BOSTON -- A zany bottom of the ninth inning on Friday night at Fenway Park left the Red Sox celebrating a 5-4 walk-off win over the Yankees without a hit leaving the infield at any point during the unlikely rally.
It was quite a dramatic way for the rivals to open the second half. It was the first time the Red Sox defeated the Yankees on a walk-off walk since Aug. 7, 1956, when Ted Williams worked an 11th inning free pass against New York's Tommy Byrne. It was the first walk-off walk for the Red Sox against any opponent since Trot Nixon on Sept. 23, 2000, against the Orioles.
"That 3-1 pitch, I was 90 percent take," said Benintendi. "It was going to take a perfect pitch to swing at with how he was throwing."
Of Chapman's 23 pitches, just 11 were for strikes -- only one a swinging strike. He didn't record any outs as the Yankees were handed their Major League-leading 18th blown save of the season.
The crushing defeat dropped the Yankees to 7-19 since June 13, and put them 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East.
Gary Sanchez had staked the Yankees to a one-run lead in the fifth with a towering two-run shot to left against Drew Pomeranz.
The score stayed that way until strange things started happening against Chapman in the ninth.
Mookie Betts started with an infield single in the hole at shortstop. Dustin Pedroia followed with a roller to short that Didi Gregorius snagged and tried to get the force at second. But the throw was high, the speedy Betts slid in, and everyone was safe. Those two grounders each had a hit probability of 8 percent, according to Statcast™.
"It's frustrating," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "You look at how he got in trouble; there were some longer counts, but he gave up some ground balls just in the hole. If they're at somebody, the game is probably over. That's the frustrating part. He wasn't necessarily hit hard, but they put good at-bats on him and they won a game."
Betts and Pedroia then surprised Chapman with a double steal. Xander Bogaerts hit a grounder to second that Ronald Torreyes muffed for an error, allowing Betts to score the tying run.
"We didn't expand the strike zone," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We had relentless at-bats. We forced Chapman to throw the ball over the plate. We get the benefit of an extra out inside there. It's a credit to our guys of not maybe losing focus inside some at-bats. We battled. We fought back. Just a good finish to this one."
Girardi ordered an intentional walk of Hanley Ramirez. That gave Chapman no margin for error, and he walked Benintendi to end it.
"Yeah, I mean, it's definitely huge," said Benintendi. "They won that first eight innings, so to win that one inning and win the game was big."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Double steal helps seal it: One critical piece of the winning rally was the perfectly executed double steal by Betts and Pedroia that put the tying and go-ahead runs at second and third with nobody out.
"The double steal, to me, was key," said Farrell. "You stay out of a potential double play. So, a good heads-up play by both Mookie and Pedey in that situation. It's a matter of guys being prepared for opportunities that present.
"You know that Chapman's got a fairly long delivery, particularly when you get a man at second base, so a heads-up play on those guys' part. The in-between-the-lines communication of when they're going to go, but it was available to them. We knew that coming into this one."
Hanley hammers one: A couple of weeks back, Ramirez vowed that he was going to get hot in July. He's done just that. The designated hitter continued his strong month with a two-run rocket to left-center in the bottom of the third that gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Ramirez is hitting .349 with a 1.064 OPS in his last 15 games.
"Been working a lot in the cage to get some rhythm in my top hand and using it," said Ramirez. "I wasn't using it. I was dropping it a little bit. I've been finding a way to get on top of the ball." More >
"It's one game. You can't make too much of one game. If you did that all year, it'd be a really long year. I really believe that I'll wake up tomorrow, and I don't know if it'll be sunny, but the sun will come up." -- Girardi
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Though this was the fourth walk-off win of the season for the Red Sox, it was their first victory when trailing after eight innings. Boston is 1-38 when facing a deficit going into the ninth.
Sanchez has seven homers in 14 career games against the Red Sox.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: All-Star right-hander Luis Severino heads to the mound Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET, coming off a 10-strikeout performance against the Brewers. Seeking his first victory in five starts, Severino is 0-2 with a 5.46 ERA over that span.
Red Sox: Ace lefty Chris Sale will try to build off his monster first half when he pitches Game 2 of this four-game showdown between the rivals on Saturday. Sale fired two scoreless innings in the All-Star Game and leads the Majors with 178 strikeouts.