BOSTON — Domingo German was simply dominating the Boston Red Sox. Never more so than in the seventh inning, when the Yankees right-hander struck out stars J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and rookie Jarren Duran.
As German walked off the mound then with a no-hitter intact and a solid lead, there was no way to envision what was on deck.
Held hitless into the eighth by German and looking feeble, Alex Verdugo and the Red Sox suddenly erupted for five runs to shake Fenway Park and storm past New York 5-4 on Sunday.
The old ballpark was almost silent all afternoon until Verdugo opened the eighth with a long double for Boston’s first hit, and he raised his arms in celebration at second base.
“I felt like just getting that hit out of the way had everybody just take that big deep breath, didn’t have to worry about getting no-hit anymore,” Verdugo said. “That inning was crazy. From going no-hit to seven innings, to putting five up in the eighth, that’s one of the craziest comebacks I’ve ever been a part of.”
With their major-league-leading 32nd come-from-behind victory, the Red Sox reclaimed first place in the AL East, a game ahead of Tampa Bay. It was their 10th win in 13 games this year against their rivals, and erased a tough 4-3 loss on Saturday when New York scored four times in the eighth.
What a difference a few hits made. Before those, Red Sox manger Alex Cora, it was pretty glum in the Boston dugout.
“Not great, to be honest with you,” Cora said. “Whoever says, ‘we’re a hit away or a baserunner away from getting this going’ … I didn’t sense that. I sensed a lot of frustrated people. (German) was amazing.”
The Yankees, meanwhile, absorbed another brutal loss in a season full of them. They dropped three of four in the series and fell nine games behind Boston. The Yankees now have three losses this season when they’ve led by four or more runs in the eighth inning or later. That ties the most such losses in a single season in franchise history, and it’s the first time they’ve had three such losses since 1993, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“Really tough one, obviously. Domingo was terrific,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s a tough one we’ve got to get past. Another extremely tough one.”
Boston trailed 4-0 when Verdugo doubled to deep right, and German was lifted after the hit by Boone.
“You know to pitch a no-hitter is one of the hardest things to do in baseball,” German said through an interpreter. “I knew I had a no-hitter going. I was executing pitches to try and be as careful as possible. Verdugo was able to connect there. I thought it was a good pitch.”
Jonathan Loaisiga (7-4) relieved, and Boston broke loose with four straight hits. Hunter Renfroe had an RBI double, Christian Vazquez singled home a run and Hernandez followed with an RBI double, cutting it to 4-3.
“It’s a bad day for me. It’s tough,” Loaisiga said through an interpreter. “It hurts because you had the starter pitching strong. You come into the game hoping to do your job and it doesn’t work out.”
German was trying for the first no-hitter by an opponent at Fenway since Detroit’s Jim Bunning in 1958, when he retired fellow future Hall of Famer Ted Williams on a fly for the final out.
Mixing his well-spotted fastball in the mid-90 mph range with a changeup and curveball, the 28-year-old German struck out 10 and walked just one.
With a 3-0 lead, he began the seventh by fanning Duran. Bogaerts also struck out, swinging at a passed ball that prolonged the inning. German struck out Devers and Martinez, with four all strikeouts coming on third-strike swings.
There have been seven no-hitters in the majors this year, one short of the big-league record set in 1884, the first season that overhand pitching was allowed.
There were two near-misses on Saturday night: Patrick Sandoval of the Angels got his bid broken up with one out in the ninth at Minnesota, and Framber Valdez and the Houston bullpen took a try into the eighth.
“It was a pretty special comeback,” Hernandez said.
Rougned Odor had a solo homer and RBI single for New York. He popped up with a runner on second to end it.
Odor’s bloop, run-scoring single had made it 1-0 in the third.
Boston starter Martin Perez gave up three runs over six innings, striking out six and walking two.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.