BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox bullpen imploded in the fifth inning and a comeback bid by the Boston offense came up short in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader in New York, allowing the Yankees to walk away with a dramatic 5-3 win.

Boston is now clinging to a one-game lead over New York in the Wild Card standings heading into Tuesday night’s Game 2.

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Two of Boston’s most reliable relievers — Garrett Whitlock and Josh Taylor — couldn’t find the strike zone in the fifth inning, issuing three walks and getting tagged for three runs in the frame. Neither finished the inning, in which New York flipped a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead.

The Red Sox loaded the bases with three straight singles to start the top of the seventh against Jonathan Loaisiga, giving the team a golden opportunity to flip the script on the Yankees. But Travis Shaw, in his first at-bat since his return, lined out for the first out of the inning. Enrique Hernandez then took three straight balls from Loaisigo, but the Yankees righty fought back to strike him out on a 3-2 slider.

Hunter Renfroe struck out on four pitches to end the game, leaving the bases loaded for Boston.

Alex Cora turned things over to his bullpen with his team up 3-2 off a solo homer by Christian Vazquez in the top of the fifth. The backstop broke up a 2-2 tie by taking a hanging cutter from New York starter Jordon Montgomery and mashing it 409 feet into the left field bleachers. It was the Boston catcher’s fifth homer of the season and his first dinger since June 27, also against Yankees.

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But things fell apart for Boston in the bottom of the inning, which was a painful 30 minute affair for the Red Sox. Whitlock uncharacteristically issued back to back walks after starting the frame with a punch-out of DJ Lemahieu, and was pulled for Josh Taylor, who walked Joey Gallo on six pitches to load the bases. Luke Voit put New York back on top with a two-run blooper to shallow right-center that Hernandez couldn’t get to, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead.

Giancarlo Stanton added to that lead with an RBI single, taking a 3-0 pitch by Taylor and lining it to center to score Gallo. Three of the four batters that Boston walked came around to score for New York in a highly ineffective inning for the Red Sox bullpen.

The Yankees scored a pair off starter Tanner Houck in the bottom of the second, but Boston quickly tied things in the top of the third on a two-run single by Xander Bogaerts. The shortstop is now up to 66 RBIs for the season.

The Red Sox got four innings of two-run ball out Houck, who allowed both of his runs on an RBI single by No. 9 hitter Anthony Velazquez in the bottom of the second. The young righty surrendered five hits but did not walk anyone, fanning a pair over his four innings.

Houck retired the side in order in the first and third innings, and got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fourth by getting Velazquez to fly out to end the frame. He was pulled after 58 pitches, with Alex Cora likely feeling pretty good about having Whitlock come out and hold down the fort.

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But that didn’t happen, as the bullpen let the game slip away in the fifth. The Red Sox will look to split Tuesday’s action when Nathan Eovaldi gets the start in Game 2.

CBSBoston.com Staff