The Yankees’ downward spiral continues with a disappointing loss to the Red Sox

NEW YORK — Anthony Volpe stood in a quiet, mostly empty Yankees clubhouse and described in one word the team’s shockingly sad defeat.

“Crude,” he said. “We play to win, and we expect to win.”

New York is one of the best in the Major Leagues (49-21) through June 12, and one of the worst in the Major Leagues (5-15) since then. The Yankees blew a three-run lead against the Boston Red Sox in the latest deflating loss on Friday night.

Masataka Yoshida hit a tying two-run home run against Clay Holmes with two outs in the ninth inning and Ceddanne Rafaela hit a home run against Tommy Kahnle in the tenth inning, giving Boston a 5–3 victory.

New York has lost 14 of 18 games in a streak that began June 15 at Fenway Park. The Yankees have struggled with the absences of Anthony Rizzo, sidelined since June 16 with a broken forearm, and Giancarlo Stanton, who has been nursing a hamstring injury since June 22.

“Nobody’s playing at the level they think they can,” said Holmes, who has had two save chances since June 9 and blown both.

New York has lost four games in a row and is now 1-6 in extra innings.

“It’s a tough time, and we’ve got to buckle down and turn around quickly tomorrow, get ready to play and find out a little bit what we’re made of,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “You’re tested all the time with tough moments in the season. And that’s definitely the case now.”

Volpe and DJ LeMahieu committed a double mental error, costing the Yankees a run in the third inning. They both failed to run hard, allowing the Red Sox to turn a double play to end the inning.

With Volpe on third and LeMahieu on first and one out, Ben Rice hit a hard grounder to Romy Gonzalez on first. Gonzalez stepped on the bag and threw to Rafaela on second. But Volpe slowed and went home and LeMahieu ran to second instead of getting caught in a rundown and was tagged before Volpe crossed the plate.

“I just have to keep going all the way,” said Volpe, who thought the ball was a foul. “I just have to get better.”

Boone spoke to Volpe about his mistake.

“We’ve got to play better than that, yeah, no question about it,” Boone said. “We certainly understand that and invest a lot in that, and we’ve got to play clean baseball, especially when it’s tough and things are hard to find. Yeah, we’ve got to get better. Period.”

Holmes threw six straight sinkers at Yoshida and admitted his pitch selection could have been better.

“When he went down in Yoshida, he probably saw a few too many,” Holmes said.

On June 13, Holmes allowed Maikel Garcia’s game-ending, two-run double in a 4-3 loss at Kansas City. Holmes has blown five saves in 24 chances.

“If he had thrown a slider there, it could have been a different story,” Yoshida said.

Boston has won five straight games and 15 of 20. The Yankees were 50-22 after winning the series opener in Boston on June 14, moving to a 3½-game lead over Baltimore in the American League East and a 14-game lead over the third-place Red Sox.

At 54-36, the Yankees trail the league-leading Orioles by three games and hold a 4½-game lead over Boston (48-39).

“You have to get beat up a little bit to find out what you’re worth,” captain Aaron Judge said Thursday, “and we’re going to find out soon.”

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