If the Boston Red Sox are looking for a theme song to their 2017 season, they might want to consider The Who's "The Kids Are Alright". It's an old song about the young, and it was youth that delivered the Red Sox a dramatic extra innings 3-2 win over the NY Yankees at the Stadium last night.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the 9th inning, the Red Sox were facing Aroldis Chapman and his fastball that often crosses the plate in excess of 100 miles per hour, but 20-year old rookie Rafael Devers caught up to one of those fastballs and sent it over the center field fence for a game-tying home run, his fourth of the year, and just the second home run Chapman has ever yielded to a left-handed batter in the eight years he's been pitching in the major leagues. Easily the biggest home run of Devers' young career, and the third baseman clapped his hands once to mark the moment while rounding first base and seeing the ball clear the yard.
In the bottom of the ninth the Yankees threatened to win it with a runner on third, but Craig Kimbrel came on to get the final out of the inning, stranding that runner at the hot corner, and it was on to the tenth. It did not go well for Chapman in that inning either. Possibly still rattled by the Devers home run in the ninth, Chapman opened the inning by hitting Jackie Bradley Jr., and then walked Eduardo Nunez. That ended his night as he walked off to a chorus of boos, but his replacement Tommy Kahnle didn't fare much better, walking Mookie Betts before giving up the game-winning single to another Red Sox rookie, Andrew Benintendi, who's been loving life at Yankee Stadium in this series. In addition to the game winning single last night, he had three home runs over the three game set.
Craig Kimbrel ended any hopes of a Yankee comeback in the tenth, picking up the win which probably should have gone to starter Chris Sale, who was once again nothing short of spectacular, striking out 12 over seven innings of work. He had a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Austin Romine tied it by blasting a shot to deep right that backed Mookie Betts up to the wall. Betts leaped and the ball hit his glove but bounced back out and Romine ended up on third with a game-tying triple. Very tough play for Mookie to make but certainly one he'd like to have back since the ball was catchable, albeit trickily so, and it was fair to give Romine credit for the triple rather than charging Mookie with an error. It was Sale's only hiccup on the night. Matt Barnes was on in relief when the Yanks went ahead 2-1 in the eighth, giving up a sacrifice fly, but even though Sale didn't get the win, the Red Sox did, thanks to Devers and Benintendi. Those kids are indeed, alright, and will no doubt be called upon to be so again as the two teams meet again next weekend at Fenway Park. In the meantime, the Sox end up taking two out of three from the Yanks in this series and have upped their lead for first place in the division over the Yankees to five and a half games.
The Yankees move on to an inter-league subway series against the NY Mets tonight, a Mets squad depleted by injury and trades of some of their more dangerous players, including Jay Bruce, who was recently sent to the Cleveland Indians. The Red Sox will have to deal with Bruce and the Indians tonight at Fenway, a make-up game from a rain-out in Boston last week. Doug Fister starts for Boston.
As for the NY Mets, they beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 last night, and they have a pretty good young player of their own in Michael Conforto, who homered again in the win against Philly last night. Conforto has 26 homers this season and 12 since the All-Star break. Curtis Granderson also homered for the Mets and rookie Chris Flexen got the win, his second of the year.
In Toronto, J.A. Happ won his third straight start and the Blue Jays hit three home runs in a 7-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak, and Darwin Barney all going yard in the victory.
And staying north of the border, an upset win at the Rogers Cup in Montreal as 20-year old German Alexander Zverev beat Roger Federer in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Zverev is an up and comer. now having won ten straight matches, while Federer lost for just the third time in 38 matches he played this year.
Logan Farrar and Kevin Merrell combined to go six for eight at the plate with five runs scored between them, and the VT Lake Monsters went on to beat the State College Spikes 9-5 in Pennsylvania last night. Vermont scored five times in the third inning to put the game out of reach.
It was a much-needed win for the Lake Monsters after games Friday and Saturday against the Spikes had Vermont on the verge of winning both, with just one strike to go, before State College tied each and then won in extra innings. The win also keeps Vermont's slim half game lead over Tri City for first place in the Stedler division heading into the league's all-star break.
Finally, more youth celebrated with 24-year old Justin Thomas won his first major golf championship and it was a big one, taking the PGA championship yesterday finishing with an 8-under par, and denying Jordan Spieth a shot at winning the grand slam of golf.