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Mitch's Sports Report: Red Sox Comeback, Yankees Collapse In Ninth For A Two-Game Standings Swing

A comeback for the Boston Red Sox. A collapse for the NY Yankees.

Those were the story lines playing out around the same time last night against different opponents, and the result could just mark the moment the Red Sox pulled away from their ancient rivals to lay claim to the American League east title.

That may be going a bit far given the calendar date and past incidents of Red Sox teams blowing big leads with a month to go in the regular season, but what looked initially like a night that would finish with the Yankees closing the gap to just six and a half games turned quickly instead to a two game swing the other way, Boston now 8 and a half in front of the Yankees after late inning dramatics in Chicago and New York.

On the south side of Chicago, the White Sox held a 4-0 lead over their crimson hose counterparts, but Boston rallied for four runs in the 7th to tie it, the big blow a Mookie Betts two-run blast to left field, his 29th of the season.

The Red Sox didn't stop there, tacking on five more runs in the top of the 9th, with Jackie Bradley Jr. showing a great late-season resurgence at the plate with a go-ahead single, and a three-run opposite field bomb by J.D. Martinez, his 39th home run of the year, propelling the Red Sox to a 9-4 win in which they scored nine unanswered runs to come back from that 4-0 hole.

Meanwhile in the Bronx, the Yankees held a 7-5 lead over the Detroit Tigers going into the top of the 9th and even without closer Aroldis Chapman unavailable due to injury, they still had one of the league's best relievers in Dellin Betances on the mound to close things out.

Except that he didn't. With one man on, Victor Martinez hit his second home run of the game, a contest that saw eight balls leave the park in total, lacing a line drive into the right field seats, a hit that probably wouldn't have gone out in any other ballpark besides Yankee Stadium, but the short porch giveth and the short porch taketh away.

Martinez is retiring at the end of the year and with that home run will do as the Tigers all-time leader in runs batted in for a switch hitter. So the game was tied at seven, but only briefly because the very next batter, Niko Goodrum, also blasted a shot off Betances into the right field stands and the Yankees could not rally in the bottom of the 9th, suffering an improbable 8-7 loss. part of that improbability is the fact that Betances had never given up two home runs in the same game in his career, much less back to back dingers, and the Yankee boo birds made sure he knew it.

The Yankees are reportedly getting some help with slugging outfielder Aaron Judge still recovering from a broken wrist. The NY Post reports that the Yankees are about to close a deal claiming San Francisco Giants and former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen off waivers in exchange for two minor leaguers. McCutchen is not quite the force he was when he was an all-star with Pittsburgh, hitting .255 with 15 home runs, 55 RBI's and 13 stolen bases this season, but he is a solid veteran who will likely thrive at Yankee Stadium and it's good insurance for the Yankees should the Judge injury linger into September.

The Yankees are still pretty much a lock for the playoffs, four and a half games in front of the surging Oakland A's for the first available wild card spot, with Seattle 4 and a half behind Oakland, but they would love to avoid the one-game winner take all wild card game they would have to play against the A's should the Red Sox win the A.L. east and the wild card standings stay the same.

The Mets and Blue Jays were off yesterday but elsewhere around the league there were some big games for other teams struggling to get into the playoffs. The Colorado Rockies are one of those teams, trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks by just a game and a half for the lead in the National League west, and last night they lost a gut-wrencher to the San Diego Padres when Franmil Reyes hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 13th for a 3-2 Padres victory.

That race for the division title is big because in the National League wild card battle the Rockies and Dodgers both trail the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers for the two wild card berths available. The Dodgers are two games off the pace behind Arizona for the division title.

In the NY Penn League, the Vermont Lake Monsters were held to just three hits and the Staten Island Yankees blew open a close 1-0 game with five runs in the 8th to blank Vermont 6-0 in New York.

It's already been a bizarre tournament at the U.S. Open, what with the ridiculous penalty issued against a female player for changing her shirt on court because it was on backwards, and yesterday more weirdness occurred when the umpire overseeing the match between Nick Kyrgios and Pierre-Hugues Herbert consoled and encouraged Kyrgios to play better after he went down by one set and then 3 games to none in the second set. Kyrgios has built a reputation for throwing in the towel when getting down in matches, and there's a USTA rule that players are required to put forth their best efforts and not to tank matches on  purpose, but never before has a chair umpire seemingly encouraged one player directly, and it seemed to work, as Kyrgios rallied to win the match in four sets.

Other players reacted with disdain for the move, as did social media. In any event, the big match to watch for today is the Williams sisters Serene and Venus facing each other in round three.

The Saint Michael's Purple Knights men's soccer team played their season opener in New York against Queens College yesterday and fell 3-1.

Freshman Kenny Cesar, a native of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, scored his first collegiate goal for St. Mike's on a header that tied the game at one in the 27th minute, but two second half goals by Pedro Lamarre gave Queens college the victory.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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