dugout blowup June 11 in Baltimore. The lefty couldn’t deliver the goods in a big game, though. He struggled, particularly after the fifth-inning balk.
Miley allowed six earned runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out two, but four of the seven hits he gave up went for extra bases.
Brian McCann went deep against Miley in the second inning. Entering Sunday, Miley hadn’t surrendered a home run against 147 left-handed hitters in his last 25 starts, the longest active streak in Major League Baseball.
— Layne allowed three hits over an inning of work but kept New York off the scoreboard.
Layne surrendered two singles in the seventh inning, but Alexi Ogando escaped the jam when A-Rod lined into a double play. Brock Holt made a nice leaping catch before tossing to first base to double-up Brett Gardner.
— The Yankees extended their lead to 8-4 against Ogando in the ninth inning. Ogando surrendered a two-run homer to Rob Refsnyder.
The home run was the first of Refsnyder’s career. It seemed like nothing more than insurance at the time, but it turned out to be the game-winning blow.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox did the bulk of their damage in the third inning. They sliced and diced Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi to the tune of three runs on five singles.
Eovaldi avoided additional damage by retiring Alejandro De Aza and Victorino via a pair of groundouts to end the inning.
— Xander Bogaerts and Ramirez each had two hits, including an RBI single. Pablo Sandoval provided the other RBI single in Boston’s three-run third inning.
Bogaerts extended his hit streak to a season-high 10 games.
— Holt extended his hit streak to 11 games with a first-inning single.
— De Aza, like Bogaerts and Ramirez, had two hits.
TWEET OF THE GAME
That’s the spirit.
It’s time for a breather.
The Red Sox are off for four days as part of the All-Star break. Boston will return to action Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels on the West Coast.
The Sox open the second half with a seven-game road trip — four games against the Angels and three against the Houston Astros — before returning home July 24.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images