NEW YORK -- In what could have been viewed as his club's most important game of the season, Aaron Hicks homered to spark a five-run rally and uncorked a terrific throw to help the Yankees stun the Red Sox and snap their eight-game winning streak with a 5-4 victory on Friday evening at Yankee Stadium.
Blanked on two hits going to the eighth, the Yankees' slumbering bats awoke along with the sellout crowd of 46,509, which was quickly whipped into a playoff-level frenzy. Hicks launched an Addison Reed slider over the right-field wall, Didi Gregorius greeted Joe Kelly with a game-tying single and Todd Frazier blooped an RBI hit that gave New York its first lead of the evening.
Ronald Torreyes added a sacrifice fly and Aroldis Chapman recorded his 15th save despite walking the bases loaded in the ninth with no outs as the Yankees (61-53) trimmed their deficit in the American League East to 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox (64-50). It was the seventh time that the Yanks have defeated the Sox in 10 games this season.
"They put together a big inning," said Boston manager John Farrell. "The way we bounced back, the way we've come through some challenges as a group, we have responded well to them. We've had our difficulties against New York this year, we recognize that. But we're looking forward to Drew Pomeranz setting the tone tomorrow at the beginning."
The unlikely comeback took place after the Red Sox had cruised through the first seven frames. Hanley Ramirez and Andrew Benintendi homered in support of starter Eduardo Rodriguez, who handed a 3-0 lead to his bullpen in the seventh. But it all went for naught when Reed and Kelly couldn't get the job done in the eighth.
"It happens, but I picked a bad time for it to happen," Reed said. "The good thing is we still have a month and a half left in the season."
Adam Warren picked up the victory with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief behind Jaime Garcia, who permitted three runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings as he turned in his second start since being traded to the Yankees.
"You wanted to keep the deficit at three and give them a chance to come back," Warren said. "We just knew at some point they were going to come through. They came through big for us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Crank Aaron: After Brett Gardner was drilled on the right foot with a 1-1 slider from Reed, a play that required a video review, Hicks launched his 11th homer of the season, a Yankee Stadium special to right field that traveled a Statcast-calculated 335 feet and had a hit probability of just seven percent. New York would send 11 men to the plate in the inning before Hicks finally popped out against Fernando Abad to end the frame.
"I kind of put myself in that situation by falling behind in the count, flipped in a 3-2 slider up in there, probably not the best slider I threw all night, but he didn't miss it," said Reed. "He played it to the ballpark and you guys all know what happened."
"I've never faced him before, so I was just looking to try to get the ball up and try to get a hit in that situation," Hicks said. "I swung at two sliders down that were balls, and right after those two, I just wanted to get him up and put a good swing on it."
Setup crew can't stop Bombers' surge: Even after the homer by Hicks, the Red Sox still had a lead. But Reed and Kelly simply couldn't stop the bleeding. Gary Sanchez lined a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. Aaron Judge drew a walk. In came Kelly, and Gregorius lined a single just in front of Benintendi in left to tie it. Frazier gave the Yankees their first lead with an RBI single to left. By the time the Red Sox finally got the first out of the inning, it was too late to bring in closer Craig Kimbrel.
"I think [wins like this] can really propel you and get you going again," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've done it a number of times. We've had some big wins and they've got us going on a nice streak."
It takes two: After Chapman walked the bases loaded in the ninth, missing the strike zone with 12 of his first 15 pitches, Benintendi lifted a sacrifice fly to left field that cut New York's lead to 5-4. Eduardo Nunez took off for third base and Hicks made a terrific throw to cut down the former Yankee at third base. Chapman took advantage, retiring Mitch Moreland for the final out.
"If it happened tomorrow, I would take the chance tomorrow again," Nunez said. "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."
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When Reed hit Gardner to open the eighth, it marked the first time he hit a batter since March 23, 2014, against the Dodgers in Sydney.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Pomeranz will try to continue the strong run he's been on when he takes the ball for Saturday's 4:05 p.m. ET game. The left-hander has given up just one run in three of his last four starts. Pomeranz has a 3.18 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees.
Yankees:Luis Severino (9-4, 2.91 ERA) will seek his fifth straight victory as the Yankees and Red Sox continue their series on Saturday. In his last four starts, Severino has allowed just two earned runs in 25 2/3 innings (0.70 ERA), striking out 32 against seven walks. In two starts this year, he has held the Red Sox to a run on seven hits over 14 innings.