Sanchez lone highlight in lost weekend at Boston

If not for Gary Sanchez, there would not have been much for a Yankees fan to cheer about this weekend. Sanchez kept up his remarkable productivity in his first full month as a major leaguer by going 7-for-19 (.368) with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in the four games at Fenway Park.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, all of that was for naught as they lost all four games to mark their first sweep of a series of at least four games in Boston since June 4-7, 1990. That was the series where Stump Merrill succeeded Bucky Dent as manager in one of the lowest points in franchise history.

This Yankees team was a far better bunch that the cellar dwellers of 26 seasons ago and entered Red Sox Nation on a high more after a 7-3 homestand put them in solid contention for a Wild Card berth in the playoffs. Thursday night, the Yankees were two outs from being only one game away from the second Wild Card slot and just three games out of first place in the American League East.

But a five-run ninth inning climaxed by Hanley Ramirez’s three-run home run off Dellin Betances knocked the Yankees off course and set the tone for a devastating weekend. Ramirez was it again Sunday night as he slugged two more home runs in yet another Red Sox comeback victory. Just as they had done in the series opener, the Yankees squandered a 4-0 lead in the finale as well.

The Yankees failed to hold leads in three of the four games. CC Sabathia cruised through four innings and nearly got through the fifth as well until his own glaring error opened the gate for the Red Sox. Boston had runners on first and second with one out when Mookie Betts hit a scorching liner to the center of the infield that was gloved by Sabathia. He tried to double Xander Bogaerts off first base but threw wildly past Billy Butler. That play gave a free at-bat to Ramirez, who socked a three-run homer over the Green Monster to make it a one-run game.

Sabathia surrendered the lead in the fifth by yielding successive singles to Travis Shaw, Aaron Hill and Jackie Bradley Jr. Blake Parker did a tremendous job keeping the score 4-4 by striking out David Ortiz, who did not start and came up as a pinch hitter, and retiring Dustin Pedroia on a fielder’s choice and Bogaerts on a strikeout.

Ramirez struck again the next inning, however, by driving a Tyler Clippard changeup over the Monster for his second homer of the game and 28th of the season. Ramirez terrorized the Yankees all weekend by going 9-for-16 (.538) with a double, four homers and nine RBI.

The Yankees’ losing streak has reached five games and leaves them four games behind the Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot. In addition, the Yankees are two games behind the Tigers and the Mariners and one game back of the Astros, all teams the Yanks had passed during a seven-game winning streak. They get a needed day off Monday before continuing the trip with a three-game series against their Rays at Tropicana Field.

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