Isiah Kiner-Falefa homers, drives in all 3 runs as Yankees snap skid, beat Red Sox – The Denver Post


BOSTON — Isiah Kiner-Falefa has not exactly had his dream first season with the Yankees. The shortstop has made some really good plays and blundered some routine ones. His bat has been lighter than even the Yankees expected when they traded for him this spring and his baserunning mistake earlier this week made him a target for fans’ frustrations.

But Saturday night, he had his big moments. Kiner-Falefa hammered his first home run of the season and drove in all three Yankees runs as the Bombers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

“It’s been an up and down roller coaster for me. It’s definitely an adjustment. But this is where I want to be. This is my dream team. This is everything I’ve ever wanted in my life,” Kiner-Falefa said. “So to get the opportunity to come through tonight it feels good. But we have a long way to go and I’m just hoping I can keep this going.”

It was a relief, really, in what has been a tough time for the Yankees (72-42). It was their first one-run win since July 28, having lost five straight. It was just their second win in their last 10 games. It was the first time they beat the struggling Red Sox (56-59) in their last four games at Fenway.

And it was not an easy one.

With Clay Holmes struggling, Yankees manager Aaron Boone had to go to side-armer Scott Effross to close it out. In his first attempt at a save since coming over from the Cubs, Effross gave up  back-to-back one-out singles to Reese McGuire and Tommy Pham, putting the tying run on second and the winning run on base. Rafael Devers chopped one in front of the plate and Jose Trevino got the force out at second. Effross coaxed a pop-up from Xander Bogaerts to get his second save of the season and first as a Yankee.

That saved a big night for Kiner-Falefa and Frankie Montas, who had a better start than his first with the Yankees. 

With one out and one on in the fifth, the struggling shortstop turned on an 86 mph cutter and pulled it over the Green Monster in left field. The 372-foot shot tied the game at 2-2.

And it was a huge burden off Kiner-Falefa’s shoulders.

He had gone 102 games, 348 at-bats without hitting a home run. Kiner-Falefa’s last home run was Oct. 1, 2021 with the Rangers against Cleveland. When he got to the dugout, he found only the coaching staff and Montas on the bench. His teammates gave him the traditional silent treatment by all hiding in the tunnel between the dugout and clubhouse.

But it wasn’t as big as his safety squeeze bunt in the ninth.

Andrew Benintendi, who is playing in his first series back here since he was traded away to Kansas City, led off the ninth with a double off the center field wall. He advanced to third on Trevino’s single. Kiner-Falefa dropped a bunt down on the first base side of the mound, allowing Benintendi to score easily.

“I felt good. It just feels good to come through with the big homer and small ball,” Kiner-Falefa said. “So it was showing off both sides of my game and I was just happy to come out with a win. We’ve been playing a lot of close games so it feels good to finally pull one off.”

Montas held the Red Sox to two runs on five hits over five innings of work. He struck out four and walked two. Montas got 11 swings-and-misses, six on his splitter. Montas was better than his last start, which was just short of a disaster.

Montas limited the damage Saturday.

Montas walked Verdugo to lead off the fourth. The Red Sox right fielder advanced on a wild pitch and got to third on Eric Hosmer’s single. Montas thought he had Christian Arroyo on a checked swing, but was overruled and walked him to load the bases. He hit Jarren Duran on the back of his foot to bring in the first Red Sox run. McGuire’s sacrifice fly brought in the second.

“I’m getting there. I think I could do much better,” Montas said. “We got a great win, a great team win tonight.”



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