When the Puerto Rican Kiké Hernandez reached second base Thursday night after hitting the biggest hit of his first season with the Boston Red Sox, pumped his fist repeatedly, screamed with excitement and heard the roars of a crowded house of 34,761 people in the Fenway Park.
During these two months, since Fenway reopened at full capacity, Hernandez thought he had learned the meaning of loud:
But aside from October, Fenway never reaches the decibel level of a thrilling comeback against the Yankees. And this 5-4 score win in 10 innings in the first game of a four-game series between the rivals would not have been possible without Hernandez.
Hands down, Hernandez’s two-run double to the gap in center-left field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth was the biggest success of the 30th win coming from behind Boston, which is tied with the Rays for the most in the majors this season.
The AL East standings are not tied thanks to this memorable victory, which kept the Sox one game ahead of Tampa Bay and now eight ahead of the Yankees.
Hernandez, who has eight RBIs in his last three games, led 1-0 against Yankees right-handed reliever Chad Green before turning on a 96.2 mph heater and hitting it to 104.2 mph.
The ball jumped the scoreboard and took a generous carom as Alex Verdugo entered from second base and speedy prospect Jarren Duran roared from first base. Duran, inserted as a pinch runner, wasted no time scoring his first run at Fenway Park.
After working their way to a pair of wins in Buffalo, New York, over the Blue Jays, the Red Sox spluttered offensively for the first seven innings Thursday before turning the tables just in time.
The Yankees briefly unleashed the game in the top of the 10th when automatic running back Tyler Wade advanced to third on a soft ground and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner. Red Sox closer Matt Barnes, who finished with the win, made sure things didn’t escalate any further from there.
It turned out that in the bottom of the tenth, the Yankees basically gift-wrapped the win for Boston. In his 11th career appearance, Yankees right-hander Brooks Kriske threw four wild pitches, the most by a pitcher in a single extra inning in MLB history (and tied for the most in any input). Here the video:
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Rafael Devers scored on one of those wild pitches for the tying run. Xander Bogaerts walked, then went to second and third on two more wild pitches. Hunter Renfroe ended the festivities with a sacrifice fly to the right, with Bogaerts easily scoring with the winning run. The enduring image of this victory will be Hernández’s coup.