NEW YORK – For the first two weeks of his tenure with the Red Sox, Eduardo Nunez could do no wrong.
That was until the ninth inning on Friday night against the Yankees.
With New York having rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning against the Red Sox, Boston started to scrape together a comeback of its own in the top of the ninth before an eventual 5-4 loss.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Nunez and Mookie Betts drew three straight walks against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman to load the bases with nobody out.
Andrew Benintendi came to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field. Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield was watching left fielder Aaron Hicks to give the runner at third, Bradley, the signal to go home. Nunez, in other words, was on his own whether to advance to third on Hicks’ throw.
Hicks caught the ball on the warning track and fired into third base, the throw reaching third baseman Todd Frazier with plenty of time as Frazier made the pick and tagged Nunez out for the double play.
“If it happened tomorrow, I would take the chance tomorrow again,” Nunez said after the loss. “That’s how we play the game. That was a great throw, that was a great pick for Frazier, and an amazing tag. Have to give the credit to them.”
The Red Sox have run into 64 outs on the bases this season, most in the American League. Entering Friday, Houston was second-worst with 49 outs on the bases.
Manager John Farrell said it’s a byproduct of the club’s aggressive play and that they’re not going to change that style anytime soon.
“Prior to every series in our advance meetings we talk about opportunities to look for, to take advantage of the running speed that we do have,” Farrell said. “But I do believe there’s a means to an end with this. And while the outs are going to be glaring, I still feel like when we can put pressure on the defense, we’re going to look to set that tone.”
While Hicks is known to have a strong arm,…