Gerrit Cole gives up early grand slam as Red Sox push Yankees losing streak to 7

Hours before the Yankees played the Red Sox on Saturday, Aaron Boone spoke about correcting course and teams that have gone on unlikely runs.

“The reality is we still have a chance, and we got to kind of prepare and compete every day with a mind that today’s the day we turn it around,” said the manager, who addressed his team following a Friday beatdown.

But Saturday was not the day the Yankees turned it around. Instead, Boston won, 8-1, as the pinstripers dropped their seventh straight game despite having their ace on the mound at home.

Gerrit Cole, working on a Cy Young-caliber campaign, could not bail the Yankees out following a loss, something he’s done all season. Rather, the right-hander found himself in trouble in the second inning, when a couple of singles and a walk set the stage for a Luis Urías grand slam.

“Urías just demolished the slider,” Cole said. “Just right there on the corner, down and away. It was a beautiful pitch, but better swing.”

Urías, Boston’s No. 9 hitter, had just two home runs prior to the at-bat against Cole, but he also hit a grand slam in his last game on Aug. 17. Urías became the first Red Sox player to hit a grand slam in back-to-back games played since Jimmie Foxx did it in 1940, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The Red Sox got to Cole again in the fourth inning when Connor Wong hit a two-run homer to right. Cole’s afternoon ended with that inning. All six of the runs he surrendered were earned, and he also gave up seven hits while walking one and striking out four over 86 pitches.

“Obviously, not my best stuff today,” Cole said. “But I put a lot of well-located pitches and paired a lot of good pitches together. I mean, I’m just a little bit confused on why the level of execution on their side is so high.”

Cole now has a 3.03 ERA after starting the day with a 2.76 mark.

The Red Sox scored again in the eighth when left fielder Greg Allen appeared to lose a flyball in the sun. Rafael Devers then hit a solo shot into Monument Park off Albert Abreu in the ninth.

Cole hasn’t had many clunkers this season, but the Yankees’ lineup certainly has. Such was the case on Saturday, as the aptly-named Kutter Crawford didn’t permit a hit until Aaron Judge smoked a solo home run in the sixth inning.

Crawford didn’t make any other mistakes, though. He completed six innings, walked two and struck out five before handing the ball to Boston’s bullpen.

“It’s tough at times when you get down early,” Judge said. “You think, ‘Maybe I’m gonna work this guy, work the count a little bit,’ but you gotta realize if you just kind of keep laying on good pitches to hit, it might be the best pitch you see all day. Even if the score is 6-0, you gotta switch things up a little bit and maybe even go on the offensive a little bit more. So that’s an easy fix. You gotta realize that in-game and then make that switch.”

The Yankees have scored just seven runs in their last five games. They totaled two hits on Saturday after getting one-hit on Tuesday.

“It’s just tough,” Isiah Kiner-Falefa said. “Haven’t been able to execute. Haven’t been able to get the big hit. Just been sloppy baseball all around, but hopefully we can turn this thing around quick.

“We’re just flat right now.”

The Bombers had a chance to get something going in the second inning when Giancarlo Stanton drew a leadoff walk. But Kiner-Falefa, one of the Yankees’ most consistent hitters, tried to bunt for a single. That plan failed, as Kiner-Falefa popped the bunt up to Wong. The catcher then doubled Stanton off at first.

The Yankees were already facing a four-run deficit at that point. And even if Kiner-Falefa had laid the bunt down, Stanton is incredibly limited in his mobility.

Boone said Kiner-Falefa made the call to bunt, while “IKF” said Crawford has had trouble throwing to bases, which was in the Yankees’ scouting report. Boone called the bunt a “good play” because Rafael Devers was playing back.

Devers was actually at the edge of the grass.

“I was just trying to get the ball in his hands and maybe make him make a bad throw right there and just build something,” Kiner-Falefa said of Crawford. “And yeah, it kind of backfired, but yeah, I’m okay with it.”

The Yankees are now three games under .500 with 39 games left to play. They woke up on Saturday seven games out of the final wild card spot, which the Mariners occupied. The Blue Jays were a half-game out, while the Red Sox were three back.

Toronto and Seattle played night games on Saturday.

The Yankees have won just one series since the start of July, and that came against the lowly Royals. Still, Boone has continued to insist that a run is possible. He did so again after his team responded to his postgame Friday chat with another lackluster performance on Saturday.

“Because. That’s what we do,” Boone, irritated at the question, said when asked why he believes a turnaround is possible. “We have no other choice. I don’t not think a turnaround is coming. So we’re just going to get to work. And I know it’s a boring answer for you guys. But we got to try and come win a ballgame tomorrow and expect when we walk in those doors, today’s the day. That’s how we look at it.

“That’s what we are. We’re sick animals in a lot of ways, right? It’s the grind of the sport. We got to come ready to go tomorrow and fight our way through this. And through this, you find out about people and you get your character revealed and you gotta keep showing up. And when you’re taking your lumps and it’s not easy, that’s what we continue to do. And we will continue to expect to turn it around.”

Having already been swept by the Braves this week, the Yankees will try to avoid more brooms on Sunday with a win over the Red Sox.

Clarke Schmidt, coming off a disappointing outing of his own, will start for the Yankees. The Red Sox had yet to announce their Sunday starter at the time of publication.

No matter who the Yankees face, Kiner-Falefa said, “Our backs are against the wall. So it’s either we keep going down or we figure something out and fight back. So this is a good time to see what we’re all made of.”

Added Judge: “That’s what is great about Major League Baseball: we get a chance to show up here tomorrow at the same time and change the script. So that’s what we gotta keep doing.”


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