The Isiah-Kiner Falefa Game! NY 3 Boston 2

Isiah Kiner-Falefa hits his 1st homer of the season -- over the Green Monster to tie the game 2-2 in the 5th inning.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a 2-run homer to tie the game in the 5th — his first homer of the season — then bunted in the winning run in the top of the 9th (to have all 3 Yankee RBI’s), and made a game-saving catch on a throw from Jose Trevino in the bottom of the 9th for a huge out at 2nd in the 3-2 Yankee win at Fenway.

Have yourself a game Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

All coming the night after his dad (@FiliFalefa) created a stir on Yankee Twitter by going on a rant that Jomboy media’s unfair criticism of his son had triggered him to receive a load of vile hate mail. And soon after the game ended it was revealed that Aaron Judge had blocked all members of Jomboy media on Twitter and Instagram.

Afterwards, Falefa said he knew what his homer was as soon as he hit it: “Homer. I knew it. I felt good; we’ve been putting a lot of work in, on defense and in the cage. So for it to finally come through; Saturday night; big game. It felt good.”

The Falefa performance overshadowed a strong start by new Yankee Frankie Montas — 5 innings, 2 runs — in the important game — and shutout ball from the Yankee pen.

NY improves to 72-42, 10 games over Toronto, 12 over Tampa, 12.5 over Baltimore, and 16.5 over the now 56-59 Red Sox. On a beautiful, cooler, 70-degree, low humidity summer Saturday night in Boston; game broadcast nationally on Fox.

1. Montas Lays Foundation for the Win

Frankie Montas laid down the foundation for the win with a strong start in the important game at Fenway — important because:

  1. the Yanks lost a heartbreaker the night before,
  2. have been losing constantly after the All Star break, and
  3. Montas himself was horrible in his first start as a Yank last week (while Jordan Montgomery, traded due to Montas’s arrival — has now pitched 11 shutout innings for St Louis).

Montas got into trouble in the 3rd — loading the bases with 1 out on 2 walks sandwiching a single. He then hit centerfielder Jarren Duran with a pitch to make it 1-0 Boston, and allowed a sac fly to catcher Reese McGuire to make it 2-0, before getting the final out.

Montas pitched through the 5th, allowing only a double to Alex Verdugo (who was 2-2 with a walk). Montas finished with the 5 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs allowed, 4 K’s, 2 walks.

“I felt pretty good out there,’ said Montas afterwards. “I was delivering the ball pretty good. My fastball was good. My splitter was really good too today.”

2. Falefa’s 1st Homer of the Year Ties It

Meanwhile the Yanks were getting 1-hit by Kutter Crawford — the lone hit a single with 2 outs in the top of the 4th by Josh Donaldson to break up the no hitter.

But Andrew Benintendi led off the 5th with a walk, and 1 out later, Isiah Kiner-Falefa stepped up. As Fox News flashed an on-screen stat that Kiner-Falefa had gone 379 plate appearances without a homer, the longest streak in the majors — Falefa hit a shot over the Green Monster for a 2-2 tie game.

3. Yankee Bullpen Brilliant

Lucas Luetge pitched a shutout 6th, helped by a brilliant diving catch in left by Andrew Benintendi.

Lou Trivino got the first 2 outs of the 7th before yielding a double to Xander Bogaerts and Aroldis Chapman came on to face the lefty Verdugo. But Chapman hit Verdugo with his 2nd pitch so he faced the righty JD Martinez.

With 1st and 2nd, 2 outs — Boston attempted a double steal — but Chapman saw it at the last second and threw to 3rd to nail Bogaerts — a HUGE play in the game.

Chapman then pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning — strikeout, strikeout, groundout — to finish with 1.1 innings of no-hit, shutout ball, striking out 2. He ended up getting the win to go 1-2 3.94 on the year.

4. Kiner-Falefa Bunts In Go-Ahead Run in 9th

The Red Sox brought in John Schreiber to pitch the 9th. He’s been light’s out this year for Boston — pitching to a 1.91 ERA with only 30 hits allowed in 47 innings and 55 strikeouts.

Schreiber got Gleyber Torres on a groundout but then Andrew Benintendi JUST MISSED a homer to centerfield — the ball bouncing off the top of the wall for a double. Jose Trevino then hit a little nibbler that he JUST beat out at 1st and it was 1st and 3rd, 1 out.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa came up — and got the bunt sign. He laid one down toward 1st and surprised the heck out of Boston — as the runner came home Kiner-Falefa used his brilliant speed to beat it out to 1st without a throw. Yankees 3 Boston 2.

On the radio, John Sterling said “HE BUNTS! HE BUNTS! AND IT WORKS!!! I KNEW THEY WOULD LISTEN TO ME!!!!”

“It was a great call,” said Kiner-Falefa afterwards about getting the bunt sign from the coach. “Boonie is a great manager and he put me in a position to succeed right there. Tough pitcher on the mound; he’s been really good on righties. Tough matchup. I was going to try and spray something but once I saw that, I was just trying to get the job done.”

5. Effross and Kiner-Falefa Save It in 9th

In came Scott Effross to try and save the game in the 9th, the Yanks’ Clay Holmes having blown the previous night’s save. Effross got a strikeout but then allowed 2 straight singles — to McGuire and Tommy Pham.

And up came Rafael Devers.

Anthony Rizzo went out to Effross to talk to him. Afterwards, Effross revealed Rizzo told him to “Make sure you’re getting everything. And enjoy the moment.” Effross said he tried to take it one pitch at a time, keep it simple, and ride the emotion.

Devers hit a nibbler in front of the plate, Trevino picked up and rifled a throw to 2nd where Kiner-Falefa made the tremendous catch and stepped on the bag to just get the runner. Without the great play the ball would have gone into centerfield for a tie game. Yankee Twitter WAXED praise on Kiner-Falefa for the game saver.

Kiner-Falefa said he knew Trevino might throw the ball to 2nd: “I played with him a long time (in Texas) and any time there’s a big moment he LOVES throwing the ball around. So I was ready to turn a double play. He slipped a little bit; he still got it in there — I was just trying to secure the catch. That’s what he does — he’s a great catcher. He’s one of the leaders of this team. He got the winning run off 2nd base so that was huge.”

Effross then got Bogaerts to hit a sky high pop up at the plate, that Anthony Rizzo came in to catch over Trevino for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore


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