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Anthony Volpe has one word for state of the skidding Yankees: `Brutal’

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NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Volpe stood in a quiet, mostly empty Yankees clubhouse and had a one-word description of the team’s shockingly sorry skid.

“Brutal,” he said. “We play to win and we expect to win.”

A major league-best 49-21 through June 12, New York is a big league-worst 5-15 since. The Yankees wasted a three-run lead against the Boston Red Sox in the latest deflating defeat Friday night.

Masataka Yoshida hit a tying, two-run homer off Clay Holmes with two outs in the ninth inning and Ceddane Rafaela homered against Tommy Kahnle leading off the 10th to give Boston a 5-3 victory.

New York has lost 14 of 18 games, a slide that started at Fenway Park on June 15. The Yankees have struggled in the absence of Anthony Rizzo, sidelined since June 16 by a broken forearm, and Giancarlo Stanton, out since June 22 because of a strained hamstring.

“Nobody’s playing to the level that they think they can,” said Holmes, who has had two save chances since June 9 and blown them both.

New York has lost four straight games and dropped to 1-6 in extra innings.

“It’s a difficult time and we’ve got to dig down and quick turnaround tomorrow, get ready to play and find out what we’re made of a little bit,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “You’re going to be tested all the time with tough spots in the season. which clearly we are right now.”

Volpe and DJ LeMahieu made a double mental error that cost the Yankees a run in the third inning, allowing the Red Sox to turn an inning-ending double play.

With Volpe at third and LeMahieu at first and one out, Ben Rice hit a sharp grounder to Gonzalez at first. Gonzalez stepped on the bag and threw to Raffaela at second. But Volpe slowed down heading home and LeMahieu ran toward second instead of getting into a rundown and was tagged before Volpe crossed the plate.

“I just got to hustle all the way,” said Volpe, who thought the ball was foul. “Just got to be better.”

Boone spoke to Volpe about his mistake.

“We got to play better than that, yeah, no question,” Boone said. “We certainly understand that and invest a lot in that and we got to play clean baseball., especially when it’s hard and things are hard to come by. yeah. we got to be better. Period.”

Holmes threw six straight sinkers to Yoshida and admitted his pitch selection could have been better.

“The sinker down into Yoshida, he probably saw one too many there,” he said.

On June 13, Holmes allowed Maikel Garcia’s game-ending, two-run double in a 4-3 loss at Kansas City. Holmes has blown five saves in 24 chances.

“If he threw a slider there, then could have been a different story,” Yoshida said.

Boston has won five straight games and 15 in 20. The Yankees were 50-22 after winning the series opener at Boston on June 14, leading Baltimore by 3 1/2 games in the AL East and the third-place Red Sox by 14 games.

At 54-36 the Yankees trail the first-place Orioles by three games and are 4 1/2 games ahead of Boston (48-39).

“You got to get beat down a little bit to kind of see what you’re made of,” captain Aaron Judge said Thursday, “and we’re going to find out real soon.”



AP Baseball Writer