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LEADING OFF: Garcia joins Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, Votto run

LEADING OFF: Garcia joins Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, Votto run

Fans in Boston and NY always want more. NY was six outs away from dropping a season-high 5 1/2 games out but Aaron Hicks sparked a five-run comeback against Addison Reed and Joe Kelly with a two-run homer and saved the game in the ninth by throwing out Eduardo Nunez at third from left field. CC Sabathia was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a right knee injury on Friday and Masahiro Tanaka was placed on the same list Saturday for right elbow inflammation. The Red Sox have ridden a rollercoaster, making the playoffs only in 2013 (winning the World Series for the third time in a decade) and 2016 (losing in the Division Series) and finishing last in the division and well below.500 three times. Falling behind in the count makes hitting a little easier for the other team.

Something's not right with Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.

"He's a game-changer", Brett Gardner said of Hicks, who missed almost six weeks with an oblique strain before returning from the disabled list Thursday. "A play that saved the game". Just a game-changer on both sides of the ball. But in this case, any scouting report will tell you that the one outfield arm you never want to take a chance on is the one belonging to Hicks, who has one of best cannons in the game. Rodriguez is seeing NY for the first time this season and is 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA in seven career starts versus the Yankees.

The Red Sox can rest assured, then, that they will get a heavy dose of Hicks over the next few weeks.

Taillon (7-5) allowed six hits, one walk and two runs while striking out seven in six-plus innings for his first win since July 20, a span of three winless outings. "These are extremely important games", Girardi said.

"He's continued to improve all year long", Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We knew we were too good of a team to keep playing like that".

Despite base runners and mini rallies, that's all the Red Sox would get off the Yankees starter. Reed faced four batters without recording an out, with Hicks' fly-ball homer inside the right-field foul pole serving as the biggest blow. But in the first of 10 key games between the AL East rivals in 24 days, Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier followed Hicks' home run with RBI singles and Ronald Torreyes hit a sacrifice fly as the Yankees took a 5-3 lead and rebounded to close within 3½ games of the Red Sox. He missed outside with a 100.6 miles per hour fastball, and Benintendi — whose bases-loaded walk against Chapman gave Boston a July 14 win at Fenway Park — came to the plate as Dellin Betances warmed up.

"Once I saw he was going, I was already ready to make my throw to third", Hicks said.

Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 while giving up just two hits over eight innings of the Indians' 5-0 shutout of the Rays. "We still got some work to do", Farrell said.

It was the kind of play that made the Yankees exalt, and Red Sox fans yank hair from their scalps. The Brewers wasted a three-run blast by Marcus Thames and dropped their sixth in a row to fall into a third-place tie with the Pirates in the NL Central.

Nunez led off and played second base Friday, after veteran Dustin Pedroia experienced swelling in his left knee. "And while the outs are going to be glaring, I still feel like when we can put pressure on the defense, we're going to look to set that tone".

"If I'm off a couple miles an hour, I'm not going to be too anxious about it", Chapman said. That's how we play the game.

Even if first place isn't immediately at stake this weekend, it's been a while since so much was on the line between these two teams.



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