The Yankees, who were in first place in the American League East at the July 31 trade deadline, fell to four and a half games behind the division-leading Red Sox. On Sunday, the Yankees faced the prospect of having to beat Boston’s dominating left-hander, Chris Sale, to avoid falling further behind.
Manager Joe Girardi said that the Yankees’ medical staff had declared Montgomery fit enough to start Sunday night, but he also said that Montgomery would be re-examined Sunday to make sure he had no lingering effects.
Montgomery said that a team trainer had checked for a concussion by asking him a battery of questions.
“What day it is, who we’re playing,” said Montgomery, who did not receive stitches for his wound, which left dried blood on his ear after the game. “Just a bunch of stupid questions.”
Montgomery said the blow would not affect his start Sunday.
“No, I feel good,” he said. “It’s not like I got hit in my arm or anything.”
As it is, the Yankees already have to find a starter to take Tanaka’s spot for Monday’s game against the visiting Mets. Montgomery, a left-hander who was sent to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last Sunday to conserve his innings after the Yankees acquired Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia just before the trade deadline, was recalled Friday to take Sabathia’s place.
“Well, it’s not what you want this time of year,” Girardi said. “We’ve had a couple people nicked up. Some guys are going to have to step up. It’s probably a darn good thing we made the additions we made, or we’d be really, really short.”
It was hard to see Severino’s shellacking coming. Since returning from the All-Star Game in Miami, he had been as dominant as any pitcher in baseball, rolling up a 4-0 record and a major-league-best 0.83 earned run average. And he had been especially tough on the Red Sox this season, allowing one run in 14 innings over his previous two starts against them.
When Gary Sanchez slapped an 0-2 fastball from Drew Pomeranz just inside the right-field foul pole for a two-run homer in the first inning, it seemed Severino had a lead he could ride deep into the game, especially after he retired the first seven batters.
But trouble arrived in the third when Christian Vasquez worked a nine-pitch walk, and then Severino, after starting with two strikes, threw four consecutive balls to Jackie Bradley Jr. Third baseman Todd Frazier, in his haste to start a double play, then dropped Eduardo Nunez’s grounder, leaving the bases loaded.
“I just rushed,” Frazier said. “When you rush, sometimes you fumble the ball. It was a big play in the game.”
Mookie Betts made it so by following with a ground single to left, bringing in Vasquez and Bradley to tie the score, and Benintendi smoked a 98-mile-per-hour fastball at the knees over the right-center-field wall for a three-run homer and a 5-2 lead. The five runs Severino allowed in the inning equaled the number he had allowed in his other five starts since the All-Star break.
“We haven’t done a whole lot against Severino; he’s been outstanding against us,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “You look at Vazquez’s walk inside that third inning, that’s kind of the key to get us started.”
Severino struck out the side in the fourth, and the Yankees crept to within 5-3, though they could have done more damage after loading the bases with none out against Pomeranz. But the Red Sox got to Severino again in the fifth, with Benintendi’s homer off a hanging slider as the big blow.
If the Red Sox’s chances of torching Severino were slim, Montgomery’s injury seemed even odder. He called his injury “a one-in-a-million” occurrence.
But the cacophony of activity that can take place during batting practice — hitters teeing off, coaches hitting grounders to infielders, pitchers throwing to catchers and players signing autographs — makes the odds not quite so long.
Montgomery said Aaron Judge said he had been hit in the head during batting practice in a minor league game in Erie, Pa., two years ago.
As for signing autographs before a game?
“I probably won’t be doing that much,” Montgomery said.
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